FROM THE SOLE: TOO DESCREET TO BE ELITE?

Looking back on the 2010 FIFA World Cup, many fans will remember this year’s tournament as the year that ‘geeky’ side of football equipment came to the fore.

After it’s big reveal in January, there weren’t many pundits who could even say ‘Jabulani‘ let alone tell you about the aerodynamics of the official adidas matchball.

But sure enough, by the 3rd week in June, everyone from TV Pundits, Ex-Pro’s and legendary football boot developers were able to tell you that it ‘bobbled’, was ‘too light’ and even (thanks to NASA, that’s right THE NASA) could explain that the drag along the surface of the Jabulani meant that it dipped in and out of two different types of turbulence, causing it to ‘knuckle’.

Then there was the other stuff; uproar over Goal Line Technology, astonishment at the weight of the adidas F50 adiZero and some even invested a lot of effort into arguing the benefits of the skin-tight adidas TechFit jerseys.

But if there was one piece of geek-tastic technology that went relatively under the radar, it was arguably the thing that was most noticeable on the pitch. I am, of course, talking about the Nike Elite Series Football Boots.

Firstly, let’s get this out of the way, the Elite Series is an utter masterstroke of marketing by Nike. In the age of HD televisions in homes across the world, and giant screens in pubs and clubs, the Elite Series shone spectacularly – more specifically – it glowed luminously.

They were infinitely more noticeable than a Kia Motors hoarding or a Hyundai Coach and more frequent than a Jabulani bobble! Rather than seeing the occasional bright-yellow Mizuno Wave Ignitus, or the two purple adidas F50 adiZeros, audiences could only see one thing, the pitches were dominated by these Orange boots.

We reckon even fans in the cheap seats could spot the Elites (sorry!)

You and I know that there were 4 different key football boots on show (in fact there were probably a dozen permutations of Nike boots, if you include the Vapor VI and all the customisation that went on!) but the average bod at home (and indeed the more easily influenced kids of the world) just saw that the overwhelming majority of the best players in the world wore bright Orange boots.

And what did people find when they looked online or in shops for these boots? They were the top of the tree in the boot world, all-singing, all-dancing Carbon Fibre-infused monsters, with price tags to match – and are immediately distinguishable from any boot they’ve ever seen before.


Which leads me to the point of this piece, why release Elite Series football boots that look identical to the rest of the football boots in the Silo?

Firstly, they’re nowhere near as visible on the pitch. The average Joe isn’t likely to watch his Wayne Rooney in the new season and think “Ah yes, I can see he’s got a Carbon Fibre soleplate on those, he’s in the T90 Laser III Elite! I’ll buy those for the new Sunday Season.” He’s more likely to think “Red Nike footy boots, I’ll get them if they’re at a good price”.

New Nike Elite Series Football Boots

Secondly, one of the things included in the ‘Elite Package’ was the Visual Performance aspect of the boot – the idea that in brightly coloured boots, your team-mates are more likely to spot your feet – none of the new colourway Elites can boast that feature anymore.

This also loses the ‘all-together’ look all the players in the Nike stable had at the World Cup, it’s no longer immediately obvious what percentage of the players on the pitch are in Nike football boots.

The only advantage that we can think of is that it ties everyone into their boot of preference quite nicely. For example, it’s no longer obvious which players are wearing the Elite CTR360 and which ones aren’t, which prevents them devaluing the line of boots to the general public.

All-in-all, as much as we love the Nike Elite Series, we’d have liked to see them either kept in all their glory, with some more ludicrous bright colourways for the new season or left at the World Cup entirely, as a testament to the marketing mastermind that is Nike.

What’s your take?

Have we missed something out? Do you think you have more reasons as to why Nike would release Elite versions of Regular colourways?

We want to know!

Get involved with a comment below!


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28 Comments

  • I thought the same when the new elite colourways came out and the only thing i could think of is that if your elite colourway is different than regular series then that could effect sales of what the average fan could buy. Take me for example i’m a die hard soccer player and love buying new boots but I don’t see myself spending $400 on boots. The kids nowadays see their favorite players in a pair of boots and not all of them would be able to afford those boots at such a steep price. So they make the elite series the same as the regular series and that way you can at least have the same color as the pros without all the bells and whistles of the elite series.

  • in my opinion

    nike are wicked when it comes to marketing their products the way they did with the WC Elite series. The shoes were the first thing that one would spot. The fact that they ditched the uniformality of the colorway puts a bit of a downer on their success. Personally I am an adidas fan, but if nike wanted to leave a permanent mark on the world cup they should have left the elites as a world cup exclusive. This gives Nike more of an allure and history. 4 years from now people will be talking about the boots from the last world cup and will be like vultures on eBay, but when they continue on it looses some of the appeal and the glamour that they had during the WC.

