Football boot

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3D animation of a football boot Joma soccer boot.gif
3D animation of a football boot

Football boots, called cleats or soccer shoes in North America, [1] are an item of footwear worn when playing association football. Those designed for grass pitches have studs on the outsole to aid grip. From simple and humble beginnings football boots have come a long way and today find themselves subject to much research, development, sponsorship and marketing at the heart of a multi-national global industry. Modern "boots" are no longer truly boots in that they do not cover the ankle - like most other types of specialist sports footwear, their basic design and appearance has converged with that of sneakers since the 1960s.



Gath & Chaves advertisement promoting "foot-ball" products, including boots by British manufacturer Mc Gregor at m$n10, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1910 Gath chaves aviso futbol 1910.jpg
Gath & Chaves advertisement promoting "foot-ball" products, including boots by British manufacturer Mc Gregor at m$n10, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1910

1800s: During the 19th century football became extremely popular in Great Britain. People who played would wear their heavy and hard work boots to play. These were the first ever boots with the steel toe cap at the front, long laces and high topped. These boots also had metal studs or tacks put on the bottom so the players would have more grip and stability. In the later part of the 19th century the first ever football-specific boot was designed, made of thick and heavy leather which ran right to the ankle for increased protection; the first boot weighed 500 grams (18 oz) and would double in weight when it was wet. [2]

1900–1940: During this period the style of football boots stayed very basic. They remained so during the inter-war years, despite many famous football boot producers, such as Gola, Hummel and Valsport becoming ever more popular.

1940–1960: After the Second World War, the designs of the football boot changed dramatically. The South Americans[ specify ] first wore lighter and more flexibles boots, which later came into the attention of the world. This design was focused on increasing good control and better kicking power rather than a more protective boot. In 1954 Adi Dassler introduced screw-in studs which gave the German team a tangible advantage during a rain-lashed World Cup that year. That Dassler was the first to come up with screw-in studs is disputed by his older brother, Rudolf Dassler, founder of Puma.

1960s: In the 1960s many football boots were designed with a lower cut and were designed to be lighter and more flexible. [3] These enabled the best players in Europe and South America to move faster and change direction quicker. Mitre, Joma and Asics joined the fray. Adidas became the top manufacturer during this decade, with 75% of players at the 1966 FIFA World Cup wearing Adidas. [4]

1970s: The 1970s saw many large advances and changes in the football boot design. These included lighter boots and a variety of colours. Boot sponsorship also became more widespread. Adidas was the market leader in this period, releasing new technologies such as padding to provide heel protection. [3] At the end of the decade, in 1979, it cemented its status by releasing what has gone on to become the best selling boot of all time, the Copa Mundial. During this time period, some of the most common types of natural leather came into production: kangaroo leather, calfskin and full-grain/cow leather. [5] Diadora entered the market in this decade.

1980s: The 1980s saw further advancement of the technological advances of the football boot in the 1970s. Umbro, Lotto and Kelme joined the market in this decade.

1990s: New types of sole were introduced to increase the balance of the player. The Adidas Predator, designed by Australian Craig Johnston in the late 1980s, was released in 1994 and enjoyed instant success. Mizuno, Reebok, Uhlsport, and Nike began making football boots in this decade. Nike's first boot, the Nike Mercurial Vapor, immediately made an impact on its release in 1998 and after Ronaldo wore them at the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

2000s: In the first decade of the 21st century laser technology was introduced to produce the first fully customised football boot in 2006. [6] The first laceless boot, the Lotto Zhero Gravity, was also released in 2006. [7] Laceless boots later became very popular in the late 2010s.

2010s: In the era of the modern game that sees the tempo of matches becoming faster and players more technically inclined, manufacturers introduce new advances in technology including lighter footwear made from alternative materials. [8] Boot customisation also became more prominent with the rise of the internet. Laceless boots became very popular after Adidas released the Ace PureControl in 2016. [9] [10]

Different styles for different sports

A pair of Adidas Etrusco boots, with metal studs AdidasEtruscoBoot.jpg
A pair of Adidas Etrusco boots, with metal studs

Depending on the type of surface, kind of sport and even the wearer's position or role in the game, different styles of boot and particularly stud configurations are available. [11] For hard pitches, amateur participants may wear a sneaker shoe or a plastic-stud boot (known as a "moulded sole" or "firm ground" boot); in most sports and positions this is adequate, although on a well-grassed or sodden field, screw-in studs are recommended for more grip; these may be metal, rubber or plastic and are called "soft ground" boots. When playing on this kind of pitch, some players favor using a boot with screw-in studs in their non-dominant (supporting) foot to provide grip, and a boot with short rubber or plastic studs in the dominant (kicking/passing) foot to provide accuracy. However, most players opt for a consistent configuration on both boots.

