There are football boot releases, and then there is football boot releases. What is the difference? While some releases are soon forgotten in the history of boots, there are just some boots that come along that change the face of football boots forever. Think the first F50 adiZero, the Predator Accelerator, the original Nike Superfly I. Without attempting to foreshadow what is to come in this review, the Nike Magista is likely to go down as one of those boots that stand head and shoulders above the rest. While being the first legit knitted football boot (we are not recognizing the adidas Primeknit) and the instantly recognisable Dynamic Fit Collar catches the eye, how does it all perform on the pitch? We tell all in our comprehensive review.
‘Skepticism’ would certainly be a worthy way of describing the first time anyone laid eyes on the Nike Magista Obra. Nike have ventured into the unknown when it comes to the Magista Obra, and it is all down to the Dynamic Fit Collar (which has a massive say in how the boots perform). As different and as strange as the design of the Obra is, it is another one of those boots that will grow on you as time passes. The Flyknit Dynamic Fit Collar runs from the ankle to just above the heel, where there is a thin layer of foam that effectively follows the base of your heel. From there, Flyknit is incorporated with a layer of Nikeskin running over the top. This means you have a strong spiderweb like design and feel to the upper, with little pockets of Flyknit running in the holes. There is, however, a section of Flyknit running under the laces that has the same stretchy feel to the Dynamic Fit Collar.
In all, yes the boot does look different, and it certainly is not a boot for the faint at heart. If you enjoy being loud when it comes to your boots, you will be a fan of the World Cup Magista Obra. It will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the boot just has a loud ‘cool’ factor about it that instantly demands the spotlight. Bright yellow is not everyone’s preference when it comes to the boot on their feet, and Nike will be catering to the more conservative-minded amongst us with a few toned-down colourways coming out soon.
The combination of these two materials gives a solid, cushioned feel for the ball, but this is maximised by a layer of padding that runs underneath the Flyknit upper. This cushioning has not been advertised by Nike, but it does exacerbate the cushioned feel for the ball. It is to a point where the force of trapping or controlling a ball is largely absorbed by the cushioning. This is not to say that you can bring down a 60 yard long ball right onto a penny, but there are some boots on the market where the barefoot feel for the ball means the ball may sometimes ping off your foot as you control it. The Magista lies between the two extremes of a barefoot feel (in say the F50) and the buttery softness of a leather boot when it comes to touch, thanks to the soft Flyknit giving the cushioning and a natural feel for the ball. This, combined with the one piece construction of the Obra (the tongue is simply an extension of the Dynamic Fit Collar), means you have a seamless, universal feel for the ball all over your foot.
There is not enough superlatives in the world to describe how amazing it makes ball control and feel. Whichever part of the foot is used to touch the ball has the same thickness about it, a true masterstroke from Nike. A similar train of thought occurs when it comes to kicking. The combination of the a slight crispness from the Nikeskin overlay and the plush Flyknit and cushioning underneath means kicking in the Magista is solid and natural.
Striking the ball follows a similar vein. It should be noted that as cushioned as the Magista is with the inner lining, it is still pretty thin. Okay, it is not Sprintskin thin, but this is another aspect that puts the Magista in a class above. While you can still feel the ball when you kick it, the cushioning takes away some of the force you might feel when you really put your foot behind the ball. This may not be for everyone, I know a few wingers and strikers who like that very, very close feel for the ball, and the Magista does not quite offer that same level of closeness for the ball. But from my point of view, the Magista is the perfect level of taking away the sting from a shot, but you still feel like you are in control of the ball, a perfect balance between the two ends of the spectrum from Nike.
Those who have not used the boot have expressed concerns at the Dynamic Fit Collar getting in the way of one’s touch, but that fear quickly disappears as you use the boot. The collar is thinner in comparison to the rest of the boot, and it is stretchy such that it closely runs up your foot to the cut-off point at the ankle. With the point of the Magista being to minimise any materials getting in the way of you and the ball, they have certainly nailed the brief.
This is the one part of the review that has taken me several days to work out how to put down, because the one aspect of the Magista that is so unlike any other boot on the market is because of how it fits. Everything that goes into the boot does its part to create a boot with an insanely good fit, a fit which I would go as far as saying is the best on the market.
The main culprit is the Flyknit material, which creates a seamless upper that makes the upper feel like it was made for you, such that it closely follows the shape of your foot. The fit is made to feel even closer due to the Dynamic Fit Collar, which effectively locks your foot into the boot, from which the Flyknit upper can kind of give a morph-like sensation around your foot. This is especially noticeable around the tongue and the ankle. With pure Flyknit being used around here, it stretches to your foot as soon as you pull the boot on. Yet in saying that, you can still see it maintains shape once you take the boot off. It has that flexibility to match your fit, yet it still has a sturdiness about it to help secure your ankle. There is also the inner cushioning that perfectly wraps around the foot to offer supreme comfort. There was no breaking in issues with the Magista either, and my pair felt comfortable straight out of the box.
While I cannot deny the comfort factor of the boot, I would not go as far as saying it makes your ankle and foot fully integrated and in tandem like Nike are going on about. What the boot does is to provide a super close fit, so you get the feeling that it all feels like everything is together, but it is little more than that. The notion that your movement is made even better in the Magista is near ridiculous. A better way of putting it is that the design of the Magista means you get a responsive fit when running or changing direction.
How does the Magista do that? The removal of any real insole board (the thing underneath the sock liner) with the very stiff and responsive Nylon outsole makes the Magista work around your foot movements and bursts of energy. It makes your foot seem closer to the ground and you can easily shift energy from a full on sprint to a quick deceleration before you change direction. This, combined with the conical studs, makes directional changes that bit easier. This is an aspect of the Magista that further adds to how versatile it is. It offers support and explosiveness for the sprint with the flexible outsole and the three bladed studs in the front of the sole that gives you something to push off, yet directional changes are made that easier with the grippy conical studs.
In all the time I have spent reviewing boots, there has really only been 3 boots that have blown me away with how good they are. I can say the Magista is in the same class, it truly sets the bar for the other companies. Nike have combined a boot that is one of the most comfortable boots on the market offering a premium seamless feel, a touch for the ball that is bang in the middle between a close feel for the ball that still has a nice bit of cushioning with it, and a sole that all works well to maximise movement. The Magista will probably be one of those boots that I keep going back to, it just seems to offer everything and should be a boot that is on everyone’s radar.