    Cheers

  • nike just wants to increase prices. hooray for them. next year it will be the elite elite elite, with full carbon fiber, turbo jets, and invisibility cloak.

  • unfortunately, nike just loves money. and money loves nike, so why not. to the point though, the elites should never have been released to the public. it shows a lack of respect for professional players, essiantially saying, “i get what you get because my father is a doctor, even though im 14 and will never touch a youth programme.”

    many people have also made the point that it devalues the rest of the nike line up, especially the laser k, vapor, and air legend (tiempo).

  • ronaldo and messi are the 2 top players in the world and kids will look at what they wear to choose their boots.

    they will see ronaldo wearing superfly’s which wil cost them ÂŁ275, or ÂŁ180 for the 2nd grade vapor VI.

    they will see messi wearing adizeros which will cost them ÂŁ125 or ÂŁ65 for the 2nd grade F30’s.

    kids will think superfly is more expensive for a reason, its suposedly with all the flywire and carbon and that, but once they find that the adizeros are lighter without the expensive gimmicks, its a no brainer to go for the adizero’s.

    Adizeros- Lighter, Cheaper, And Just As Popular As Superfly’s

    there’s my debate on the case of speed boots, the other types however are for a whole different debate all together.

  • the elite superflys are rip offs because nike just scammed people for money in the normal superflies and then a month later the superflys are obsolete because nikes speed boot was bested by a lighter boot that they have probably been planning for a couple of years anyway

  • I believe that if they do not wish to make the bright colors then drop the name “Elite” and have them go back to their original names i.e. tiempo, mercurial etc… now, if they should do that they should add an extra level of shoe (Mercurial Glide, Miracle, Vapor, Superfly, ELITE) and have that be the profesional, so now the next time you go buy the 300$ shoe, its not the original, its the elite,,,,,Now,, these shoes are great new colorways, but shouldnt be named elite,, they need to make new bright colorways for the elite line,, and have it go around for all the shoes, tiempo ctr360, mercurial t90

  • I agree with the part which says that the colourway really catches your teammates’ attention. But when so many players are wearing the same colourway on a boot, does it really help? Personally I would (and actually already have!) gone for the F50 adizeros. That being said, if the prices for the Nike range drop, i might just consider.

  • I think the superflies and vapors are superior because they are made of more reliable materials. And the adizeros they look so plastic and fake they probably last only a couple months of intense play that’s why there price is so low plastic is cheap

  • i found it all to be a bit of a gimmick in the first place, while the color put me off even more. it seems that the adizero is more comfortable, lighter and cheaper.

    personally i don’t trust all the tech in boots. i wonder if other stuff (like a better fitting more comfortable shoe) make just as much of a difference.

    that’s why i rubbished both of them and am gonna get a pair of pantofola d’oro’s! 🙂

  • Wait so do the Nike Superfly Elites look exactly like the Nike Superflys now? If so laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwllllllllllllll

  • Agree entirely with this article, Nike do seem to have shot themselves in the foot here. I know I would for instance, buy the standard CTR over the elite version, as they look almost Identical, and I don’t believe the decrease in weight warrants the increase in price.

    I believe most others either won’t know enough about boots to know the difference, and therefore will buy the standard model, or will think the same as me, and buy the standard model.

    Big mistake by Nike, should have kept with the garish/exclusive elite colours..

  • once again, the elites are aimed at pro ballers whose wage packet can afford to buy a pair week in week out and not the average saturday /sunday league player like me. those of you writing on here are not even pro never mind elite lmao.But 1 thing I agree on is that the elites should be a different colourway to the others. Kids see their heroes wearing these boots but honestly, do you think its the technology they are after or the colour of the boots? YES , the colour they are after. The day my 7yr old boy says he wants carbon fibre soles in his boots and its not about the colours daddy, is when I will start to worry lol

  • To the idiots that say the Adizero is too plastic and will break after 2 months or so, have you even felt the Superfly’s? They are PLASTIC!!!!!!!! And also the AdiZero doesn’t have a history of breaking, and they don’t just put them on the shelves before testing them, Messi et al have used these in training for over a year now!

