Nike's much anticipated Magista football boot has become the topic of a lot of watercooler chatter in the sports industrial complex. The cleat, which uses popular Flyknit technology, took roughly four years to conceptualize with the input of professional athletes and has been praised for taking a new approach to old problems. Engineered to feel like a seamless extension of the players' body, it's a lightweight, waterproof, snug-fitting boot that looks like a sock and fits like a glove.
The most striking thing about the Magista is its collar, which grips the leg about an inch above the ankle for security and control. Phil McCartney, Nike's vice president of sport performance footwear has said that the purpose of the height is to allow the foot, ankle, and lower leg to work together as a single unit – "A glove starts at the wrist, not halfway up the hand."
It's also customizable. Players choose from two stud configurations – FG, which offers traction for "firm ground," or SG, which adds grip for "soft ground" – and a slew of icons, graphics, and colorways, including a clear overlay that exposes the yarn weave.
It should be noted that Adidas has released a strikingly similar soccer cleat this season that is also a boot-and-sock hybrid. Called Primeknit FS, it was designed to mimic the feeling of playing barefoot. Despite initial arguments that one company had ripped off the other – Adidas alleged that its knit technology had been in the works for over a decade – the dust has largely settled. Now, diehards are just analyzing the differences before the World Cup.
Adidas' Primeknit was released in a limited edition of 150 pairs, some of which are selling for upwards of $5,000 on eBay. The Magista cleat is available to pre-order online and will be for sale on May 22 starting at $275.