And it’s stifling innovation
With the recent launch of the PhantomVSN 2 Nike seemed to have improved on what issues people had with the original. The boots become more slimmed down and the collar was lowered to make the boot look less ridiculous. The massive triangle part of the instep was stretched out, more grip was added to upper and pull tab was added to make the boot easier to get on. In spite of these changes, a lot of people, myself included, kind of feel “meh” about them, and it’s almost like Nike have run out of ideas of what direction to take some of their boots.
This isn’t to say Nike is not successful. Far from it – Nike continues to dominate sales worldwide. But it almost seems that they are beginning to rest of their laurels a bit and are deciding not to take any risks on their product. What drives this point home for me the most is the fact that ever single high-end Nike boot is now made from knit. They use it for almost everything and a lot of the newer innovations, like Quad-Fit, are knit based. It is understandable that part of the reason for this is that since they have refined their knit technology so much, they want to use it as much as possible. It also means that their costs are a lot lower, since the same material can be used across all product lines.
If the leaked photos that have been floating around are to be believed, Nike won’t be remaking boots as much as just giving their current silos retro colourways. Add this to the fact that adidas has finally figured out how to do proper remakes and took a risk, albeit a small one, by adding aggressive rubber elements to the newest Predators makes it seem like Nike are standing still when it comes to innovation. And for me, this is because Nike is so reliant on knit.
Nike’s constant use of knit is causing them to be more close minded when it comes to innovation. Every time something new is developed, its almost as if the product is required to use knit somewhere otherwise it won’t get approved. Look at the current Tiempo Legend 8, which sure has the Quad-Fit system, but people buy Tiempos because they want a leather boot, not some Frankenstein’s Monster of a boot. By adding knit to the Tiempo, Nike made it too similar to the PhantomVSN. Sure, most people won’t be directly comparing the two that much. But even when the Magista series was around people would flip-flop between the Tiempo and the Magistas constantly and the current line-up only seems to have more people confused. Since Nike has done this, they are essentially cannibalizing their own sales. And it makes it easier for boots from other brands, like the Rebula, Copa or Predators to stand out from Nike.
Personally, I would love to see something like KengaLite come back, or even the NikeSkin that was used on the first HyperVenoms. Surely, they should be able to improve both of those materials to make them viable again. Other brands have already proven that not everything has to be knit, so Nike should take risks like they used to. Though to be fair, a weaker Nike is probably better for the market overall. It’s just weird to see a brand seemingly limit itself on purpose.
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