When you are one of the world’s premier shoe companies, you tend to come out with a few pieces of technology that let you know you are on a winner. Think Kanga-Lite, the Sprintframe, Teijin synthetic, we have seen so many materials that have truly changed the boot landscape. But let us look outside of the football boot landscape, and if we had to pin one piece of modern footwear technology that is killing it at the moment, it would have to be Nike’s revolutionary Flyknit. With the domination of Flyknit, we wonder, could football boots be the next market that embraces Flyknit?
But what is Flyknit all about? Introduced back in 2012, Flyknit is a combination of a number of different yarns and fabrics put together such that the material appears where it is needed. It means you ultimately have a lightweight upper to give you that long sought after barefoot feeling. But how lightweight is lightweight? The Nike Flyknit Racer weighs just 160 grams in a US size 9, a ridiculous weight for your not-so-average running shoe.
Nike have been playing around with Flyknit on their runners for a number of years now, and the past week saw the launch of the new Nike Flyknit Lunar2 running shoe. But it is not just joggers that have felt the benefits of Flyknit. Golfers, and basketballers with the recent Nike KOBE 9 Elite, have benefited from Flyknit. Which of course begs the obvious question: If Flyknit has been such a massive success, why not try it out in what is the world’s most popular sport? And if we may be frank, it might happen one day.
After using two different FlyKnit options from Nike (the Nike FlyKnit Lunar1+ and the Nike Free FlyKnit 5.0), I have to say that FlyKnit is a truly fantastic material for a shoe and I would definitely be intrigued by its use on a football boot. On the running shoes with FlyKnit, Nike have made the entire upper seem completely uniform…but running your finger across the FlyKnit shows that different sections (particularly denoted by different colors on the Free 5.0) have different levels of stretch or rigidity. With that, it stands to reason that Nike could have typical sections of boots where rigidity is necessary covered with the more rigid types of FlyKnit and have sections that need a little more fluid feel to have some of the more relaxed sections of FlyKnit. In fact, after a lot of use, I have started to think that durability of the FlyKnit might not really be the biggest issue with a FlyKnit footy option!
The biggest issue for me in a possible FlyKnit release would be the lacing system. With the running shoes, the laces and lace-holes are simple excess loops made from FlyWire that sticks out of the shoe. Although it works just fine for the running shoe, a boot or something else scraping against one of these small lace-holes would surely result in ripping and, since the FlyWire used in the lace-hole runs through the rest of the shoe to aid in the fit, a rip in this department could greatly alter the boot! It also feels llike Nike would have to use laces that are not typical of a soccer release as all of the FlyKnit running shoes tend to have unique laces that will not negatively affect the FlyWire lace-holes. Not a big issue, but certainly something that would have to be considered.
As mentioned in the first paragraph, the recent tech advances in footwear have been amazing and FlyKnit certainly seems like the next great advance in this cycle. However, it will certainly take more than just putting studs on the bottom of some of the current FlyKnit options and, if there is going to be a release, Nike will have to put some serious thought into the finished product. With that being said, we would be super excited to see the end result and hope that this idea soon moves from the “possibility” stage to the “reality” stage so that we can start testing! If you have yet to use anything with FlyKnit on it, it is definitely worth taking a chance on! Would you be excited about a boot with FlyKnit? Or, does it seem like a material that should never make its way onto the pitch?