This week in New York, Nike took the opportunity to showcase of their latest technology developments at a self hosted, showcase summit event. In all of that, there were several key soccer related items that are set to revolutionize aspects of the game and the products players have on hand to improve performance.
Here is a rundown of some of the key items you might find yourself throwing into your soccer bag over the next few months!
Ah yes, that age old problem when your boots are layered in mud while playing in wet, firm ground conditions. It is something that we have all struggled with at some point, and realistically who wants to spend time during a game scraping mud from their boots?
Nike Anti-Clog Traction prevents mud from clogging the sole plate of Nike’s football boots. The technology was developed over the course of two years with insights from Nike’s design, materials and research teams. Dr. Jeremy Walker was one of several PhDs working on this project, with backgrounds in materials science engineering and chemistry. “There is a reason why this problem persisted for so many generations of players,” says Walker. “It is extremely difficult to solve. But, that’s the kind of challenge we thrive on.”
Nike Anti-Clog Traction sole plates include an adaptive polymer that becomes compliant when exposed to water. Walker and his team initially pursued a variety of mechanical and water-repellent solutions, but concluded none were viable for the lifetime of the boots. Their next approach seemed counterintuitive, but ultimately proved effective. “We stopped thinking about repelling water and started thinking about using it to our advantage to create a lubricious layer, without sacrificing traction,” continues Walker. “Understanding the molecular structure of mud was key to developing a hydrophilic solution, which helps keep mud from clogging the plate.”
Nike Anti-Clog Traction will initially be available in limited quantities via the Nike Football App on April 15. These special versions of the current Tiempo, Magista and Hypervenom models carry the Nike Anti-Clog Traction hexagon mark on the heel.
Nike Mercurial Superfly V
The latest speed machine from Nike has arrived, welcoming in the Mercurial Superfly V. The release is highlighted by an advanced fit and a Flyknit “speed rib” 3D texture upper. The raised surfaces provide friction between the upper and ball. “Previously, the Mercurial had a uniform surface on the upper,” says Nike Football Design Lead Jeongwoo Lee. “We analyzed how speed-orientated players tend to dribble with the lateral side as they sprint, switching to the instep of the medial side for shooting, and adjusted the speed ribs accordingly.”
“Our approach with the new Mercurial was to challenge all assumptions about speed, merging science with design to build the fastest boot in football,” says Lee. “We designed this boot holistically to ensure it was a true speed system, where all of the materials interlock to produce the most efficient package possible.”
Nike has already offered a look at several intro colorways, all of which look pretty tasty. Expect to see the boots hit market towards the end of May.
Nike Vapor Kits With Aeroswift Technology
With the Euro Championships right around the corner, Nike has developed a revolutionary new jersey that England, Portugal and France will wear at the tournament. Nike Vapor kits with AeroSwift feature a combination of single and double knit; single knit where the athlete needs breathability, double knit where more structure is required. The knitting is so precise it enables construction of true holes where needed. It wicks sweat away from the skin 20% faster than Nike’s most recent football kits, while also drying 25% faster. They are also 10% lighter, with 50% more stretch than the kits they replace. The new yarn also has a brushed quality to it that feels better against the skin.
Nike AeroSwift knitting presents strong visual cues as well. The torso embodies the superhero aesthetic with a defined chestplate construction. “We were focused on the right fit, not a tight fit,” says Martin Lotti, Nike’s Creative Director, “It was important to reduce grab areas while also ensuring the garment did not ride up. Player feedback on this fit has been phenomenal.”
Nike Vapor kits with Nike AeroSwift technology will be available March 24th from Soccer.com.
Nike is upping its sock game with the development of NikeGRIP, an anti-slip solution that considers both the inside and outside of a sock to maximize grip. Realistically, this is a really important space for them to tackle, with a wealth of opportunity to really improve an important part of soccer uniforms. Conventional thinking suggests that sliding occurs between the sock and the shoe, but as Tim Clark, Design Director Nike Socks notes, “Athletes tell us that slipping happens as much between the foot and the sock as it does between the sock and the shoe. Our goal was to perfect ‘grip’ both inside and out of the sock to create a unique solution for athletes.”
An ultrafine polyester fiber is used to increase surface area of the sock and decrease the amount of slippage. Like a gecko, which can climb vertical surfaces thanks to the traction provided by hundreds of tiny hairs on its toes, the nanofiber creates far more contact points with the foot and shoe than one fiber alone. Twisting the nanofiber with traditional fibers used in sock manufacturing, therefore, creates the ultimate sock fiber.
It is going to be interesting to see how these are to wear with different boots! They are set for release to market this summer.
Nike HyperAdapt 1
Here is one that we are little less likely to see on soccer footwear. But given the way things are going these days, don’t be surprised to see the Swoosh create some sort of limited edition release with the technology. Welcome the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0, the first performance vehicle for Nike’s latest platform breakthrough, adaptive lacing. “When you step in, your heel will hit a sensor and the system will automatically tighten,” explains Tiffany Beers, Senior Innovator, NIKE, Inc., and the project’s technical lead. “Then there are two buttons on the side to tighten and loosen. You can adjust it until it’s perfect.”
The potential of adaptive lacing for the athlete is huge, Hatfield adds, as it would provide tailored-to-the-moment custom fit. “It is amazing to consider a shoe that senses what the body needs in real-time. That eliminates a multitude of distractions, including mental attrition, and thus truly benefits performance.” The Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 will be available ONLY to members of Nike+ beginning Holiday 2016 in three colors.
What are your guys thoughts on all the latest from Nike, and is there a particular piece of new technology that stands out?