WHILE the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan are still a good five months away, global sports and lifestyle brand Nike has started unveiling gear and apparel that will be showcased at the quadrennial sporting spectacle, the most recent of which are its football kits.
Touted to mesh art and science, the kits, both uniforms and the shoes, were done in extensive collaboration with the federations that will be using the brand. Nike undertook deep cultural immersions and collaborated with each federation, taking a cue from what it did for the 2018 Nigeria Collection used in the FIFA World Cup which was well received since what the country is all about resonated in the designs.
For the 2020 Olympic collection, each team’s look will be celebrated with everything from hand-drawn prints to custom fonts. To further enhance distinction, Nike designers had 65 chassis options available to them across varying necklines, sleeves, cuffs, and badge placement, among others.
To complement their distinct appearance, the kits were infused with much innovation to bring out high performance from those who would wear them.
To achieve this, Nike first captured data on more than 300 footballers and football-specific movements.
The design team leveraged 4D visualization tools to bring the product to life before creating samples. This process helped Nike analyze how the kits would perform on the body with regard to stretching, draping, and fit.
Using generative design, Nike then knitted kits that are 55% faster wicking, 13% more breathable, and with 10% more stretch than Nike’s previous kits.
The precision knitting is reinforced where needed and vented in areas prone to heat.
The results of all these reveal a highly intricate knitting structure.
First to be unveiled were the kits for teams USA, Korea, and Nigeria.
The word “States” is very prominent in the kits of the US team — including the back of the away jersey and the back of the socks.
The home kit is white, elevated by details, while the away kit is a deep obsidian with pops of brighter blue and red accents.
US Soccer’s full collection is loaded with nods to the country’s love of multiple sports.
The Korea kit received a major redesign emblematic of the country’s vibrant culture and Hallyu pop culture.
The Korean Wave is represented on the home kit with a wavy pattern comprised of the trigrams from the national flag, while the away kit makes a bold statement on and off the pitch with a striking white tiger print on the jersey.
Complemented by a metallic gold Swoosh and crest applications, the kit is intended to feel a bit luxurious.
In 2018, Naija changed the game with a collection that set a new standard for how Nike approaches federation design.
For the 2020 Olympics, Nigeria picks up right where it left off with a home kit that fuses the traditional aesthetic of an agbada robe with modern football design
The away kit is inspired by Onaism, a traditional artistic movement central to Nigerian design and craft represented in the trim details.
NIKE AIR ZOOM MERCURIAL
Also unveiled last week was the concept football boot, the Nike Air Zoom Mercurial.
The boot is built around a full-length articulated Zoom Air bag that provides a unique underfoot sensation and enhanced energy return.
It has an internal boot chassis transitioned to the plate, leaving only the sockliner between the foot and the Zoom Air bag for maximum effect.
The boot features an upper made of Nike Flyprint, the brand’s first 3D-printed textile upper in performance footwear. It makes it lighter and more breathable than Nike’s previously employed textiles, while still coated with All Conditions Control (ACC) to battle the elements.
“The Air Zoom Mercurial is a glimpse into the future and where we could take things. With innovations like Air and Flyprint at our disposal, as well as those things still under development, there’s no limit to what football boots can become,” said Jeongwoo Lee, Senior Design Director at Nike Football, in a release. — MASM