Soccer cleats refer to a firm ground soccer shoe, fitted with studs or cleats to provide traction on most grass surfaces and outdoor soccer fields.
The first soccer shoes were ordered by King Henry VIII in 1526 when he wanted another pair to play football with. One that was tougher than his ordinary shoes. As the game got formalized in the mid 19th century, so did the accessories one needed to have while playing the game, the most important of which were the football shoes.
Vulcanization of rubber was an important invention for the manufacture of cleats whose primary purpose was protection of the players’ feet. And so on from there, many innovations and generations later, football boots have come to represent the advancement of shoe making technology and materials and its importance in football, a game which enjoys absolute popularity amongst all the nations of the world.
Today’s soccer cleat
Is not built so much for protection as for performance enhancement of the player! It does not even cover the ankle of the player. The cuts and organization of the studs are to suit different purposes. Amateur players use plastic studded cleats for hard ground. A wet ground requires detachable studs for better grip. These could be metal, plastic or rubber. Rubber soles are provided for indoor football shoes and there are special shoes for artificial turf.
Football blades where the studs have blades facing in different directions to minimize ankle injury to the wearer and deliver excellent grip are also an innovation that has drawn flak for causing a disproportionate number of injuries to other players.
A combination of synthetic fibers with or without leather is used for the upper, nowadays, with emphasis on the lightness of the boot. Carbon fiber as a new material, provides extreme lightness and is extremely flexible.
Additional features have been introduced like rubber ridges and shaping the boot for the ball enhance the player’s performance. There are shoes fitted with microchips that capture’s the player’s performance metrics and transmits it to a tablet or PC.
The latest is the environmentally friendly shoe, made with recycled and renewable material. This is also extremely lightweight.
Football cleats of the Future – Some interesting crystal ball gazing
· One young player predicts that the cleats of the future will have retractable studs, allowing him to use them as ordinary shoes
· Autolacing capabilities which will be good – the wearer, after tying the laces steps back into the heel of the shoe. While stepping back, he pushes a lever which lock the laces in place. Then the lever is disconnected in case the player steps back again while playing.
· Recyclable material and carbon fibers used in building aircraft will definitely be the order of the day in creating lightweight boots that contain material used in the last world cup! Not only that, each pair of boots will be recycled and rebuilt to suit that customer’s requirements.
Boots that fit like a sock… such silhouettes will be more in demand for better performance and comfort.