The Boots

World Cup special issue: The history of Adidas football boot design, from 1958 to 2014, reveals a relentless march toward complexity. But what about Puma?

Screw-in studs, blades and Brooklyn Beckham: we take a look at the history of Adidas boot design from 1958 to 2014…

1958 – Sweden

As worn by French striker Just Fontaine who went on to score 13 goals in the tournament, a record that still stands today. Kangaroo leather with nylon sole.

1962 – Chile

With its low cut and screw-in studs, Karl Heinz Schnellinger’s boots set the template for future decades in boot design. It was also the first boot designed without eyelets.

1970 – Mexico

Carlos Alberto wore this special edition of the iconic World Cup (featuring leather studs) when he led what is widely regarded as the greatest Brazil team to victory.

1978 – Argentina

Prototype for the 1978 World Cup model, the last to be personally overseen by Adidas founder Adi Dassler. Features a suede Kangaroo upper.

1982 – Spain

West Germany striker Karl-Heinz Rummenigge wore this shoe in the tournament. Features the classic red World Cup nylon studs and sole pattern.

1986 – Mexico

It was while wearing this boot, the Stratos 2000, that England’s Gary Lineker scored six goals and became the tournament’s top scorer or ‘Schützenkönig’.

1994 – USA

The launch of the Predator marked a major leap forward for football boot design. Its ridged surface (developed with former pro Craig Johnston) provided power, control and accuracy.

1998 – France

A Predator Accelerator Cut worn by Zinedine Zidane. The introduction of ‘blades’ rather than standard studs caused controversy with some blaming them for injuries.

2002 – South Korea & Japan

Beckham’s Predator TRX SG displays the new trend for customisation. His first son’s date of birth is on the heel.

2006 – Germany

Bastian Schweinsteiger wore this +F50 model. The trend for coloured boots was now gathering pace: ever more garish combinations were to come.

2010 – South Africa

Predator X WM custom-made for Spain’s ‘Xavi’ Hernandez. At 299g the boots are actually heavier than some of the 1970s models.

2014 – Brazil

The Predator Instinct, like all the Adidas Battle Pack range for 2014, sports a geometric black and white pattern: a far cry from the classic World Cup design

Puma: the other great german boot brand

While Adi Dassler’s Adidas has been official World Cup sponsors since the 70s, for romantics, it was Dassler’s brother Rudolf’s brand Puma which arguably had the glamour. Originally both brothers worked for the same family company but they split in 1948 and formed rival outfits. In 1952 Puma launched the first boot with screw-in studs and in 1958 it adopted its now famous ‘form strip’ branding, as worn by the World Cup-winning Brazil team of that year. That team featured a 17-year-old Pele who wore Puma boots for the rest of his career (see below). Pele became the first of some of the greats of the game to wear the brand, including Eusebio, Cruyff and Maradona, giving Puma an unmatched allure.

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