For many players, wearing classic and traditional styled boots is the only way to go. For a long time, the Adidas Copa Mundial has been the mainstay when it comes to classically inspired boots, while it has been an area that Nike has sort of avoided by sticking with more modern feels.
Then they dropped this latest gem of a release – the Nike Premier. This is a boot that features a timeless inspired look with a whole lot of modern technology. On paper, it seems to be a rather ingenious move by the home of the swoosh and since they were unveiled to the market, there has been a steady wave of positive comments geared toward them from fans. I’ve had the boots for a few weeks and here is how they have performed.
Interested in a pair, they are currently available at Soccer.com for a pretty awesome $99.99.
Introduced to the Market
From concept, Nike worked with the idea of creating a high performing, timeless classic that would be would be available to consumers for less than $100. It is not directly implied, but the boot is intended to be a direct competitor to the Adidas Copa Mundial, with the more modern nature of the Premier giving it a fresh edge.
Breaking In and Comfort
This really is a delicious release from Nike that will have players drooling over the comfort they offer right out of the box. Everything about the boot is created with a little extra flexibility in mind and that translates as you put them on and jog for the first time. One area that really stands out is the soleplate, which bends extremely easily and really syncs with your foot movements without being too floppy. It creates a very natural feel and players will definitely appreciate the efforts Nike has taken in developing it.
The upper is also buttery soft and you will find they offer a nice touch on the ball right away. A major benefit is the fact that there is no technology included in the upper, so the minimal leather design simply provides a uniform ride with old-school performance. If comfort ends up being an issue for any player out there, please let us know in the comment section below as we would love to know how other players experiences compare to ours.
New School Performance
Don’t be fooled by the extremely simple, traditional look of the Premier – Nike has gone to extreme lengths in producing a boot that is as modern as it comes in terms of technology. We have found out since their release that a lot of research went into the production of the boots, with the intent of finalizing a product that would stand the test of time on the market. There are several different areas of the boot that they have worked on and the following are the ones worth pointing out.
No. 1 – Touch – what is with the upper?
First and foremost is the leather upper that Nike use. In order to downsize the weight of the boot, they have gone with an ultra thin layer of material. The end result is a buttery soft upper that really molds to your foot shape effectively. When you can pinch the leather and feel it fold right to the brink, you know that it is pretty special. We still don’t know the exact type of leather used by Nike, with many some reports it is K-Leather and others touting a goat leather. The one thing we do know is that the entire upper is created using natural leather, something that is quite rare for companies to do with new releases these days.
No. 2 – Traction and Stud Configuration
Another key area for Nike is the development of a new soleplate and stud configuration. Lets start by talking about the conical studs and the lower profile design. Each of the 12 studs located on the sole has been trimmed in both length and width. This provides a lower center of gravity with a quicker release from the surface as you push off to sprint. In the center forefoot, a slightly more oval shaped stud has been added. This has the dual functionality of being a brake stud as well as an added source of traction for releasing from the surface. I found the design to be effective, especially when it came to playing on artificial surfaces. The configuration provides the ability to penetrate the surface without causing any drag.
No. 3 – The Soleplate
This is the real winner on this boot, in my opinion. Rather than creating a hinge design, where the boot bends immediately under the toes, Nike has produced a more uniform flex through the entire forefoot. In other words, the bend is gradual and provides support right through the foot movement. Being honest, these boots seem to be designed for more mature players who have been playing the game for a long time. We are talking about the 30+ demographic here, and these are the players that will end up buying the boots. Thus, the concept of creating a much more comfortable bending motion is a master stroke by Nike as the more mature player relies more on comfort than that initial burst of speed. In hand, the boot folds very easily right back into a 180 degree position!
Wrap Around Swoosh
In order to truly develop a unique final product, Nike has added a wrap around swoosh the goes from one side of the boots and around the heel to the other side. The real boot connoisseurs out there will spot this one and appreciate the style it adds to the boot. Along the heel, Nike has embossed the text “EST. 1972″.
Keeping Things Simple With the Tongue
Rather than fighting against the fold over design Adidas owns, Nike has cut the tongue off at the ankle and solved the “what should you do with the tongue” dilemma! On the under side, they place a suede material that adds some extra grip against your socks, and they have included a layer of additional padding through the center. It doesn’t add a lot of value, but any additional help to protect in heavy tackles in duly appreciated!
How do they Fit?
This is an area where people have relayed different feedback. I tried a pair that were true to size and a pair that were listed a half size up and I have to say that the half size up felt more comfortable. There really isn’t a great deal of extra room in the boot and they seem to provide a sort of Tiempo Legend sizing to them. If I had gone with the true to size pair, I am sure they would have stretched somewhat over time and maybe that would have made a difference. But, I am all about finding the right size out of the box and I know more traditional players will appreciate that extra level of immediate comfort out of the box. My recommendation is to definitely consider going up a half size on this one.
Compared to the Copa Mundial
These boots are a serious contender compared to the extremely popular and highly regarded Copa Mundial. The Copa is really seen to be the godfather of boots and I can’t remember any other boot that has ever challenged that title. Nike has taken the right approach with these and I really do think their emphasis on creating a super affordable shoe that offers high performance will pay off. Plus, they have hinted at the fact that this is a boot designed to stand the test of time on the market. In other words, it is here to stay with no impending modifications required.
[Also See: Adidas Copa Mundial Review]
I’m going to go out on a limb here and state that there isn’t a better boot on the market at this price point right now. Everything about these oozes quality and they are going to really satisfy the traditional player who seeks a simple, uncomplicated boot. It was Nike’s goal to keep the price under $100, something they can do since there will be no big endorsement to go along with the release and there won’t be a team developing the next version. The hard work has been done in creating the boot – now they simply have to gain a following and sell through word of mouth.
There is not a great deal I can fault about these and it is pretty obvious that Nike has been extremely cautious with their approach to the final product. It is a design that should pay dividends over time. The one thing I do want to note is that I feel like this is a boot that could gain a lot from some key player endorsements. There are a lot of pro players that could easily benefit from what they have to offer. But that is not going to happen, unless of course certain players sport them without direct endorsement deals in place.
A Final Personal Note
These boots truly are a stroke of genius and the timing of the release is perfect. For such a long time, the Adidas Copa Mundial has been the tradition players boot of choice and we have been preoccupied with modern highly glamorous releases. Each brand seemed to be fighting the lightweight war, until Nike walked in with these. Although the Copa fan will state that “Adidas has nothing to be worried about”, I really think they have something to be concerned about. Everything about this release appeals to the more modern player who wants a traditional design. And I have a feeling that older players will appreciate the fact that they look like a mature players boot but weigh in nearly 3oz lighter than the Copa. No matter what your stance is on weight, 3oz on both feet over 90 minutes is a big deal! My advice to Adidas would be to find a way to modify the Copa without losing too much of its 1970′s suave appeal.
Interested in a pair, they are available at Soccer.com for a pretty awesome $99.99.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: Nike has tackled the heritage market with this no-nonsense, very modern and technologically advanced, traditionalist boot.
Category: Pure heritage, as you might have noticed from the design.
Weight: A cool 8.6oz that is right in my “perfection” range.
Would I Buy Them: In a heartbeat and I will be recommending these boots to a lot of players. The quality they provide for their price is exceptional.
Player Position: Rather than being a specific position, this one lies with a playing style. If you want something traditional, that offers modern performance and a simple final product, these are a solid option to consider.