A look back at the breakthrough of the Screw-In-Stud Football Boots
Regular readers of this football boot blog may remember a post we made back in May, Puma “We invented the screw in stud, not Adidas“.
The article spoke about an ongoing feud between Puma and Adidas. Both football boot manufacturers claim to have invented the screw in stud, but Puma had been investigating their archives and believed they had proof.
As a result of that article, we have been given some photographs (see enf of this post) of the football boots claimed as the original screw in football boots by Puma.
Here is a section of the report Puma released to support their claim about the Screw-In Stud Football Boot.
The story begins in 1948 in Herzogenaurach in Franconia; the Puma Company had just been founded and was operating with about 30 employees. At this point, Rudolf Dassler had a brilliant idea: to develop football boots, which would allow for an optimal use on the greatest number of different types of terrain. For this, the tread profile of the football boot would need to be variable with studs no longer remaining nailed in the sole, standard practice up to then. Rather, it would have to be possible to screw them on and off.
With this consideration, Rudolf Dassler, the sports enthusiast inventor, began his work on manufacturing screw-in stud boots. The starting point and basis for the development of the new model was Puma’s “ATOM” football boot. The company founder had already launched this boot on the market in 1948/49. The “ATOM” was used in the first postwar game of the German national team. This was the match against Switzerland on 22 November 1950 in Stuttgart. Herbert Burdenski was wearing these boots when he scored the first postwar goal for Germany with a penalty shot resulting in a 1:0 win for Germany. In spite of its success, this Puma football boot did not yet have the ability to always provide the players with the best possible grip and footing on different types of grass.
For this reason, Rudolf Dassler drilled his new test boots with holes and screws in the sole, into which studs of various lengths and types could be screwed, depending on how muddy the field was. Precise research was carried out in order to determine the characteristics that the screw-in stud would need to have in order FOr optimal use. To help answer this question, the Puma founder called on numerous football experts, including the national coach, Sepp Herberger.
Georg Hetzler, the master craftsman who was employed in making the screw-in stud football boots can still remember the development: “Our boss was called an inventive genius. One day he came into the factory – I think it was in 1949 – very excited and showed us the first football boot with the screw-in stud: “Look at this all of you!’ We were all thrilled, of course. He didn’t rest until this football boot was launched on the market.”
After two years, the development was finished and the trial phase could begin. In 1951, many experienced players from various leagues tried out the revolutionary Puma innovation. The lengthy trials ended with a positive result: The players unanimously praised the special slip prevention of the enhanced “ATOM” model. Encouraged by these positive results, Puma began serial production of the new football boot just a year later, giving it the name, “SUPER ATOM”. The first delivery of the Puma screw-in stud football boots to leading sportsmen and the trade took place at the start of the 1952/53 football season in Germany.
Hetzler comments on the impact of this invention for football: “The sporting world was, of course, very pleased to see the screw-in stud appear on the market, as the earlier soles were very dangerous for the player. Once the studs had worn down,, the heads of the nails were left standing exposed. Of course, the risk of injury was extremely high, but this was no longer the case with screw-in stud football boot. That’s why this product was received so well everywhere.”
Click images to view larger size
First screw in stud football boot Puma ‘Super Atom’ 1952-53
Puma “Atom” 1953
Puma “Brazil” 1954
Historic Puma Newspaper Advert