With a blaze of glory, Nike introduced us to the Magista Obra a few weeks back and it immediately grasped the attention of boot fans worldwide. Never before have we seen a boot so imaginative that it includes a knit upper with a mid-cut collar, designed to secure your foot by providing a sock like fit, making the entire fit move in-sync with your foot. It was something that several top players requested and Nike delivered in style.
The use of Flyknit, something Nike has taken across from its running shoes, makes for an intriguing prospect and ultimately provides a totally different type of performance to any other boot ever released. Not only does the boot feature a unique identity, but the overall weight is an extraordinary 7.2oz, leaving them in the lightweight category and adding to the value of the package.
We are yet to see the boot get its official on-pitch debut, but we managed to get our hands on a pair and have quickly put them through some thorough testing to see what Nike has produced and who these boots are going to suit best. Check the comprehensive results below.
Breaking In and Comfort
You can’t begin to imagine how comfortable these boots are to wear. Given the fact we have never seen this type of design implemented on a soccer boot before, you have to applaud Nike for getting it right first time around. Their advantage is the fact Flyknit is something they’ve been using on running shoes, so they have the inside edge on how to transfer it to soccer footwear. Once you slip your feet into them, comfort becomes the norm. The entire upper of the Obra envelopes around your foot like no other boot does, and the collar completes a very dynamic fit and feel. Even across the area where a tongue normally exists, the soft knit upper sits flush and provides a snug fit in the right areas. Technically, the boots could be worn without laces but with them in tied you get to really personalize a secure fit. And they could also be worn without socks as they are that soft inside – but you are going to want to wear socks while using them in game for obvious reasons!
Overall, this is a solid release from Nike that I anticipate players taking out of the box to the pitch with relative ease.
Getting Them On
Yes, we have a video for that! Right after release, one of the most common questions surrounded fit and how to get them on. As you will see in the demo video below, it is very easy to do, with little problems. And in case you are wondering, I went barefoot to illustrate the fact that even with added friction, they slip on without much work.
How do they Fit?
Obviously, fit is another major talking point, since so many people have different shapes and sizes that need to slip into the same size. I can officially tell you that they are very much true to size, and this is an area you won’t need to worry about too much. In terms of length, there isn’t a great deal of room left at the top of the boot once you get them on, while width wise they start out as a medium/wide fit. After several wears, the upper material has adjusted ever so slightly, and I imagine wider fits won’t feel too much discomfort thanks to the stretchy feel but they definitely don’t offer a loose fit if that is what you require. Think of these boots as a tighter fitting Hypervenom, where the Hypervenom is designed to accommodate wider fits from first wear and the Magista Obra sits snug thanks to Flyknit.
In similar fashion to a regular boot, these feature laces and that allows you to tighten them as needed. If you look at something that is somewhat comparable to the Magista like the Lotto Zhero Gravity (in terms of “no tongue”), the Magista has the distinct advantage of allowing you to zip the boot tight to your foot simply by applying the laces in your own personal fashion. And you don’t need to worry about any unnecessary gaps provided by a standard synthetic considering how Flyknit curves the shape of your foot.
Flyknit – Touch, Control, Passing, Striking Shots
Given the fact that Flyknit is a very soft fabric, there is concern that it will be too thin and players will have to endure full impact as they strike the ball (or another players studs). Where the later is true, there is a wonderful feel to these as you get on the ball and strike it. Looking at the upper, you will notice that is has texture thanks to the wider stitched regions, that create a paneled look. This stitching is raised and it actually has a thicker width than modern synthetics or leathers. As a result, it actually soaks in the impact as you play long passes or strike shot. I actually found that these boots provide BETTER protection than most other boots currently on the market. Soak that statement in for a second. The panels in between the stitching are very thin, so you still get that natural, skin like feel as you touch the ball but overall, through testing I never found impact to be an issue.
When it comes to control, again that texture designs plays a huge role, one that benefits playmakers and central styled players who like to get on the ball. If I was to compare the touch in logical terms, I would say it feels like one of the old school indoor soccer balls, that looked like an over-sized tennis ball and had a fabric coating. I haven’t seen those balls used in a long time, so some of you younger players might have no clue. Just think tennis ball and you should get a good idea.
As a striker, there were times that I didn’t appreciate the feel, as I wanted to move the ball further ahead and run on to it. There is a slightly tacky feel, almost keeping the ball closer to your feet as you dribble. Again, this is obviously an ideal performance characteristic for playmakers and center mids who want to keep the ball close and play short, direct passes where possible. But as a winger or pacey striker, a leather or synthetic that provides a little pop as you move is more beneficial, ensuring the ball doesn’t get stuck under your feet. As you can tell, this is where we are already attaching these to a particular, very distinct playing style.
