The transition of the football boot brand from the casual ‘release it when it’s ready’ and the slightly more tactful ‘put out new boots ahead of the World Cup/Christmas’ to finely tuned marketing machines has been both silky smooth and scarily swift.
In a little under two decades we’ve gone from a new Predator (for example) every World Cup year, to two years to accommodate the European Championships too, and down to one a season now.
Not only that, but the range a boot brand must have has also increased – meaning we now get a new version of every boot once a season, and a colourway refresh every three months.
Such a short time it has been, then, that we’ve only got a small selection of rituals as football boot fans – and one that I’ve enjoyed since Euro 2008 has been Nike’s ‘Pack’ releases for major tournaments.
As sad as it might be, I genuinely look forward to seeing what Nike cook up – bringing together all their boots together in one unified design choice that looks great across their full range of boots (which must be a nightmare for designers!).
There was also that little bit of a punk-rock element that I particularly enjoyed; with Nike not sponsoring any of the major international tournaments, putting together these packs of boots allowed them to dominate the field visually – even in games where Nike had less sponsored athletes than other brands, spectators would swear Nike was the most popular thanks to all the boots boasting the same colourscheme.
To be honest, I love the idea of ‘saving’ the pack notion for the big summer tournaments; keeping it a special occasion that we as football boot fans can all look forward to.
However, with the Hi-Vis pack in particular I can see the sense of Nike’s decision to make releasing boots as a ‘collection’ a regular thing; with this the pack of boots that will be getting the most exposure ahead of the holiday season and with the majority of adidas-sponsored Champions League games taking place under the floodlights – where the Hi-Vis Collection is designed to be the most visible.
Throw into the mix that Puma in particular have been theming their quarterly releases – in particular the evoSPEED and PowerCat – and why wouldn’t Nike make a song and dance of having all their boots themed?
My only hope is that Nike’s design team can maintain the pace of releasing packs of boots more frequently than just every two years.