    Superfly’s, if you remember, were delayed in their first incarnation asthey kept breaking, no such thing has happened yet for Adidas, and Messi is better than Ronlado, and doesn’t cheat, and is more humble, and the boots are cheaper, and Adidas are Superior, FACT

  • Nike have done exactly what they did in EURO ’08 with their Chocolate colored boots (making the colorway the same for each boot and exclusive to the tournament) only this time they also used it to introduce a new top tier of boots. I don’t believe they have shot themselves in the foot either for a few reasons. One being that the people who actually know boots are really the only ones that are going to buy the Elite series at their steep price. Kids will have seen the WC colorway and maybe asked for those boots, but parents won’t spend around $300 on a pair of boots their child will grow out of. Those who understand the technology and benefits put in to the Elite series will be the only ones who will decide if those qualities are what they want from their boots. Second, the flicker effect was first made present on the Superfly II, and the design pattern and contrasting colors are still there in the new colorways. The CTR360 also has a colorway that you could say will provide the flicker effect for players. Lastly, by making these boots in the same colorway as the original forms of the boots we are used to seeing, Nike may guarantee themselves to earn more sales from the boots in the $200 range. A child may see Rooney in his all red Laser III Elite and ask for those boots. Now instead of the parents simply seeing the Laser III at $200 and moving down a tier to buy the Strikes at $100, the parents may see the Elite at $325 and think the Laser III at $200 is a bargain. In the end, the people who know what the Elite series is, without seeing it on professional players’ feet will still buy the Elite boots if they want them. The others will buy what fits their budget and their specific foot needs.

  • More than likely nike is testing out the market. theyve seen how an exclusive colorway will sell with the elites, now theyre trying to see what the interest is in just the specs themselves. with how fickle weekend warriors tend to be im fairly certain nike will bring back the exclusive flicker colorways around spring. honestly i was looking forward to see what the next crazy combination of colors would be but thats just me.

    and honestly who really thinks the top level of pros care about what nike does marketing wise? weve seen numerous examples of how nike does whatever it can to keep its players happy as long as theyre wearing one of the colors theyre supposed to (donovans ctr360s with a superfly 2 soleplate, pirlos carbon fiber legends, etc).

  • seeing all the elite silver/purple/brite orange boots was kind of annoying. i dont mind the individual boots or the technoiogy they are trying to peddle, but that colorway totally clashed with every single team’s kit. as a graphic designer i found it highly unpleasing aesthetically.

    if i was the man making the decision, i would have national team specific colorways. basically boots in the colors of the kits. it wouldn’t be hard at all considering nike ID….

    i dunno just my 2cents.

  • Those who know and appreciate the technology and benefits will feel its worth the price to buy the elites.
    Those who cannot afford the elites will buy the vapors/lasers or the miracle/strike.
    its precisely this reason that different pricing tiers exists.
    In any case, the bulk of the sale is still going to be in the middle tier, not the elite level.
    i think its about making a statement to say that Nike has the most premium boots at a premium pricing.
    Its the same reason why do people buy a ferrari/lambo v.s a normal car when both are basically used to transport pple from point A to B.

  • To be honest I am not too old myself and I don’t look to Ronaldo or Messi for flashy boots I wear whats quality. Nike have made great boots in the recent past and somewhere along the line they lost quality for money and that is why I will always buy out of date cleats just because the are the right boots for me. My current cleats are the original Adipures and the blue Vapor V.

  • What’s with the Kyle hatred? Have I missed something?

    @MisterBroom12

    You make a very good point actually. I never really thought about it like that, but perhaps it is a master-stroke from Nike. Seems they’re always a step ahead when it comes to marketing. Adidas really need to learn from them.

  • For me Nike are just saturating the market to a ridiculous degree and confusing the average consumer, which is surely to their detriment. Something’s gotta give.

  • The reason they were all the same bright colours was simple… Adidas own all the advertising rights to the World Cup and banned Nike from advertising in stadiums or on tv during matches, Nike’s reaction, let the players on the pitch do their advertising. They werent promoting the individual boots available they were promoting the whole Nike brand, hence why all their different series are now different colours again.
    Simples

  • if you looked on most soccer websites, they were labelled WC. for the world cup. adidas did the same w/ world cup colourways (black and yellow) and nike did the same for the euro. w/ the brown/turqouise colour. its like a collection. they just happend to use them only on the elites (and the vapor tier) of each nike silo.  now the place where i think nike shot themselves in the foot was when they released a LEATHER vapor during the euro. and then stopped making them. and on a side note its amazing to see such an increase in nike players, bc in the wc you had to try hard to find someone NOT wearing these elite wc colourways, where as in the euro, barely any of the players wore the E8 euro series

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