The football boot designed by Adi Dassler for the West German team in 1953 was a game changer – it was worn during the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland when the team, considered underdogs, beat the mighty Hungarians in the final.
Until then, the design theory behind football boots was that they should be primarily protective – strong enough to shield bones from the weight of that heavy leather ball and sturdy enough to deal with waterlogged pitches.
Dassler, who along with his brother Rudolf, had by then been making running shoes for two decades – a successful partnership that ended in the late 1940s when Rudolf went off to form Puma, and Adi began developing his own brand, Adidas.
Dassler was known for his refinement of spikes for running shoes and he brought some of that thinking into his football boot, which had slim screw-in studs. Rudolf also quickly developed football boots – the rivalry between the two brothers ran deep – his Puma Atom also featured screw-in interchangeable studs.
The new Adidas boots were lighter than previous versions – while still made of leather, synthetic materials were also used, and they were built on a narrower last and with a lower cut-upper. The original football boots – King Henry VIII had a pair – covered the ankle. Also, the hard toe cap was ditched to improve contact with the ball.