We were recently invited by Nike to fly down to Rio de Janeiro for the launch of the brand’s latest creation, the Hypervenom boot. A soccer cleat closely designed with the assistance of Brazilian striker Neymar, the Hypervenom marks a new breed of footwear for Nike, built upon an advanced last with a one-piece upper featuring cutting-edge NIKESKIN technology. We had a chance to chat with the Global Vice President of Nike Football Footwear, Phil McCartney, as he broke down some of the more important elements of the Hypervenom’s creation, from inspiration, to design to development. Further information, including release and price details, is available here.
Style – We wanted the boot to have a unique style of its own; when we can combine Nike performance and style, we get that magic. I think that’s what Neymar also talked about, is the appreciation of the colors and the design. We worked very closely with him on the design itself – it is functional but we also wanted to make sure it was beautiful, and we want to make sure everything we do is an object of desire. I think that’s really important for us to think about – we hear from our players a lot, without style there is no performance and I really believe that – so in giving them that confidence by having a design they really emotionally connect with before they go on the pitch and that functional performance that allows them to play at their maximum, that’s what we try to do with all of our products. I think we’ve achieved that with Hypervenom.
Player Feedback – I think one of the more important things in the process of designing the Hypervenom is that we constantly went back to our players. As we came up with prototypes we’d fly down to meet with Neymar and we’d go to England to meet with (Wayne) Rooney; we spent a lot of time with those players, as well as players from all levels, asking for their feedback. It was a very laborious process which took about 2.5 years of engineering, design and collaboration.
Predator Inspiration – Neymar’s attitude and playing style is deadly, but it’s deadly in a more covert way, not necessarily as flamboyant as a Mercurial player who loves the limelight. It’s more of that player that comes into that game and kills you with a dribble and finish; in basketball it would be like the Black Mamba and Kobe Bryant – it’s the same sort of idea, that darker side of the game and that deadly instinct. We talk a lot about super natural design, working from the foot out and it kind of made sense for us to work with some of those more venomous animals and predators and that’s what that player is. He’s sort of quiet and then he’ll burst into life and before you know it, the ball is in the back of the net.
Fit & Design – We’ve come up with a brand new technology called NIKESKIN, which allows us to get the foot closer to the ball. The boot is a one-piece mesh which is coated with a polyurethane skin. Typically football boots have lots of layers with cut and sew construction; this is a one-piece with a very thin skin that has the ACC (All Conditions Control), which gives you protection. ACC technology gives us the same coefficient friction whether it’s wet or dry – that’s important because a lot of clubs are now watering pitches, so that coefficient friction has become more and more important in the modern game. Traditionally a new boot will focus on an evolution of the fit, the upper material, or the sole plate and stud configuration. The Hypervenom features new solutions for all of these areas.