Ronaldo-approved boot draws inspiration from nature in latest update
ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 14, 2018 03:51 PM
“They fit perfectly. The 360 innovation — it’s perfect. They are comfortable and they look good, so they have everything.” -- Real Madrid and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo.
No matter how innovative a pair of football boots may be, if the fit isn’t right, if the foot slides even the slightest inside the boot, speed can be compromised.
For this reason, a natural, form-fitting body became the focal point in designing the new Mercurial, leading to its game-changing 360 construction made possible through a new advancement in Nike Flyknit technology.
The Mercurial Superfly 360 and Mercurial Vapor 360 wrap the entire foot in Nike Flyknit, which aims to help make unwanted movement inside a football boot a thing of the past.
“This new innovation hugs the foot and eliminates the gaps between the foot and the soleplate. In fact, it eliminates the soleplate altogether,” explains Max Blau, VP of Nike Football Footwear.
Without a soleplate, the sockliner interlocks with a new internal chassis that is tuned for maximum responsiveness.
The chassis is individually tuned per size via computational programming. “With previous Mercurials, we based everything on a size 9. But with Mercurial 360, we can deliver properly proportioned fit at every size,” explains Jeongwoo Lee, Nike Football Senior Design Director.
“Each size has a unique chassis designed to align with the expected bone structure," he adds.
Meanwhile, the traction is provided by precisely placed studs in the forefoot and heel.
The design team drew inspiration from agile cheetahs and focused on traction at speed, leading to the minimalist approach akin to a cheetah's paw in stride.
“The aggressive forefoot is built for acceleration in any direction while the heel studs help the player stop on a dime,” notes Lee.
The reimagined underfoot of the boot is more than just visually stunning, however. “This boot is less like a hoof, more like a claw,” explains Blau. “The feedback we get from players is that there is a sensation that the boot just disappears in the way it syncs with the foot.”
“My first reaction when I saw the new Mercurial was...the best boots ever! They fit straight away. The material, the design, the new technology, it’s amazing,” Cristiano Ronaldo said.
For its 20th anniversary, the Mercurial adopts a clean aesthetic with a small forefoot Swoosh and a bold “M” on the heel.
“Mercurial players tend to be very fast, so that “M” is the last thing defenders will see when a Mercurial player blows by them,” says Lee.
A Dynamic Fit Collar takes on a lower cuff, similar to the modified version Ronaldo has preferred in recent seasons.
Both the Superfly and Vapor versions of Mercurial 360 feature a soft, one-piece internal lining, part of the effort to reduce the number of boot components. “Mercurial is best when it’s minimal and streamlined,” says Lee.
Mercurial Superfly 360 and Mercurial Vapor 360 will debut on pitch this weekend and will be available February 14 on nike.com.