Saturday, October 30, 2010
Football boots: Colour my world
Football boots are becoming more of a fashion statement these days as marquee players make them a focal point for TV cameras. Designs and colourways which might previous have not been out of place on the dance floor are finding their way to the green blaze and all in the name of selling product. The minute you see visible high end footwear on sports persons the more likely the industry has nothing else to offer. Traditionally dark coloured boots were associated with soccer but Hummel changed all that in the 70s with the introduction of white boots for Alan Ball * (England and Arsenal). Took a brave player to wear anything other than black for fear of being picked on by rival fans. “Who's the poofter in the boots?” would ring out from the crowd and low be tide anyone who dared wear coloured boots and have a poor game. Two decades later and high colour became a bi-word for companies like Adidas and Puma who seemed to realise soccer moms like their offspring in visibly fashionable boots. What is good for the amateur must be good for business and endorsed players became fashion doyons. Televised events such as the FIFA World Cups with its millions of viewers have made the football pitch the macho catwalk where the models i.e. players, demonstrate the new look and functionality of the footwear range from the companies that pay them thousands of dollars just to be “seen.” Always good then to see the antics of rival companies outdoing the official sponsor as with the red heels of Nike at the recent World Cup. Being top does not always mean being the best and when the great David Backham wore golden boots for his 100th cap for England (against France), his team lost 1-0 and David did not excel in the game. Now it is the turn of Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) to wow the faithful with shoe and deed as he sports his new safari-themed black-and-white-spotted CR Mercurial Vapor SuperFly II Nikes. I wonder if he may have an Alan Ball moment ?
*After Ball heard a rumour Hummel, were prepared to pay £2,000 to a professional willing to their white boots he took them up on their offer. The boots were uncomfortable and Ball substituted his own adidas boots after painting them white. All went well until the white washed away in the rain during the game and Hummel withdrew their £2,000.