Football Boots – The Early Years

The history of football boots mirrors the development and progression of the beautiful game of football in the late 19th century and into the 20th century. Football rules and laws were introduced to progress football into a more organised and formalised structure, which succeeded in moving a largely provincial game into the sport that is enjoyed around the world right into the 21st century. Football as a game was part of British life for several hundred years previously and one early protagonist included probably the most famous and notorious historical figures of British history, King Henry VIII (1509-1547).

Football Boots: Earliest Recorded – King Henry VIII in 1526

Henry VIII was thought to have owned the first pair of football boots

King Henry VIII’s football boots were listed within the Great Wardrobe of 1526, a shopping list of the day. They were made by his personal shoemaker Cornelius Johnson in 1525, at a cost of 4 shillings, the equivalent of £100 in today’s money. Little is known about them, as there is no surviving example, but the royal football boots are known to have been made of strong leather, ankle high and heavier than the normal shoe of the day.

Football Boots – The 1800’s

1830's Football Boot

Moving forward 300 years saw football developing and gaining popularity throughout Britain, but still remaining as an unstructured and informal pastime, with teams representing local factories and villages in a burgeoning industrial nation. Players would wear their hard, leather work boots, which were long laced and steel toe-capped as the first football boots. These football boots would also have metal studs or tacks hammered into them to increase ground grip and stability.

As laws become integrated into the game in the late 1800’s, so saw the first shift in football boots to a slipper (or soccus) style shoe, with players of the same team starting to wear the same boots for the first time. Laws also allowed for studs, which had to be rounded. These leather studs, also known as cleats, were hammered into the early football boots, which for the first time moved away from the earlier favoured work boots. These football boots weighed 500g and were made of thick, hard leather going up the ankle for increased protection. The football boots would double in weight when wet and had six studs in the sole. The football boot had arrived!

Football Boots – The 1900’s to 1940’s

Hummel 1920 Football Boots

Football boot styles remained relatively constant throughout the 1900’s up to the end of the second world war. The most significant events in the football boot world in the first part of the twentieth century were the formation of several football boot producers who are still making football boots today, including Gola (1905), Valsport (1920) and Danish football boot maker Hummel (1923).

Adi Dassler Football BootsOver in Germany, Dassler brothers Adolf and Rudolf formed the Gebruder Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory) in Herzogenaurach in 1924 and began producing football boots in 1925 which had 6 or 7 replaceable, nailed studs, which could be changed according to the weather conditions of play.

Football Boots – The 1940’s to 1960’s

Football boot styles shifted significantly after the end of the second world war, as air travel became cheaper and more international fixtures were played. This saw the lighter, more flexible football boot being worn by the South Americans being thrust onto the world stage, and their ball skills and technical ability amazed all those that watched them. Football boot production shifted to producing a lighter football boot with the focus on kicking and controlling the ball rather than simply producing a piece of protective footwear.

1948 saw the formation of the Adidas company by Adolf (Adi) Dassler after a falling out with his brother that was to form the cornerstone of football boot maker rivalry for the preceding years up to today. Brother Rudolf founded the beginnings of the Puma company in 1948, quickly producing the Puma Atom football boot. This led to interchangeable screw in studs made of plastic or rubber for the first time, reputedly by Puma in the early 1950’s but the honour is also claimed by Adidas (Read the Story on Footy-Boots). Football boots of the time were still over the ankle, but were now being made of a mixture of synthetic materials and leather, producing and even lighter shoe for the players of the day to display their skills with.

Old football boots

Football Boots – The 1960’s

The technological developments of the sixties bought a momentous step-change in design which saw the lower cut design introduced for the first time in football history. This change allowed players to move faster and saw the likes of Pele wearing Puma football boots in the 1962 World Cup Finals. Adidas, though, quickly emerged as the market leader, a position it claims until the present day. In the World Cup Finals of 1966, an astonishing 75% of players wore the Adidas football boot.

The 1960’s also saw several other football boot makers joining the market with their own brands and styling including Mitre (1960), Joma (1965) and Asics (1964).

Football Boots – The 1970’s

Pele Puma AdvertThe seventies began with the iconic 1970 World Cup Finals which saw a sublime Brazilian team lift the trophy with Pele again at the helm, this time wearing the Puma King football boot. The decade itself will be remembered for the way in which football boot sponsorship took off, where players were being paid to wear only one brand. In terms of design and style, technological advancements produced lighter boots, and a variety of colours, including for the first time, the all-white football boot.

