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For so many, football is a religion, and it can go as far as dictating a supporter’s way of life. But how does the culture of being a football fan influence the way football boots are marketed? We offer some insights into football fan culture that inhibits the idea of signature boots in the sport.
An Arsenal fan would never be seen in a Tottenham shirt and the same can be said for countless global rivalries. Although the exploits of players on and off the pitch may question the passion held by players given their tendency to switch allegiances all too often, one could easily argue that football fans are the most passionate, especially when rivalries come into play. Just take a look at the Superclásico between Boca Juniors and River Plate and you’ll understand the energy and fire. The Observer even identified it as the No. 1 sporting event to attend before you die.
The difference between football and other sports such basketball involve different vantage points as a fan. In football, you support the club and then the players who play for that club. Your rival’s best player is often a subject of great disdain and a personality virtually impossible to get behind, regardless of performance and entertainment making boots in their honor a difficult sell.
In addition to a lack of signature boots, one of the most visible differences within football over the course of the last few years has been the creation of various silos based around playing styles. A quick gander around any football store and you’ll be met with relatively new categories meant to align with pacey attackers, creative midfielders, hard-tackling fullbacks, and of course classics.
Marquee athletes representing that particular boot’s designation in playing style are often the closest relationship between player and boot. Unlike the sport of basketball, where yearly signature updates are the norm, most offerings in the football world have been relegated to colorway updates and we seen rare instances of full-fledged models such as the Nike Tiempo Ronaldinho 10R eight years ago. Even in his heyday, David Beckham was only given seasonal colorways rather than his very own boot.
The fiery and passionate nature of football fans will never subside, making it a fundamentally sound move for big brands to keep it more appealing to a wider audience by not offering signature models. However, we can’t help but speculate what sort of outcome could be achieved if some of the world’s best players were given boots tailored to their exact specifications. We’re happy to announce our World Cup-inspired Booting Around series which will revolve around the fictional world of signature football boots for some of the world’s best players. We’ve teamed up with talented Korean designer Dongwoo Shin to execute the various designs that take into consideration personality traits and existing brand technologies from each player’s their respective sponsors. Stay tuned!