Screw-in studs, blades and Brooklyn Beckham: we take a look at the history of Adidas boot design from 1958 to 2018…
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, this boot was a development of the Weltmeister Argentina model introduced four years previously. It was made from Kangaroo leather, lined with calf, with a soft, brown toe cap. The major innovation was its use of a nylon sole, with six, white nylon studs.
1962 – Chile
With its low cut and screw-in studs, these boots set the template for future decades in boot design. This particular pair were worn by German defender Karl Heinz ‘Volkswagen’ Schnellinger, who made the Allstar Team for the tournament. Adidas worked with Schnellinger on the design, which is lighter and more supple than previous models. 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. The boots are unlined to allow for greater feel for the ball. Each boot weighs just 275g.
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 teated to make it water-repellent and an extra-long Kangaroo leather tongue. The prototype was worn by one of the most successful national team players in the former German Democratic Republic: FC Magdeburg’s Martin Hoffmann.
1982 – Spain
West Germany striker Karl-Heinz Rummenigge wore this boot in the tournament. It features the classic red World Cup nylon studs and sole pattern with the addition of Rummenigge’s name and shirt number.
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 and jagged rubber teeth (developed with former pro Craig Johnson) supposedly provided enhanced power, control and accuracy. (Read about its history here)
1998 – France
A Predator Accelerator Cup worn by France’s Zinedine Zidane. The introduction of ‘blades’ rather than standard studs caused controversy with some blaming them for injuries.
2002 – South Korea & Japan
David Beckham’s Predator TRX SG displays the new trend for customisation. His first son Brooklyn’s date of birth is on the heel along with his shirt number, 7. The boot is also stitched with the England flag.
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.
2018 – Russia
Adidas’s 2018 World Cup collection comprises some 58 different products. Among them are the Predator 18+ featuring a laceless sock an an upper made using the firm’s Primeknit technology which knits the upper from yarn as a single piece.
Read all of CR’s World Cup 2018 coverage here.
An earlier version of this piece ran in our June 2014 issue. The above has been updated with additional and new content.