For indoor football, indoor boots are used. These come with rubber soles, meant to maximize grip on the floor. Some are built on the design of firm-ground football boots, and some are specifically designed for the indoor game. For football on turf or artificial grass, some players wear regular firm ground football boots. But wearing regular football boots on turf greatly reduces the life of the boot, so companies such as Nike have developed football boots for artificial grass (AG), which have smaller circular studs.

For rugby union, the screw-in stud is preferred, especially in the positions of prop, hooker, and lock, where more grip is required for contested scrums. These screw-in studs have to be of a maximum length of 21 mm. These boots are often heavier than appropriate for other types of football. One of the more obvious differences between association football and rugby boots is the formation of the studs - rugby boots typically have no fewer than nine studs whilst those worn for soccer can have a minimum of six. Also, some rugby boots tend to have a high cut around the ankles but this type is becoming less popular, especially at elite level. There are several types of rugby boot, meant for players in different positions.

Screw-in studs have been banned in some Australian rules football leagues since the 1990s due to the frequency of severe injuries to players as a result of contact with the metal. In football,[ ambiguous ] referees must now check all boots prior to kick off to check for damage to studs, to prevent injury. Before this time, preference between the screw-in stud was based primarily on weather conditions.

More recently, moulded soles with specially designed boots known as blades have moulded soles facing in multiple directions, theoretically to maximise grip and minimise ankle injury. Recently, however, "bladed" football boots have faced criticism from some UK sporting bodies for causing potentially serious injuries to players. English football club Manchester United have even banned their players from wearing boots with bladed studs after players like Wayne Rooney and David Beckham suffered repeated metatarsal injuries. [12]

Football markets and brands

A pair of Nike Zoom Air football boots, for use on artificial grass or sand. Nike Zoom Air Football Boots.jpg
A pair of Nike Zoom Air football boots, for use on artificial grass or sand.

Originally, football boots were available only in black, but recently, they have become available in various colours such as blue, green, red, white, yellow, silver, gold and even pink. Big name companies such as Nike, Adidas, Puma and the like have made an impact on the market with record sales. Nike's flagship shoes are the Phantom VNM, Phantom VSN, Tiempos and The Nike Mercurial Vapor worn by Cristiano Ronaldo and others. German company Adidas are responsible for the Predator range worn by David Beckham, Gary Neville, and Steven Gerrard, as well as the long-surviving Copa Mundial. The entire German national side wore Adidas boots during the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Another German firm Puma flagship shoes are the Puma King Platinum, Puma Future and Puma One worn by Sergio Agüero, Marco Reus, Cesc Fàbregas and Antoine Griezmann.

Footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic wearing Adidas red boots Zlatan Ibrahimovic 2017-03-09.jpg
Footballer Zlatan Ibrahimović wearing Adidas red boots

The Puma King boots have been worn by legendary players such as Pelé, Eusébio, Johan Cruyff and Diego Maradona. [13]

In recent times, the most successful companies are Nike and Adidas, [11] and their products enjoy great popularity among professional footballers; among Nike's endorsers are two-time FIFA World Player of the Year Ronaldinho, aforementioned duo Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, Brazilian striker Ronaldo, Wesley Sneijder, Zlatan Ibrahimović, and other popular players. Adidas, which has been providing football boots with screw-in studs to the German national side since the 1954 FIFA World Cup, have made their impact on the modern market by signing big name players as endorsers: players such as David Beckham, former France captain Zinedine Zidane, Frank Lampard, six-time world player of the year Lionel Messi, David Villa, and Steven Gerrard. Puma has also made a significant impact in the industry by signing big names such as World Cup winners Antoine Griezmann, Marco Reus, and Gianluigi Buffon, David Silva, Cesc Fàbregas, Romelu Lukaku Mario Balotelli, and Champions League winner Luis Suárez. [14]


Many players use personalisation around the world to improve the look of their boots and to make them easily identifiable in the club dressing room. It is now very common to have football boots fully personalised with either a name, initials, number or club logo. Professional players such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Neymar have all personalised their boots in some way, either by including their number, the names of their children, or just a flag. [15] [16] Many retailers offer various options and colours to personalise football boots by using the embroidery machinery, such as Nike, Adidas, and Puma.

