Hummel used to be a lot more relevant internationally in the football boot market than they are now. They tried a lot of bold designs and were among the first brands to use goat leather for the upper of their boots, noting that it was stronger than kangaroo leather. A lot of interesting and unique designs were produced in the mid-2000s and none of them were more so than the 8.4 PIO FGX.
A brainchild of then Hummel Footwear Department Manager, Richard Kunchinsky, the 8.4 PIO FGX was the headliner of the brand’s 2007 footwear launches. The boot was made as limited edition model and only 2000 pairs were produced. Even by today’s standards, this boot is unique and stands out amongst the crowd and a key aspect of this is the detailing.
Back in the day, many people referred to this as “the Versace boot” and it isn’t difficult to see why. A bumblebee pattern (Hummel is German for bumblebee) has been laser-etched all across the leather upper. It is one of the many details found in this boot is incredible and just by looking all around the boot you can tell that a lot of passion and effort when into the design of these boots.
Another exceptional aspect of this boot is the upper. It is made from Pittard’s WR Premiership goat skin leather. Goat leather was chosen not just because it is strong than k leather, but also because it has high abrasion resistance, and was made more water resistant through a technology that Hummel and Pittard’s created called WR100X. It was somewhat similar to the non stop grip that adidas had their boots. Pittard’s also mixed a combination of polymers, silicones and waxes to create a material called eNamelFlex in order to increase the durability of the boots.
The upper also was designed to have a bit of wider fit while also providing a second set of laceholes in order for the wearer to adjust the fit as needed. And although it appears to have a burrito tongue, it is actually a normal style tongue but the upper was made to have a larger striking surface for the ball so this also added to the boot’s distinctive look.
In order to strengthen the heel, Hummel inserted fiberglass for stability and support. The boots came in at around 304g, which while not too heavy at the time, today it would make the boot a heavyweight. Another interesting part of the boot was the insoles that were included with the boots. Using a tech called hmlFIT, the insoles were designed to be put in a convection oven to warm up and then you would put them in the boots and wear them for a couple of minutes so that they would properly mold to your feet. It’s a simple way to make your boots that much more comfortable and considering the importance of insoles and how lackluster many options are today, they market could use something like these right now.
The outsole was also designed with a lot of thought and heart. The thinking that went into the FGX outsole was that the ball of the foot should be have round studs to allow for easier pivoting and to prevent strain on the knees, while the rest of the outsole featured bladed studs for traction. This type of mixed conical and bladed stud outsole was not common when these released and was only picked up by other brands a few years later. The unique look of the outsole is also down to the DYNAsymm internal lattice chassis in order to provide internal strength and some springback. They decided against using carbon fibre since it has a tendency to break under heavy loads and use. Even the studs have a lot of detail, with the blades saying “hummel” and the round studs using the Hummel logo. It even was riveted in several places for durability.
A small shout out to the overall presentation of the boot as well. The box and extras are really nice with 6 different tags coming with the boot in order to explain of the different tech of the boot. It is honestly something we should see more of from the smaller brands.
Overall these boots represent a unique part of boot history and they are now on the top of my list of boots I want to track down. What are ya’lls thoughts? Share this with your friends and make sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
All photos credit: The Directive Collective https://www.directivecollective.com/