Bend it like PU – Plastics in football

Footballs, jerseys and artificial turf made from the world's sportiest material

Exklusiv für K-Mag

Image: Footballer jumping in the air to kick a ball; Copyright: LightFieldStudios

Since the use of plastics in footballs, cleats and jerseys, sport has become more dynamic, more sustainable, and safer. Copyright: LightFieldStudios


From leather to plastic – the history of the football

The first fully synthetic football is used at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

Image: official football ‘FUSSBALLLIEBE’ from adidas for UEFA EURO 2024, showing the inner workings; Copyright: adidas

The official football for UEFA EURO 2024 is made from bio-based materials such as rubber and recycled polyester. Copyright: adidas

Football boots and equipment made of plastic: lightness meets performance

All components of a shoe must be light, hard-wearing and efficient. Synthetics fulfil all these requirements.

Image: Female footballer with cleats stretching; Copyright: drazenphoto

Football boots made of plastic are light, durable and efficient. Copyright: drazenphoto

Jerseys: a reliable partner thanks to plastics

Image: orange-coloured recycled shirt with the large lettering ‘PUMA RE:FIBRE’ above it; Copyright: PUMA

Since 2024, all PUMA fan jerseys have been made from recycled materials. Copyright: PUMA

Plastics in football stadiums: safe, functional, aesthetic

Image: Artificial turf; Copyright: leungchopan

Artificial turf consists of soft PE fibres, a PP or PU backing layer and a rubber granulate infill. Copyright: leungchopan

Plastics offer comfort and safety for spectators, but also contribute to the overall aesthetics and functionality of the stadium architecture.

Image: yellow stadium seats; Copyright: LightFieldStudios

Polypropylene (PP) makes stadium seats hard-wearing, UV-resistant and durable. Copyright: LightFieldStudios

Image: Zero Waste Stadium of TSG Hoffenheim; Copyright: PreZero

TSG Hoffenheim's PreZero Arena is a zero waste stadium. A key component of the strategy is a reusable cup system. Copyright: PreZero

The revolution of football through plastics

Image: Legs of a footballer in the stadium with shin guards and cleats, putting one foot on a football; Copyright: LightFieldStudios

Plastics are shaping the future of football. They have already significantly improved the performance of equipment and infrastructure. Copyright: LightFieldStudios

Plastics have revolutionised football.

Elena Blume (Editorial team K-Mag)

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