Sporting giants Adidas have ruled supreme in the world of football boots for decades.
Puma, Gola, Umbro, Diadora and Hummel have all left their mark on the industry, but it is arguably Adidas – and since the 1990s Nike – who have stormed ahead in the popularity stakes.
Over the years Adidas have attracted football legends including Bobby Charlton, David Beckham and Steven Gerrard. Every member of the German national side wore Adidas boots during the 2006 world cup, and half a century before that an incredible three out of four players chose Adidas in 1966.
The ’66 Adidas boots blazed a trail across the football stadiums of England – Old Trafford, Goodison Park, Hillsborough, Villa Park and London’s White City were all used before the Wembley final – with revised heel padding which enhanced stability and longer laces which were designed to improve the fit and provide better ball control.
But if Adidas have just nosed ahead in the game – helped no doubt by their much longer association with the sport – Nike are hot on their heels, with famous names including Ronaldinho, Rooney and Ronaldo choosing the relative newcomers.
Nike only moved into this specialised market during the latter years of the 20th century, when – having mainly concentrated on tennis and athletics – they decided to join the scrum to keep pace with rivals Reebok, who had just began to manufacture high-class footwear for footballers.
By then, the innovative Copa Mundial had already propelled Adidas to the forefront of footballing footwear. Ever since, Nike’s Mercurial Vapor and Total 90 have had their own part to play in what has become an ever-burgeoning market.
Nike’s iconic ‘Swoosh’ is one of the most recognised logos on the planet, helping to send the company into the stratosphere of the sporting world.
Designed by a young university student in America – who was paid the grand sum of $35 dollars for her efforts back in 1971 – the Swoosh represents the wing of the Greek Godess of victory, after whom the company is named.
Adidas started out in the 1920s, when Adolf ‘Adi’ Dassler began making shoes in his mother’s kitchen, where electricity supplies were so erratic he was often forced to resort to pedalling a stationary bicycle to generate enough power to run his machinery.
Will it be their legendary 3 stripes or the Nike Swoosh which comes out on top in football’s ‘turf wars’ of the future?
Only time will tell.
Nicki Williams writes for Gear-Zone, your one-stop shop for all your football and sporting needs
Photo source: Compfight