NEW NIKE PATENT HINTS AT FUTURE OF FOOTBALL BOOTS

A recent patent has revealed Nike are considering a TUNiT-style approach to the soleplate for their future football boots, potentially re-energising the concept of customised boots after adidas ditched their system on the adiZero.

New Nike Football Boots Patent - Future of Football Boots

A likely candidate for a Copa/Tiempo style sole

The patent – which was updated at the end of May – hints that Nike may well be looking to revamp their whole athletic shoe range, with football boots being prominently mentioned, using what are being dubbed as outsole ‘pods’ that are held to the rest of the shoe with the studs themselves.

The idea is that after buying a pair of new football boots, you can change the ‘pod’ and studs on the bottom to accommodate a different configuration.

Whilst the most obvious use for this is to allow a player just to buy one pair of football boots a season, and then use different Pods to depending on firm ground, soft ground or artificial turf, we think Nike’s penchant for customised soleplates may help them bring a level of boot personalisation to the masses that has previously only been reserved for professionals.

Many of Nike’s biggest stars, including Fernando Torres, Jack Wilshire and Cesc Fabregas have been known to play in a variety of different soleplates to those available on store shelves.

For example, Torres is often spotted training in the ‘Interact Soleplate’;

New Nike Football Boots Patent - Future of Football Boots

Made famous on early T90’s, it’s a highly regarded stud configuration amongst Nike fans, who might well be willing to shell out extra providing they can get their beloved soleplate back – especially if they can transfer it between all the Nike football boots in their kitbag.

 

How is it Different to the TUNiT System?

New Nike Football Boots Patent - Future of Football Boots
A classic Nike SG soleplate, with two more, increasingly versatile ‘pods’.

Looking further into the patent, Nike namechecks the likes of adidas and American brand Wilson, identifying the similarities between the systems they have used in the past and the ones that Nike are proposing.

However, by Article 10 of the document, Nike clarify that “None of these patents disclose an article of footwear containing both cleats, including studs and/or spikes, and tread elements that are distinct from the cleats but which further serve to provide an article of footwear with traction”

“Furthermore, like interchangeable cleats, which provide differing kinds of traction based on the type and/or conditions of the surface, there is a need for tread element configurations that may also be interchanged, to provide more subtle variations in traction needs. In this way the user of such footwear need only purchase one article of footwear, but can purchase, independently, interchangeable tread configurations and cleats to be fastened to the outsole of the footwear.”

Essentially meaning that whilst adidas TUNiT studs were distinctly designed for'  TUNiT football boots and chassis, the Nike pod system remains distinct from any single line of Nike footwear – thus is different to competitors by it’s versatility.

 

Four Key Quotes from Nike’s Patent Relevant to Football Boots

New Nike Football Boots Patent - Future of Football Boots

 


 

In the ‘Summary of Invention’, Nike describe some interesting scenarios for their soleplate system – which would have some interesting implications for football boots;

– “The present invention provides an article of footwear, comprising: an upper and an outsole; a pod set, including a first pod and a second pod”

– “The first pod is fastened to the outsole by at least two cleats and wherein the second pod is fastened to the outsole by at least two cleats.”

– “By associating a pod of the selected pod set with the outsole, and attaching that pod by using cleats from the selected cleat set, the user is able to modify the article of footwear themselves to provide varying degrees of traction.”

– “In some situations, it may be preferable for a user to purchase multiple pre-packaged pod sets and pre-packaged cleat sets at one time.”

Personally, we think the idea of putting a Superfly III forefoot and a Tiempo Legend IV’s heel studs on the soleplate of our CTR360 – but we think this could have far reaching consequences…

How Could This Invention Change Nike’s Approach to Football Boots

New Nike Football Boots Patent - Future of Football Boots

Nike’s retail vision for the Pod sole system.

An invention like this sounds exceptional, in a time of rising football boot prices we could see each purchase being now almost doubling in value to the customer – if not tripling if you could get a HG/AG/AT ‘pod’ you could wear for training as well.

However, this could potentially change the way that Nike distribute their football boots.

First of all, a soleplate of this design would certainly limit the effectiveness of the Nike Elite Series – if not cause Nike to re-think the line all together.

Why make an ultra-light pair of football boots if the consumer can stick a heavy set of studs on them? Perhaps in the future the Elite Series will be the ‘pure’ form of Nike’s football boots, where they won’t include the Pod system for the sake of weight.

Another area this could effect would be takedown models; one of the main things that differentiate Nike’s range is the soleplate – it will be very interesting to see how the lower-priced parts of Nike’s range are treated, should this reach production.

New Nike Football Boots Patent - Future of Football Boots

We may never see this concept hit store shelves, but we know your mind is already considering the possibilities of what this could mean for the football boots market!

So, if you’ve stuck with us this far, you’re obviously the sort of well informed, supremely dedicated – not to mention devilishly handsome – person whose comments could really capture the imagination on a piece like this.

