Laws were integrated into the game in late 1800’s. The first football boot was converted to a slipper or soccus style shoe. Players of the same team would then start to wear the same boots. Laws allowed for studs. These had to have rounded edges. These leather-studs, also known by cleats, were hammered into football boots which, for the first time, moved away from their earlier preferred work boots. These football boots weighed in at 500g and were made from thick, hardened leather. The boot’s ankle was protected by extra protection. The football boots were twice as heavy when wet and had six metal studs at the sole.
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Bad Football time
Through the 1900’s and the second world war, football boot styles remained relatively unchanged. The first decade of the twentieth century saw the birth of several producers of football boots, including Gola (1905), Valsport (1820), and Hummel (1923).
Rudolf Dassler and Adolf Dassler founded the Gebruder Dassler Schuhfabrik, Germany’s first shoe factory, in Herzogenaurach. The company began production of football boots in 1925. It had 6 to 7 replaceable, nailed, studs that could be altered according to weather conditions.
During mid twentieth century
After the Second World War, football boot styles changed drastically. South Americans began to play the more flexible, lighter football boots. All who watched them were amazed at their technical and ball skills. Producing a lighter football boot meant that the emphasis was placed on controlling and kick the ball, not just making protective footwear.
Adolf Dassler (Adi), a brother, founded the Adidas company. The Adidas company would be the centerpiece of football boot maker rivalry throughout the past years. Brothers Rudolf and Adolf established the Puma Atom company in 1948. Puma introduced interchangeable screw-in plastic and rubber studs in 1950. However, Adidas claimed the title. While the traditional football boot was still worn above the ankle, the new synthetic and leather versions are lighter and more comfortable for players.
Football during 1970
In 1960, technological innovations brought about a major change in design. This saw the introduction of the first ever lower cut football boot in football history. This design change enabled players to move faster, and Pele wore Puma football shoes in the 1962 World Cup Finals. Adidas was the market leader in football boots, a position it maintains until this day. Adidas football boots were worn by 75% in 1966’s World Cup Finals.
Other football boot manufacturers entered the market in the 1960’s with their own brands and styles.
Football Boots – The 1980’s
1970 World Cup Finals marked the start of the seventies. Pele, once again the leader, lifted the trophy for Brazil. The decade will be remembered mainly for the growth of sponsorship in football boots. It was possible to pay players only one brand. Technology advances led to lighter and more versatile boots.
Adidas made the Copa Mundial, the world’s most popular football boot in 1979. Made of kangaroo hide, it was designed for speed and versatility. Adidas remains the leader in football boots, but there were other players such as Diadora (1977), a German football boot maker.
Football in 1980
Craig Johnston was a former football player who in the eighties developed the Predator football boot. Adidas finally released it in 1990. Johnston designed Predator for greater traction between the foot and the ball and between the boot and ground. The Predator design allows for greater contact area between the ball and the ground when the football boot is hit. Additionally, there are a series of power- and swerve areas within the striking zone that allow the player more power and swerve to hit the “sweet spots”. English company Umbro (1985), Italy’s Lotto (1982), and Spain’s Kelme (82) were the first to make football boots in the eighties.
1990 was a great year for football
Adidas released the Predator by Craig Johnston in 1994. The Predator’s innovative design, styling, and technology made it a lasting success. The Predator featured polymer extrusion technologies, materials, and a flexible sole. In addition to the replacement of the conventional studs by a bladed design covering it sole, this made the shoe more stable for players. Adidas launched their bladed-outsole traxion tech in 1995. It features tapered-shaped blades. Puma responded in 1996 by creating a foam-free midsole soccer boot called Puma Cell Technology. Adidas responded in the same year with wedge-shaped, studs. In 1997, Mizuno Wave, a new football boot company, was released. Reebok (1992), Uhlsport(93), and many other companies have joined this lucrative and competitive market. Nike, the largest manufacturer of sportswear, made its debut in the nineties, making a significant impact with its Nike Mercurial soccer shoe (1998). It weighed in at 200g.
Football boots from 2000
Technology advanced even further. The new research and developments have been seen in the years up to the new millennium and has strengthened the market positions and sales of the three major football boot manufacturers and sellers, Puma (incorporating Reebok from 2006). There is still plenty of market space for smaller producers who do not have large endorsement contracts.