If you’re talking the small sided game and the ‘Big Three’ Nike are definitely the leaders in terms of products on offer and performance. With Adidas beginning to take the small sided game more seriously, Nike took the bold step of looking to it’s flagship boot the Mercurial Superfly for some inspiration. This gave birth to the Elastico Superfly the first small sided boot with the dynamic mid-cut collar. But that wasn’t the only change to the Elastico range this year, as Nike decided to bring the package to the turf pitches.
Given the potential game changer that a release like this could be, both Bryan and myself secured pairs of the Elastico Superfly TF to put into testing, and we’ll both be offering up our opinions on the boot.
You can find the current list available colourways of Nike’s Elastico Superfly over at soccer.com.
For a more in depth initial reaction I wrote this column back in December. Colourway wise I’ve definitely won out over Bryan, the Midnight Fog/Volt combination has a pop to it which I think gives the boot a fantastic look.
What’s In The Boot?
Nike have borrowed heavily from their showpiece boot the Mercurial Superfly. The top end Elastico features the same flyknit upper with flywire cable supports and the same dynamic fit collar as the Mercurial Superfly. Also the medial side of the boot receives and additional coating of the Nikeskin to aid the touch where a player contacts the ball most often. Nike also state the boot has been lowered to bring a players foot closer to the ground. This innovation is designed to aid manipulation of the ball on the pitch.
With all the work put into it, it’s pretty safe to say the Elastico Superfly is definitely the most technologically advanced boot to grace the small sided game.
When I ordered my pair of Elastico Superfly’s I took advantage of utilizing the Shoefitr app, and compared them against the Elastico Pro II which I had in a US size 9. The app recommended that I go up a half size and that is definitely the right call as the boot definitely fits smaller. Width wise I find that the boot is a bit on the narrower side, I’d definitely advise you to avoid if you have a particularly wide foot.
Break in wise, the Elastico Superfly is a bit different, turf boots are often times renown for their comfort and their ability to go from the box to the pitch without much fuss. The Superfly definitely has a bit of a break in period, which is due to the mid-cut collar. Taking them from the box to the pitch I developed a blister on my upper Achilles, just slight above where a normal soccer boot would end. It took a few wears for the collar to break in, but once it does, everything was crystal gravy. If you’re wanting to dive right in, I’d definitely advise putting a little Moleskin on your Achilles where the collar is for the first wear or two.
In Game Performance
I’ll start by saying that the boot is unlike anything I’ve ever worn on a pitch. Obviously unlike Bryan this was my first spin round the sun with the dynamic mid cut collar, and I’ve got to say personally I am impressed with what they have to offer. Despite originally being skeptical on their ability to truly allow the ankle and leg to connect in unison, they definitely do. It’s a great feature for the small sided game in my eyes, as the small sided game is all about controlling the ball, and having your entire foot and leg working in harmony goes along way to helping control the ball. I’ll concede that it’s definitely not a feature for everyone, those players who rely a bit more on their speed will see some unexpected resistance on sprint starts.
On the ball the upper provides a quality touch on the ball. The double layer of Nikeskin on the medial side of the boot provides a lovely tackiness which was great on the dribble, short sided football is won and lost on the dribble and the Elastico Superfly is the type of boot which won’t let you down on the ball. The Nikeskin also works a treat in controlling passes out of the air, which you shouldn’t have to do in them unless you play in the doldrums of 5 a-side footy like I do.
In the outset I mentioned that this is first Elastico to be fitted for turf. Nike have kept things smart here, using a standard conical multi-stud (nubbies) pattern which provides perfect grip on everything from carpeted pitches, to artificial grass, which is what you’d expect from a boot designed for those surfaces.
Personally I have no gripes with what Nike has done with the Elastico Superfly. The release suits me down to the ground. I’ve been procrastinating a little bit on finishing this up just to see if there was anything glaring I might need to mention here, from the performance side or the durability side. However, outside of things like the laces being a pain to keep tied up, and the idea that there needs to be a bit of a break in period, I personally have nothing I can fault the Elastico Superfly for. I know that the boot won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s something which can be said about every boot.
Would I Buy?
For me it’s a massive yes. I’m glad I didn’t stump out the $149.99 for them (got them as a Christmas gift), because it’s a lot of money for a turf boot, when you aren’t 100% sure. But having used them for the last month, I’d definitely have no qualms down the line spending that money. I’m actually eagerly awaiting my outdoor season so that I can run them out a few times in my 11 a side league which takes place on artificial grass.
You can currently find the available Elastico Superfly TF line-up at soccer.com.
Without reading how Rich’s experience with the Elastico Superfly went, I have a feeling it will be vastly different to my own. In general, Nike’s introduction of a mid-cut collar through their current range of boots has dramatically altered player mindset and general performance. But adding it to a turf or indoor really produces something extremely unique, intended for a specific style of player. Unfortunately, I am not that player!
In game, I found the Elastico to be comfortable and well grounded. They are styled to create that “as one” feel between your ankle and foot, with the turf soleplate distributing even pressure throughout play. But, there is nothing dynamic about them, you don’t get that turn and drive feel them, where you accelerate at pace with the ball at your feet.
The mid-cut collar creates a secure fit in play and I can see the benefits of its implementation on an indoor or turf specific shoe. It doesn’t provide real life support, but it does add a feeling of security as you chop and turn sharply. In similar fashion to other similar boots we have tested (like the Superfly) it doesn’t overstretch through play – a common concern for players. But it does start to smell if you don’t keep it dry (Flyknit material!)
Ultimately, these boots didn’t suit my style of play. I’m all about quick sprints and sharp turns. From my experience, I find the mid-cut collar is a little restrictive in allowing your ankle to snap as you accelerate away. I also found the turf soleplate on the boot to be too flat – yes, too flat! You need a little sway in your boot to be able to ease into a turn; I didn’t experience that with these. In fact, I felt overly grounded at time.
So, who are they suited for and would I recommend them for?
It has to be the “Control” type players that play a role in the middle of the park. Everything about them is suited to someone that likes to get on the ball and create opportunities from tight spaces. We are not talking engine room here, or the Nitrocharge style player. Instead, think Pirlo, a player that doesn’t have to move a great deal but when he does, he makes things happen. If you are the type of player that these suit, rest safely in the knowledge the performance offered is top quality, and you’ll really enjoy what they have on offer!