Back to Black: Good or Bad?

Given their penchant for neon coloured football boots like the Mercurial Vapor IV Citron & Berry and the Blaze Orange T-90 Laser II, it was something of a surprise to hear Nike announce that their intention was to have all their players playing in black football boots for the first couple of months of the new season.

nike back to black

Nike’s ‘Back to Black’ range

Back when Footy Boots first broke this story in July there was a massive difference of opinion – some seemed to disagree with the move, and were obviously looking forward to seeing Nike’s newest models in glorious techinolour; whereas others welcomed the nod to the old-school, grateful for giving their tired eyes a rest.

From an analytic point of view; this was always going to happen. One of the big manufacturers was going to hit a point where there they couldn’t do anything more with the colouring on boots until the introduction of new models – a colourway critical mass if you like. This has probably come sooner than expected as with the advent of services like NikeiD, many people can just go out and buy the boots in the colours they want.

nike back to black superfly

Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly

But have Nike made a bad move in terms of timing by launching their ‘Back to Black’ campaign?

The dawn of a new season is one of the key times in the football equipment market – with players of all levels and ages making their mind up and taking the plunge on a new pair of boots for the next 9 months, so surely as a company you’d want your product to be as obvious and bold as possible?

Looking at some of the prominent goal scorers from this weekend’s EPL action, Jermain Defoe, Emmanuel Adebayor ‘  and Wade Elliott were all playing in a blistering blue adidas combo- Defoe & Adebayor in the f50i’s and Elliott in adiPure.

back to black adidas f50i

The striking adidas f50i

Other brands are going against Nike and moving away from black boots in a bid for getting noticed. Umbro are pushing the new White/Red Speciali (being sported by the rejuvenated Darren Bent), Under Armour are being represented by Danny Murphy’s White Dominate Pro’s and Peter Crouch is giving Puma plenty of camera-time in gold v1.08’s.

back to black umbro speciali

Umbro’s latest Speciali

Interestingly, from a scientific point of view the most ‘apparent’ colour to the human eye on the visible light spectrum is Green; however given the contrast to the grass that the beautiful game is played on very few green boots make it to market (only the ‘Unseen Green’ Puma v1.06 and f50.8’s in ‘Slime Green’ spring to mind)!

So, while Drogba, Rooney and Robinho were honouring their sponsor’s wishes by lacing up in Nike’s darkest, perhaps it players like Keane, Torres, Bendtner and Carlton Cole who opted for the more vibrant shades who’ll be doing them the biggest favour!

What’s your opinion? No-one’s going to think Nike are going to be in financial trouble over this move, but do you think they’ve made their football boots a little less attractive to buyers? Or, do you think that as long as Rooney, Drogba & co keep bagging goals that’s all the motivation people need to buy Nike boots? Let us know.

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  1. says: Lyrad

    I think that there’s nothing wrong with this ‘back to black’ move… in fact, i think its good that nike has such a ‘campaign’, promoting the black boots.
    less attractive? i don’t think so! the colours for each of the models are awesome in my opinion, especially the vapour, which has to be the most classy one i’ve seen!

  2. says: Splinter09

    I’m guilty to say, I’ve never been a fan of multi-coloured football boots, even though lately I’ve been playing with a pair of Vapor IV Citron and a pair of white Lotto’s Adapto. This “Back to Black” move is a simple marketing strategy to push fans that bought their favourite player multi-coloured football boot last season buy a new pair this season.

  3. says: steve

    there was green vapor iv’s too… and i think the black vapor v is the best color they’ve put out so far. But the new black and orange total 90’s are horrible

  4. says: Snolly G

    i see nothing wrong with black. it’s a classic color and miles better looking than the retina-burning neons.

    on the other hand, i prefer white, which i find gives the illusion of speed.

  5. says: Eduardo

    Like the article first off. Second off I think everyone is reading to much into the back to black ploy. The adiPures both one and two when they first came out were in black in white and were flying off the shelves. To me this is just a way of keeping the whole world guessing as to what new colors are coming our way. Kind of like pushing the reset button. Also when the legends were first introduced they were in black and white or white with different colors that did not take over the boot, and they too were flying off the shelves. What matters the most is the quality and comfort. The colors are more of a luxury as I see it.

  6. says: Sir Prance Alot

    With 2010 round the corner and the launch of a whole new set of product for Q1 & Q2 in 2010 to coincide with the build up to South Africa – the back to black campaign is colour merchandising at its best.

    Will make the new technology and design more visible and allow it to be promoted more effectively.

  7. says: Ghost Mutt

    If they were going to make a basics black campaign they should have actually made the boots black or at the most black and white. The T90s are especially ridiculous.

  8. says: Kyle

    Thanks for the feedback all!

    I personally like the way all the boots are mainly black with little ‘splashes’ of colour, but I think that adidas have been more impressive with the f50i marketing and such brightly coloured boots. Even when the camera’s zoomed out you can always spot the f50i!

    Sir Prance Alot – that’s an awesome shout; it’s thinking like that which makes it obvious footy-boots has the best boot discussion on the web!

  9. says: Scott

    Agree with Ghost Mutt to an extent. They would have got a far better response if the colourways of all 4 boots actually matched. As it is they just look messy when pictured together as at the top of this article, makes the ‘back to black’ campaign seem a bit last minute to me.

