Posted on March 10, 2014
Unless you were living under a rock last week, you heard all about Nike’s latest soccer cleat. The Magista – Nike’s first football boot incorporating Flyknit technology – was unveiled to media and VIPs at a spectacular presentation held in Barcelona.
The launch event was kicked off by Nike CEO Mark Parker, whose presence illustrated the excitement at Nike surrounding this footwear innovation. FC Barcelona star Andres Iniesta also made an appearance and gave the Magista a glowing endorsement.
Following the main event, SOCCER.COM was among a select group invited to test the Magista at Barcelona’s legendary La Masia training complex. “The Farmhouse” in English, La Masia is not only the residential home of Barca stars-in-waiting, it is the spiritual home of the Catalan club’s unique football philosophy.
We were thrilled not only to have the opportunity to test out the Magista at the training grounds where Iniesta, Xavi and Lionel Messi honed their skills, but also to share that experience with you, our SOCCER.COM customers.
There was a palpable sense of excitement as we made our way to a table full of Nike shoe boxes and found our size. It was crazy to know that we would be among some of the first non-professionals to try out this cleat. The Nike-sponsored players had all loved it, would we?
Opening up the box for the first time, the Nike Magista surprises and delights. With its dynamic fit “high-top” collar, the Magista looks unlike any soccer cleat on the market. The design is vibrant, but the real eye-catcher is the collar. This element gives the cleat a shape never before seen from a major soccer cleat release.
The goal of the collar, according to Nike, is to hug players in, locking them down in the boot. It certainly achieves that. In fact, the collar actually gave us a challenge to get the boots on. The material is stretchy but structured and we had to play around a bit before sliding into the shoe.
Once you’re in, two things are immediately apparent; the collar really does hug your ankle and the Flyknit upper feels like a sock on your foot. To say the fit was super-snug and comfortable would be an understatement. They are light as well – 7.2oz – the same as Nike’s Hypervenom Phenom.
We headed out to the field and were greeted by two FC Barcelona coaches who put us through our paces on the hallowed turf. During the warm-up we had our first opportunity to try out the 360° rotational traction outsole design.
The combination of the soleplate – a similar configuration to the Nike Tiempo Legend V, but with entirely conical studs – and the dynamic fit collar gave us complete confidence as we moved around in the cleats for the first time.
Our initial training exercize – a simple passing square drill – was a great chance to test out the touch of the Magista. As you might expect, the Flyknit upper and 0.1mm thick NIKESKIN application provided an excellent feel for the ball and we quickly grew accustomed to the unique sock-like sensation.
During a brief water break, we took the opportunity to try some shots with the Magista and found that the ball flies straight and true off the NIKESKIN, despite lacing that slants more towards the instep. The laces are so thin and soft that it made no difference.The Hypervenom-like texture created a good amount of friction on our placed shots, while striking the ball more powerfully was very satisfying thanks to the almost barefoot feel provided by the Flyknit.
One question that many have asked since the Magista’s launch is “How durable is it? What if I get stepped on?” Well we got to answer that as we began some small-sided games. Our silky skills led to a couple of brief encounters with opponents studs and the result was unexpectedly positive. The addition of NIKESKIN to the Flyknit upper gives the Magista some reasuring solidity and we came off no worse than if we’d been wearing any other lightweight boot.
As the session progressed, we didn’t feel restricted by the collar (another concern we’ve heard) as it adjusted to well to ankle flexing during sharp turns. Playing on a sunny Spanish afternoon, the collar material seemed very breathable and after a while you barely notice its there.
But what if you’re not playing in Sunny Spain? That is the only thing we weren’t able to test, but Nike insists that the upper performs well in wet conditions thanks to the NIKESKIN application. Four years of research and development went into the Magista including substantial testing in Portland, Oregon, a place that gets its fair share of wet weather.
As for cleaning, we didn’t have to worry about that as our pair of Magista cleats (one of only a few non-sample pairs in existence right now) was wisked away after the training session finished.
With the Magista, Nike has done exactly what they set out to do; change football boots forever. That is undeniable. Is that change for the better or worse? Let’s just say we were very sad to leave Barcelona without them.
According to Nike’s VP of Sport Performance Footwear Phil McCartney, the Magista design process revolved around three elements: fit, touch, and traction. From our experience, the Nike Magista scores top marks in each category.
Release Date – April 29 (pre-order), May 22 (retail)
Price – $275, with other versions at lower prices
Weight – 7.2 oz.
Upper – Synthetic, Flyknit/NIKESKIN
Soleplate – Pebax®/Nylon
Stud Shape – Conical
External Heel Counter – Yes
Probably the biggest dissapointment with this cleat is that we have to wait so long for it to hit the virtual shelves of SOCCER.COM. We will start taking pre-orders on April 29, with the official retail date (when customers can receive it) on May 22.