Over the years the world has seen the invention, innovation and evolution of numerous sporting disciplines. One of the disciplines that have endured the test of time is Football or soccer depending on your continent of origin. Since the official recognition of Football as a legitimate sporting activity in the late 1860s, its evolution can only be described as phenomenal. With time technology, professionalism, economy and other factors have caught up with the sport to an extent where the sport has become a social, economic, political, cultural and environmental pillar of the world. In South America some countries regard the sport as part of their culture and traditions. The support for football in this region is almost religious. The sport is also played in most if not all countries in the world. This is why the sport is the most popular sporting activity in the world. One of the sport’s major tournaments – the World cup – attracts record breaking viewership every four years across the world. Some of the sports superstars both past and present have become global icons with sway to effect change and opinion in whatever cause they take up case in point is the sway Pele, Ronaldo, Messi among others holds on given issues. A recent study of the hundred most influential people in the world listed eight players on the list.One aspect of professionalism that is mostly overlooked is the kit more specifically their shoes, boots or studs depending of the continent of origin. Football shoes or studs are just different terminologies used to describe the same item. Since football shoes is the most commonly used terminology this article will adopt its usage. The choice of footwear by a player is an indicator of the level of professionalism for that particular player.
Evolution Of The Football Shoe
Since the late 1860s the sport has evolved in tandem with technology. This means that pitches, balls, architecture, rules among other aspects have evolved too. Football shoes have not been left behind in that aspect from the early leather shoes to the modern swooshes and f-50s. These shoes have evolved to match all the changing aspects of the sport. The old school leather shoes were just normal boots fitted with metal cleats to match the sport. As time passed a few specifications started being altered to match a pitch and players playing style. This era ushered in the conical cleats with differing screw in cleats. Cleats ranged from plastic to rubber and metal. Then came the texture variations on the shoe from rubber to leather and synthetic plastic. Innersole, shoe laces, designs and vamp variations followed suit. It’s all these variations over time that laid the concept for the modern boot/shoe as seen in the picture below. One of the game’s legends (Sir Bobby Charlton was) was quoted saying that modern footwear has made the sport quicker and simpler.
Anatomy Of The Football Shoe
A football shoe has various parts as listed below;
*Heel counter and Cushioning
All the pictures in this subtopic were sourced from www.soccer.com/guide/soccer-shoe-guide/
Factors To Consider When Choosing Football Shoes
Choosing a shoe is very important for various reasons as listed below;
A shoe to prevent injuries
The selection of footwear for given match is as essential as the choice of officials, location, time or any other aspect that could determine the outcome of that match. Over the years the world has seen players get serious injuries by selecting the wrong shoes to wear during matches. A recent study by BBC sport showed that some of the injuries players pick up are down to the wrong choice of football shoe. Alan Hodson – A top sports medical researcher – attributed some of the injuries to wrong choice of boots during a match or pre-season training. This means that for player to avoid unnecessary injuries shoe selecting should take priority in every player’s daily routine. Hodson recommends that players wear shoes that fit properly to avoid foot movement in the shoe in case a player has sweaty feet or a rainy match day. Players should also select shoes with proper heel counters and cushioning to support the ankle and avoid minor injuries.
A shoe to match the weather
Some of the best players of this generation have missed essential free kicks and penalties due to a poor selection of shoes. David Beckham
– a very accurate free kick taker – once missed a sensitive free kick for Manchester United during a rainy match. That miss condemned the team to a draw in a game they were expected to win.
That miss came down to a poor selection of shoes. He slid just before striking the ball which resulted in a terrible miss never seen before form him. The shoes had little grip on a slippery surface owing to the short cleats. Another world class player (Wayne Rooney) in his youth missed a few penalties for both Manchester United and England due to poor shoes selection. Both players later admitted on post match interviews that their shoe selection was poor. Comments like those were the foundations for Nike, Puma, Adidas and other manufacturers to produce weather sensitive boots. Hodson also recommends that players select footwear with long and metal cleats during rainy match days to avoid such mishaps and injuries. *A shoe to match the modern ball Another casualty of time and technology has been the ball itself. From the leather and tube days to the modern semi plastic ball as seen in the Pictures below. The evolution of the ball has come with its consequences. The ball has become lighter, smoother, and harder to control, harder to shoot, pass and cross accurately, more dependent on wind fluctuations among other benefits and drawbacks. To match these changes, the shoes have also evolved to match the ball.
The shoes have become lighter to reduce drag in running players to match ball speed, smoother to ease deflection while striking the ball, different shapes and size to match a player’s feet and meet all their individual needs among other variations to ensure the shoes evolve with time.
