Earlier today, Nike unleashed their most advanced acceleration machine to date – welcome in Mercurial Superfly V. This latest version of Mercurial Superfly is designed with one thing in mind: SPEED. Every component was created to work in concert towards the singular goal of unleashing a player’s full speed potential and we have the first details on how it is all pieced together.
One of the very first performance aspects of Superfly V is the new anatomical Nike plate that maps the natural contours of the foot, eliminating the gap that previously existed underfoot. By cradling the foot, it enables the foot to move with the boot instead of against it. Nike Football Design Lead Jeongwoo Lee elaborated more:
The contoured plate provides a more natural fit, by allowing your foot to be nested within it. The physiotherapists we worked with believe this will reduce pressure-point irritations as well as unwanted movement inside the boot, thereby maximizing energy return during high-speed play.
Nike also successfully engineered a single-layer chassis for the new Mercurial sole plate. Soccer plates traditionally have many overlapping layers of material, but Nike utilized a new vacuum forming process to hollow out the plate. The new Mercurial soleplate is 40% lighter than the carbon fiber plate it replaces, yet it is stronger and more responsive.
With acceleration comes the need to brake fast and blast through tight chops and turns. Nike’s design team tested different variations of cleats, blades, chevrons and other shapes in a variety of traction patterns. They also leveraged virtual Finite Element Analysis (FEA) testing for the first time, which provided scientific data to identify which traction pattern worked best for the speed-focused player, inclusive of linear sprints.
The studs all are the same shape but positioned in different directions — straight on with the heel for braking, angled in the forefoot for propulsion. We also have traction in what used to be an empty space in the forefoot, which will provide a noticeable difference to players.
Speed and style of play also influenced the Nike Flyknit upper, which was designed to enhance the interaction between the boot and ball at high speeds. For the first time, Nike leveraged data-informed texture mapping to create a Flyknit “speed rib” 3D texture. The raised surfaces provide friction between the upper and ball. The speed ribs have a base thickness of 1 millimeter, increasing to 2.5 millimeters in the forefoot. In motion, the speed ribs also provide a bit of a color shift.
It is a bold new design, but one that is sure to allow Nike a platform to develop some killer looks and take the silo to a while other level.