October 20, 2012 by backofthenetjl
Well there’s a bit of a change today as we have a contribution from Grant Mills, here Grant raises the question of what ever happened to the traditional black football boots?
Only recently I was out for a meal with friends when the conversation turned to Sunday league football and then on to football boots. I expressed my opinion at how difficult it was just to buy a pair of black football boots. I was met with a reply of “Why would you want to”? It transpired my pal had a pair to match each kit he played in (four pairs). Perhaps my tastes are dated.
In the late 80’s when I started playing local and schools football there was one colour of boot permitted, black, take it or leave it. Had I wore any other colour I’d have been lining myself up for some gentle teasing to say the least. Fast forward to nowadays and people buying boots can get whatever they want, red, blue, green, pink and sometimes all those colours in one boot.
Most boot manufacturers had their standard models which may have received a revamp every now and then. Umbro, Lotto, Nike, Adidas, Hi Tec all produced their lines in black. At that time anything deviating from the norm would have looked ludicrous to say the least.
The crème de la crème; in my eyes anyway were the Adidas World Cup and the legendary Puma King, these were only dethroned following the arrival of the original Adidas Predator. All the top players at the time seemed to be wearing these boots unless they were tied in to a boot deal with another manufacturer. As my memory stretches back I can only remember John Fashanu donning various colour boots whilst playing for Wimbledon and Aston Villa. I can’t think of many others who dared. Awooga.
Of course Alan Ball had famously worn white boots when Hummel released their version during his time at Everton and later Arsenal. He still received a fair level of ridicule over twenty years later. However like all fashion trends, it’s inevitable that by some distant date, things will come full circle. Parka coats early noughties and flared jeans early nineties anyone?
The mid nineties and in particular World Cup France 1998 saw a change in attitude towards the neglected side of football footwear. That amazing but unrewarded Brazil side during 1998 bucked the trend; in particular it was Ronaldo who wore a pair of blue Nike boots to match the kit. All of a sudden it was much easier to get your hands on a pair of football boots which weren’t black.
In fact I actually purchased a pair of said blue Nike boots. Fortunately for me the local team and College team I played for at the time both wore blue and white kits. I thought I was the mutt’s nuts. It was only when I lent them to someone else and watched them playing that I realised how much of a plonker I must have looked.
But coloured boots clearly caught on and aren’t going anywhere in a hurry, they are all the rage. The football magazine marvel that is Four Four Two includes a ‘catalogue’ section to the rear of each month’s edition. In this part various suppliers peddle their wares for all to see.
Within the past four issues there have been eighty eight pairs of coloured boots on show and only thirty four pairs of black boots to choose from. The on line retailer that sponsors St James park has two hundred and forty eight pairs of black boots for sale in contrast to four hundred and seventy five boots in various colours.
It says something when Adidas do special ‘blackout’ versions of certain models such as the FRX FG, probably to keep people like me happy. This is an example of how the world has turned upside down as these boots now appear to be the less loved uglier Cousin of the whole family.
The question is why? Are these coloured boots more fashionable, do they match the kit better (surely black goes with everything?), does it make a player standout? Just watching the footage from any tunnel cam via http://www.mcfc.co.uk my eyes are often drawn to the sparkling colour chosen by each player to wear during that particular game.
The styles seem to change more frequently than ever now. I imagine it must cost a fortune for families who have kids playing football. “How about these Son”? “Oh Dad, don’t you know, fluorescent yellow and pink is so last season”. Take me back to the good old days when the only choice was moulded or studs.
Football’s taste has also moved to other sports as well. I’ve recently become interested in NRL (Aussie Rugby League) and notice their players tend to favour the multi coloured option when it comes to footwear. The Adidas lightweight model appears to be the favourite.
Call me old fashioned but you cannot beat a classic black boot. I say this after recently cleaning my beloved Puma Kings ahead of next week’s game. The biggest decision facing me when this pair is worn out is to buy either Adidas World Cups or Kaiser 5’s. That multi coloured rainbow is definitely not for me.
You can Follow Grant on twitter @mancinismarvels