The Nike Total 90 Laser III is a cleat that is designed with specialized details, tailored towards a specific category of soccer player. Earlier this year we reviewed the T90 Laser III with decent results and were excited to be able to get or hands on a pair of Elites. I know the title reads “review”, but the real purpose of this article is to give you a direct comparison of what to expect from the Elites compared to the Regular T90 Laser III.
I actually found the Elites were easier to break in than the Regulars. They felt pretty comfortable from the beginning and I was confident running in them. The only area that I had some concern was with the soleplate. It seemed a little stiff but this was something I expected after testing the Superfly’s, which also have the carbon fiber soleplate. On the Regulars, I encountered some discomfort on my little toe, that seemed to rub against an inside seam. In the Elites this was not as much of an issue as the area feels like it has more padding. One negative, I did suffer some slight discomfort with the Elites along my right instep and ended up wearing some band-aids there. The insert in the boot seems to ridge down from center to the heel, and it didn’t suit my fit. In hindsight a few additional training sessions could have confirmed this without me taking them into a game situation.
This is where the biggest difference lies in design. Nike have chosen a Carbon Fiber insert for the Elite range, helping to reduce the weight of the boot substantially. You can definitely tell there is a huge difference between both boots. I found the Elites to feel more rigid to begin, but over time as the soleplate adjusted to the flexibility needed while running they started to feel a lot more fitting. Nike have also injected the studs into the soleplate to make a cleaner surface area. On the regulars, the stud design is more rounded.
Nike have removed the external heel counter on the Elites to reduce weight. This gives the boot a completely different look but it also gives the regulars an additional safety edge over the Elites. I am surprised by Nike’s decision to remove it as it is definitely an area players need protection, but it seems there was more of an emphasis placed on creating a lightweight boot.
The Elites weight in at 8.2oz, while the Regulars weigh in at around 10.4oz, so there is an evident difference when you wear them.
From the upper to the insole used, both boots use very similar materials throughout (bar the soleplate.) The one major difference I found was that both boots have very different stitching patterns. This is mainly seen around the outer sides of the boot as well as around the heel counter, or no heel counter as it may be for the Elites. I also noticed that the Elites have an additional layer of visible stitching on the insole that attaches the upper to the sole (both boots are also cemented.)
Comfort and Fit
Both offer a great deal of comfort. I found that over time they mold nicely to your feet and are great for striking a clean ball. Ensuring you make the most of the 5 pods that line the strike zone is key, as it absorbs impact and if you catch it cleanly it feels great. In terms of fit, they are definitely very different to the T90 Laser II. The primary difference is that this version has off centered lacing, that angles the shape of the boot slightly inward. The fit is a decent option for someone with a wide fit. I am a little wary to say they are a great option because of the outer region of the upper that could potentially cause some discomfort on your little toe. Finally, I recommend you order them true to size. I wore a size 9, my true size, and they fit extremely well.
One of the determining factors for deciding between the Regular T90 Laser III and the Elites will be price! The Elites are priced around $100 more than the regular version. Are they worth the money? That is for you to decide. Personally, I wouldn’t want to pay an extra $100. But, if you want the “complete package” you will need to fork out a little extra. Nike have put in a lot of work to create a more focused boot that gives you additional power with the bonus of lightweight – something no other boot on the market can currently offer. Ultimately, you need to weigh up the good and bad before making that final decision!