Football boots have come a long way. In the 1800s, when football was becoming popular, players would wear work boots to play. These actually had laces and studs, like modern football boots, but they were very hard and heavy, and definitely not easy to play in. They also had a steel toe, so if being kicked by another play would hurt a lot, and cause injuries.
Then in 1891, the first football-specific boot was made. They were made of leather, much better for playing football, but they were still quite heavy and got heavier in the wet.
Not much changed with football boots until after World War II. And then things started to progress quite quickly. After the War, South American teams started wearing lighter boots, and this drew attention from around the world.
The next big change was screw-in studs, which came about throw Adi Dassler - Adidas. This is an interesting topic in itself, but Adi Dassler created Adidas and his brother Rudolf created Puma. They disagree on who created the screw-in studs apparently! But anyway, Adidas supplied the German team with these studs for the 1954 World Cup, which gave them a great advantage as there was apparently a lot of rain - West Germany won the World Cup.
In the 1960s, boots got a lower cut - meaning they don't go as high around the ankle. This allowed players to move faster and change direction quicker. Some other brands joined Adidas in making football boots - Mitre, Joma, and Asics.
The 1970s saw some big changes - boots became light and companies tried to come up with new features to increase sales. Adidas was the leader of the market, and this was cemented when they released the Copa Mundial - the best-selling boot of all time! I'm sure everyone knows this boot...the famous black boot with 3 strips on both sides, and a tongue that folders over the top. I've never worn a pair...but I love them!
The 1980s saw more brands join - Umbro and Lotto the two biggest names - but then the 1990s came along. This is where I feel things really started to happen. Boots became brands themselves - it wasn't just Adidas anymore. It was the Adidas Predator! More companies joined, including Mizuno, Reebok, and - surprisingly late! - Nike.
Boots since then have become a bit of a fashion accessory. Crazy colours, wild designs, big launches!