Reebok Football Boots

The name Reebok comes from a type of South African gazelle, and this association with speed and agility has always been at the heart of the sports brand.

From its humble origins in Bolton, the originally UK-based brand is now one of the most widely recognised names on the sporting world market, producing sportswear for athletes and sports enthusiasts across the globe, as well as stylish casual and street wear.

With factories in 45 countries and its numerous endorsements by major athletes from nearly every sport, it truly is a sporting giant, and its products reflect its status as one of the biggest producers of sports gear.

In January 2006 the company was bought out by Adidas, but the name has remained, along with the new products with an emphasis on design, innovation and technology, all of which can be found in its latest offerings in the football boot market.

Although it now comes behind Nike, Adidas and PUMA in the global market, the company took $5 billion in sales in 2007 to prove that it is still competitive and still producing products that are popular throughout the sporting world.

History

Foundations

Joseph William Foster was the entrepreneur who set up J.W. Foster & Sons in 1895 in Bolton, which was to become the foundation for the Reebok company.

Right from the beginning, the aim was to set about producing quality running shoes for the athletes of the day, and the company quickly gained success as the footwear it produced became recognised across the globe. Such was their early success that they were even worn by athletes in the 1924 Olympics, as popularised by the film Chariots of Fire.

In 1958, the company became divided when two of the grandsons of Foster developed a company on the side, which they named Reebok. The company enjoyed initial success as its parent company had done, but it wasn’t until an American sports distributor spotted the products it had on offer in 1979 that the brand really took off across the world.

Freestyle

By 1981, the company was enjoying huge success with $1.5 million in sales coming in during the year. However, although things were going well, it was the introduction of the Freestyle model athletic shoe that saw the brand become a huge global name, and its sales go through the roof. Designed specifically for women, the trainer was made to cater for the new craze of aerobic dance that was taking off, and suddenly Reebok was everywhere.

This move not only introduced sports footwear to a mass market of casual wearers, but also helped to incorporate women into the sports scene in a way that had not been evident before, and as such Reebok had guaranteed its place in history.

Football

By the late 1980s, another classic model had arrived in the form of Reebok Pumps, which incorporated new technologies to create another first and further increase the popularity of the brand.

But it was not until 1992 that the company decided to branch out into other areas of sports, and it was at this time that the first football boots were produced.

By the end of the 1990s, Reebok had also begun its sponsorship deals with huge athletes of the day to help promote the brand in different areas of sports.

Since their hit with the Freestyle model, Reebok had become known as a trendy brand to wear, and they have since tried to associate the brand with music, technology and entertainment as well as sports, especially through hip-hop and rap stars, such as Jay Z and 50 Cent.

Their marketing campaigns have continued to emphasise this, with the ‘Run Easy’ campaign, which highlighted the enjoyment of running, and also the ‘There are two people to everyone’ campaign, which focused on the sport and life balance of athletes.

In 2006 it was bought out by Adidas to create one of the largest sports manufacturing companies on the planet, whilst ensuring that Reebok kept its industry-leading edge in terms of innovation and design.

The Boots

KFS Sprintfit Pro/Plus II

The latest model to come out of the Reebok factory, the KFS Sprintfit II, is packed full of technology and features. The lightest boot that Reebok has ever produced, its focus is on protection for the wearer, a factor which is becoming increasingly important these days. The anatomical design of the boot and the ability to provide a natural performance for the wearer are the standout features that Reebok are trying to promote.

Features

The upper of the boot is constructed from kangaroo leather to provide superior control of the ball and allow for a customised fit.

The integrated heel ‘harnesses the foot’s natural energy’, according to the official Reebok website, allowing you to get more out of the boot when on the pitch.

The boot comes with a high performance one piece micro-fibre upper, providing the very height of comfort and sensitivity.

It is constructed using Teijin, a material that allows it to be water resistant whilst at the same time keeping the weight down. It also prevents the foot from becoming too moist causing the boot to lose shape. This is also enhanced by the woven exterior, which is good for controlling the humidity inside and reducing the risk of getting blisters.

The asymmetrical lacing is a feature that minimises the area of the laces to allow for a cleaner strike of the ball, aiding accuracy and power.

Technology unique to Reebok

  • KFS (Kinetic Fit System) – by incorporating stretch panels into the design, this allows the boot to stretch whilst it is in action, adding up to half a shoe size on impact, which means it can mould to the individual’s needs.
  • SmoothFit – an upper technology by which all seams and ridges are either hidden or eliminated altogether to prevent discomfort and irritation.
  • HexRide – hexagonal recesses which are filled with air to provide maximum cushioning and comfort for the wearer.
  • XStatic – a heat-regulating silver combined with an antimicrobial used to combat odours, and meaning the foot stays cool in hot weather, and vice versa.

