Football boot


Football boot

The items of footwear worn while playing football are called football boots in British English. They feature studs (cleats) protruding from the sole for traction on a playing field covered with grass or similar surface; hence they are called "cleats" in American English. Association football boots are called soccer shoes in American English. In most codes of football, modern "boots" are not technically boots as they do not cover the ankle. They can be made from a wide variety of leathers, kangaroo leather being a popular choiceFact|date=March 2008.

History

The first record of a pair of football boots occurs when Henry VIII of England ordered a pair from the Great Wardrobe in 1526. [ [http://arts.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,1150460,00.html Who's the fat bloke in the number eight shirt? | | Guardian Unlimited Arts ] ] The royal shopping list for footwear states: "45 velvet pairs and 1 leather pair for football". [http://www.gktgazette.com/2004/mar/features.asp] 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.

Different styles for different sports

Depending on the type of surface, kind of sport and even the wearer's position or role in the game, different cuts of boot and particularly stud arrangements are available. For hard fields, amateur participants may wear a sneaker shoe or a plastic-stud boot (known as a "moulded sole"); in most sports and positions this is adequate, although on a well-grassed or sodden field, a screw stud is recommended for more grip; these may be metal, rubber or plastic.

For rugby union, the screw-in stud (or in some cases a metal-tipped, moulded stud) is preferred, especially in the positions of prop, hooker, and lock, where more grip is required for contested scrums. These screw-in studs are commonly either completely of metal construction or plastic with metal tips, of a maximum length of 18mm. These boots are often heavier than appropriate for other types of football.

Screw-in studs have been banned in some Australian rules football leagues since the 1990s due to the frequency of severe injuries to players as a result of contact with the metal. In football, referees must now check all boots prior to kick off to check for damage to studs, to prevent injury. Before this time, preference between the screw-in stud was based primarily on weather conditions.

More recently, moulded soles with specially designed boots known as "blades" have moulded soles facing in multiple directions, theoretically to maximise grip and minimise ankle injury. Recently, however, "bladed" football boots have faced criticism from some UK sporting bodies for causing potentially serious injuries to players. English football club Manchester United have even banned its players from wearing boots with bladed studs. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/m/man_utd/4277722.stm Ferguson wants bladed boots ban | | BBC Sport ] ]

Association football markets and brands

Originally, association football boots were available only in black, but in more recent years have become available in various colours such as red, white, yellow, silver and gold. Big name companies such as Nike, Adidas, Umbro and the like have made an impact on the market with record sales. Nike's flagship shoe is the "Total 90" football boot worn by Wayne Rooney, with other versions such as "Mercurial Vapors" worn by Cristiano Ronaldo. German company Adidas are responsible for the Predator range worn by David Beckham, Gary Neville, Kaká and Steven Gerrard. Also, the entire German national side wore Adidas boots during the 2006 FIFA World Cup. English firm Umbro produce the "X-Boot" range endorsed by England captain John Terry and Michael Owen. In recent times, the most successful of these companies is Nike, and their products enjoy great popularity among professional footballers; among Nike's endorsers are two-time FIFA World Player of the Year and F.C. Barcelona forward Ronaldinho, aforementioned Manchester United duo Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, AC Milan striker Ronaldo, and other popular players. Adidas, which has been providing football boots with screw-in studs to the German national side since 1954, have made their impact on the modern market by signing big name players as endorsers: players such as David Beckham, former France captain Zinedine Zidane, Chelsea's Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and other successful players. Adidas sells with an image of technology and class in their boots which is key to their success. Umbro, meanwhile, is the weakest of the big name companies in terms of footwear sales, but has a strong association with the England team, whom it produces equipment for to add to the endorsement deals with John Terry and Michael Owen, among others. Both Chelsea and Manchester United had enjoyed long kit manufacturing deals with Umbro, but both teams signed recent deals with Adidas and Nike respectively.

References

External links

* [http://www.footy-boots.com/ Football Boots]
* [http://www.prodirectsoccer.com fotball boots]
* [http://www.footy-boots.com/caring-for-your-football-boots/ Caring for your Football Boots]
* [http://www.footy-boots.com/football-boots-history/ Football Boot History]


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