The evolution of the football boot - from the Predator to a knitted 'all-in-one' boot and sock
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez will be wearing a pair of knitted boots against Manchester United - but have things gone too far?
A football boot should be a simple object. A good fit, to help a player's control and touch, and decent studs so they don't slip over.
But from starting out as something that protected the foot, somewhere things got weird.
One of the most obvious developments was the coloured boot, something derided upon it's introduction but now commonplace on the football pitch. Black boots in the Premier League are almost as rare as a coherent Manchester United performance.
In terms of technology, it really got going when adidas introduced a boot that most thought roamed the South American jungle, messing with Arnold Schwarzenegger and his crew of mercenaries - the Predator.
A pair of adidas Predators The revolutionary boot, which brought new ideas in terms of design and aesthetics, opened the door to further advances.
But recently things have just got silly.
With the World Cup looming, the big manufacturers - adidas, Nike, PUMA - are all vying for our attention, and it seems 'revolutionary' boots that appear to make no sense at all are the way forward.
Last week we were introduced to the 'knitted' boot. Rather than made lovingly by a grandmother and with something like a big sheep or Father Christmas on it, it was created by adidas and Luis Suarez will be wearing them. It's called the Samba Primeknit and apparently it 'fits like a sock'.
The adidas Primeknit boots that will be worn by Luis Suarez
Nike are also part of the knitting circle - using 'Flyknit technology' to create the Magista. Those ones will be worn by Barcelona's Andres Iniesta.
Nike's Magista boots, held by David Luiz
This is what Nike had to say about the Magista in the press release: "Born from four years of R&D in the Nike Sport Research Lab and with feedback from some of the world's best attacking playmakers, including Barcelona's Andrés Iniesta and German forward Mario Gotze, the Magista is designed to enable devastating creativity in a game where space is at a premium."
Wow! A pair of these and it sounds like even this writer could be beating the best centre-backs in the world.
Knitted footwear appears to be the way forward - and adidas have even unveiled something that manages to take the concept even further - 'the world's first knitted all-in-one football boot and sock hybrid'. It might look like a Wellington Boot, but all the kids will want a pair of Primeknit FS.
The adidas Primeknit FS - providing an all-in-one boot and sock
With all these new releases, it would appear there is a common goal (aside from selling as many as possible). It would seem all this technology is driven at making the boot as close as possible to an actual foot.
But there is another version already on the market - and it costs nothing - and the world's best football nation are big fans. It's called going bare foot, and five World Cups suggests it hasn't done Brazilian kids any harm.
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