“Football is the biggest sport on the planet. It’s enjoyed at almost any time and in any place, and in today’s world that accessibility is vital. As the global population increases, spaces to play 11-a-side are more difficult to come by. We’ve seen a huge increase in players playing more small-sided games, because it’s that much easier to access." — Phil McCartney, Nike Football, VP of Football Footwear
“When we go out and talk to athletes playing the game, we find it’s not just the traditional five-a-side that we see being played en masse in the U.K., but also futsal or indoor matches and street football,” McCartney continues. “It’s up to us as Nike to serve those players with the right product for these different surfaces.”
These insights guided Nike to create FC247, a new range of football performance and street footwear geared for the variety of surfaces on which the game is played, each with design innovations specific to respective playing style.
It was during athlete feedback sessions that some of the world’s best players helped guide McCartney’s team.
“Playing five-a-side as a kid was a massive part of my development. It improved my control, speed, awareness and vision so much. We still play versions of it in training.“ — Wayne Rooney
“If I had more free time, I would like to train more with my colleagues on the futsal team. Futsal helps my ball control in tighter spaces,” added Andres Iniesta.
“For Brasilians, the street is where you learn to play football. You can see it in the way we move, our first touch, our ability to control and move the ball at speed,” said Neymar.
“This type of athlete feedback was vital in the design process. Fast-tempo matches with limited space demand instinctive touch and control with split-second decision-making – skills that translate to the elite level of the sport. Those feedback sessions had a huge impact on the products we created,” added McCartney.
Three new shoes, Nike Bomba Finale II, Nike Elastico Finale II and Nike Lunar Gato II deliver design innovation that allow players to amplify their skills on specific surfaces. Each shoe is created to provide a balance of speed, control, comfort and precision based on varying court surfaces.
All three shoes feature new outsoles that house a flexible groove along the first metatarsal, which helps free up that part of the foot for a quicker first step to improve agility in tight spaces.
The Bomba Finale II, in a striking orange and black colorway, boasts 27 percent fewer components than its predecessor, creating a softer and more flexible shoe that is also 10 percent lighter than the previous version. Conical studs for quick rotation help aid the rapid turns made in small-sided games while oblong studs help provide excellent traction and stability on the turf.
The Bomba Finale II along with the Elastico Finale II are both equipped with new ‘NIKESKIN’ technology, a polyurethane skin layered over performance mesh, resulting in shoes that are lighter and thinner than their predecessors. Both have a closer, stitch-free fit, and the mesh geometry combines with a seamless vamp to aid closer ball control. In addition, the Nike Bomba Finale II features Nike’s All Conditions Control (ACC) technology for consistent ball control in dry and wet conditions.
A dynamic green design marks out the Elastico Finale II, which features 39 percent fewer components and is 22 percent lighter than the previous shoe. The more flexible outsole, designed for hard-court surfaces, features a herringbone and dot design to help maximize traction and improve underfoot ball control. The Elastico Finale II also features a breathable perforated upper and heel, and a redesigned eyestay to optimize comfort and feel.
The Lunar Gato II, launching in a distinctive blue and yellow, is designed for a fast and dynamic game on all surfaces. Featuring 33 percent fewer components than its predecessor, it is also 16 percent lighter. The supple leather used on the upper improves the ball-to-foot feel. The soft leather eliminates a break-in period and the contoured sock liner supplies an anatomical fit.
Fused mesh panels lock down the mid-foot to maximize lateral support and gives the Lunar Gato II a fine balance of lightweight and comfort.
The new Nike Lunar Gato II, Nike Bomba Finale II and Nike Elastico Finale II will be available at Nike.com and retail beginning March 28.