The nature of football has always been evolutionary, especially in terms of how the game is played and the prevailing tactical theory. The tactics and strategies used by teams throughout the generations have also followed a cycle, however, from the attacking, care-free nature of football in the 1950s to the defensive sweeper systems used in the 1960s and early seventies.
Now the sport has come full circle, with modern teams increasingly focused on attack and scoring goals rather than playing conservatively on the break.
This change in philosophy has not only resulted in the development of fluid formations and a multitude of record breaking games in recent times, but it has also influenced new designs of hardware and balls that actively enable attacking play.
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Designed to suit an Attacking Philosophy
Take New Balance’s innovative range of football boots, for example, which have been designed from a unique and ground-breaking standpoint. Developed from the core foundations of positional play and equipped to aid attacking players, New Balance has evolved its ethos to create boots that are differentiated by the style of play.
The Visaro boot (as worn by Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey) is designed for players who make chances, for example, featuring a low-pressure instep for instant control and a Super-flex sole for exceptional ground contact.
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In contrast, the Furon boot has been designed to suit those whose purpose is to take chances. These include Manchester United’s Adnan Januzaj, who relies on acceleration and touch to burst into space and arriving first to the ball in the penalty area.
Speaking about the boot at its launch, Januzaj said: “What has been clear right from the start is that New Balance set out to design a boot to help attacking players.
"I have worked closely with them from the original prototype to ensure they achieve this, and this boot feels like it’s been made especially for me and I know others will feel the same way.”
Completing the Evolution of the Boot
Januzaj’s latter point is insightful, as it reveals how the modern range of football boots are designed to suit the individual needs of players based on their positions and philosophies.
This not only optimises performance, but it also highlights how far the typical boot has involved from the rigid, leather products that were worn in the 1950s.
Over time, boots have been designed to be more comfortable and protective, enabling players to avoid injury far easier than previously. Recent advancements have taken this onto an entirely new level, however, as today’s boots are incredibly responsive and capable of delivering a refined touch and sense of control.
It is hard to imagine where this will end, but the most recent additions to the market suggest that boots will continue to favour the individual needs of attacking players and specific positions.
Predator? Tiempo? Samba? What is your favourite boot ever? Let us know below!