Dynamic Mid-Cut Collar
The mid-cut collar creates a very unique feel as you wear the boots. Up until this point, we have all pretty much worn a regular ankle cut, so you will understand what I am referring to when I say our current boots allow for sway and natural movement of the ankle. As you chop or turn, you feel less attached to the boot and your ankle cuts with relative ease as you rapidly turn to change direction. If you don’t have dodgy ankles, you appreciate that relative ease and we don’t have to think twice about how the ankle swivels. While wearing the Magista Obra, you experience something totally different, with the entire movement feeling more in unison. You actually feel connected with your leg and the presence of the collar increases your awareness of spacial cutting. Surprisingly, it is an enjoyable feeling that allows for a more grounded approach as you play. In other words, you almost feel like you are closer to the ground, something that center mids will again really appreciate.
The cut sits right above the ankle bone and because of the Flyknit material, it hugs the foot. There have been concerns raised that the material will stretch over time and feel awkward. Although I haven’t worn them for a long period, my experience with them leads me to believe the material won’t stretch too much. The fabric feels well connected and it stretches around your feet as you wear them, creating a glove like fit. When you take them off, the material almost curls back into itself, closing the opening. In other words, it seems to readjust to its original shape after you take them off. It is an area that only a season of wear will accurately confirm, but to date, my opinion is that they won’t overstretch.
Who are they Designed for?
Ultimately, this is a boot that won’t suit all player types and it is not the type of technology that can be expanded across all silos. For playmakers and center mids, they make perfect sense and play perfectly into the characteristics these type of players crave. Being able to feel the ball, while having a little extra cushion to take in long passes before distributing very quickly makes them a dream boot for players in the mold of Andres Iniesta. I can understand exactly why he is the type of player Nike are addressing these boots toward. I don’t see them suiting strikers or wingers as much, with the Flyknit material and mid-cut collar taking away from the natural style of those who look to blow by defenders at pace with the ball just off their step.
Soleplate and Traction
Right through testing, I never had to focus on the traction delivered and this is a definite positive. With so much else going on, it was refreshing not to have concerns over how the boot took to different surfaces. Over the past two weeks, I had the opportunity to wear them on both artificial turf and a natural grass surface, which was a little dry and slightly on the firmer side. The configuration delivers well and you get a controlled, balanced feel with no evident stud pressure.
Nike has worked on a creating a new 360° rotational traction system through the use of conical studs and a Pebax-and-nylon plate. Compressed nylon offers a highly responsive plate that delivers strength while remaining incredibly light. And when this is combined with Pebax, the structure allows for flex and increased movement with the foot while eliminating mechanical flex (an area where the boot always flexes in the same spot). A lot of this is advanced technical speak from Nike, primarily because I felt like the soleplate and traction delivered very efficiently and I don’t have much else to comment on!
Comparing them to…
Right after release, adidas announced that they also had a knit boot ready for release – the timing seemed to perfect, right? Their boot, the Samba Primeknit, features a one-piece yarn construction and is obviously a direct competitor to the Magista obra. In the US, we haven’t seen much of the Primeknit, so I haven’t had the joy of experiencing them to see how they compare to the Magista. And the consensus is that they won’t even be released over here. If I do get a pair, I’ll add some notes.
What they can be compared to is the Nike Hypervenom, primarily because of their shape and implementation of a textured upper. Both boots feature a paneling style, but they feel very different on the ball. Touch is definitely more natural with the Magista, and they provide a much more dynamic feel as you dribble. The Hypervenom is a much more effective boot for striking shots and the overall design is styled in a more attacking fashion. But both do have one commonality, and that is the use of NIKESKIN across the upper. NIKESKIN ensures both have a waterproof type finish and don’t soak in water across the forefoot.
Outside of that, this is another one of those releases that really sits within its own unique category. They are not a heritage, power, speed or agility boot. Realistically, the closest category they sit to is control, and that is probably what we will continue to reference them.
This is an area that some of you might have immediately jumped to and I do have one primary comment to add here. Although the design works in terms of functionality, it doesn’t make sense to have a permanent “sock” attached to your boot. Why? Because it results in a very, very stinky boot! Think of it this way, when you wear a pair of socks and take them off after a game, you don’t re-wear them, and if you do, they end up being even stinkier than before. Multiply the stench of twice worn, unwashed socks by 20 games, and you have a serious issue. After only 2 short weeks, I have a pair that definitely don’t smell fresh and I am not really sure what to do about it. The only real solution is a lot of Febreze or you have to go to great lengths in washing just the collar under a tap with detergent after each wear. In other words, these boots come with some baggage.
Find all currently released Magista Obra at Soccer.com.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: The first boot of its kind, featuring a Flyknit upper and a dynamic mid-cut collar. Very comfortable boot with a fit that hugs the foot.
Category: We are going with control for now, although they do have their own unique performance.
Weight: 7.2oz, which is very light considering they feature the mid-cut collar.
Would I Buy Them: There is serious intrigue in the range and they have mass appeal but ultimately it is down to playing style and the amount of money you are willing to drop on a pair. I’d definitely consider a pair even though they don’t suit my playing style.
Player Position: Definitely best suited to central players who like to get on the ball and create from behind the front line. I can also see players right across the backline enjoying what they have to offer although they are not going to be beneficial as you get stuck in on hefty tackles!
Now it is your guys turn – what are you thoughts on the Magista and are there any other areas of the boot you want to read more info about? Hit up the comment section below and let me know!