We have already discussed the topic of ACC technology across all of Nike’s latest releases, but there is a completely different dynamic that raises the profile of each silo and is worth pointing out – Stud Configurations and Soleplates.
As players, we naturally develop our own preferences for different stud configurations. There is definitely enough to choose from on the market and performance can vary from design to design. Some players like conical, others like blades and so-forth. Finding a specific style can be the difference between playing well and playing great.
Where Adidas are headed towards a more consistent soleplate across ranges (SprintFrame), Nike are looking to match the soleplate featured on each of their release with a specific design for different player styles. I’ve had a chance to test each range out, so below is a comprehensive breakdown of what players can expect in terms of traction and in-game performance.
MERCURIAL VAPOR VIII
The Mercurial Vapor VIII takes performance innovation to the next level with a boot built for explosive speed, and that is evident with the blade configuration. A 2-blade heel design is coupled with ultra thin blades. You just have to read the Vapor 8 review to understand the role the blades play. The concept behind it is that it penetrates and release from the surface with less friction, resulting in a quicker release and improved acceleration. But, it does have a negative in terms of safety. The blades are thin and sharp, and have the potential to cause serious damage to opposing players.
Check out the new Retro Vapor VIII colorway.
CTR360 MAESTRI III
The name of these boots pretty much sums up who they are designed for – the midfield maestro that wants to dictate the tempo with accurate and incisive passing. Control pad on the instep fits closely to the foot for seamless response while a lateral deboss design creates a soft vamp that benefits touch and control of the ball. The soleplate offers energy return and strength, with a new bladed stud configuration for optimal traction and stability. I like the fresh approach Nike has taken with theses and in testing the Maestri III, I found that the positive is a high level of traction offered for players who need to turn out of tight spaces. But there is also a slight negative, the second stud front to back of the boot that sits on the instep sits higher than the front stud, and this can cause some pressure on firm surfaces.
Check out the new White/Pine Green CTR360 colorway.
TOTAL 90 LASER IV
The ultimate striker’s boot for capitalizing on that one moment to turn a game. Featuring a streamlined silhouette for enhanced fit and feel, while reconfigured shoot and swerve zones on the instep of the boot flex naturally as the foot connects with the ball, enhancing a cleaner strike. I found the soleplate to be an interesting one while testing the T90 Laser IV. Nike has remodeled the stud configuration to maximize traction during game without increasing stud pressure. Looking at the blades, you can see how they have been altered with a ridge along the tip. On a natural grass surface they work extremely effectively, but I did find they were a little tricky on artificial turf.
Check out the new Bright Crimson T90 Laser IV colorway.
TIEMPO LEGEND IV
Tradition and heritage combine with innovation to deliver a classic boot. The premium leather is strong and soft, giving extra comfort, touch and control. The lightweight TPU plate delivers a combination of strength and agility, while remodeled stud configuration delivers optimum traction. In terms of traction, the sole features a combo of conical and bladed studs. Two of the studs along the outside forefront have a very unique oval shape. They caused some pressure while testing the Legend IV. Overall, they offer greatest traction of all configurations on natural grass surfaces.
Check out the new Soar Legend IV colorway.
From the four Nike soleplates which do you prefer, or which version do you think has the potential to offer best in-game performance? We want to hear your opinion, leave them in the comments section below.