Nike unveiled their 2016 federation soccer kits at the Nike Innovation 2016 event in NYC last week and World Soccer Shop spoke with Scott Munson, Nike’s VP of Apparel for Global Football, about the technology behind the new looks.
The new technology contributes advancements in the uniform from head-to-toe with speed a key element in improving performance.
“We are looking head-to-toe how everything works together so the athlete can be as fast as possible,” Munson told WSS. “For us it is like a system of fast.”
The approach took a top down approach starting with the jersey and working down to the socks. At every level, jersey/short/sock, advancements were introduced.
“The way we are approaching uniform design and the athletes using them is creating a full system of performance and understanding how each one of them works. So when you start at the top you are looking at the same fabric for the short and the top.”
For the first time, Nike is using the same fabric, Nike Vapor with Aeroswift, for the jersey and short. The material is the lightest and fastest drying material with more stretch than previously. These advances are possible through 2 key elements of the design.
“One is the yarn. We are using a texturized yarn which is new for (Nike). The texturized yarn allows moisture to move better away from the body and it allows us to use less yarn so the uniform is lighter weight.”
“The second thing is the new engineered knit. The knitting technique allows us to create more open holes with increases breathability.”
“In the end you get a garment that stands off the body a little bit and promotes air flow.”
The socks have been enhanced as well with the introduction of NikeGrip. The NikeGrip technology allows for better grip between the sock and cleat and the sock and foot.
Related Article: The Anti-Slip Solution – NikeGRIP
And for the USA Soccer Federation and French Football Federation, hosts of the Copa America 2016 Centenario and Euro 2016, respectively, a new sock/shinguard system.
“(Nike is) also introducing for 2 select federation, France and the USA, as hosts of the tournaments the new sock/shinguard called the Hyperstrong sleeve that changes the game even more allowing (players) to have less distraction from the shinguard and keeping it in place and have more padding.”
As with all new technology from Nike it is more than just fancy new names. The Swoosh make sure have players test the product and give honest feedback as the pros and cons and their personal insights into what could make it better. The testing and feedback let us know ‘we are on to something.’ The testing included 2 sessions with the U.S. men’s national team.
Related Article: USA Unveils 2016 Home & Away Jerseys
“It is important to wear test and get (the player’s) feedback. Two things came back, actually 3, (when testing the Nike Vapor with Aeroswift). First, the (players) noticed how lightweight it was and how they felt air breathing through the garment. Second, they felt it was engineered around the chest creating this feeling of confidence like I am battle ready. And lastly, the short is almost the star of the show. It has the same yarn and is a knit short. It has a new waistband with no drawcord. They were like I don’t feel the short. It is lighter. I am moving around. The short really surprised us. We didn’t realize we would have such positive feedback so we continued to develop that as well.”
The end products are the 2016 Nike federation kits but the true tests will come as the Nike teams wear the new looks onto the field for friendlies and ultimately in competitive internationals this summer.