17
Dec

Fresh new attitude: Nike launches a football icon

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PASADENA, Calif.

With the 2014 World Cup less than six months away, Nike paid homage to its soccer roots by returning to the iconic Rose Bowl to celebrate their highly-anticipated release of the Nike Tiempo V and Tiempo ‘94.

Inspired by the memorable World Cup tournaments that captivated US audiences in 1994 and 1999, respectively, the Tiempo collection bridges innovative design and boot heritage that stars like Spain’s Gerard Pique, England’s Ashley Cole and USA’s Tim Howard will wear next summer.

FOX Soccer was fortunate enough to get a special invite under the Pasadena stars to chat with Nike’s North America Soccer General Manager, Aaron Barnett, regarding the company’s celebratory moment.

So settle in boot junkies, here is the exclusive interview:

Charles Ventura: Mr. Barnett, can you tell us a little bit about the Nike Soccer Tiempo collection? What makes this boot so special?

Aaron Barnett: The new Tiempo Legend V looks back into heritage. The technology and innovation built into the leather boot is the best that we’ve ever had in terms of detail.

The design of the Tiempo Legend V focuses on providing the lightest touch. With the development of a new upper, the Tiempo Legend V mimics the touch and lightweight feel to bring the foot closer to the ball.

It’s a great update to a classic from our original boot from 1994. When you look at the Tiempo ‘94, the sportswear inspired shoe, the Tiempo V takes cues from the original line, with a pulse for the street and soccer pitch. The combination of this one-two punch is what we’re super proud of and shows what Nike’s all about.

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CV: Being outside the lovely Rose Bowl while reintroducing these boots with rich tradition, where does this rank in Nike Soccer history? Does it feel full-circle returning to a venue with major significance?

AB: In many ways, this is the spiritual and emotional home of Nike Soccer starting with the 1994 World Cup and capped by USA’s World Cup final victory in 1999. It’s a very special place and we look back to the Rose Bowl as where it all started. This is our way of paying tribute while also looking forward to the future for inspiration.

CV: People outside the soccer community have gravitated toward this boot collection. Why so?

AB: Nike feels soccer in the United States is part of culture. Whether it’s skaters, artists or people from all walks of life, everyone tends to have some affiliation with the beautiful game either because they’re fans of a certain club or have kids that play. It’s growing in the American psyche and as a partner of the sport, we want to help it grow.

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CV: Now, let’s tackle some personal questions. Who’s your favorite soccer player of all-time and why?

AB: Mia Hamm. Mia espouses the values of hard work, team work and leadership. She’s ranks right up there with my favorite athletes of all-time like Michael Jordan and Michael Johnson.

CV: What do you think of USA’s prospects next summer?

AB: As a fan, I love the US mentality. We always think we can win. With Jurgen Klinsmann coaching, the belief is there. We can grab three points against Ghana, Portugal can be vulnerable as history has shown and we hope for the best against Germany. I remain cautiously optimistic but feel we can push through the group stage.

CV: Any players that stand out to you come Brazil 2014?

AB: Well, of course, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo. They’re both dynamic players, it will be interesting to see how they fare after their respective club seasons. Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan are others that come to mind as well. If they’re ticking, the United States have a serious shot of making some noise next summer.    

CV: And finally, who wins the World Cup next year?

AB: Brazil has to be the perennial favorite. The way Brazil played at the Confederations Cup this past summer and the way they’re gelling under Felipe Scolari is noteworthy. Obviously, you can’t rule out Germany, Argentina and the Netherlands. But Brazil remain the team to beat, especially with the entire nation behind their backs. It’s their tournament to lose.

CV: Thank you for your time, Mr. Barnett.

Editor’s note: For more information on Nike’s special boot, click on the video below:

Images provided by Nike Soccer.

15
Nov

The Three Stripes: One-on-one with Ernesto Bruce

image Bruce explains the new inspiration behind Germany’s World Cup kits.

PORTLAND, OR — FOX Soccer was invited to the official adidas World Cup launch party in Timbers Country, and we had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with adidas America Director of Soccer, Ernesto Bruce, for an interview regarding the company’s newest innovations in kits, footwear, and of course, the new World Cup ball.

Hautmann: Mr Bruce, can you tell us a little about the new Samba Collection?

