With their release on the market, the Nike Phantom GT series brings a new type of performance for players to exploit. Their introduction caused quite a stir with fans wondering what magic this latest release has on offer. When your first words on the new boot go like “the Phantom GT is the most data-driven boot Nike has ever created” it immediately raises a few eyebrows and creates an air of intrigue.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working with the standard ankle cut Phantom GT Elite model, and here is what I discovered about the latest control focused release from Nike.
Find all the latest Phantom GT colorways at soccer.com.
Replacing two silos with one new release is a bold and pretty difficult move to make. You are basically asking two sets of players to place their trust in the performance of your newest creation. Visually, the Phantom GT has a lot going on and they seem like a very advanced style silo. The change in style will result in a new type of fit, something that I’m interested in find out more about, as well as the new upper creating a unique level of touch and control on the ball.
Fit and Feel On Foot
Out of the box, I was a little bit nervous about how the Phantom GT would feel on foot. They look like they would be stiff and a little rigid. Thankfully, I can confirm that it is quite the opposite. I have to admit that the first time I wore them was for some soccer tennis action, so not exactly a game like situation. But it was enough playing time to establish how comfortable they are to break in. There is padding in the right areas, and the upper molds very comfortably right around your foot. When you can wear a boot and not think about the fact you are wearing that boot, you have something that fits right.
I’d rate them as a true to size option, so there is no need to switch away from what you normally wear in the VSN or VNM line-up. And there is actually a lot more space in the forefoot cavity than you would imagine. So, they definitely fit the mold of a medium/wide fitting option. Note that they don’t have a Quadfit inner layer like previous Phantom releases have had. More about this below.
Generative Texture Upper
According to Nike, Phantom GT is the most data-driven boot Nike has ever created. During the creation process, scientists in the Nike Sport Research Lab (NSRL) spent countless hours analyzing the various angles and intensities with which the ball comes onto and off of a boot when playing football.
They questioned how the ball connects with the boot, creating a pressure maps and a basic guide of important data points. The design of the Phantom GT (Generative Texture) used these digital data sets to create a boot built to help perfect feel on the ball and unleash a player’s creative skills. Designers learned how much texture is too much, so as not to make the boot excessively grippy. And by molding the texture right into the Nike Flyknit upper (as opposed to affixing texture atop it), the boot retains a soft, pliable, premium feel without risk of texture detachment.
Touch, Control and Shooting
First note here, and this is an important one, the Phantom GT wasn’t designed or created to be a power boot. Don’t buy them with the expectations that you are getting the next T90 Laser style boot. Instead, the GT texturing across the upper is intended to enhance touch and control on the ball, providing crafty players with a platform to be able to efficiently manipulate the ball. Up close, you can see that the blades – I’m going to reference to them as being blades – are very non-aggressive. They don’t jump off the surface or sit with intense height across the upper. Instead, they are very much toned down and grafted in such a fashion that they help contour with the ball as it contacts the surface.
With the above in mind, how does it actually feel on the ball? Really well is your answer. Each of the upper blades contours from the center out toward the outsole in a wave fashion. Each area of the upper – strike zone, instep, touch and control – features elliptical paths. So, they are able to act as cushion zones, where all of the blades can envelope the ball to ensure it stays close to your foot.
Again, they are not designed to be a shooting boot. But, you do get a solid ping off the surface while striking shots without feeling the full impact. Each of the blades act as shock absorbers, so you get a relatively thin upper that allows you to comfortably hit long balls. Where I see them getting their most use, though, is on controlled shots, where you are looking for placement. The added grip that the blades provide creates friction on the ball, allowing you to have more confidence in putting accurate shots on goal, especially with a little spin.
Phantom GT vs Phantom VNM
Even though the Phantom GT replaces both the Phantom Vision and Venom, it is the Phantom Venom that they replicate the most. Even though the Venom seemed to lack any significant pull, it seems that Nike saw more potential in using its key qualities for the next generation.
The first noticeable similarity lies in the upper, where the GT – or Generative Texture – replaces the Precision Power strike zone. But rather than keeping it along the strike zone, they added texturing right throughout the upper, in a similar fashion to what adidas did with the Predator 20+ series. And note here that Nike emphasizes the fact you are getting more feel on the ball without it being too tacky. You gotta think this is a sly dig at the more aggressive Predator DemonSkin and it’s 406 rubber elements.
Finally, gone is the Quadfit inner lockdown system. This is something that is somewhat of a surprise, seeing as it was an impressive component of the Phantom Venom. Instead, this version has a much wider forefoot cavity, so it seems like Nike saw more potential in creating a boot that appealed to a larger subset of players that like a little extra space for their feet to slip into.
Traction and Soleplate
In addition to its revolutionary upper, Nike created a new Hyperquick soleplate and traction system. It is not surprising that they have looked at creating something new and unique, as more brand look at ways to improve underfoot performance in more dynamic ways. it has become the current market trend. In play, there is definitely a sense of reliability that allows for sharp cuts and underfoot control. You often have to build a trust in a new boot in order to get the most out of them on multiple playing surfaces.
The new system features a generative chassis with agility studs and is built to be more rigid in the heel for planting. Conical studs have been split and altered for quick cuts, complemented by wide rotated chevrons. Together, they are designed to “combine for the best traction pattern Nike has ever produced through medial and lateral movements.” Is that the case? I mean, I can’t dispell this or say that it definitely isn’t. What I can tell you is that I was able to create a trust relationship with them on FG and AG surfaces, allowing me to play without distraction or fear of turning my ankle. That to me is more important than it being a scientifically proven upgrade.
I can’t argue that this is a really solid release from Nike. They feel good on foot and provide nice touch on the ball. But, is it really a game changer or a boot that creates a wow factor like the CTR360 Maestri or even the T90 Laser did when it was released? The buzz surrounding their introduction has already sort of subsided, and maybe that has a lot to do with lack of soccer game time across the US at the moment. But, it just seems like another option for players who are on the lookout for a “safe” Nike boot option.
As of posting, we have three different colorways available to choose from. I see that number greatly increasing as big European soccer seasons begin to kick off over the next few weeks. This version I tested was the low cut version of the Elite model. There is also a dynamic cut model available. Check our breakdown of all Phantom GT tiers here.
Price wise, the Phantom GT drops in at $250, what seems to be the norm for current Nike Elite models.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: The Phantom GT is the most data-driven boot Nike has ever created, set to replace the Phantom VSN and VNM.
Would I Buy Them: A definite quality boot that many players will enjoy, I’m one of them. Not my favorite Nike release in recent years, but I get the appeal with these.
Player Position: Designed for playmakers, any type of player that likes to get on the ball and create in tight spaces.