Matts Hummels had to make a hole in his shoe because his foot was injured and needed space to recover. Yet he was able to play on pitch. [17]

See also


McArthur, Ian; Kemp, Dave (1995). Elegance Borne of Brutality: An eclectic history of the football boot. London: Two Heads Publishing. ISBN   1-897850-76-X.

Related Research Articles

Boot Type of footwear extending above the ankle joint

A boot, plural boots, is a type of specific footwear. Most boots mainly cover the foot and the ankle, while some also cover some part of the lower calf. Some boots extend up the leg, sometimes as far as the knee or even the hip. Most boots have a heel that is clearly distinguishable from the rest of the sole, even if the two are made of one piece. Traditionally made of leather or rubber, modern boots are made from a variety of materials. Boots are worn both for their functionality – protecting the foot and leg from water, extreme cold, mud or hazards or providing additional ankle support for strenuous activities with added traction requirements, or may have hobnails on their undersides to protect against wear and to get better grip; and for reasons of style and fashion.

Adidas German multinational corporation

Adidas AG is a German multinational corporation, founded and headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany, that designs and manufactures shoes, clothing and accessories. It is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe, and the second largest in the world, after Nike. It is the holding company for the Adidas Group, which consists of the Reebok sportswear company, 8.33% of the German football club Bayern München, and Runtastic, an Austrian fitness technology company. Adidas' revenue for 2018 was listed at €21.915 billion.

Sneakers Sport and casual shoes

Sneakers are shoes primarily designed for sports or other forms of physical exercise but that are now also widely used for everyday casual wear.

Puma (brand) German clothing and consumer goods manufacturer

Puma SE, branded as Puma, is a German multinational corporation that designs and manufactures athletic and casual footwear, apparel and accessories, which is headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Bavaria, Germany. Puma is the third largest sportswear manufacturer in the world. The company was founded in 1948 by Rudolf Dassler. In 1924, Rudolf and his brother Adolf "Adi" Dassler had jointly formed the company Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik. The relationship between the two brothers deteriorated until the two agreed to split in 1948, forming two separate entities, Adidas and Puma. Both companies are currently based in Herzogenaurach, Germany.

Track spikes

Track spikes, or just spikes, are racing shoes used by athletes when racing on the track. Some spikes are designed for longer-term training on tracks, but generally the shoes are used for racing. The term "spikes" can also refer to track shoes featuring such protrusions, though these are technically called pins. Spikes are similar to studs, which are used for team sports, although generally smaller and with a sharp point.

Skate shoe Type of footwear designed for use in skateboarding

Skate shoes or skateboard shoes are a type of footwear specifically designed and manufactured for use in skateboarding. While numerous non-skaters choose to wear skate shoes as they are popular in fashion, the design of the skate shoe includes many features designed especially for use in skateboarding, including a vulcanized rubber or polyurethane sole with minimal tread pattern or no pattern, a composition leather or suede upper, and double or triple stitching to extend the life of the upper material. A low, padded tongue is often included for comfort. The most important aspect of skate shoes is that they have flat soles which allow the skater to have better board control.


Umbro is an English sportswear and football equipment supplier based in Cheadle, near Manchester. Established in 1920, its products are sold in over 90 countries around the world. Since 2012, the company has been a subsidiary of American company Iconix Brand Group, after being bought by Nike in 2007. However, Descente inc. has licensing rights in Asia.

Adolf Dassler German cobbler, inventor and entrepreneur

Adolf "Adi" Dassler was a German cobbler, inventor and entrepreneur who founded the German sportswear company Adidas. He was also the younger brother of Rudolf Dassler, founder of Puma. Dassler was an innovator in athletic shoe design and one of the early promoters who obtained endorsements from athletes to drive sale of his products. As a result of his concepts, Adi Dassler built the largest manufacturer of sportswear and equipment. At the time of his death Adidas had 17 factories and annual sales of one billion marks.

