In honor of the first day of 2014, the ultimate year of soccer, here is a brief look at our top 13 product launches in 2013. This list is in no way scientific, complete, or based on anything other than opinion.
#13 Special Release, Limited Edition Cleats
2013 was the year of the limited edition cleat. We saw bright, bold cleats from the best brands on the field available for limited times and in limited quantities. Nike released just 1998 pairs of an updated version of Ronaldo’s iconic Mercurial Vapor IX cleat; adidas and PUMA collaborated with artists/fashion designers/car manufacturers to create graphic cleats that seemed more appropriate for a display case than the field; Umbro created all white versions of their popular cleats. This limited release, special edition trend is sure to continue to grow in 2014 as fans are willing to shell out big bucks for the chance to be one of the few to own a pair of these cleats.
#12 adidas Champions League Final Ball
adidas’ 2013 official Champions League ball was released in July. Used for the finale held at Wembley Stadium, it featured the same star design that has become as much a part of the UEFA Champions League tournament as the trophy itself.
This cleat from Lotto made our year-end list because it was the first of several reflective cleats to hit the pitch in 2013. This lightweight, luminescent cleat is gray by day, and shiny silver at night. This was the first of several cleats designed to pop under the lights of night play. adidas also released its enlightened pack and Nike introduced the reflective pack, each giving the reflective treatment to each brand’s top four cleats.
The ninth version of Nike’s speed cleat was released in January of 2013. In three colors (berry, sunset and silver), the berry and sunset versions have a micro-textured upper for high-speed control and stability. It was worn by some of the fastest players in the game in 2013. The Mercurial IX has been spotted on the likes of Frank Ribéry, Juan Mata, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Dider Drogba, Jesús Navas, Eden Hazard, Theo Walcott, and Mario Götze. Nike also released a dotted and night sky version specifically for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2013.
#9 Warrior Gambler Cleat
This release is significant in that it shows Warrior’s continued dedication to breaking into the soccer market. Warrior also release a speed cleat, the Superheat, in 2014. From their sponsorship of Liverpool to the release of several new cleats in 2013, Warrior is sure to become a much more common sight on soccer fields in 2014.
#8 PUMA evoSPEED 1.2 Cleat
A new version of PUMA’s speed cleat was released in April. Updated with innovations to make the evoSPEED even faster, 2013’s version has a softer, thiner upper and GripTex 3D print for ball control. It’s a comfortable speed cleat with enhanced ball control. The outsole was also updated with smaller studs and a SpeedTrack spine for stability and control at a fast pace. The evoSPEED has been spotted on Sergio Aguero, Radamel Falcao, Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla, and Gaël Clichy.
With redesigned “lethal zones,” adidas introduced a new version of its beloved control cleat in May. With the Predator LZ II, adidas updated the five zones (first touch, drive, sweet spot, dribble, and pass) of control to be even more effective and efficient.
#6 Under Armour Blur Cleat
Under Armour’s first soccer cleat designed for speed. In 2013 Under Armour, a brand known for advanced technologies, brought their dedication to innovation to the soccer field. The Under Armour Blur has a carbon fiber outsole, “lateral wing” and weighs in at just 6.2 ounces.
#5 Nike’s Premier Cleat
In a sea of flash, Nike introduced a different breed of revolutionary cleat, the Premier. Nike set out to create the best $100 cleat in the world and in 2013, the Nike Premier FG was the result. The Premier offers a combination of premium materials, modern technology and a classic soccer look. In honor of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, Nike released the Premier in three colors as well.
In 2013, adidas released a cleat for “the engine” of the team, the Nitrocharge. The Nitrocharge is a cleat for the midfielders who drive the pace of the game. An Energysling is the most visible feature of the Nitrocharge, an elastic band across the forefoot that supports lateral movements. The Nitrocharge also has a zigziag insert on the outsole, the Energypulse, that enhances energy and power in every direction. It’s a cool cleat that’s quickly becoming a favorite for power players like Javi Martinez, Dani Alves and Daniele De Rossi.
In May, Nike released a new silo created for the attack. Already a game changer, the Hypervenom was first launched in black/orange version. Embraced by Neymar, the Hypervenom introduced a waffle-weave texture to soccer cleat uppers and Nike’s ACC (all conditions control) to the game. The Hypervenom is a revolutionary cleat that is sure to make an impact on the fields of Brazil this coming summer.
#2 Federation/Club Jersey Launches
Some of our favorite federation and club jerseys launches in 2013 include Nike’s first England national team jersey, all of the official federation kits for Brazil in 2014 (Brazil, Spain, Germany, Argentina, Russia, Colombia, Japan, Mexico, etc.), Chelsea’s “All that Matters is it’s Blue” home jersey, Bayern’s 12/13 UEFA Champions League championship jersey, and Manchester United’s tartan 13/14 away jersey.
The product story of 2013 is, of course, the release of the official ball of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, the adidas Brazuca. The Brazuca is adidas’ twelfth official FIFA World Cup™ ball and it is created for “never-before-seen power, swerve and control.”
What’s on your 2013 list?