  10. says: Sixstud

    I am a traditionalist and much prefer good old simple balck and white boots. Coloured boots are one of the biggest blights in the game, IMHO, and i am getting sick to death of seeing how far players will go to make themselves look as stupid as possible on the pitch, esp. when the boots they sport utterly clash with the colours of their team kit. Give me a simple, elegant, and classic Copa Mundial anyday over those overhyped, overbearing, and ridiculous Vapours.
    I am also glad to say that my fave player has for a long time now stayed fairly true to basic black boots, the legendary Steven Gerrard.

  11. says: ill-d

    im very much in the same opinion as sixstud….im not so much against colored boots, but it seriously burns my retinas seeing a player wearing ridiculous colored boots that clash horribly with the team’s uniform colors.

    Wearing citron neon green vapors with a red uniform not only looks tasteless, but it just screams “look at me!” like a 5 year old with a temper tantrum needing to be the center of attention.

    on the other hand, wearing that laser 2 with the black and orange would go perfect with Hull’s uniform…black and orange boots with a black and orange uniform. makes sense to me. and perhaps those neon green citron vapors have a place on the feet of some of the Seattle Sounders players, considering the green is very close to the green on their uniforms.

    and im not opposed to colored boots, so long as it isnt clashing…because that’s when a player starts standing out and looking as if they are there for themselves rather than the team. even if that isn’t the case, it just looks like crap. im sorry, im a graphic designer by trade and horrid color combos irk me terribly.

    as for this “back to black” campaign, it make sense to me being part of the advertising world…nike has pushed the ridiculous colors for a while now, so it makes sense to change things up and do the opposite ie. “back to black”. im sure they will be putting out black boots and slightly less ridiculous colorways for a while, then when that runs its course revert back to things like pink/green colorways a la the sex pistols “never mind the bollocks” album cover ;p

    Last thing: being a weekend warrior forward/boot collector, i frequent many forums on the subject…and know what colorways of the vapors seem to garner the most “oooo”‘s and “ahhh”‘s? The vapor Euros, which are brown approaching black with a white swoosh, and the NikeID just black/white and white/black vapors that can only be bought at the London Nike store. Both colorways very traditional.

  12. says: Ben Parker

    I believe that nike have agin shown their intelligence by going against other brands and goin for a more traditional colourway. I think that the bright range of colourways that are around are mainly for younger players as from my experience of local sunday league football if you were these bright colours you tend to get a little more attention then wanted from the opposition’s huge centre half lol also I think it has to be recognised that adidas do have traditional coloured boots i.e adidas world cup’s, copa mundials and of course the adipure of which the first two have lasted the test of time and are recognised as the best selling football boots ever

  13. says: Kurve

    I agree witrh Scott, the ‘Back to Black’ seems like an after thought as the boots are uncoordinated, unlike the Euro 2008 brown/white/blue range which was a consistant line up.

    The Vapors do hark back to the first Nike Air Strike from the mid 80s, which is class.

    The Legends need to sort the tongue out as this is one of it’s few let downs (very nice in white/challenge red, though the Super Ligera was a masterpiece of a colourway).

    As for the T90 Laser, not so good. Better ‘Back To Black’ colours were released last season. None of the ‘Nike 90 minute’ style boots have ever been handsome dating back to the Air GX/Air Turbino, with the exception of possibly the T90 II.

    Just a shame that Nike may not be continuing the R10 range as the first R10 was quality.

  14. says: james j.

    this back to black thing is fabulous!! ths campaign is actually making more people buy these you have heard “CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON WISELY”..that makes them choose the best one for them..the colors are nice! except for the t90 laser should be black and red!

  15. says: ballzonfire00

    awesome campaign….. nice boots too, except the t90 laser 2. though the f50i is more noticeable during the matches than any other boots due to its bright colourway but still its a good strategy by nike to market their products. though i have one of those tiempos……. like superfly the most :P:P

  16. says: john

    i think that this is a great way to show that football isnt about how flashy ur boots are. its about the way u play the beautiful game. this colour makes people watch the game not the players boots

  17. says: Motorhead

    I think it’s great as I’ve only ever worn black boots (& leather ones at that) & every year I’ve had less & less options so think it’s about time a brand catered to the market who isn’t interested in looking like a princess.

  18. says: zc

    I completely agree with the fact they dont all match. They should all be B&W, B&neonyellow or B&orange. its annoying! In a different light I think Nike are deliberately using all black boots so when a new colourway comes out, it will seem really flamboyant and everyone will rush to get this new colour.

  19. says: channo

    nike are the one to blame that our youngsters wears pink and lime green cleats to the pitch (the vapors).
    they’ve set the wrong trend. awfully wrong.
    now they wanted to “fix” their own mistakes by this so-called “black campaign”? they ought to.

    myself? i didn’t really care about the trend, the hype, or the campaign one company is having.
    i only wears white, and nothing else. i think white reflects my personality, fashion & playing style the best.

    i think its a good thing to do. cuz by doing so, no company advertisement could get into my wallet. nike could go all out with their black campaign, but i’m sticking with my first release white T90.
    so does adidas could have as many lionel messi argentina edition as they like, i’m only buying the white champions league F50i 😛

  20. says: Matt

    If you’re buying your boots based on what is that flashiest, you probably suck. If your boots have to be bright colors to get people to buy them, then they probably suck.

  21. says: Omar

    I’ve always worn black boots when possible, with the exception of the astro turf powerswerve predators which were white.

    For me the best boot is the first version of the Tiempo Legend.

  22. says: Nath

    IF You want a nice pair of boots,I would say go for a nice pair of leather f50i in black and gold thats what i got and unbelievabley comfortable

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