Evolution of the football boot continues with Adidas' knitted boot/sock hybrid
By Mike Hanlon
March 13, 2014
Adidas always saves its best for a World Cup year and when it showed a knitted football boot last week, we figured that the radical departure represented by the Samba Primeknit (top left) was this year's bombshell. Now the German company, which made its reputation designing purpose-built sports shoes, has gone one massive step further by combining the boot and sock into what it believes will be the football boot of the future.
While acknowledging the all-in-one knitted boot/sock hybrid is a concept model, Adidas is currently working with top players around the world to finalize development of the product and plans to release the Primeknit FS later this year. Adidas claims the hybrid design provides a bespoke lightweight barefoot-like second-skin with vastly improved “feel” and a perfect fit from toe to calf.
Though the world’s first purpose made football boots were custom made for Henry VIII (being cataloged in the royal wardrobe of 1526), humans have been kicking a ball in organized sports for thousands of years. Games similar to soccer were played in South America 3200 years ago and in China 2200 years ago, as well as in ancient Greece and pre-colonial Australia, and though England likes to call itself the home of football, a strikingly similar game was introduced to the British Isles by the Romans 2000 years ago. In all such ancient games, the footwear of choice was bare feet.
No footwear quite allows the “feel” or “touch” of a football quite like bare feet, and many of the world’s best players across football’s many codes, learned their exquisite skills using solely the tools of nature. Though traction is an issue in wet conditions, one of the biggest advantages of playing barefoot is that feet don't get waterlogged and progressively heavier as do leather football boots in inclement conditions.
The knitted Adidas Samba PrimeKnit
Enabling soccer players the feel of bare feet was precisely the idea behind Adidas’ launch of the Limited Edition Samba Primeknit knitted football boot last month.
The PrimeKnit has been in development for two years, with the development team based in Adidas' Headquarter in Herzogenaurach (Germany) under the lead of Martin Jobst and Stefan Tamm.
The fit experience of the PrimeKnit was inspired by the running shoe, which became the base for further analysis based on the specific needs of the footballer, particularly the number of lateral movements and direction changes.
The Samba PrimeKnit employs just one yarn which is knitted to construct the entire upper boot. Traditional boots have always been constructed from several pieces, with overlay and underlay, while the PrimeKnit reduces the amount of materials to a single knitted layer and in so doing, reduces the weight of the entire boot to just 165 g (5.8 oz).
The all-in-one boot/sock hybrid Adidas PrimeKnit FS
Adidas believes the all-in-one boot/sock hybrid Adidas PrimeKnit FS is the football boot of the future and that its "sock silhouette" design will provide a bespoke second-skin feel that will offer the perfect fit from toe to calf and vastly improved “feel” compared to boots with traditional overlays, edges or laces.
The one piece design and strong light yarns of the Primeknit FS is claimed by Adidas to provide new levels of flexibility and comfort with stability and strength equal to that of conventional boots. Each yarn receives a polymer coating that ensures water resistance.
The €300 Samba PrimeKnit will be released on March 17, 2014. No price or release date has yet been set for the all-in-one boot/sock hybrid PrimeKnit FS, but it is expected to go on sale during 2014.