The history and Innovations behind soccer boots

Let’s take a look at some of the most notable boots in history, it’s amazing to see how much tech is inside something that we generally take for granted every time we wear them. We will look at things like the oldest boot, the best one, the lightest, etcc..

Let’s start our history of the soccer cleats – No BS History!

Soccer cleats have been there for a while, but thankfully they’ve come a long long way since the first models. Even though it’s hard to believe that it was a time when knit, lightweight grip elements and even screw-in studs were all science-fiction so let’s take a look back through some of the game changes in the world of soccer boots though time.

1952 – Soccer Boots First Change – Atoms

Puma Super Atom - 1952

It’s now 1952, Puma introduced the Puma Super Atom, this was the first boot with screw-in studs or SG studs to ever really hit the pitches all over the world. Adidas claim though that they were the first to introduce screw-in studs in 1954 but, Kaiserslautern players were actually using the Puma Super Atom in 1952, so that changed the game forever and SG Studs were born.

1994 – More Ball Control – Predators


A guys called Craig Johnston created the first Adidas Predator, thus, introducing the grip elements to give you more friction and control on the ball but, this almost didn’t happen! Because new things need time to develop, Craig needs help from some Bayern Munich players that used it, just to convince Adidas to make the most iconic boot silo that we’ve ever seen. Thank the Lord for that!

1998 – Adidas Predator Mk II

Adidas Predator Accelerator - 1998

Adidas did it again with the beautiful, the iconic, the awesome Predator Accelerator that introduced the so-called Feet You Wear technology, it’s basically an anatomically correct sole that provides excellent comfort simply by following the curve on your foot, because as you know, your foot isn’t flat. Sadly, this technology was made by a third-party company, that Adidas didn’t really continue collaborating with so, the Accelerator is the first but also the only soccer boot to feature this technology.

1998 – Mercurial Power


Nike also wanted to join the fun in ’98 so they released the Nike Mercurial R9, which more or less set the standards for speed boots as we know them and introduced the KNG 100, the first synthetic leather and also had a sticky coating to give you more grip.

Fun fact, this was supposed to be part of the Tiempo line but, someone at Nike must have thought the Nike Mercurial is a pretty good idea!

Let’s just say that whoever decided to keep Mercurial should get a pretty flipping big raise!

2002 – Nike Mercurial Vapor 1


In 2002, the Mercurial Vapor 1 saw the light of day, this was the first boot to weight less than  7 oz (200 grams), and it was built around the idea of a track bike for the soccer pitch with aggressive traction and also it had a one piece Nike skin upper. I believe that this is one of the sexiest, fastest looking boots ever made!

2006 – Lotto, remove useless shoe laces!


In 2005 Lotto released the Laceless Zhero Gravity and although it wasn’t necessarily the best boot ever (if you want to see more great soccer cleats click here), it was very difficult to get on, it went to show that the bar can be raised and it’s ok to dream big for soccer cleats.

Fun Fact, one of the guys on the team developing is called Denis Dekovic, we also worked on the team developing the Magista.

2008 – Mercurial SL, Carbon Fiber Baby!


When Mark Park became CEO of Nike, he challenged all his design teams to create the most outrageous footwear out there without any limitations and in 2008 the football team decided to create the Mercurial SL, which is made more or less entirely out of carbon fiber which is completely utterly ridiculous by the standards back then.

2010 – AdiZero New Standards


Picture this, it’s 2010, Adidas doesn’t have a competitive speed boot, BAM! Here comes F50 AdiZero, just in time for the World Cup, I don’t know, soft monolayer sprintskin upper, super-thin outsole, sprint frame, you know the deal, 156 grams, lightest boot ever setting new standards for speed boots, pretty easy to get back in the game, right?

2013 – Can you get lighter?


Yes, Adidas spent 3 years in the shop just to show off, yes, they’ve made the 3.5 oz (99 grams) soccer boot, which to this date is the lightest boot that has ever been made, on the other hand is more of a concept than an actual made to be worn boot, so if you like your protections is not actually for you.

2014 – Knitting Rules!

nike elastico superfly artificial turf soccer cleat review

The launch as the Nike Magistra Obra, you can check out our review, because not only did it introduced the world to high-top boots, it also introduced knit on a mass-produced scale, because sure, Adidas already their knitted limited edition primeknit samba, but this, as mentioned was mass produced and it caused knit to be all over the place for soccer boots. Thanks o the Magistra Obra, the game will be changed forever.

2016 – Yeah, Science Bicth!

Adidas – 16+ Pure Control


In early 2016 we saw the launch of the Adidas 16+ Pure Control, making it the first laceless knitted soccer boot that has ever been made and once again goes to show that the impossible has become possible.

Was the year over for the innovations? Not at all!

Nike – Let’s play in the rain!


Nike wanted to play and they’ve released Nike Anti-Clog, which is a new type of soleplate that when it gets wet it becomes lubricious to make sure that mud won’t stick to it and in the end, it should help you not slide around because of clocked up boots on the pitch and thus improve your performance and the good thig is that it actually works!

This means that, for me, this is the most important innovation that we’ve seen in the last five years and of the best things since sliced bread.

Adidas – A Glitch i the Matrix


And then Adidas came and released Glitch, which is more or less a build your own boot concept where you get an inner sleeve and an outer sleeve and you can pretty much interchange as you desire if you want a new color, a new material or a new stud configuration.

All in all, 2016 was a very good year but I’m also pretty sure that we’re going to see a ton more cool innovations to change the game!

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