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Since FIFA World Cup France 1998 football boot design innovation have had a major influence on ath-leisure shoes rivalling the basketball shoe and overtaking the running shoe. This may have much to do with the post Jordan era in basketball and the lack of record breaking performances in athletics. Prior to 2006 the cross over factor to ath-leisure shoes from the beautiful game was minimal. Previous thre FIFA World Cups concentration was given to streamlining the boot to a slipper; increasing the sweat spot with improved upper designs; and keeping feet cooler with wicking systems. FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 has seen the introduction of the speed boot as the latest gimmick. According to research from the Nike laboratories the weight of boots can sap valuable energy inn the elite players. On average energy expenditure of a 75kg player is over 1,000 Kilo Calories per game. Sports scientists believe carrying less weight helps conserve valuable energy over the course of 90 minutes. This energy, they believe, may be put to good use when players need to play extra time or want to extend themselves during normal game time. Boot designers are keen to demonstrate the theory in practice with the introduction of speed boots i.e. lightweight boots made for comfort and support for kinetic feet involved in stop start accelerated activities. Likely then there will be a new generation of strong lightweight footwear coming rolling off the assembly lines.
Time was football players only played in black boots. Now the colourways (colour combinations) are loud and bright. Much consternation has been expressed by couches and managers keen to dissuade young players from wearing eye catching boots for fear of reprisals from other players. New research may change all that because it appears professional players use 99% peripheral vision with less than 1% foveal vision (focused vision). Seeing a familiar colour on the feet of a named player is thought to improve passing. Nike designers have analysed the colour spectrum and isolated two high-contrast colours which are rapidly picked up by peripheral vision. The perfect blend is apparently Mach Purple and Total Orange. The prediction is the popularity of the sport will see more colourful footwear mainstream.
The demand for boots with high tensile stress has seen the introduction of stitching the upper to the sole. The trend from the 70s has been to slip last California Process) or mould football boots so this is quite a departure. Perhaps we might see after South Africa 2010 the return of stitch down shoes.
Finally the new speed boots are made from (or treated with) synthetic materials which, again according to the manufacturers, contain antimicrobial properties. This potentially has a great benefit to general footwear.
Let the games begin.....
I did wonder why nike made the superfly in such a horrible colour!
I love world cup year to see the new boots get released in preperation, it all started for me when I used to look forward to the latest predator release but now there are so many boots getting released claiming to do this or that.
I ve been able to see several Umbro boots due for release and with Nike owning them now a lot of these that I have looked at seem to be lasted in the same way and are very similar in all but colour and brand mark. The insoles provided were identical to ones I had removed from a Nike total 90.
I think the multicolour boot is becoming so much of a norm even in the semi pro and sunday leagues that its not a head turner to the opposition hard man as it may have been 2-3 years ago and even coaches have learned to let it go.
Ultimately though I think it will always come down to what the player feels they play best in, or how much the boot company pays them!