As brands gear up for the 2014 World Cup, the competition for the most high-tech and festive cleat has gotten heated. The Nike Magista is the favorite, but Adidas has released a stable worth of intimidating dark horses. The Battle Pack, a collection of five boots with classic silhouettes and aggressive styling, is definitely going to make an impression.
“We look at this as if we’re providing these guys with their battle uniform,” says Tor Southard, the company’s senior merchandising manager. “It’s the biggest competition of their lives.”
Soccer gear is notoriously loud and colorful – most of last year’s cleats were covered in sweeping neon uppers with thick bold laces – but Adidas took a slightly different approach. Each cleat in the series is covered in black and white graphics inspired by war paint and with gold stripes to represent the FIFA World Cup trophy. Southard says that developing the collection took two years from start to finish, and most of that time was spent field testing the gear. The company maintains a network of professional and semi-professional players who test each version of the shoe in all types of conditions and give feedback. One of the biggest innovations for this year’s collection is the fabric, which is a hybrid of stretchy synthetic and leather that doesn’t hold water and can take a heavy beating.
For the fans, Adidas released a mini-collection of complimentary lifestyle gear including five streetwear sneakers with a similar aesthetic. “In terms of a global sporting event, it’s only second to the Olympics,” Southard explains. “We go all in.” [Cleats from $160; adidas.com]