The history of football boots dates as far back as 1526 to King Henry VII. Before 1891, studs or any other projection on football boots were not acceptable. After 1891 however, studs were allowed as long as the studs were made of leather and hammered into the soles of the Sportstown football boots and were not more than half an inch long.
The second evolution of football boots was seen in the mid 1950’s. This age of evolution is also the most historically controversial. Adidas, a German brand, claims that in 1954 it was supplying German boots with screw-in-studs which it supposes were the first of their kind. However, Puma, still a German brand claims that it had introduced the screw-in-studs as early as 1952. Despite the controversy, the screw-in-studs were by far the greatest evolution of the football boots at this time.
The boots in Northern Europe had ankle protection (which is also the main reason why they are called “boots”). Between 1950 and 1960 however, the South Americans developed a much lighter and highly flexible boot that did not have the characteristic ankle protection. This development increased the player speed, reduced drag and therefore increased kicking power, increased and heightened ball control and flexibility as well as increased a player’s ability to change directions quicker.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s, the boots were designed to be lighter as well as more fashionable with more colors. Manufacturers realized that football boots had a lot of commercial potential and players were contracted with sponsorship deals to promote the manufacturers’ footwear.
In 1990’s Adidas became the market dominant. Craig Johnson revolutionized football design by developing the Adidas predator boot whose main attribute was rubbers strips attached to the forefoot. This increased grip and performance and heightened flexibility and control.
The 2000’s saw the market being dominated by Puma, Adidas and Nike. These three strived for better design and technological integration.
Football boots have seen a growing trend in being lighter and giving better performance while being fashionable. Modern technological advancements have made boots safer without reducing the player’s performance and at the same time maintaining fashion sense. Modern day designs are a constant competition between the big market brands.
A notable highlight of this age is the rotating studs that are found on Lotto’s Zero Gravity boots. These reduce the risk of sustaining injuries in the pitch and improving speed and stability.