Forget your Gran's Christmas jumpers - Nike's new Magista boots are the coolest thing to happen to knitting ever.
The boots, unveiled ahead of the 2014 World Cup which starts in Brazil in June, use Nike's genius new Flyknit tech to make a shoe that "feels like an extension of the player’s body”.
Stuff got hands on - or should that be feet on - with them at their launch in Barcelona.
BACK OF THE KNIT
So why knitted? Well, says Nike, by using such futuristic construction techniques the boot will fit around your feet like a glove, creating a second skin – or sock-like feel – while simultaneously delivering the strength, structure and support needed to play ball.
Ultimately, the material is designed to bring your foot closer to the ball for enhanced control, and Nike is so confident about its ability, it’s claiming “no other boot will get your foot this close to the ball.”
“It’s like wearing a glove," says Phil McCartney, Nike's VP of sport performance footwear. "A glove starts at the wrist, not halfway up the hand. You need that transition so you don’t disrupt your body’s natural movement. The mid-cut allows the foot, ankle, and lower leg to work together as a single unit, emphasising their natural movements. This isn’t a boot that just goes on your foot, it’s a boot that works with your foot."
STRONG IN THE TACKLE
According to Nike, the web-like 3D-knit material on top gives you "a more aggressive texture to create friction on the ball for accurate dribbling and striking." Great - but surely that's at the expensive of protection and durability? Not so. Nike assures us that the Magista retains the strength and protection of a conventional boot. Brio cables have also been knitted directly into it, creating strength in the way that a suspension bridge works.
So while the Nike Flyknit technology provides a lighter, more comfortable ride, if you come into contact with a player’s studs, there’ll be no reason to dramatically feign injury while rolling on the floor. Well, none other than the usual ones like trying to win a free kick or get an opponent sent off.
HIGH-TOP OF THE LEAGUE
The use of Nike’s FlyKnit tech isn’t the only awesome thing about the Magista’s design. When was the last time you saw a football boot with a high-top design? According to Nike, that’s a Dynamic Fit collar, to give you a locked-down fit and flexibility of movement.
But how will they fare on a squelchy, sodden pitch on a Sunday morning? NIKESKIN’s your answer. It’s a 0.1mm thick layer that essentially melts on to the knit to protect the boot and prevent water damage.
If you're still struggling to believe that a knitted boot - did we mention they're knitted? - will help you achieve footballing glory, maybe a few half-decent players can convince you. “Unbelievable”, “perfect” and “futuristic” were just some of the words used to describe the Magista boots by Barcelona’s Andrés Iniesta and Bayern Munich's German forward Mario Götze, who have worked closely with Nike bods during the boot’s four-year development.
“The fit of this boot is so unique that I don’t think about it when I’m wearing it,” says Iniesta. “It allows me to move the way I need to instinctively and with more confidence.”
Nike says “football will never be the same again”, which is a pretty bold statement to make. But with Adidas also revealing its own knitted boot earlier today in the form of the Primeknit FS, there’s no denying that footie footwear is undergoing its biggest change since the days when players wore pigs' stomachs on their feet. Or maybe we're remembering that wrong.
Either way, the Nike Magista boots will be available for pre-order on April 29 – just don’t expect to play like Iniesta every time you slip them on.
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