Bruce: So the Samba Pack is essentially our kickoff to the World Cup. A lot of it is based around color, but there are specific things that each cleat is meant to do for the athletes. They all undergo a lot of testing and it all starts with the F50. The F50 adizero is all about light weight for that speed player. We used special materials and brought the weight down to 5.3 ounces.

The Predator is all about control; it has what we call “lethal zones.” Again that comes from player feedback on where they touch the ball the most, so what areas they want to use for control, for swerve, accuracy and for power. Those are all built into the Predator.

The Nitrocharge is a new cleat for us this year and it’s for that energy player. Players who are doing the most tackles, who are running the most, who have that fifth gear in the 90th minute. The way we bring that to live in the cleat is through three key areas; one is the “energy sling,” a rubber material on the forefront of the boot that helps with lateral movement; next is the “energy pulse” which runs along the bottom of the forefront, and that is all about energy return, so when you push off it actually propels you forward. And the third element is protection for all those extra tackles.

Lastly, the 11Pro is all about comfort. This one is 100% leather material on the out-sole, and it also has a comfort plate on the bottom of the cleat, which means it’s softer when you touch down to the ground. It’s all about the feel of the cleat once it’s on, but also the feel of the ball to the cleat.

imageClockwise from top left: The new 11Pro, Predator, F50 and Nitrocharge

TH: Which shoe model has been your most successful?

Bruce: We have a long tradition with the Predator; next year will be our 20th anniversary for that model. It’s traditionally been our number one seller, but that has changed recently with the F50 and that’s because players have wanted a light-weight boot. They’re all about finding a light boot to help them feel faster and more agile. So players like Lionel Messi are using the F50, and that’s helped it become our best-selling boot.

TH: Let’s talk kits. Why did Germany and Spain get new-colored shorts this year?

Bruce: A lot of these federations have a lot of tradition, so they want to keep some of that tradition, but also feel more modern. We try to bring that inspiration to life in their jerseys. First of all Spain, we designed the all red kit to show the vibrancy and power of that deep red connection it has with the flag. Then there’s the golden trim to celebrate that golden era that Spain is going through. Germany brought in the white short and that is because they wanted to focus on the center of the jersey, the crest of the jersey. So it’s less about the shorts, and more about focusing on the shirt.

imageArgentina looks familiar, but Germany and Spain’s new World Cup kits steer slightly away from tradition.

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26
Oct

High-end fashion: adidas unveils Yohji Yamamoto adizero F50

Never afraid to push the envelope, adidas teamed up with award-winning Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto to launch these limited edition yet radical Yohji Yamamoto adizero F50 cleats.

Inspired by Japan’s modern sci-fi culture, Yamamoto (the same mastermind behind adidas’ Y-3 brand) crafted these gaudy boots and incorporated imperial lion-dogs who guarded Japanese emperors who lived on sacred grounds during ancient times in the design.

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Image courtesy of adidas

Yamamoto explained:

“My inspiration is a mixture of ancient traditions and modern sci-fi from Japanese culture. I hope the inspiration of the boot harmonizes the players and gives them extra confidence to express themselves without any fear. People should feel free to express themselves. Just follow your own instinct.”

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Image courtesy of adidas

Bayern Munich defender David Alaba and Paris Saint-Germain’s Lucas Moura are just few of the world footballers that will wear the Yamamoto adizero F50 cleat this weekend:

These boots will not be easy to find however. Only 2,000 pairs will be made available globally, making these special boots an ultimate collectors item.

21
Oct

Ronaldo gets excited about his new boots

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Cristiano Ronaldo is out of this world — that is the message Nike are conveying with their latest CR7 Mercurial IX boots, which were released Sunday night. And to help create some buzz, which shouldn’t be all that hard to do, Nike got their star man to front a quick Instagram video:

Ronnie liiiiiikes.

In Nike’s press release, Footwear Design Director Denis Dekovic gave a detailed account of what inspired their latest boot. And yes, it gets more ridiculous every sentence:

We were watching a game, and after Cristiano scored yet another amazing free-kick the commentator posed the question ‘Is Ronaldo from this planet?!’

When we got back to the design studio we got to thinking about CR7’s style and how similar it was to the definition of a supernova – a celestial body that radiates energy – and that was it, we had our inspiration.

The concept of a star that burns brighter than others reflects Cristiano’s style, speed and the idea that as a player he plays without limits, much like the outer reaches of the galaxy.

