6
Mar

Nike Soccer unveils new Magista football boot

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BARCELONA — With the help of hometown hero Andres Iniesta, Nike lifted the lid on the radical new design in Barcelona unveiling their latest addition to its Flynit technology family: the Magista Football boot.

The Magista features a Dynamic Fit collar that rises past the ankle, an almost sock-like feature. “With Magista, we’ve designed a shoe that feels like an extension of the player’s body. This isn’t a boot that just goes on your foot, it’s a boot that works with your foot,” Nike’s VP of Sport Performance Footwear Phil McCartney said during Thursday’s event. “By eliminating distractions, players are free to unlock their potential and creativity.”

Barcelona’s star midfielder was equally impressed as well.

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17
Feb

Lionel Messi to debut bright new adizero boots

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Adidas unveiled a new edition of Lionel Messi’s signature adizero F50 cleat, and they are what you would expect: attention-grabbers.

Staying in line with adidas’ World Cup theme of accentuating bright, loud colors, Messi’s new boots will feature a sleek color scheme of green, blue, pink, orange and white. Messi will debut the new kicks on the biggest of stages: Tuesday against Manchester City in the Champions League.

As if there won’t be enough eyes on Messi, he’ll be even more noticeable jumping around in boots that look like they were colored in with highlighters that ran out of juice.

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(Images: Adidas)

18
Jan

Balotelli, Reus, Fabregas and Henry star in new Puma commercial

To promote their highly anticipated evoPOWER boots, Puma produced this commercial which basically just involves Cesc Fabregas and Marco Reus destroying a bunch of stuff.

Cesc and Reus are both surrounded by teams of scientists as they test out their new cleats, which apparently provide them with enough power to shoot balls to the moon or through brick walls and stadium scoreboards (not to mention those silly targets). Meanwhile, Thierry Henry observes all the footage from an “undisclosed location,” seemingly impressed.

He then concludes that the powerful boot is ready for the game, and that it should be put to “the final test.” At this time, Mario Balotelli emerges as the final tester, but sadly — or mercifully — the ad comes to an end.

It should only be a matter of time, though, until we get to see what happens next (Prediction: Super Mario destroys a bunch of stuff).

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.

16
Dec

Mario Balotelli wears boots covered in newspaper headlines about himself

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Mario Balotelli didn’t wear his new, blue contact lenses during Monday’s Serie A tilt against Roma, but he got our attention regardless. In an unprecedented move, Super Mario unveiled a new pair of boots covered entirely in newspaper clippings … about himself.

That’s right. For a man who usually dominates the headlines, Balotelli now looks to dominate in them.

Though his current boot supplier is Nike, we’re not sure who is responsible for Balotelli’s latest fashion statement. There’s clearly no Swoosh on them, and the Milan star’s deal with Nike is running out. According to SoccerCleats101, Puma might be the ones behind the new boots.

Or, could it be that Balotelli is simply engaging in some clever self-promotion, letting manufacturers know that his feet are once again “for sale,” kind of like an empty billboard?

We wouldn’t put it past him!

imagePictures via Futbol Fichajes and JuventusFC_News

18
Nov

adidas shows off new products, history of innovation at World Cup 2014 kickoff event

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"No one knows soccer like adidas."

Those were the first words I and about thirty other media members saw run across the screen during the video presentation at the official adidas World Cup kickoff event last Thursday, and it’s hard to argue with them; soccer is firmly encoded in the company’s DNA. Ever since founder Adi Dassler (along with his brother Rudolf, who later started Puma after a bitter rift between the siblings) made his first soccer boot in 1925, it’s been adidas’ vision to help players perform better with innovative engineering.

Dassler’s Argentina cleats ahead of the 1954 World Cup were the first that you could say truly changed the game. The new screw-in studs could be changed based 
on weather conditions, and Dassler had the German national team used them to great advantage. Down 2-0 at halftime, the Germans changed into longer studs to get better traction on the rain-soaked pitch, and rallied against heavily-favored Hungary – who did not wear adidas – in what is called the Miracle of Bern. Not coincidentally, many top players started exclusively wearing adidas boots thereafter.

Forty years later, the introduction of the Predator would redefine the business, and the sport, once more. Its unconventional rippled fins helped players increase power, swerve and control of the ball, while the new traxion stud technology provided better traction and grip, improving acceleration and lateral movement. Almost twenty years later, the Predator is still the top-selling boot of all time.

imageIt looks almost prehistoric now, but the 1994 Predator was the most popular cleat of its time.

Fast-forward to the present. For the 2014 World Cup, four new cleats were announced at the World Cup launch, each tailored for certain player types. There are the ever-popular adizero F50 and Predator models, designed for the speed and finesse players, respectively; the latest 11Pro, which is all about comfort; and the brand new energy-retaining Nitrocharge cleat, designed for those players who run and tackle the most, already worn by workhorses such as Javi Martinez and Dani Alves.

The new line of cleats, named the Samba Collection, was built for and inspired by Brazil, says Ernesto Bruce, adidas North America’s director of soccer. The company’s design team went down to Rio de Janeiro for Carnival and came back with the colorful vision for its new cleats, which are already out for sale. You can read more about each cleat in my interview with Bruce.

Of course, another big component of the presentation was the new World Cup kits, including favorites Spain, Argentina, Germany and Mexico, which unsurprisingly is the best-selling kit in the Unites States. They are all mind-blowingly light; the full kit (shirt and shorts) weighs a combined 8.8 ounces. That’s 40 percent lighter than the kits players currently wear. They’re also a sight for sore eyes:

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Giddy media members, myself included, were allowed to test out the new boots and kits in a friendly match that also featured Bruce and two honorary captains — former USA internationals Jimmy Conrad and Jeff Agoos.

I tested the new Nitrocharge cleats, and what stood out to me — other than the fact they come in the brightest neon hue possible — was the elastic EnergySling around the forefoot, designed to facilitate side cuts and precision turns. It’s a wonderful boot, and though I’m not sure how much I helped the cause, Team Germany would go on to beat Team Everyone Else, 5-3. The match ended on a truly spectacular own goal scored from a good twenty yards out by Agoos, who we figured simply wanted the game to be over with.

imageHere’s yours truly, lined up at left back next to former USA international Jeff Agoos.

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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