After a successful run with the Total 90 range, Nike has bid farewell to the power boot and replaced it with an “agility” boot – the Hypervenom. The T90 was arguably Nike’s least popular model, so it isn’t a complete surprise that they replaced the range with the all new Hypervenom. But how does the Hypervenom compare to the power boot profile of the T90? Nike made such drastic changes from a powerboot to the Hypervenom that it can’t even be considered a successor to the T90 but a total replacement.
[See: Nike Hypervenom Story]
When compared to the T90 the Hypervenom is definitely more in line with what we are used to seeing with the vapor range. The T90 was built like a tank and packed a punch with a solid upper and an aggressive shot shield. On the other hand we have the Hypervenom which is built like a corvette with a quilted-paper-towel upper. Fit wise the t90 is an ideal choice for the wide footed player while the Hypervenom fits more on the narrow side. In essence Nike have dropped their powerhouse boot for another feather weight.
There is nothing resembling the shot shield on the Hypervenom which instead has a textured honeycomb pattern across the forefoot- giving players better grip while dribbling. It is meant to act similarly to the dimpled upper we see on the Nike Mercurial Vapor IX. Also notable is the differences in the upper material. The Nike T90 Laser IV featured a Kangalite and a synthetic upper to enhance touch. The Hypervenom has NikeSkin, a soft supple mesh bound by a thin polyurethane film. Nike Skin gives a more barefoot feel on the ball and is also seen on the Nike Bomba Finale II. With weight becoming more and more important in the boot market, the Hypervenom weighs in at a very competitive 7.2 ounces, 3 ounces less than the T90! The outsole is designed for a faster penetration and a quicker release- helping players find space faster, it also features a split-toe crease in the plate to sync with the natural movement of the foot. The T90 out sole was more plain with minimal tech to the configuration.
Finally, the boot I have dreamed of is now available for purchase! A boot with a textured upper that extends the length of the boot? A 7.2 ounce weight? It’s basically a dream come true from Nike. If someone showed me a picture of these before they were released, I would think that they were the next generation Mercurial Vapor. With speed boots increasing in popularity, Nike have executed the release perfectly. The T90 range was fading and Nike made the best move by replacing the range. Nike has done a good job in marketing them – having players like Neymar sporting them on the pitch really contributes to the new boot hype. One thing I will miss in the T90 is the protection, I’m worried that players will have to suffer through hard tackles. But all things considered, a much needed change from Nike is finally complete.
I think that with this move Nike are making a mistake. Nike would have been better off introducing the Hypervenom as a completely new silo and advance the t90 to its next incarnation rather than replacing it. Ditching a power boot like the T90 for another speed boot when you already have the Mercurial is kind of counterproductive. The T90 may be the least successful out of the Nike silo but that could easily be fixed with a face lift. Speed boots may be popular but having a variety of boots to suite the playing style of a wider range of players is more important. The T90 loyal will now probably go either the way of the Tiempo, CTR or the Premier. Or maybe they will abandon Nike for the underrated Puma PowerCat, pretty much the only powerboot on the market. The Hypervenom by itself however is a pretty innovative boot, I think that a few mercurial fans will be moving on to it as it takes the concept of the light weight vapor one step further. Also Neymar is reaching CR7 status so the fan boy’s will gladly swap their Mercs for the Venom.
What is your take on the move from the T90 to the Hypervenom?