Nike wanted to bring the power to the people. So, they turned to their already legendary boot silo and updated the massively popular Total90 into a boot that Nike hope will reign supreme in the power boot category. With the amazing popularity of the adiPower, the T90IV held its own. Now that Adidas is turning its own power boot into something more like a control boot, the market has opened up for the T90IV to take control. Although it is labeled as a power boot, Nike has pushed harder and harder to label the T90 as an ‘accuracy’ style boot. Has Nike produced on the level of previous T90 releases? Or will we be longing for the T90 V long before the death of the IV?
In this article we will take a look at the legend that is the Total90 franchise all the way from the top of the newest incarnation to the bottom, letting you know all the differences in this boot from tier to tier. SR knows that you can’t all afford to drop big money on the Laser, but we want you to be informed as possible when you walk into your local boot store or when you are prepared to order online. We hope the ‘Inside Look’ series has been helpful so far, and we hope that the third incarnation of this article is as helpful as the first two.
The Total90 boot has very subtle differences in between every tier of the boot, with some not even noticeable at first glance. In fact, some of them are almost identical with some serious time spent with each boot providing the small details. I will make sure that you are aware of the differences, but I can tell you right now that every boot is certainly worth the list price. The Total90 has around a half-dozen colorways, so I can’t spend too much time talking about differences in the colors. Let’s take a dive into the behemoth of the boot world that is Total90.
Everyone knows the history of the T90 Laser. Everyone knows that the Laser is supposed to set the standard for Nike’s tried and true series. The upper on the Laser is available in either the high-quality synthetic or the kanga-lite material. I personally tested the kanga-lite version, but you can read some high praise for the synthetic in our review here. The Kanga-lite allows you to have a little extra stretch in the break-in process, while allowing you to have the leather feel that you might have fallen in love with on the Kangaroo leather Laser III. Both uppers have been given high praise, and they definitely add to the great feel of this boot.
The Laser III was one of the most comfortable boots on the planet, and the Laser IV has a completely different profile. The III was wide, and the IV is narrow and almost pointy (if that makes sense) and that certainly affects how it will feel on your foot. Once the boot is broken in, the comfort is fantastic, but the narrow profile will give wide-footed players a lengthy and painful break-in. Even if your foot is narrow, I still would allow some definite break-in time for this boot and wouldn’t suggest wearing it straight into a game after you pull it out of the box. Still, once you break through the break-in, the boot feels great.
The soleplate on the Laser has some slight differences from the Laser III to the IV, but the principal is still the same. It allows stability from a shooting position, but the configuration won’t allow swift turns as well as a conical stud pattern would. You also see the instep ‘bar’ on the III has disappeared, but I didn’t notice that the boot felt any less stable in the midfoot. The studs are also bladed, whereas the studs on the III had an odd shape that somewhat resembled an old-timey airplane propeller. It certainly is a dependable stud plate, so you won’t be disappointed and you won’t have to worry about slipping.
The LaserIV does receive a few negative points from me, mostly because my foot is a bit wider. Some might also find the weight as a bad sign, but for a power boot like this, its 10 oz weight is perfectly suited to the boot. You also might not just want to assume that because you like the Laser III, that you’ll like the IV…make sure you research this boot before you make the switch just out of brand/silo allegiance. I will also add a negative when we talk about the Strike tier, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
The T90 is famous for its technology inherent in the boot, and the Laser IV is no exception. The striking element on the top of the boot is pretty thick and makes the ball feels like it rebounds off your foot very quickly, and the fins (although slightly different from the Laser III fins) have been more localized around the inside of the toe box instead of along most of the inside of the boot (Laser III). It certainly makes you feel like you are getting more power/curl, and, as stated in previous articles, whether it is a placebo effect or not, I enjoyed the feeling. My personal favorite piece of tech on the boot is the amazing memory foam insert in the tongue. It adds serious comfort and makes for some great feeling strikes on the ball.
The Strike upper has some slight differences from the Laser tier to the Strike tier. For one, you cannot get any boot but the Laser in the Kanga-Lite material, and, in the aspect of honesty, I can only compare this to the Kanga-Lite T90 IV that I have, so I’m making some assumptions on the synthetic. That being said, I definitely felt the synthetic was a fair bit thinner on the Strike than the upper on the Laser. There also is a little bit less of a glossy finish, but that may be purely cosmetic as I didn’t feel any added touch benefits with or without it. Still a quality upper, but perhaps only barely lower in quality than the Laser synthetic, so keep that in mind if you are holding both tiers in your hands.
