The original design and purpose of today’s soccer cleats has greatly evolved since the early 1800’s. Back then, soccer shoes were meant to be used as protective footwear, and not for giving footballers a significant boost in their overall performance during games. Moreover, the design of the footwear during those days was quite different from the design adopted by shoe manufacturers today, although some trace similarities can be noticed.
Although the earliest football shoes recorded belonged to King Henry the VIII in 1526, not much information can be gathered regarding his footwear. As the year approached the late 1800’s, the sport of football began to gain popularity, with numerous football clubs starting up in 1880’s. Many of these clubs still compete in the Premier League today.
During those days, soccer cleats had steel built around the toe area to protect players from potential injuries while playing. Additional protection came in the form of heavy leather material, which was used to create soccer shoes. The only part of the shoe that actually helped boost the footballer’s performance was the metal studs placed at the bottom.
As time progressed towards 1900 and 1940, slight improvements were made to the primitive soccer cleats. After the World War II, the South Americans created a pair of lighter soccer shoes that was made to improve mobility plus control.
In 1954, Adolf and Rudolf Dassler (brothers) developed the first pair of soccer cleats with removal studs, helping users boost their running speeds and ability to make sudden movements. Later, the brothers decided to depart and form their own companies – Adolf founded Adidas, while Rudolf went on to form Puma.
In the 1960’s Mitre, Joma and Asics remodeled the design of soccer shoes by removing the ankle support, and giving it a lower cut instead – this modification further improved mobility and made the shoes more comfortable to wear.
In the 1970’s, the boots came in a variety of colors instead of the traditional color black. Also, Adidas finally established itself as a leading shoe manufacturer in the industry, while releasing the Copa Mundial during the late 1970’s.
In the 1980’s, the Adidas Predator boot was developed by Craig Johnston, and was released in 1994.
In the 1990’s, Reebok and Mizuno came into the picture and made names for themselves as market leaders with the release of soccer cleats with lighter soles, which aided its users ability to maintain balance. Also, Nike began competing in the football shoe market as well.
In 1998, Nike released the lightest boot during the time – the Nike Mercurial, which weighed
only 200 grams.
In 2002, Nomis released a shoe with Wet Control Technology. In 2006, Lotto created a lace-less boot, while Kelme introduced the performance enhancing capabilities rendered through Shark Technology.
During recent years, laser technology made it possible for players to customize their own soccer shoes to their liking. And lastly, computer technology was incorporated into the f50 boot by Adidas. The microchip located within the sole can measure speed and distance, which serves as valuable data for determining how well players perform during and after a game.