Unveiled yesterday in Brazil by Nike, the latest advancement in football (soccer) boot design came in the form of a boot that utilizes the new NIKESKIN mesh for an upper, effectively allowing the player to get as close as possible to the sensation of playing barefoot. How is the game changing and how did the design team find the answer to this new playing style in the Hypervenom?
The Nike Hypervenom
“The athletes asked us to deliver a boot that gets as close as possible to the feeling of playing barefoot…”
-Denis Dekovic, Nike Football Design Director
Up until recently, the key to a great football player was his speed and pace on the pitch. Speed has been so crucial that even the previous top of the line football boot offering from Nike was purely designed for speed (the Mercurial Vapor IX boot). Today however, most players are able to keep the pace and have no problem with the speed aspect of the game.
According to Nike Football Design Director Denis Dekovic, “Players want to be quicker, not just in a foot race, but quicker with the ball at their feet in small spaces. They want to create chances from nothing. These faster, more agile defenders need to be combatted.”
More specifically, feedback from elite players such as Neymar, Wayne Rooney, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic revealed that players at this level need a boot that allows them to create space more quickly in and around the penalty area, as well as being able to get a shot from any angle of the boot. Additionally, the players added that unlike in the past, today’s defenders are just as quick, agile, and skillful as the world’s best forwards.
“Help me make space more often and more quickly. I want a boot that helps enhance my agility and gives me the space to get my shot off before I’m closed down.”
-Neymar, Brasil Striker
In order for strikers to combat these increasing quick defenders, the Nike Football team had to re-examine not just the boot itself, but the entire way it was created. The Hypervenom’s upper is created using the new NIKESKIN system, which features a soft supple mesh bound with a thin polyurethane film, and is finished off with Nike’s All Conditions Control technology (ACC) to provide the same ball control results in both wet and dry playing environments.
Additionally, the boot also features an all-new foot last with the goal of removing excess materials to place the player’s foot that much closer to the NIKESKIN mesh and ultimately, the ball. Working with podiatrists, the team created an outsole that increases the player’s ability to make the first step away from the defender that much quicker: a groove in the forefoot helps the player quickly activate the first metatarsal, which defines the reaction time of the foot’s movement. The stud configuration is designed for a faster penetration of the playing surface which, ultimately also enables a quicker release for quick cuts and sprints.
The new Nike Hypervenom will debut on June 2 in the Brasil v. England match on the feet of Neymar and Wayne Rooney.