As far as the Strike goes in comfort, it follows the lead of most of Nike’s boot silos by remaining somewhat similar to the Laser while slightly widening the profile. It isn’t much, and it still is more targeted to a narrower foot, but it will certainly cut down a bit on break-in time for those attempting to ‘squeeze-in’ to a T90IV. Some of the padding is missing that was found in the Laser, but it is still a comfortable boot…especially for a second tier production. I still wouldn’t suggest wearing these boots straight into a game unless you are a fan of blisters and foot-pain.
The soleplate is almost identical to the Laser, but there are actually a few cosmetic changes. The Strike soleplate is much more simplistic, but the stud pattern and function is exactly the same. It might be the tiniest bit thinner, but it is unnoticeable from the Laser to the Strike.
I have ZERO negatives on the Strike, but the Strike raises a few negatives about the Laser. They seem almost identical in too many facets for the price difference to be over $100, and these boots are a great second tier option for anyone hunting down a T90 for a reasonable price. They are even lighter than the Laser by a little (9.6 oz), and the technology section will only further reinforce how great this boot is.
The technology on the Strike is AMAZINGLY SIMILAR to the Laser. There are some cosmetic differences (there is a slight coloring difference on the top of the shooting element) and everything else is exactly the same. The tongue does have a little less padding, but it is still fairly adequate and I can’t bring myself to put it as a negative since this second tier boot nearly is identical to a boot that is worth nearly double its retail value.
The T90 Shoot IV is similar to a lot of the lower tier Nike boots in terms of the upper. It has some quality involved, but it is not the same as the Strike or the Laser, and the boot is the first one in this silo that doesn’t seem like each piece of synthetic/kanga-lite flows smoothly together because some of the stitching makes it look like it has been a quickly pieced together. The feel of this synthetic seems a bit thicker than the Strike, but not really in a good way. The synthetic doesn’t provide as great a touch on the ball, but the protection is still very nice.
The Shoot actually is one of the few bottom tier boots that doesn’t seem any wider than the other boots in the silo. This will affect the comfort, and shows that this entire series can’t be entirely recommended for anyone with a really wide foot. If your foot is a little narrower, then you will actually enjoy the fit on this boot. The break-in time, as with most bottom tier boots, is a bit longer because of the stiffness that some of the lower quality materials bring with them.
The soleplate is mostly the same as the Laser and Strike, but there are some cosmetic differences and some slight differences in the studs. The blades towards the front of the boot are a bit wider than the other boots, but the blades towards the back of the boot are actually thinner. This causes some ‘dig-in’ issues with front studs, and I question the durability of the back studs because of how thin they are at the bottom. The soleplate is a bit harder to break in, but that is to be expected.
The negatives inherent on the Shoot are typical bottom tier gripes. The break-in time is significantly longer, the upper is thicker (but not in a good way), and the quality seems fairly suspect. One big negative is something we will get into on the technology section. I personally feel that the fact that this boot doesn’t have a wider foot than the other boots in the silo is something that might be seen as a negative. A lot of people with wider feet typically look toward the lower tiers to find boots that work, and they will not find that here.
The technology on the Shoot is a positive and a negative. The Strike III didn’t have fins, but the Strike IV does have a slightly lessened ‘fin-area’ but they are still present and I respect that Nike has included some of the tech on the lowest tier boot in the silo. However, the shooting element that goes along the top of the boot is practically a super thin piece of plastic that really offers no extras to the boot. It feels so useless that I almost would have preferred Nike just have that part be a continuation of the synthetic and just have the fins on the side of the toe-box. It also may have the lowest amount of protection than the other T90 IV boots because of the thin nature of the element. Still, for the lowest tier, the Shoot is an impressive release.
Nike has always created a different, but great boot when they release the T90 series. It certainly is always involved in the conversation for the most popular boot on the market. SR hopes this Inside Look article was helpful, and we hope that you look forward to our next IL article that will take on Nike’s touch/heritage boot range: the Tiempo IV. Do you agree with our assessments? Do you have any of these boots and how do you feel about them? Could we have said anything else to make you as informed as possible about these boots?