football boots timeline

History of the football boot

November 1, 2019

A brief history of the football boot

The earliest record of a pair of football boots was Henry V111’s back in 1526. However the protective apparel worn today has come a long way since the 16th century.

During the 1800’s football gained popularity in the UK. The game was unofficial and unstructured. Footballers wore hard leather steel toe capped boots with long laces, similar to the heavy safety work boots of today. In the later part of the century football boots changed to a slipper style shoe with studs and this was the first time that all players of a team wore the same boots. The boots covered the ankle and were made of hard leather.

The early 1920’s saw the formation of the Danish company Hummel and the Dassler Brothers in Germany, now Puma and Adidas. In the 1950’s football boots were still worn over the ankles but available with interchangeable screw in studs made of rubber. Footballers of the day had access to lighter boots made from a combination of leather and synthetic materials.

Football boots, the 60’s revolution and beyond

The sixties were very different from today. Managers and players were charismatic and didn’t stand out from their supporters or look for fame from the tabloids. Football boots changed to a lower cut design. This decade saw Asics, Mitre and Joma entering the market.

The seventies saw the beginning of sponsorship. Football boots were lighter in weight, available in a variety of colours including the first all white boot and kangaroo leather was introduced.

The next two decades saw the introduction of the Adidas Predator boot with a greater surface area for better ball contact, plus the arrival of Umbro, Lotto and Kelme.

Further advancements came in the form of polymer extrusion technologies, flexible soles, bladed outsole traxion technology, foam free midsoles and wedge shaped studs. Reebok and Uhlsport entered the market and Mizuno released the Wave and Nike its Mercurial football boot.

Football boots in the new millennium and beyond

Developments since the year 2000 include Lotto Zhero Gravity boots without laces and wet control from Nomis. The favourites in this decade were Adidas’s Predator, F50 and Tunit, Reebok’s Pro Rage, Umbro’s X boots and Nike’s Air Zoom Total 90’s, Teimpo Ronaldinho and Mercurial Vapour.

Nike, Puma and Adidas (Reebok) continue to hold their positions as the top three manufacturers, but there is still plenty of room in the market place for others even though they do not have big money sponsorship contracts. As you read through the guides you will notice that much importance is placed on the reason why you want to buy a pair of football boots and the fact that they are, above all else, meant for protecting your feet.

If you want to buy a pair of football boots because your football hero sponsors a particular brand and style, then there will be no stopping you. But most people will be looking for comfort, speed and protection. However, it’s good to remember that sponsorship deals chop and change; you will not be paid for wearing a particular brand. So it is wise to buy football boots that are perfect for you and the ground you play on.

Conclusion

As you read through the guides, store reviews and eventually visit the store, you will find it easy to conclude that these online shops have an amazing range of football boots. The size of your wallet or purse will be a deciding factor, but you will still have a vast choice in colours, styles and soles to suit all playing surfaces.

Football boots manufacturers have really stepped up their innovation in recent years, but it’s good to remember that you may be replacing your old boots purely because they have worn out after seasons of good service. This can be a very valid reason for replacing them with the same brand.

If you familiarise yourself with what’s available, ask yourself the right questions and take your time choosing the pair of football boots best suited to your needs, then you won’t go far wrong.

Then all that’s left to do is to watch out for the postman!