Whether it’s being worn by an amateur or a professional, there’s no denying that nothing quite makes a game of soccer like putting on a pair of clean, fresh cleats. Like the soccer ball, this footwear is a symbol of the game, much like it is for both rugby and hockey, all of which share a similar history.
It’s among the gear that’s most often taken for granted by players, but without a good pair of cleats, most players would not be able to successfully keep up with their team mates or their competitors.
And while soccer cleats might just be shoes to most people, they are steeped in a long and fascinating evolution that saw them start out as nothing special and slowly become the obsession for countless fans across the world.
In fact, a number of high profile soccer players have sold their cleats over the years, often for thousands of dollars, and often to raise money for charity. One of the most well known examples of this is famed player Paul Pogba, who sold the cleats that he wore during the 2018 World Cup and raised a princely sum of $30000 that he gave away to charity.
The Origin of Soccer Cleats
It’s believed by many historians that sports cleats, or shoes that have some sort of grip on the bottom, can be dated as far back as the 3rd century, where they were worn by the ancient Romans and possibly the Greeks. Cleats would make their way to England, where they would be made popular during the reign of King Henry VIIII, who was recorded as the first person to officially order a set of ankle high boots made out of leather, specifically for sport.
The leather they were made out of was quite rigid, and the shoes would have been uncomfortable by our modern standards, but they proved to be a landmark for the people at the time, and would later become famous around the globe, being found in most forms of modern media, from television shows to popular games that offer bonuses for you to enjoy.
How They Evolved
These original cleats were expensive to make, and it led to most people having to make their own at home using their own materials. This quickly led to a huge rise in popularity of cleats around Great Britain, where more and more of the working class began to create different kinds of cleats for different purposes. Some of these became the rugby boots that are still worn today, while others would be used in games like hockey and many others. The soccer cleat would undergo numerous changes over the years, eventually becoming adopted by professional sportswear companies like Adidas. The rules for how soccer cleats were meant to look and perform were in place by the turn of the 19th century, but it would take another hundred years before we got the standards that we know so well today.