So why not get involved and leave one below?


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20 Comments

  • I’m not a big fan of Nike football boots, but I love thw way they challenge the entire industry to stay relevant.  

  • I don’t think there is any doubt that interchangeable soles are really useful. As a kid I used to swap my screw in studs for rubbers in the summer, then back again. It worked okay, except the studs were prone to falling out. I never tried the tunits, but did gaze with envy at my teammates swapping the soles. However the feedback I heard was that they were not very well made and they were expensive. 

    Boot brands are looking to differentiate themselves, they are also looking for something exciting to attract us consumers. 

    If Nike could pull this off with a quality product and with what is becoming important in modern day life, a decent price tag, it really could change modern boots for a long time.

  • Great article! This is the sort of thing I love to see and what makes Footy-Boots so great. First of all nice work on picking this up in the first place. The real issues with this concept though is making it more effective/efficient than the TUNiT system which I consider a bit of a failure. However knowing Nike it would most likely be accompanied by a hefty price tag.

    Either way I think it’s a very interesting concept that I’d like to see developed a bit more in the future

  • Great article! This is the sort of thing I love to see and what makes Footy-Boots so great. First of all nice work on picking this up in the first place. The real issues with this concept though is making it more effective/efficient than the TUNiT system which I consider a bit of a failure. However knowing Nike it would most likely be accompanied by a hefty price tag.

    Either way I think it’s a very interesting concept that I’d like to see developed a bit more in the future

  • The “football” they are talking about in the patent is American football. The toe stud is a dead giveaway.

  • I wonder if the upper will be interchangeable too.  If not, Nike is shooting themselves in the foot.  If otherwise I had to buy 2 or 3 pairs of shoes to play on 3 types of surfaces, now I can buy just the studs, which cannot be more than $30 tops I would guess… It sounds very un-Nike like.  Also, as a football boot fan, I rather have 2-3 different pairs of boots (e.g. I play with adipures on firm ground and astroturf, nike laser (synthetic) on soft grounds). Unless, Nike has something up their sleeve they have not revealed, I see this a Tunit style flop.      

    • We definitely agree that American football is the more likely market for a product like this, where college level athletes have to switch between AG turf for training and FG for playing.

      The toe stud is mentioned in the patent and does apply to American Football, however the patent also references soccer and other sports, golf, baseball and so on – like I mentioned in the article this is a brand-wide initiative, applicable to any sport with a studded/bladed/cleated shoe – so there’s no telling what Nike will end up doing with it!

      Would definitely be exciting to see come to Football though, don’t you think?

  • i’m just commenting because Kyle bribed me with the “devilishly handsome” part LOL

    now seriously… no matter how bad, how odd, or how simple an idea sounds at first, it could actually change the world -depends on advertisement, trends, and people’s mood at the time

    just look at adizero. who would have thought that making shoes a little bit lighter could rock the world like this? not only in football, the word “adizero” are now synonymous with “lightness” in basketball, running, and even tennis

    saying that, running shoes have known adizero series long waaaaayyy back before the football’s F50 adapted the name

  • Wish i could get my hands on those torres edition lasers. Yes this are for american football but if they are successful u could see them on the pitch in the future. The vapors were the first shoe to use carbon fiber and now that has carried out to football, basketball and other shoes

  • Seems very innovative but this would lead to an unorganized manner of their models. Like said, weight will be a factor here and I don’t see this as good enough, unless their adapted for the cheap sub $80 replicas. I highly prefer the classic way of TPU injection. What they need to step up is on the sole plate design of each player’s foot, period. It’s nearly unbelievable how every single boot are made flat as hell like if we all have flat feet.  

  • This could mean a big turnover for Nike, specially in undeveloped countries like here in Brazil where people can’t afford to buy two or three pairs of football boots per season.

  • I have a hunch that, regardless of gridiron or footy, Nike will use this technology in both arenas once it’s sorted out.

    I also doubt that it will be as “cost friendly” as people are supposing.  It won’t cost as much as three pairs of boots, but it won’t be far off!  History says savings – if that’s why you’re going with this system – will be nominal.

  • Things like this always tend to be gimmicks to increase sales of paraphenalia.  I have been around the football world long enough now to remember some of these things.  Anyone recall the “FX System” that adidas debuted in the 80’s, or the fact that you used to be able to buy Puma boots with ceramic studs, or even the fact that Patrick boots would only take Patrick replacement studs? This seems another clever Nike marketing campaign and somehow i doubt that it will last that long, but that is just my humble two cents…..

  • Screw in studs are nothing new to many sports, including Track and Field. Most likely, this will be for American football, because the studs are only useful for traction in that sport.

  • Nike’s Football and american foortball lines often share technologies for example carbon fibre was in american football boots far before the first superfly was released and if this is for football (our kind) then the take down models will likely have a fixed soleplate similar to the F30 of adidas TUNIT days

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