Soccer shoes, or soccer boots, existed in the days of King Henry VIII. In those days, they were leather boots with no cleats or studs. They were literally boots. That means they supported and protected the ankle, too. Today’s soccer shoes are very different than the king’s, but the evolution of soccer shoes is very interesting.
In the late 1800s the rules of soccer changed. Until 1891, blades or studs were not allowed on soccer boots. At the end of the 19th century that all changed. At that time, the blades and studs were made of leather and they could not be bigger than one half inch. They were hammered onto the boots. Players usually had more than one pair of soccer shoes so that they could change the length of the cleat to meet field requirements.
In the 1950s Adidas introduced the screw in studs for soccer shoes. Certainly, this was good because a player could change cleats instead of shoes. There is some recent controversy about this invention. Puma claims they created the screw in stud before Adidas. Whether they did or not really isn’t important to the evolution of the shoe. In fact, in the 1950s, soccer was still played in a boot that protected the ankle.
It wasn’t until the next decade that the South Americans started playing in soccer shoes instead of soccer boots. Shoes were more flexible and lighter, and they offered more control. As the boot became a shoe, the cleats also advanced. Today they are molded to the bottom of the shoe, and technology is ever changing to meet the needs of the game. Studs are no longer seen, but the cleats are blades, instead. The uppers on the shoes are often made of lighter materials than leather. The soccer shoe evolves with each season as technology keeps up with athleticism.