Now that the football season is in full swing with UEFA Euro and Copa América 2016, the sport is dominating global headlines. Even though recent celebrations have been marred by violence, the sport undoubtedly offers major brands an opportunity to showcase products on a global scale unlike any other. So, why is it we don’t see more creativity and fashionable elements from “The Beautiful Game?” Is it due to the lack of player exclusive products that we so often see in the NBA? Nonetheless, Jordan Brand recently turned its attention to the world of football and unveiled its first-ever football boot in collaboration with global superstar Neymar Jr.
While this bold move by Jordan Brand has raised a few eyebrows, it seemingly makes sense for a company that’s keen to expand into areas outside of the basketball realm. Not only is Neymar a big fan of Michael Jordan and Jumpman, he’s arguably the most marketable football player since David Beckham. Riding hot on the heels of his best season yet as a professional, the 24-year-old has a lot of potential as captain of Brazil’s national team, as well as being an integral part of FC Barcelona’s deadly attacking trio, which includes the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez.
Therefore, as one of the most exciting football-related products to come out in recent memory, we took to the field with the NJR x Jordan Brand Hypervenom IIs for a quick kickaround.
Unlike your typical football boot, this special silhouette is peppered with standout details that pay homage to Neymar’s favorite Air Jordan silhouette. Drawing inspiration from the iconic Air Jordan 5, the boot’s main features are the modernized fighter jet shark teeth that Nike’s Senior Designer, Nathan VanHook, specially developed for this project, as well as the reflective Swoosh and Jumpman logo at the heel. Upon closer inspection, you’ll find subtle details that add a personal touch to the otherwise sleek design, such as the initials of Neymar’s son and the Brazilian flag inscribed on its laces. Rounding out the look is Neymar’s number 10, which appears on the left boot, and Jordan’s number 23 on the right.
Whether you’ve yet to lace up in the Hypervenom IIs or you’re looking to replace your pair from last year’s drop, performance-wise, the NJR x Jordan Brand iteration will not disappoint. The boots fit exactly how you’d expect, like a glove. They feature the same Nikeskin upper that football players across all levels are in awe with, a pure balance of protection and control on the ball. Rounding out the sock-like fit is a Dynamic Fit Flyknit Collar as well as Flywire that wraps around the foot, offering up lockdown support for the duration of 90-minutes without any noticeable rubbing or slippage.
A subtle update here includes a flattened out toebox, originally comprised of triangular groves, which doesn’t noticeably affect one’s striking of the ball. This minor change does, however, feel more snug around the toes than its preceding version, offering a slightly more streamlined fit, perfect for explosive players like the Brazilian wonderkid.
Finally, moving down to the studs, the conical configuration across the soleplate offers up a cushioned feel on the pitch, especially at the heel, which compliments the lock-down support and provides sustained comfort.