Adidas Football BootIn 1979, Adidas produced the world’s best selling football boot the Copa Mundial, built of kangaroo leather and built for speed and versatility. Although Adidas remained dominant, several other football boot makers joined the fray including Italian football boot maker Diadora (1977).

Football Boots – The 1980’s

Adidas Predator HistoryThe greatest development of recent times in the design and technology of football boots was developed in the eighties by former player Craig Johnston, who created the Predator football boot, which was eventually released by Adidas in the 1990’s. Johnston designed the Predator to provide greater traction between football boot and the ball, and football boot and the ground. The design allowed for greater surface areas to come into contact with the ball when being hit by the football boot, with a series of power and swerve zones within the striking area allowing the player to create greater power and swerve when hitting the “sweet spots”. The eighties also saw football boots for the first time being made by English company Umbro (1985), Italy’s Lotto and Spain’s Kelme (1982).

Football Boots – 1990’s

nike-football boots1994 saw Adidas release the Craig Johnston designed Predator with its revolutionary design, styling and technology making it an instant and lasting success. The Predator by now featured polymer extrusion technologies and materials allowing for a more flexible sole as well as the conventional studs being replaced by a bladed design covering the sole, giving a more stable base for the player. In 1995 Adidas released their bladed outsole traxion technology which are tapered shaped blades. Puma hit back in 1996 with a foam-free midsole football boot, known as Puma Cell Technology, to which Adidas responded again, this time with wedge shaped studs in the same year. The nineties saw new football boot producers Mizuno release their Mizuno Wave in 1997. Other new football boots came from Reebok (1992) and Uhlsport (1993) with other companies also joining the ever increasing, lucrative and competitive market place. Most significantly the nineties saw the entry of Nike, the world’s biggest sportswear producer, immediately making an impact with its Nike Mercurial soccer boot (1998), weighing in at just 200g.

Football Boots – 2000+

As technology advanced still further, the application of the new research and developments were seen in the years into the new millennium right up to the present day and this has led to a reinforcement of the market positions of the big three football boot makers and sellers, Puma, Nike and Adidas (incorporating Reebok since 2006). Fortunately, there still remains room in the market place for the smaller producer that does not have the big money endorsement contracts at its disposal, such as Mizuno, Diadora, Lotto, Hummel and Nomis.

Pig Football BootRecent developments since 2000 have seen the Nomis Wet control technology producing a sticky boot (2002), the Craig Johnston Pig Boot (2003), shark technology by Kelme (2006) and the exceptional design of the Lotto Zhero Gravity laceless football boots (2006) all of which underpin the successes that these smaller makers can achieve by producing specialised and technologically advanced football boots that provide a distinct differentiation from the mass produced products of the big three. Laser technology has also helped to produce the world’s first fully customised football by Prior 2 Lever, which is perhaps the most exciting and innovative of the recent developments.

Current favourite football boots include Adidas’ F50, Tunit and Predator; Nike’s Mercurial Vapor III, Air Zoom Total 90s and Tiempo Ronaldinho, Reebok Pro Rage and Umbro X Boots.

Football Boots – The Future

As the debate rages with regards the lack of protection given by modern football boots, and the repercussion in terms of player injuries, there seems little to suggest that the major manufacturers are going to give up their quest for the lightest football boot for a more protective one. The proliferation of big money sponsorship deals, namely Nike Ronaldinho, Adidas with David Beckham and Reebok with Thierry Henry, has become a huge factor that drives the success and sales of a football boot maker, but is viewed as at a cost of injury and stagnation in football boot research and development. All we can predict for the future is integration with sensor technology, lighter and more powerful football boots and more outlandish designs and styles.

Football Boots have travelled a long way since King Henry strutted onto the fields of England in the 1500’s: the football boot has gone from a piece of everyday protective apparel, to a highly designed and cutting edge technological product which is a vital part of the player’s equipment.

Written By

  • Rob

    What about the Valsport New Era and Mitre RS11’s which came out before the Nike Mercurial and were the first of their kind of plastic boots, which Nike copyed to make the Mercurial

  • Rob

    oh also the Fila with its kevlar Tornado boot

    • Trap

      I have a pair of Fila kevlar brand new in box.. I think i am the only one that has this still

  • Craig Henderson

    i love the football boots

  • Si

    Anyone remember Patrick Kenny Dalglish, circa 1984. Legendary boots. :)

    • jonsey

      what was the fu name of the nike tiemps that robbie fowle and eric cantona wore I mrying to buy some

