Football boots fans are spoilt for choice at the moment – we’ve got dozens of top-tier brands producing incredible boots with performance-boosting technology. One of the biggest claims in this department is Nike’s All Conditions Control coating.
Claiming to offer the same level of friction in wet conditions as dry, many fans were skeptical that this could be a ‘money for old rope’ situ from the biggest sports brand in the world.
So, to settle the argument, we snagged a pair of the Mercurial Vapor VIII ACC' earlier in the year and have been putting them to the test, throughout the wintery months to see whether ACC is a step forward from Nike, or just a gimmick.
Make no mistake, this isn’t an afterthought from Nike, in the case of the Vapor VIII at least, this is a full scale revamp of the upper. Whereas the launch model boasted a suede-like finish, and the Clash Collection had more of a leather-like feel, the Vapor VIII ACC' is somewhere in between, with the whole surface textured like nothing we’ve seen on a Vapor.
Just running your hand over the upper in dry conditions is a great indicator of the increased friction. The upper removes the weakness of the suede-Teijin’s propensity to scuffing, whilst compromising none of it’s flex and feel on the ball.
When wet, water isn’t readily absorbed by the material – instead it sits on the top layer of the upper, something that is certainly very cool to see. Obviously if you submerge them in water they will take on moisture – but wet grass or a light drizzle seem to be the no problem for the ACC coating.
As you can see from the comparison photo here, the previous upper on the Mango launch colourway does take on water when worn in the wet, giving the boot a slightly ‘slick’ appearance, ' whilst the Retro ACC model holds up remarkably well.
Of course, the bottom line is – does all this increase friction on the ball in the wet? The answer: absolutely. Far from marketing-speak, the Nike ACC technology does increase ball friction over the standard models, just the simple act of rubbing the upper across the ball yields more ‘stick’ to the casing of most footballs.
Will this make a huge difference to your game? Probably not massively, when playing football you move your feet with considerably more force than simply dragging your feet across the ball. However, of the three uppers that have graced the Vapor VIII, the ACC model is by far my favourite.
Given the launch of the Vapor IX, you’ll probably find this colourway is creeping into the sale sections of many sites and is – in my opinion – well worth picking up.
However, if we had one quibble with the ACC concept – it would be that when it’s raining, it’s not only water you have to worry about! With the above photo as impetus, Nike – can you please work on tackling the mud problem next?