The year was 1954. A driving rain crashed down on the Wankdorf Stadium in Bern, Switzerland. The pitch was heavy, greasy, grip could not be had. The Germans were down against a Hungarian team that had Ferenc Puskas at the helm and were unbeaten in four years.
They were 2-0 down. Down, and out. And then ‘The Miracle of Bern’.
The pitch was increasingly playing into the Germans hands. For they had the skills of Adi Dassler at their feet. They had a piece of equipment that would revolutionise football –screw in studs.
Their feet were stable in the boggy pitch, minds fully focused on the game. The Mannschaft went on to win 3-2 and lift their first World Cup.
Fast forward 60 years and it’s a slightly different story. Germany are challenging for their fourth Jules Rimet amidst an array of oranges, reds, blues, and volt – the new colour Nike have made up for their Magista boot – with Thomas Muller and his Adidas boots already knocking in a hat-trick.
The boot of course has come a long way in the six decades since the screw-ins were invented. On the terraced streets of Manchester in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s you wouldn’t see children kicking a ball down the road in the same boots as George Best or Bobby Charlton. Today though, if you don’t have Wayne Rooney’s Nike Hypervenom, or Sergio Aguero’s Puma Evospeed you’re not cool.
It’s big business, and it only takes switching on the television to realise that.
The innovation of boots has taken a dramatic upward turn in the last few years, and even months, with both Adidas and Nike releasing revolutionary new ideas. At the forefront of these is the new Flyknit upper.
Created by Nike and added to their Magista and Mercurial range it can be seen skipping past defenders on the likes of Raheem Sterling, Mario Gotze, and of course the brand’s posterboy, Cristiano Ronaldo.
And it isn’t just the technology. Of course we have lighter materials now, different studs for different surfaces, and add-ons such as the rubber patches on the Adidas Predator to increase friction – but we also have a range of colours.
Even the Copa Mundial has gone into samba mood with a range of special edition colourways including pink, orange, and lime green. It’s the luminous colours however that are getting the most attention, forcing us to adjust out TV sets, and rising to the top of every child’s wish-list. And it’s unsurprising because let’s face it, they’re pretty cool…