If you are familiar with running shoes, you will know that they come with features designed to enhance your running experience. Whether it be a flexible sole or a sole that helps propel you forward, it is easy to see that companies have made strides to aid performance. But what if these features were implemented on soccer boots? We have seen brands use running technologies for other sports – golf, basketball, baseball, etc. I will take a look at some features and how they would perform if used.
A sole that is both flexible and breathable, its main feature is having mesh holes for ventilation. A soccer boot with ventilation would be ideal to keep players playing in hot and dry conditions cool. Unfortunately, those sporting them in wet conditions would suffer through mud getting inside your boots through the mesh holes. Also, by using a lightweight mesh in favor of a heavier sole material in some areas would help reduce weight. The mesh could cause some durability issues because it is much more flimsy compared to TPU (a plastic).
Verdict: Cool… but too risky for wet conditions.
Nike Air Max
Air Max is designed to make a cushioned, comfortable, and supportive ride by using a large air cushioning unit at the heel. The added support could help stabilize players making sharp turns and cuts. When playing on a harder surface, the air unit would help prevent joint injuries with added cushion. In terms of performance the air unit is bulky and would get in the way of trapping and passing. With weight being extremely important in the boot market, the extra weight from the air unit would repel a significant number of players.
Verdict: Although the extra comfort and cushion sounds appealing, most players would prefer to have a lighter boot with a better touch- making the air unit more of a liability.
Reebok boasts that the Zigtech sole reduces wear and tear up to 20% on key leg muscles. They also claim that the heel strike delivers a wave of energy along the length of the shoe- propelling you forward when you push off. Some of the claims seem sketchy to me but I have to admit that the wave design looks responsive. Zigtech would help players quickly accelerate and change direction faster. Just like Nike’s Air Max, the Zigtech design is very bulky and the sole would seemingly affect every touch made- a major downside. If Reebok could change the design so the waves would also act as a control element, they would have a release that I would definitely be interested in testing.
Verdict: With a few changes to Zigtech, Reebok could use the design as a brand revival in the soccer boot world.
I think it’s unlikely that we will ever see these features on soccer boots. Newer boots are starting to focus on sole plate thinness and how close your feet are to the ground; making features like an air unit for a sole even more unlikely. Recently released boots (Nitrocharge and Hypervenom) both include some form of mesh; a feature that we aren’t familiar with that is also used on sneakers. The mesh itself has a different style, performance and appearance. Perhaps companies would remodel the technology before it is seen on soccer boots; making them more soccer specific.