Prior to the 19th century in all
probability smaller side games
of football were played according to
locally agreed rules. These went
King Henry VIII (1491 –1547) did pay
four shillings in 1525 to have football
boots made by the Royal boot
Although they did not survive the
boots were thought to be ankle high
and made from strong leather
making them heavier than the
normal shoes of the day.
Ball games were played in all the major English
sublic schools and local boot makers customised
engineer’s boots to the individual players‘ feet.
Early football boots extended above the ankle, to
give support and limited protection in the rough
and tumble games .
Ball games were ill defined with robust physical
contact, including hard tackles, encouraged as a
form of character building.
Boots were tightly laced with long laces, which
wrapped around the ankle and often across the
ball of the foot.
To increase ground traction;
boots incorporated studs
(usually in the ratio of 4:2)
Once Association Rules were
Established the exclusive Upper
Class game of football became
the pre occupation of the
leisured working class.
Rule 13 meant dangerous metal
studs could no longer be worn
and players sported leather cleats
Outfits became more
streamline than the
previous decade, which
may indicate a faster
game but players still
soccer boots (circa
1900). This is a successful West Australian
team (circa 1912) sporting the latest
fashions in soccer kit.
The English game spread
quickly across the world.
Acceptance of team
outfits became the norm
and adjustments for
In the UK Bozeat Boot Company
Later Gola, (1905) ; in Italy Valsport
(1920); and the German football
boot maker Hummel (1923) which
later relocated to Denmark all
competed to produce boots.
Adolf and Rudolf Dassler formed
the Gebruder Dassler
Schuhfabrik in Herzogenaurach in
1924 and began producing football
boots in 1925.
Adi Dassler is credited with
Players could wear screw-in
studs principally through the
innovation of Adi Dassler (co
founder of Adidas).
Studs were selected to suit
Whilst there was some
variation in the arrangement
of stud patterns on the sole
most professionals preferred
the 4:2 or 4:3 ratio.
Continental soccer developed to such a
degree domestic supporters demanded
their players incorporated the same
skills into local play.
Improved travel extended competitions
to include international fixtures. Crowds
Were now entertained by more athletic
moves, such as the bicycle (overhead)
Individual ball control became the major
Focus and boots were worn very tight to
the foot to allow players’ to feel greater
control of the ball.
Adidas company was formed in
1948 by Adolf (Adi) Dassler after
a falling out with his brother
His younger sibling founded the
Puma in the same year
producing the Puma Atom
Both companies incorporated
interchangeable screw in studs
Made of plastic or rubber for the
Soccer boots were still worn above the
Ankle and tightly bound to the foot by
laces but when it became apparent long
studs caused injury new regulations
were enforced in 1951.
Progressively synthetic materials
replaced natural leathers and molded
studs became available.
Winners of the 1954 FIFA World Cup,
West Germany all sported the new
adidas soccer boots with screw-in studs.
By 1958 at the FIFA World Cup, Sweden,
the majority of players wore adidas
Several more football boot
makers joined the market with
new brands and styling. These
included: Mitre (1960), Joma
(1965) and Asics (1964).
Adidas remained brand leaders
but rivals Puma scored a winner
with Puma Kings and the
personal endorsement of
Bazil’s Edson Arantes Do
Nascimento (Pele) in the 1962
World Cup Finals.
By now players had accepted the lower
Soccer shoe and new boots were
moderately lighter in weight which may
have given some players an
A much less physical game which was
Better regulated was played with new
soccer balls which speeded up play.
New synthetic materials prevented water
uptake and both ball and boots remained
the same weight throughout even in the
wildest weather conditions.
75% of the players at the 1966 FIFA
World Cup in England wore adidas
Club sponsorships and personal
endorsements became the norm with the
photo opportunity a critically important
Companies concentrated on more
attractive fashionable boots, often
incorporating novelties, which sometimes
appeared to ignore the risk of injury.
Black boots were essential
Adidas continued to dominate
Supplies and in 1979 released the
Copa Mundial made from kangaroo
leather. It would become the world's
top-selling soccer boot.
Several other football boot makers
joined the competitive market
including Italian football boot maker
The next decade saw more
companies join the competition
with Lotto (Italy), Kelme (Spain) in
1982; and Umbro in 1985.
Soccer shoes encapsulated
all the conventional wisdom
of shoe making into a
Yet the number of injuries to
players increased causing
Now the scientific
community were engaged
to analyse the
biomechanics of players
and their boots.
Craig Johnston (Liverpool) designed the
Predator boot with specific intention to
improve the sweet spot and give better
ball control to the player. Eventually
adidas released the first generation in
1994 . The new range incorporated
polymer technologies and boot was
design to allow a more flexible sole.
More companies like Reebok (1992),
Uhlsport (1993), and Mizuno (1997)
began trading but it was Nike, the world’s
biggest sportswear producer that made
another significant impact with the light
weight Nike Mercurial soccer boot in
Australian Football Rules
was the only football code
to meticulously record
injury data .
Data analysis revealed
many knee injuries
were caused by jumping
Asics produced new
blades patterns and the
fashion caught on
Smaller companies continue to
Make boots using new
technologies offering novel
properties. Emphasis is always
on durability and weight.
Nomis Sticky Boot
Puma, Nike and Adidas
remain brand leaders but
boots of the future will
involve laser technologies
with emphasis on
There seems little to
suggest however major
manufacturers will give up
their quest for novelty with
protection from injury a