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Evolution Of The Football Boot: Honouring The Most Gamechanging Boots From Every Era

Evolution Of The Football Boot: Honouring The Most Gamechanging Boots From Every Era
By Mikey Traynor
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Football boots have come a long, long way.

From an afterthought, needed only to provide cover to the terrain of the pitch, to an essential tool created by scientists to maximise usefulness, the humble football boot is something that has become an incredibly valueable industry.

For the purpose of this trip down memory lane we have decided to focus on the boots that first became commercially available, largely through German sportswear giants Adidas and Puma.

From then on, boots continued to evolve in many ways that eventually led to us to where we are now, with ultralight boots that give you superhuman powers.

Grouping together years to get the most significant timescales in the development of football boots, here are the ones we chose to represent the era they came from as the best that was available at the time.


Beginnings: The First True Football Boots

Adidas and Puma kicked off the world's obsession with football boots thanks to a big advertising push in the 1960s, the first of it's kind.


They were by no means common for anyone other than a professional player, but that would soon change.


Timeless Style: Copa Mundial

Adidas became synonymous with football during the 1970s thanks largely to the Adidas Copa Mundial, along with the Adidas Tango match ball. These boots were everywhere.


Every tournament saw a plethora of stars lining out in the Copas, and as a result they became so popular worldwide, that they are still one of the most highly regarded boots to this day, and they are still available for a resonable price.

Adidas Copa Mundial available here.


Functionality: Puma Kings


Another boot that remains well loved today, the Puma King is simplicity at it's finest. A boot designed to be comfortable first and foremost, it has long been the weapon of choice who those who sacrifice a bit of flair for something more durable.

A reliable boot that's design still holds up to this day, the 80s were when there was more well-known football boot manufacturers than ever before, and while it was not the first version of the Puma King, they were the pair worn by Diego Maradona at the 1982 World Cup.

Enough said.
Puma King available here.



Revolution: Adidas Predator

The single biggest gamechanger in the history of the football boot, the Adidas Predator unlocked the potential for boots to become more than just a shoe with studs.

The big rubber grip around the side may have looked slightly off-putting, but the visuals would be improved with time. Beyond that, you had a boot that professionals were queueing up to wear with the likes of Paul Gascoigne, and later David Beckham, making a good argument for these boots helping with contact on the ball.



Iconic Status: Nike R9 Mercurial

For football lovers born in the late 80s or early 90s, these were mostly like the first boots that you were jealous of someone you know having a pair of.

The 1998 World Cup saw Ronaldo run riot until the enigmatic circumstances that preceded the final, but we saw one of the greatest strikers ever to play the game bang goals in from every angle, and he looked ridiculously cool doing it thanks to his own custom boots.


They were must-haves, and they sold sensationally well.


Perfection: Adidas Predator Mania

For many, the 2002 Adidas Predator Mania is the single greatest boot ever made. This website currently hosts a tribute to it's majesty, as in both design and functionality it has yet to make a bigger impact at time of release.

The 2002 World Cup was magical, and these boots were everywhere. The tongue-strap was a simple yet glorious design tweak that was the driving force for a hugely successful campaign.

They were just perfect.


Modern Technology: Adidas F50+

After the predator came Adidas' next innovative and popular line, the F50.

In terms of changing the game, these were the boots that started the shift towards lightweight uppers, and offered a means of hiding the laces as was so popular on the Predator Mania.

The design was also incredibly cool, with the white 'spider' design being by far the most saught after.


Nike CTR 360 Maestri II

Just a fantastic football boot. While the Hypervenom, T90, Mercurial, and Tiempo all offered their own areas of strength, the underrated CTR 360 was a beautifully balanced boot.

Combining comfort with technology designed to assist with ball control in wet conditions, this was a wonderful boot that earned rave reviews by those who tried it. Best seen in the two-tone blue colourway.


So much change and innovation took place during this five year span that we felt compelled to include two candidates.

Nike Magista

Launched in 2014, the Magista was a game changer introducing the “sock boot” which has become the go to choice since. Tailored for the world's most creative playmakers, it was designed for total football control.

The boot was launched by Anders Iniesta which is basically all you need to know.

Nike Magista available here.


The Future: Adidas X16 + Pure Chaos

And here we are.

If you showed me this when I was a child and said this is what football boots looked like in 2016, I would have suddenly believed that 'Back To The Future' was a documentary.

The Adidas X is an incredible boot. It's as light as a feather but durable and comfortable too, and while the collar may not be everyone's cup of tea, once you put them on you understand why it's there.
Adidas X 16+ available here.

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