hile Nike has not actually been making soccer shoes for as long as some other manufacturers such as Puma and Adidas they have quickly caught up with them in terms of quality and technology. They are committed to continue their development of the soccer cleat and the technology they use in them. This commitment has them up the top with other manufacturers for leading soccer cleats. With this philosophy in mind it is up to the buyer to decide whether their shoes are delivering what they have promised. Here is a guide for Nike soccer cleats.
Breaking Down the Different Parts of Nike Soccer Cleats
When looking at Nike soccer cleats you have many styles and colors to choose from. But as well as how they look it is important you consider how they were made so you choose cleats that suit your player needs and help improve your performance.
The upper is the part of the shoe that is visible. In the upper there can be a heel counter to make the shoe fit better and offers the player some reinforcement. Nike soccer cleats uppers can be made from three main material options which are;
- Kangaroo Leather – Very strong leather, the softest available and it molds to your feet well.
- Microfiber Synthetic Leather – Tough, light and soft.
- Full Grain Leather – A good choice if you have not opted for Kangaroo leather, it is strong and soft just not quite as much the other.
Nike soccer cleats come with one of three lacing systems so which ever you choose really is down to personal style and choice. These three systems are;
- Covered laces – These are designed to improve contact and give a larger area with which to kick the ball.
- Symmetrical laces – They run up the cleats in a straight line.
- Asymmetrical laces – To improve accuracy and kicks the area of the shoe that comes into contact with the ball has been increased by placing the laces offset.
The Outsole is the bottom of the shoes on which there are several arrangements and types of studs. These include;
- Blades that are there to offer more comfort and allow the player to grip the field.
- Round studs that are made to offer less stud pressure than other types.
- Molded studs that are designed for hard ground play and replaceable studs that are for soft ground play.
The midsole is where your foot rests on and is often made from a heat compressed type of foam. Nike has different foams that they use depending on the kind of shoe it is going in.
- Air Zoom Unit – a thin foam that allows you to be closer to the ground without losing any comfort and may make some of the harder moves easier.
- Nike injected Phylon midsole – offers comfort and less stud pressure on your feet.
- Sockliner – Gives extra comfort that molds to fit your feet.
Here is a look at some of the Nike soccer cleats on the market today.
Nike T90 Laser IV
The advertising slogan Nike used for these cleats really covers the point of these shoes. ‘The perfect strike‘. It has a strike zone that is called an Adaptive Shield and there are separate areas it breaks down into. The strike zone or upper area will flex as you strike the ball while giving some extra power. The swerve zone or lower area has fins positioned carefully to give more bend when you want it and a closer feel. The cleat is best suited to either Forwards or Defenders and the look and durability make it a top option from Nike. Check out the T90 Laser IV.
Nike Vapor VIII
The Vapor VII left most players puzzled as it completely lacked identity but the Vapor VIII came onto the market much stronger. It has an upper made from a suede microfiber and a heel with two blades, the first to be seen in soccer cleats, to give the player a more cutting edge soccer cleat. This boot also comes with a fit that is different to others, it sits lower on the foot as it has a forefoot that is wider. This gives a comfortable contoured fit that many top players appreciate such as Ozil, Ronaldo, Hazard and Ibrahimovich. However the upper does tend to scuff too easily and the blades are a little too sharp in design.
Nike Tiempo Ronaldinho 10R
These were the first Nike soccer cleats that were personalized and made for a sponsored player. Ronaldinho played for Barcelona and had received two World Player awards making him a great way to market a new soccer boot. To make a large striking zone it has a fold over tongue, the upper is made from soft Kangaroo leather and it has a stitching pattern that is new to fit across the forefoot in a more personalized way. It has a professional appearance and has what you would expect from the Tiempo range of Nike soccer cleats.
Nike Mercurial Vapor III
These cleats are made from a new synthetic upper making the Vapor III a great lead into the Vapor series. It is a boot that offers the player better ball feel, better strike and control all in a lightweight shoe. It also has a new technology from Nike the ‘Speed Last’ which gives more comfort and maximizes speed opportunities because it contours to the curves of the foot. This kind of shoe is especially appreciated by players like Ronaldo who was part of the marketing and played great soccer in them. They are one of the best in the Vapor series of soccer cleat but have a slight issue with durability in the upper.
Nike CTR360 Maestri II
Some people who know their soccer boots may wonder why the CTR360 II is here and not the III. While the III is a great boot so far it has yet to really prove itself or its value. However II version has been around for longer and has had time to show its worth. Nike wanted a boot that gave players more control and the ability to receive and send passes more successfully. The instep’s black area and the smaller red area are the pads for passing and receiving. The black is for better control. These sections are much like the TPU fins that can be found on the T90 Laser III. The better control is created by dampening the soccer ball as it touches the foot. With the high comfort levels this boot suits not just the marketed playmaker player but also other styles across the field.