Well then!

Later, Ronaldo also Instagrammed Nike’s new advertisment for his new CR7 collection, which also includes sweet galaxy-inspired tees and training gear.

On this post, Ronaldo asks: “How fast is fast? You tell me. #Mercurial”

Answer: apparently as fast as a monkey hanging from a sailing mast, which is approximately almost as fast as Usain Bolt over 100 meters. You learn something new every day.

H/T 101GG

18
Sep

Everton players sport rainbow laces in support of gay rights

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Image: EvertonFC.com

Everton FC has become the first Premier League club to embrace a new campaign to kick homophobia out of soccer by sporting rainbow-colored laces, according to the Daily Mail.

Gay rights charity Stonewall and bookmakers Paddy Power joined forces to launch the “Right Behind Gay Footballers” campaign, and have sent out 5,000 sets of the laces to all professional clubs in England, Scotland and Wales.
 
Everton captain Phil Jagielka and many of his teammates have embraced the idea and will be wearing the new laces for this weekend’s Premier League fixture against West Ham United.

Jagielka told the club’s official website:

For me and the rest of the lads at Everton a player’s sexuality is not important, but their ability on the pitch is.No one should feel that they can’t be themselves – on or off the pitch – so that is why we are supporting this initiative.

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Image: EvertonFC.com

The Premier League has left it up to clubs and individuals to decide if they want to back the campaign or not, and have expressed disappointment that they were not approached by the campaign directly.

A Premier League spokesman said:

The underlying message behind this campaign is a good one, indeed we and our clubs have worked hard with government and other stakeholders to ensure the whole equalities agenda is something we fully are aware of and engaged in.

However, we were not consulted about this particular campaign. Had we been involved earlier in the process we could have worked with Stonewall to consider things like boot deals, the use of particular betting partners, and other issues.

There are currently no active openly gay players in the United Kingdom.
16
Jun

Falcao’s special edition boots come with designer watches. Price? $40K

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Falcao has teamed up with Puma and official World Cup timekeepers Hublot for a consumer deal of a lifetime. The new Monaco signing’s special edition EvoSpeed boots are designed to accompany a limited edition line of designer watches, Falcao-approved of course.

There are two types of bundles: the “King Gold” watch costs a cool $40,000; the “Unico Titanium” is priced at a more “reasonable” $17,000.

Here’s the official description:

“Only 100 pieces are available; 60 titanium and 40 King Gold priced at US$17,000 and US$40,000. Working with Hublot, Puma have created an evoSPEED 1.2 colourway for each watch, numbered 1-60 and 1-40, and the concept was first presented at the Basel Watch fair.

“The lateral side of the boot bears no secondary branding, and have been left blank so each will be personally signed by Falcao. The boots will only be available with each watch sold, and come together in a unique casing.”

Well then! Excuse me while I rush to grab one of these…not.

17
May

Beckham to wear commemorative boots in final home match

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Image: David Beckham

Style has never been a problem for David Beckham.

On the eve of his final home match as a professional soccer player, Beckham announced he will be lacing up these custom boots for Paris Saint-Germain’s match against Brestois. He has partnered up with adidas to create these and it’s clear that they are carrying some signature Beckham style.

Beckham announced his decision on Facebook stating:

I wanted to show the passion I had playing for my country and the pride that gave me during my career. You also see the names of Victoria and the kids which have always been there on my boots.”

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A touching tribute from a true family man.

3
Apr

Mario Balotelli’s new boots

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Images from mrdheo.com/

Looks like Mario Balotelli’s got some new boots. These custom made kicks come courtesy of Portuguese artist Mr.Dheo. If his $240,000 camouflage-wrapped Bentley wasn’t a big enough hint that he likes the camo, these certainly get the point across.

It remains to be seen whether he’ll don them for AC Milan’s match this weekend, here’s hoping he does, but these boots will do anything but blend in.

More pictures after the jump:

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14
Dec

Saint-Étienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang recently turned heads during a Ligue 1 match earlier in the week by wearing diamond-encrusted soccer boots, this according to the Mail.

The Gabonese-French football customized his green Nike Vapors which contained 4,000 Swarovski crystals. Aubameyang’s cleats reportedly cost over $4,000. Wowzas!

No word yet if the fashion police hit Saint-Étienne’s headquarters during the week.