Our next venture into the SoccerBible Boot Vault has unearthed an absolute classic. These 1970's Puma King football boots are what gets us boot fans passionate, to the boot world it's like looking at a classic car! So check our next instalment of the Boot Vault...
Periodically, we delve into the Boot Vault to showcase classic football boots from seasons past. These are the boots that helped to shape the market and technology we see in current boots. We don't quite know the exact date of these Puma King football boots, but as an early 1970's model they are a great example of boot evolution and the similarities that exist with current boots.
The Puma King story is one of football folklore, but let's first have a quick history lesson to learn a little more about where the story began. It was back in 1952, shortly after the Puma company was founded, Rudolf Dassler successfully developed a football boot with screw-in studs. The launch of the 'Super Atom' a follow up to the 1950 'Atom', was the world's first screw-in boot and marked the beginning of a long-term and highly successful relationship between Puma and football.
In 1958 Puma introduced the now iconic trademark, the unmistakable Puma form strip, a symbol that has become synonymous with football boots and the Puma King. In the same year a Puma boot is the only German-made football boot in the final of the World Cup in Sweden. And after the Brazilian team's victory, Puma celebrated and embarked on one of the first football advertising campaigns.
Puma drive and realisation in football continued, and it was in 1966 at the World Cup in England, the new and now legendary Puma King football shoes were introduced. Sported by Portuguese superstar Eusebio, the King helped Eusebio finish top scorer and 'Player of the Tournament' - the Puma King had arrived! The World Cup was to become the successful arena for the Puma King football boots, as they were worn by some of the greatest players on the planet, during some of the most notable moments in football history.
In 1970 Pele cemented his legendary status, leading Brazil to World Cup victory as well as being named ‘Player of the Tournament’ wearing Puma King soccer cleats, and Pele famously held up the kick-off of a match so he could lace-up his boots, allowing the camera's to focus on his footwear. 1970 was followed up by 1974, where Johan Cruyff was named ‘Player of the Tournament’, then there was subsequent Puma King performances by the likes of Diego Maradona, Lothar Matthaus and Paul Gascoigne. Most famously, the Puma King was the boot Maradona had on his feet in 1986 when he went down in history as he passed six players to score what has been voted ‘The Goal of the Century’.
Never one to rest on their laurels, Puma have continuously looked to develop and innovate their products to deliver better on-pitch performance for their players. These versions of the Puma King football boots benefited from Puma's vulcanization process. Introduced in 1960, the vulcanization process was a revolutionary way of joining the soles to the uppers. Whilst another feature, that was introduced to their boots in the 1970's, is Puma's S.P.A. technology with a higher heel to relieve strain on the Achilles tendon.
What's great about looking at a football boot this old, is that we can see the origins of boot design and how some concepts are still current in today's footwear. Basics of boot construction that are still utilised today, such as glueing the outsole to the upper, a quality leather being the benchmark for great ball touch and feel, a heel counter for support and central lacing system for a secure fit.
If we return to the classic car analogy, then just as a car will always need wheels, a steering wheel and seats. There a certain components that will forever, in some shape of form, go into the construction of a football boot. These Puma King football boots are a classic from the past, but they could just as easily appear on a football pitch now, and let's be honest they're not bad looking either!
Stay tuned to the SoccerBible as we reveal even more soccer cleats from the Boot Vault, showcasing the best retro, classic and once forgotten boots and bringing them back to life! As always we'd love to hear your opinions by joining the conversations with the SoccerBible community online, on Twitter and on Facebook.