For most players that can’t afford to buy high end boots, the Nike T90 Strike IV seems to be one of the next best options. Built as an identical looking replica of the T90 Laser IV, the Strike features some toned down technology in the strike zone as well as a synthetic upper. It is not a boot you will see professional players wearing, but it is a boot that many of you have been requesting a review for in recent times.
In an attempt to add more value of the review, I went with the AG soleplate version. I had not tested this soleplate out yet prior to this review, so it was an added bonus! In terms of colorway, I went with the original Windchill/Total Orange/Black.
Since there is less technology in the Strike, you get a boot that breaks-in pretty smoothly. The upper and soleplate offer plenty of flexibility and a decently natural feel. While testing the Laser, I found the upper to be about as natural as you can get from a synthetic upper. The Strike is slightly different and the upper doesn’t have that complete contoured feel. In terms of comfort, it doesn’t create any problems and the inside of the boot is actually well padded – something that has added benefit while striking shots! Overall, they are an easy boot to summarize – out of the box they are comfortable and keep your feet well protected.
AG Soleplate – Designed for Artificial Ground
I’m going to cover and detail the AG soleplate in a more comprehensive post in the next few days, but for those who are interested in testing them my advice is to get them. Nike has done a terrific job with the stud configuration and it works fantastically well on artificial turf surfaces. With so many fields switching to turf, it only makes sense for companies to develop specific configurations.
The T90 Laser is built around the concept of the “Perfect Strike”. Although the Strike doesn’t boast the same formula as the Laser, it still performs very effectively when you need them to. The Shot shield serves as an effective component for adding some power behind shots, while it doubles as added protection across the forefoot. The one area they fall short is on first touch, with a slightly rigid feel through the forefoot as a result of the Shot Shield and the synthetic upper – it is something I had expected and it doesn’t take away from their value. When it comes to the AG soleplate, Nike are on to a real winner. In general, i don’t have a problem with most FG soleplates on artificial surfaces, but the AG configuration takes things to a new level. They feel a lot more stable and there is less movement as your foot sits on the surface. It is like the studs sink more naturally into the surface. Obviously, the concern with this is that it creates more drag and takes away from acceleration. But, through testing I didn’t encounter anything like this, and found them to be as effective and fluid on the surface as you make quick, sharp turns.
T90 Strike vs T90 Laser – What is the difference?
Considering the price difference between both boots, which is somewhere in the region of $120, there have to be specific areas that differentiate both boots. And there are, starting with the technology employed through the strike zone. On the Strike, it is called a “Shot Shield” and it delivers a more simplified level of ball control compared to the Laser, which has an “Adaptive Shield”. The word Adaptive is key here, and it pretty much sums up the difference, with more natural flexing and movement of the upper on the Laser. The one other primary difference lies in the construction of the soleplate, with the Laser featuring Traxion technology. It is more flexible and offers a slightly more natural form on the foot. Finally, in terms of weight the Strike actually comes in at a lighter 9.6oz, compared to 10oz for the Laser. This is primarily related to the materials used to produce the “Perfect Shot” from the Laser!
I have to admit that visually, it is near impossible to tell both boots apart – they look extremely similar. There is some minor detailing that gives it away, like orange streaks on the upper part of the Adaptive shield and the heel of the Laser is completely black. But, I can guarantee you that there are a lot of players who couldn’t distinguish both versions!
How do they fit?
Very much true to size and extremely similar length wise to the T90 Laser III. In terms of width, they are roomy and will definitely be an option for players with a wider foot. I also found that they offer really good support through the arch.
It is hard to offer many negatives about a economical release. The issue of the slightly rigid upper through the forefoot is a concern, but again it is not a surprise considering they are not the top release in the range. And that is about all I can complain about!
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: An affordable price matched with an AG soleplate make these a very smart purchase. You get Shot Shield technology to add some extra control and power benefits, and they offer an extremely similar look to the Laser.
Category: An economical power boot – they are designed for players that like to strike shots.
Weight: A competitive 9.6oz.
Would I Buy Them: Considering their price and the AG soleplate: Yes. Everything about them is designed to look and perform like the Laser, but they do fall short in terms of the uppers flexibility.
Player Position: Strong forwards who like to get on the ball, turn and shoot will find them extremely useful. As will defenders who need a boot that offers protection and is ideal for knocking long balls around the pitch.