Engineer boot

Engineer boots, also known as engineer's boots or engineering boots, are an American type of traditional leather work-boots. Their lace-less, rugged construction made them popular among motorcycle riders. Originally developed in the 1930s for firemen working on steam locomotives, the boots gained substantial popularity in the post–World War II era during a growing motorcycling culture. They became popular symbols of teenage rebellion in the 1950s and a common component of greaser wear. They were later adopted by skinheads and punks in the 1970s. By the 2010s, engineer boots were being popularly worn for fashion purposes, especially by non-traditional customers such as women, young urban professionals, and hipsters.

Kit (association football) Uniform in association football; standard equipment and attire worn by players

In association football, kit is the standard equipment and attire worn by players. The sport's rules specify the minimum kit which a player must use, and also prohibit the use of anything that is dangerous to either the player or another participant. Individual competitions may stipulate further restrictions, such as regulating the size of logos displayed on shirts and stating that, in the event of a match between teams with identical or similar colours, the away team must change to different coloured attire.

Adidas Predator Range of football boots

Adidas Predator are a range of Football boots developed by German sportswear manufacturers Adidas, introduced in 1994. Predator are based on a prototype concept from the Australian former footballer Craig Johnston. The common feature of the Predator range is the presence of rubber patches or strips on the top of the shoe, designed to increase friction between the boot and the ball. In late 2010, Adidas designed the new "Power-spine" technology, which they claim improves shot power by reducing the amount the foot bends back as it kicks the ball.

Nomis (company)

Nomis is an Australian football shoe manufacturer founded by former Adidas senior vice president Simon Skirrow. It distributes its shoes in the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.

Nike Mercurial Vapor Football boot by Nike

The Mercurial Vapor is a football boot manufactured by Nike. The boot is known for being lightweight. Because of this, the boot is endorsed by many players for whom speed is part of their game, notably wingers or strikers, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappé, Eden Hazard, Raheem Sterling, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Didier Drogba, Luka Modrić, Arturo Vidal, Douglas Costa, Xherdan Shaqiri, Stephan El Shaarawy, Alexis Sánchez, Philippe Coutinho and many more.

Cleat (shoe) Projection on sole of shoe

Cleats or studs are protrusions on the sole of a shoe or on an external attachment to a shoe that provide additional traction on a soft or slippery surface. They can be conical or blade-like in shape and can be made of plastic, rubber or metal. The type worn depends on the environment of play: grass, ice, artificial turf, or other grounds.

Adidas Copa Mundial

The Adidas Copa Mundial is a football boot manufactured by multinational corporation Adidas and released in 1979. They were designed for the 1982 FIFA World Cup held in Spain. Going through very slight changes since then, the Copa is made in Scheinfeld, near Frankfurt in Germany. It has a kangaroo leather upper. Additional leather supports are provided from the heel, which are intended to improve durability and stability.

adiPURE was a range of football boots developed by the German sportswear manufacturer Adidas and introduced at the end of 2007. The company based the design of the AdiPure on its own boots from the 1978 World Cup. In order to remain practical for the modern game, the boot's construction included updated materials and improved manufacturing techniques, to create a product significantly lighter than its 1978 counterpart.

Nike Tiempo Sports brand

Nike Tiempo is a sportswear line designed by Nike and targeted at football players. The range includes mainly football boots, but has also included uniforms and shin guards under the same label.

Nike CTR360 Maestri

The Nike CTR360 is a line of association football boots manufactured by Nike.

Nike Hypervenom

The Nike Hypervenom is a football boot manufactured by Nike. This type of boot is said to be for traction, power, and agility, designed for deceptive players. Therefore, it is endorsed/worn by players, notably forwards, such as Robert Lewandowski, Harry Kane, Edinson Cavani, Gonzalo Higuaín, Mauro Icardi and Thiago. In 2017, 18-year-old prodigy Kylian Mbappé was given his own personalised boots, Nike Hypervenom 3.

The Dassler brothers feud was a conflict between two brothers and shoe manufacturers, Adolf ("Adi") and Rudolf ("Rudi") Dassler, in the latter half of the 20th century. Their feud led to the creation of Puma and Adidas, two of the biggest shoe manufacturing companies, and started a long-lasting rivalry between the two companies, reflected in rivalries between football clubs and a culture of animosity between Puma and Adidas employees; the conflict divided their home town.


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