By Brian Jennings – Add Colorado Rapids rookie defensive giant Axel Sjoberg to the growing list of Under Armour athletes in 2015. Sjoberg recently began wearing the Clutchfit Force boots since arriving in Colorado via the MLS SuperDraft and has been comfortable enough to break into the Rapids starting lineup in his first season.
“I’ve been wearing them for close to a month. My agent told me that Under Armor wanted to strike a deal with me which was really nice. They sent out a couple of pairs-firm ground and a soft ground-and honestly I haven’t had a single problem with them,” says the 6’7” center back from Marquette University. “Right off the bat, cleats take a little bit to wear and get used to, and I’ve often had blisters and problems with previous (new) cleats but with Under Armor there hasn’t been anything.”
The Clutchfit Force uppers are made to perform like a “second-skin” from a “Trivela performance microfiber that has two-way stretch for a contoured fit, rubberized 3D-print which improves touch in all conditions, and an external heel counter”. “I liked leather (in the past) and the cleats I have now are not leather but they’re not synthetic, it’s like a mix,” explains Sjoberg. “It’s really thin so you get a good feeling on the ball and that’s ultimately what I want.”
Given that Under Armour is fairly new to the soccer boot market, Sjoberg has worn a lot of other brands growing up, admitting, “I’ve been all over the place-when I was young I wore Diadora, Umbro for no real reason. I just liked the shoes at the time. They had a couple of sick models, really flashy, and I was playing higher up the field at the time so that was probably the reason,” he says with a self-deprecating laugh.
Is the Under Armour Clutchfir Force right for you? Read a review.
Sjoberg didn’t always have a choice in what boots he would wear as he soon found out. His teenage years were spent in Adidas Predators until he attended Marquette, which was a Nike sponsored program, where he switched to Tiempos.
As for his new Clutchfit Force models, he enjoys the touch of the man-made uppers but also the stable platform a tall guy who wears a 12 ½ or 13 shoe is looking for. “You don’t want it to be too heavy, I’m looking for a sturdier shoe, and I’m looking for the cleats on the underneath to be a bit wider so I don’t roll my feet. Some striker shoes are a little bit narrower so I need the base to be sturdy. Back in the day I had smaller shoes and I kept rolling my feet when the cleats were tighter together so that’s something I learned.”
The Clutchfit Force is designed to work with the natural biomechanics of the fit according to Under Armour.
His current pair seen in his first MLS start for Colorado at Philadelphia were green/blue, and his latest training pair are white, red, and black but Sjoberg doesn’t need any help standing out in a crowd and would like to go back to his neutral roots.
“For a couple years I’ve been more neutral colors and black shoes are something I love honestly. I almost urge all shoemakers out there to make a completely black shoe. I know it’s hard to get the brand in there but a black shoe would be unbelievable.”
As far as preparing a new pair of boots for the wear and tear of MLS, Sjoberg uses the process of starting small and working them in gradually until they are comfortable over time. “I might go in the shower the first time to break them in and get them fitted to the foot. In training, if they feel good right away I might wear them for a half hour-to an hour but sometimes if they’re tight I might wear them for 10-15 minutes for warmups in the first session then in the second session a little bit longer and break them in that way.”
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Under Armour cleats are available at World Soccer Shop.