Innovation of football boots from 1994 until today

Over the years, we have seen an impressive number of innovations for football boots from the Adidas Copa Mundial and F50 to the mercurial. Through this article, you find out more about these innovations

Before 1994, the world of football boots was limited to just two pairs: Adidas Copa Mundial and PUMA King. These two boots dominated the football world, due to the monsters who wore them: Pele, Maradona, Beckenbauer, and Platini. But something happened in 1994: a kind of mini-revolution in football.
Whether it was Adidas or Nike, both brands launched different football boots and expanded the range. While the Nike Tiempo had a relatively conservative feel to it, the Adidas Predator could be compared more to science fiction at that time. The upper, designed with iconic elements, allowed you to give more power to shots. The standard was set at that time by Adidas.

Four years later, it was time for the 1998 World Cup in France. That’s when Nike joined the competition. The bold design of the Mercurial helped to create a real interest in the world of football boots. The most interesting aspect was the design of the boot: it was the first boot with a synthetic upper and a soft texture. It was the first boot that emphasized the speed qualities of the players. Four years later, in 2002, Nike proved that its Mercurials were meant to dominate the football world with the release of the first sub-200 gram model.

In 2006, Lotto surprisingly joined the race. The brand came up with a concept that many of you might now compare to the Adidas PureControl. Because Adidas was not the first boot without laces. That was the Lotto Zhero Gravity. This boot was not a massive success. Behind this boot is Denis Dekovic, who is behind the design of the Nike Magista Obra and nowadays works for Adidas.

In 2008, Nike continued the path of innovation with the launch of the Mercurial SL. A boot that weighed just 185 grams and had a carbon upper. From there, there was no great innovation until 2010 and the launch of the F50 by Adidas. The German brand, by creating 156-gram boots, wanted to get in on the fight for the lightest shoes.

The year before Nike revealed the Magista Obra (2014), saw the launch of a new very light 99-gram boot. This was surely more of a show of strength on the part of Adidas than an actual idea to create a football boot that could be worn for many matches.
The Nike Magista Obra, however, was more widely known for being worn on the pitch. It was the first football boot with an integrated sock and a Flyknit upper. In other words, you can say that the Nike Magista Obra of 2014 is the equal of the Predator of 1994. A new standard for football boots has been devised and perhaps without the Obra, the Adidas PureControl would not have seen the light of day.

Nike has been rather quiet in 2016 in terms of innovations. The Anti-Clog boots have solved the problem that so many footballers have had all this time: with these boots you won’t be able to complain about getting mud under your soles. This is a great innovation

During the latter part of 2016, Adidas released a pair that was off the radar and could change the course of some games. With the Adidas GLITCH, you’ll be able to change the upper of your football boot without having to buy a new pair. Instead, you’ll buy an “inner skeleton” that fits your feet and a new outer shell that you can easily swap out. This works through an app that is only active in London. With the positive feedback this concept has received, it’s set to take off even more…and change the way football boots are perceived.

Then, in 2018-2019 Adidas resorted to many new boots like Adidas Nemeziz worn by Bernardo Silva and AdidasX17+ worn by Diego Costa. There is also a new boot Adidas X Speedflow inspired by birds of prey and released in 2021. As long as technology advances, football boots will surely continue to advance and all companies will try to provide the best conditions for better results


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