Specifications

  • Colours: BLACK/GOLD/WHITE, BLACK/TETRA BLUE/SILVER and WHITE/SILVER/RED.
  • Released: June 2007, with numerous updates now available.
  • RRP: £119.99
  • Stud options: Moulded stud, mixed stud and blade, indoor, astroturf, removable stud.

Click here for a 3D view of boot.

Reebok Pro Rage

Weighing in at only 9.35 oz, the Pro Rage is certainly a very light boot. The precursor to the Sprintfit, the boot is no longer worn by the major players endorsing Reebok, but it remains a highly developed, technologically-sound choice with a lower price tag than the Sprintfit.

Features & Technology

Until recently the boot of choice for Thierry Henry and Ryan Giggs, the Pro Rage provides many of the same technological features as the Sprintfit.

It too makes use of the hidden lace system, which prevents the laces from interfering with the ball upon impact, allowing for a more accurate, comfortable shot.

It also includes an external TPU heel counter, which has the sole aim of increasing the stability for the wearer and adding to the layers of protection that the boot has to offer, a major concern now for manufacturers of sports footwear.

The inside of the heel incorporates a unique Griptonite formula, which has the purpose of adding grip to the sole using an anti-slip coating to prevent slipping within the boot, increasing the confidence of the player when they are moving quickly.

The elasticised neoprene inner is designed purely for comfort, and this is helped by the use of an anti-friction fabric in the sock-liner which prevents the build-up of moisture and the onset of blisters, making for a superior playing experience.

Although the main model is available in copper, Thierry Henry promoted a black pair when he first started to wear these in July 2006, and this has since become the most popular model.

Specifications

  • Released: July 2006
  • Variations: Available in 12 stud moulded, 6 stud screw-in or variable blades
  • RRP: £72, but you can find them greatly reduced in most online stores.
  • Weight: 9.35 oz

Integrity 07 EVO15

The Integrity 07 is an update on the original Integrity model, with the aim of sticking to the same stylish and aesthetic qualities of the original boot, whilst incorporating a greater range of technologies.

Features & Technology

Made from quality materials, the emphasis is very much on a product which offers supreme comfort and a greater durability than the originals.

Many of the more modern technologies are present, including SmoothFit, KFS, HexRide and XStatic, which were previously mentioned in the Sprintfit model.

Specifications

  • Released: August 2007
  • Colours: BLACK/SILVER/GOLD and WHITE/TETRA/SILVER
  • Variations: Comes in SG (Soft Ground) and MS (Multi Studded) versions.
  • RRP: £79.99, although it can now be found for a lot less on the high street.

Reebok Strikezone Pro

A slightly older model than the above, the Strikezone Pro was released for the 2005/2006 season and has remained a popular choice for many players, both professional and amateur alike.

Features & Technology

It is named directly as a result of the hidden lace technology, which maximises the contact area of the boot and the ball and therefore increases the ‘strikezone’. However, newer models have also used this feature and have improved upon it at the same time.

Although the technology is a little more dated, it still includes various innovative concepts.

An air-flow mesh fabrication is used to ensure that the boot remains lightweight allowing the foot to breathe, which prevents perspiration from building up.

The one-piece lining of the foot means that there are no stitches inside the boot to rub or cause discomfort, a concept now found in the newer models through the SmoothFit technology.

Elasticated fabrication provides a snug fit for the foot, preventing slippage or discomfort, and the TPU heel counter once again increases stability, solidity and support.

Teijin microfibre upper is a non-stretch material which fits exactly to the foot, enabling natural movement of the foot without any restrictions.

It also comes with a dual-density outsole, and incorporates screw-in studs for soft surfaces on the SG version.

Specifications

  • Released: 2005
  • Versions: SG and FG
  • RRP: £89.99, the boot is now a lot cheaper and offers a more economical choice of footwear for the amateur player.

Players in Reebok

Thierry Henry

In July 2006 Henry made a highly publicised switch from Nike to Reebok, and featured in their advertising campaigns that summer, scoring a goal when he first played in them in August 2006. He first appeared spearheading the Pro Rage model, and has now started wearing the latest boot, the Sprintfit.

Ryan Giggs

Giggs started his sponsorship deal with Reebok in the early 1990s, and has been one of their longest-serving major football players. He has appeared in numerous commercials for Reebok, such as the ‘I Am What I Am’ campaign, as well as a famous advert in 1994 where he appeared playing alongside previous greats in digitally recreated scenes.

Shevchenko

Shevchenko is one of the most recent big names to sign to Reebok, having ended a deal with his previous sponsors Mizuno. He has played throughout the 2006 and 2007 seasons in Reebok models, and along with Giggs and Henry is one of their biggest sponsors in the football world.