I just got back from the Nike T90 Laser IV release event in New York, with a pair of the new release in my bag ready for testing! The event itself turned out to be a very fun experience, starting on Thursday with a packed room of bloggers at Nike HQ in New York. We heard first hand from Nike designers on how the boot was pieced together and what the finished article is intended to provide players. From there, we headed to a field in Queens, where we tested the new boots as well as the Seitiro ball.
It turned out to be well worth the long 24hr trip to New York for several reasons, below is a summary of highlights from “The Perfect Strike” event.
Testing the T90’s Laser IV
Obviously, the highlight of the event was testing the new T90 Laser IV. When we arrived at the pitch, there were 22 brand new pairs lining the locker room, with each player also getting a full kit and bag. Having laced up, we took the field for some drills – starting with an Accuracy Challenge. The Accuracy Challenge involved knocking a ball of a wall, turning and shooting into one of the preset targets, with 4 balls for each player. Points were scored for timing and where you placed your shots. Considering my job is testing boots, I am glad to say I topped the leaderboard, as per the image below.
From there, we took some shots before taking to the field for a pretty competitive 11 vs 11, East vs West, game. As well as players from some of the top soccer sites in the US, there were guest appearances from some Nike designers! I am also glad to report that the West took the game 3-0 – although it was a lot closer than the score suggests!
After the game, the first significant comment from players was based around comfort, not one player had any problems playing in them – something that is pretty amazing since they came right out of the box. There was a positive vibe going around and no one had any negative comments to offer. In terms of fit, these boots offer the most natural feel I have experienced, with the upper providing fantastic form right across the front of your foot. They also fit absolutely true to size. That is all I am saying for now until I get to test a little longer – stay tuned for a full review!
Nike T90 Laser IV Designer, Doug Wilken
I was pretty pleased to have the opportunity to chat with the actual designer of the T90 Laser IV, Doug Wilken. Having covered a great great deal about the creation of the boots in his presentation, I took to discussing some of the questions you guys submitted and other topics that I felt might have been missed.
- What was your thought process through the creation of the T90 Laser IV?
We really wanted to capture and go back to the foot, and understand what is happening in the anatomy of the foot for the player. Range of motion and identifying the natural movements were very important. We went down to our concept shop, in Beaverton, Oregon, and created cast movements to understand how a players foot moves at different times.
- For this release, you have gone with a Synthetic and Kanga-Lite release – we haven’t seen this before, why?
Well, we are working on perfecting the Kanga-Lite as it offers very similar feel to actual leather without the issues that arise with water retention. We basically want to give players the option to experience our most advanced creation.
- There has been plenty of talk about the weight, why are the boots not lighter?
We took into consideration the actual requirements of the everyday striker and found that a more balanced boot, weight wise, was much more effective. It was a matter of finding the right weight and not just lightweight.
- Can we expect an Elite version of the T90 Laser IV?
The focus of this release is on the regular version and not the Elite.
- Is this something we can expect of future Nike releases?
No – this is simply a decision we made for the T90 Laser IV. We are still considering options for releases in the other ranges.
- In terms of future releases, should we expect anything out of the norm from Nike?
Already, we are starting to focus on the T90 Laser V, and will spend a lot of time trying to develop it over the next year. We are Nike – and innovation is always our focus, there is always a chance that we will pull a surprise here and there.
A big shout-out to Nike for the invite to the event – I think it was enjoyed by all! MVP of the East vs West game went to my teammate Ben of TheOriginalWinger, while definitely worth a shout-out was the shutout provided by Bruce from DuNord on his debut as a keeper – he was a beast! On the other side of the spectrum, I was glad that we didn’t allow Shane “Johnny” Evans of Goal.com an opportunity to score off one of the East set-pieces.
In terms of the boot itself, it is available to pre-order at the moment, with the actual release date set for October 1st. I will have a review posted on the 1st, but if you want to get ahead of the game and order a pair, they are available for $197.99 at WeGotSoccer.
For readers, I need to point out that my reviews will continue, as always, to be completely unbiased toward any company. SC101 will continue to be a site that provides the most in-depth and honest insight into what can be expected of a specific boot by the everyday player.