The Timeline of Football Shoes
Football boots, called cleats or soccer shoes in North America, are an item of footwear worn when playing association football. Those designed for grass pitches have studs on the bottom to aid grip. Modern "boots" are not truly boots in that they do not cover the ankle. The first record of a pair of football boots occurs when Henry VIII of England ordered a pair from the Great Wardrobe in 1526. The royal shopping list for footwear states: "45 velvet pairs and 1 leather pair for football". Unfortunately these are no longer in existence.
In association football's Laws of the Game, Law 4: Player's equipment deals with football boots. Until 1891, any kind of projection on the soles or heels of football boots was strictly forbidden. The 1891 revision allowed both studs and bars, so long as they were made of leather and did not project more than half an inch, and they had their fastenings driven in flush with the leather. Studs had to be rounded, neither conical nor pointed and not less than half an inch in diameter. The leather studs were originally hammered into the boots on a semi-permanent basis and players would have several pairs of boots with different length studs, but in the mid-1950s Adidas introduced boots with interchangeable screw-in studs made of rubber or plastic for varying weather conditions.
Football boots were originally heavy boots with protection for the ankle, and these remained the standard style of boot in northern Europe for many years where the boots needed to stand up to the rigours of use on muddy winter pitches. A lighter boot without ankle protection and resembling a studded shoe became popular in southern Europe and South America where pitches were generally harder and less muddy and this eventually became the standard style.
The timeline of football shoes is as follows. During the 19th century, football became extremely popular in Britain. People who played would wear their heavy and hard work boots to play. These were the first ever boots with the steel toed cap at the front and the long laces and ankle support. These boots also had metal studs or tacks put in them at the bottom so the players would have more stability on the pitch. In the later period of the 19th century the first ever football boot was designed, made of thick and heavy leather which ran right to your ankle for increased protection, the first boot weighed 500g and would double in weight when it was wet.
Between 1900-1940 football boots style stayed very basic because of the second world war. However, in this period of time, many famous football boot producers such as Gola, Hummel and Valsport came about and were very popular. After the Second World War untile 1960s, the designs of the football boot changed dramatically and really started to make an impact on the game. The South Americans designed a more light and more flexible boot. This design was focused on increasing good control and better kicking power rather than a more protective boot.
In the 1960s the football boot technology really took a huge step, which saw many football boots designed with a lower cut. These enabled the best players in Europe and South America to move faster and change direction quicker. Then the next decade saw many great advances and changes in the football boot design. The 1970s saw technology produce many more light boots and a variety of colours too. In this decade, players started to get paid to wear a certain brand of boots.