The Nike Phantom GT FlyEase is a release that caters to a very specific type of soccer player, offering a new type of fit to players that need a little help getting into their game boots. They are definitely not your traditional release, instead featuring a fold-down heel for easy entry and a wrap-around strap closure in lieu of laces. The wrap-around strap is actually attached to where the laces would normally be, allowing you to create a controlled, snug fit around the forefoot.
After waiting a few weeks, we finally managed to get a pair to test out. Note that this is not your typical review, primarily because they shouldn’t be viewed as an every player release. I want to focus on some key performance characteristics that make them so unique to the market and the players they are intended to cater for.
Find the latest Flyease FG releases available at SOCCER.com.
What is Nike FlyEase?
Flyease is an easy-entry footwear system designed by Nike to help athletes put on and secure their shoes—with zero compromise to fit and performance. Since its debut, FlyEase technologies have been employed in more than 20 footwear styles across basketball, running and sportswear. This is the first time it has been implemented on soccer footwear.
You can see from above how the wrap-around strap closure is attached to strings, these strings run through the lacing system. As you close the strap, these strings tighten around the forefoot, creating a secure fit. The tighter you pull the strap, the tighter the fit will be. A series of Velcro closures ensure that once you pull the strap into position, it won’t loosen. And from experience wearing them, I can confirm that the fit you create is what you get through play, in other words it doesn’t loosen.
Where it is Used
First note, this is the Phantom GT Academy, the entry level boot in the Phantom GT silo. My thought here is that Nike don’t want to create a high priced release that probably won’t suit a lot of players, instead placing the technology on a more affordable shoe option. In other words, they are testing the market to see how players respond to its implementation on the boot.
The Academy silo is a pretty basic one. There is plenty of definition across the upper, but the material is not as responsive as what you’d find on the Elite and Pro level options. Again, FlyEase is not available on either of those boots. But, having had the opportunity to test them, I completely get why Nike would only use it on the Academy. I call them basic, but they really are a simple yet effective boot that allows you to play from first wear without having to complicate things. So, as much as I want to go into “how is the touch” and “how do they feel to strike shots” there isn’t a whole lot of strong talking points.
How do they Fit?
Where you really need to get these right is in the fit. If they are too tight, your heel ends up sitting on the lip created by the FlyEase system, and that is going to cause a lot of discomfort during wear. On the opposite set of the spectrum, you have to be careful not to get them too long. Because they don’t have a real lacing system, you are reliant on the velcro strap that wraps around the heel. When you pull it tight, the material pushes over the heel tab and, again, can cause some discomfort through wear. So, you have a narrow window in which to get the sizing right!
My experience was that the 9US I wore, were a little too tight. I would have preferred an extra half size up. It was the feeling of sitting right on the lip of the heel that left me wanting a little extra room. So, if you are considering a pair it is my advice to go up a half size from what you would normally wear in Nike cleats.
Who are they designed for?
Ultimately, it is players who need an easier entry system that will have the most success with them. If you have the ability to work your way into a pair of boots and tie your own laces, then it is wiser to stick with the standard version of the boot. But, if you need something that is a lot easier to access, with the ability to tighten using one hand, then they are a definite option to consider.
It is the type of release that you want to be just right. They serve a very specific purpose and there is a market for them. But, it is my personal opinion that there is some room for improvement. I expect Nike will look at this design and evaluate how FlyEase technology can be improved to make them even more suitable for soccer players. It is the fit around the heel where some modification might make them a more suitable playing option.
Find available Flyease options available at SOCCER.com.