  • emily


  • mickyjewell

    The info you have re. Nike football boots intro is totally incorrect – I was wearing Nike boots in the mid 1980’s and have photographs to prove it. Also, Rushy, Glenn ‘the King of White Hart Lane’ Hoddle and ‘Champagne’ Charlie Nicholas were all wearing and advertising them. Would love to know if anyone can find clear pics of 1980’s boots such as Nike, Puma Royal & SPA Kings – with the yellow detail sole, Le Coq Roma, Hummel Golds, and Adidas Stratos. I wore them all as a Spurs youngster and theyb were all great boots. M

    • Urafaggot

      Your mind is screwed up i created this and it is 100% correct

    • Mark

      Point is valid as I have just commented serperatly about the fact Aston villa players in the 1982 euro cup final were wearing the famous swoosh

  • scott

    patrick boots circa 1984 were kevin keean!!! king kenny =puma ALWAYS

    • Johan’s left nipple

      I had a pair of Patrick boots on 1979,,they were fantastic boots…had them as my reserve pair to my adiddas penarol’s

  • aaron drury

    wanting to know what company first released blades as i recall cica blades being a massive thing but see no mention?

  • Good boy

    sikkk! good boys for putting this info upp.. 😉

    • Hayley_gatt


  • jonesy

    hey thanks for the heads up on the eric cantona tiempos im a tramp so i bought em! 😀

  • jg4ffhu

    i like the nike mercurial yellow boots

  • trajikk


  • real14

    i like puma boots

  • Dapo

    Can anyone tell me who wrote this article? I wanna cite it in my essay :)

    • DrChunkyNuts_69

      Emilio Estervez wrote this while your father sucked his nuts

    • Logon

      Michael Jackson

  • wilksyboy4

    Yes who wrote this article? plz

  • springi891

    Playing a lot of football in the seventies,my favorite boots were adidas penarol.They were the comfortable boots ever.Tried puma king,great looking boot but could always feel the studs. Does anybody remember these ?

    • Trent

      Yeah i remeber you you faggot

    • Johan’s left nipple

      super boots…snug fit but strong and very well made….ahhh the memories…

    • Godwhacker

      Bought a pair in Berlin in 1962 – they were the dog’s bollocks.

    • gugbiu


  • sexyboyryan

    never knew that the first footbal boots were rubbish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! like torres !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Anom.

      The only reason I upvoted that was the mention of torres

  • sexyboyryan

    never knew that the first footbal boots were rubbish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! like torres !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Meow

    hi my name is mr khanayfish boowkboowk
    i like to do cartwheels cause they show off my vagina 😀

  • Pussycats

    hey there pussycats pur for meeeeeeeee
    babyyyyyyy i can make yo pussy whistleeeeeeeeeee 

    • Michael

      whats good

  • Sexybitch

    ahhhh lo0ve the hot guys on here !!;;;;)

  • Michael4437

    If you are reading this, go and do something less sad instead

    • Yop

      Like what………………..Doing your mum?………………..OH thats right shes dead, she choked on my cum

  • Billybrown

    wet willy

  • angel

    quiero saber mas sobre el modelo stratos

  • Yogurty Fogarty

    i am nyan cat

    • NyancatBITCH

      No!!!!! im NYAN cat bitch………..


    it doesn’t matter what sort of boots u where its about the playing 


  • Goppy

    i have those old bots and i own up!

  • Troop

    i hate rugby

  • Fgndfgvbefhdfsd

    a love dot cotten ehy

  • Wekfw

    touch your moot.

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  • Jean Lee

    nice job whoever made this thanks I am using this site for my photo esay THANKS

  • Iamrockstar12

    wefbjsdvjcenadvmdui nuinuicncucwenybty8b78

  • yohana

    wow wow this good

  • yohana

    the old boots was good i wish they still around

  • Thiagomessijlo Jlo

    I love football boot but t FUSO50 are my best the ones which my rolemoddel Lionel Messi play with thanks for the good history

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  • Godwhacker

    Surprised that no one on this forum has mentioned this yet but my first pair of boots, which I acquired as cast-offs in about 1949 (I was 6 years old at the time), didn’t have studs. Instead, they were fitted with leather bars running across the sole of the boot. Anyone else have the same?

    • Puma Love

      I saw some of these in the PUMA archive recently. Were yours made by the Gebrueder Dassler? I don’t know who else was making soccer boots in 1949. How did you like running in them? Any particular memories of what they felt like to wear?

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  • Mark Walker

    I would argue the fact nike football boots were released well before the late 90s as it’s proven in pictures in 1982 euro cup final that a marjority of Aston villa players where in fact wearing the American brand?