All the pictures in this subtopic were sourced from https://www.football-bible.com/soccer-info/who-invented-the-soccer-ball.html
A shoe to match the modern pitch
As time passes and technology advances so have the nature, form and type of pitches/turfs. Today football has three official turfs available, a natural turf, a synthetic turf and a mix of both as seen on the Pictures below. All these turfs have different texture; ball and shoe bounce and slide effects among other effects on the ball, player and shoe. Every player is well informed on all these turfs by their teams to ensure the all make informed choices on what kits to where on what pitch. Some of the world’s leading managers including Ex England manger Roy Hudgson, Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger among others have been quoted blaming synthetic pitches for their team loses or injuries.
On a synthetic pitch players are advised to select shoes with longer and metal cleats with rough texture to boost grip and ball control among other arising challenges. Advice like that could be the difference between a win and a loss on a given pitch.
Above examples are just but a few of the factors to consider when selecting a football shoe. Others are feet specifications, playing style, league, budget, size, durability, texture, manufacturer and other assorted loyalty issues.
Major Football Shoe Manufacturers And Their Ambassadors
Today, every shoe manufacturer has the need to be identified as the best. This means that all shoe manufacturers have embarked on massive promotional strategies among other marketing schemes and advertisement ploys. One of the most common promotional strategies is the use of professional players as brand ambassadors. Every manufacturer tries to use the best players out there as is evident by the largest Football shoes manufacture ring firms today. This article sampled three of the largest firms in the industry, their ambassadors, customer satisfaction and achievements among other aspects. These firms are Nike, Adidas and Puma.
Nike is an American company invested in the manufacture and sale of sporting kits. This company is the largest market share holder in the sports artier industry. One of Nike’s most marketable products is its shoes. Some of the Nike’s most successful boots are the Mercurial Vapor IX, Swoosh, MVIX, CTR360, T90 Laser IV, CTR360 Maestri III among others have been worn by the world’s best players. The face of Nike Football shoes Cristiano Ronaldo is arguably the best player to ever walk on to a pitch and that makes the brand even more attractive. Nike’s best sellers the MVIX and the Mercurial Vapor IX are personally endorsed by him as the picture below shows. These boots have received glowing reviews on all marketing and sales sites across the world. Customer satisfaction on Alibaba, Ebay, The Sportster, Ispo, and Soccer.com among others is at an all time high. A quick review of Amazon and other sales sites reveals the Nike Mercurial Vapor IX has a 90% approval rate for this boot.
Gianni N – A satisfied customer – comments that the new boot suits players with narrow feet.
Van Goh comments that the boot has more room for the foot and thus more comfortable.
On Ebay an anonymous customer comments that the boots are giving Ronaldo and other players an unfair advantage.
These are just a few of the positive comment the boot received. To underline the success of the boot, it is worn by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Neymar among other world class players are quoted pointing to the durability, comfort, smoothness, safety and grip of the shoe.
Adidas is a German sports artier manufacturing company commonly known for its Football kits products. This company is a giant in this industry and ranks second to Nike in almost all aspects of business and results. The Adidas footwear is almost as popular as Nike and delivers on the pitch time and again. Just like Nike all of Adidas brands are worn by the World’s best. Their face is Lionel Messi one of the best players of this or any other generation as seen in the picture below. One of the most successful Adidas boot is the F50 adiZero.
A review by Joshua Vujovic describes the shoe as very comfortable and extremely durable. Design specifications are suited for a modern player.
Jason Thompson – A customer (Amazon) says the boot is worth its weight in gold.
George Ganidze (Amazon) – refers to the boot as ultra light and comfortable.
These are just a few of the positive remarks left after purchase. Some of the players like Suarez, Diego Costa among others have also given the boot some glowing remarks.
Puma is the best of the rest of firms in this industry. Just like Nike and Adidas Puma Also attracts the best and delivers on the pitch. Puma uses same strategies as Nike and Adidas. Their Football ambassador’s portfolio is very impressive with the likes of Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero, and Nemaja Vidic among others. Some of their brands are very successful in the market like the Puma king 2013 and evoSpeed 1. A review of both shoes by Bryan Bryne classifies the boots as ultra light and a perfect fit for the speedsters out there. He calls the boot durable with an unusual strike zone shape that boosts its grip. Ankle support is solid and the boot is made for a modern day midfielder and striker.
Some of the other manufacturers worth a mention are Umbro, Under Amour, Macron, New balance, Cabrini and Errea.
No matter what one calls this sport’s footwear (shoe or studs) one can’t deny that football shoes play an integral role in the modern game. The choice of boots to wear during a match remains the thin line between a loss and a victory for world class teams.