Article by: Thomas Kenwright (for Soccer Reviews application)
With the World Cup in South Africa on the horizon, Nike were readying their new ground breaking elite series, seen by many to be the next step in the evolution of football boots. Wit boot enthusiasts predicting the new Adidas Adizero to take all the plaudits in the summer tournament, Nike countered this with a masterstroke of visual marketing, leaving the imprint of metallic mach purple and total orange in the mind of even the most casual fan as they watched instances of magic from Nike endorsers such as Miroslav Klose, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wesley Sneijder. However, It’s hard to determine whether the elite series has been a successful venture for Nike for a number of reasons, you only have to take into consideration why with most pros making the transition to the Elite, stars such as Raul Meireles and Fernando Torres refuse to change, staying in the tradition versions of the Tiempo and Laser respectively.
The first thing that stands out about an elite boot is the price tag, for most people £250 is far too much money to pay for a boot for roughly a season of wear, but yet the elite still covets a lot of intrigue, mainly due to the beautifully contrasting silhouette of black the carbon fibre sole plate with the colour of the upper as a player glides across a pitch. I feel as if the sales of the boot aren’t the major concern for Nike, with their elite series being made in Montebelluna, specifically to satisfy consumer demand, the American giants still make enough of a healthy profit on their other boots to mean that they can pursue the idea of the elite without it making or breaking their financial year. However you must ask if the elite series really is the answer in order for Nike to take control of the market? With Nike seemingly falling way behind Adidas, in terms of not only sales but innovation as well, I can’t really say that the elite series has done much to boost Nikes popularity, especially in the midst of the releases of genuine powerhouses such as the Adizero, Adipower and the Adipure. this is made especially even more embarrassing for Nike given that key endorses such as Nani and Dani Alves have made the switch to Adidas, perhaps subtly indicating to the public Adidas’s superiority at the current time in the football boot market.
I think what is needed is a dramatic overhaul by Nike, which I think is something they are addressing internally, how they address it in 2012 will be particularly interesting, whether it be a case of lowering the cost of the elite series, which would inflate sales but consequently wouldn’t address the issue of popularity amongst pros; or changing how they design a new boot, it is something that needs to be done. I personally think it should be more along the lines of the former point in most cases, the recent releases of the Tiempo IV and CTR II have proved that Nike can still make an innovative boot, however the lacklustre efforts which are plaguing the T90 and Superfly also make a case for the latter point. Nike are in no danger of falling into brand obscurity (hello mitre), but they can’t allow Adidas to continually be stealing a march on them like they have been recently, and with the addition of micoach imminent for Adidas, Nike needs to respond sooner or later and I believe they need to set the tone with the release of the new T90 Laser this autumn.
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Posted on August 02, 2011