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EVENT RECAP: NIKE UNVEILS AIR ZOOM ALPHA TALON CLEAT & 2011 PRO COMBAT UNIFORMS
Nike’s NFL uniform endorsement deal might not kick in until the 2012 season, but, as proven today, their focus on the future of football is already strong. Earlier, at Cowboys Stadium, in front of a large gathering of media, Nike unveiled their newest cleat, the Air Zoom Alpha Talon, along with their 2011 Pro Combat uniforms.
The day started with Matt James, Nike Master Trainer, introducing a SPARQ training session that was underway with local high school players. The stadium’s massive video screen lived up to, and surpassed, expectations, and served as what was undoubtedly the most epic SPARQ scoreboard of all-time.
Next, it was time to move into what can almost be described as a mini-stadium inside a stadium. The day’s emcee, retired NFL-great Desmond Howard, took over the stage, and first introduced Nike’s Vice President of Global Athletic Training, Kris Aman. Aman talked about the brand’s lifelong focus on athletes, their rich history in football, and commitment to progress. “Our success is based on creating breakthrough products and experiences unmatched in our industry, helping write the next chapter for Nike Football,” Aman explained. He also set out three components of the category: Train, Compete and Express, which encompasses the preparation, game day, and lifestyle facets to an athlete’s life.
From there, Aman brought out Design Director of Athletic Training, Ken Link, to tell the story of the Air Zoom Alpha Talon. This Link-designed shoe is Nike’s most advanced cleat yet, combining often-used existing technologies like Zoom Air and Flywire, with new uses of Deflex padding, and an adaptive traction system. Nike Football athletes Ndamukong Suh, Clay Matthews, Dwayne Bowe, Felix Jones and Steven Jackson next made an appearance to talk about how this new cleat can help each of their different games. Be on the lookout, because we will have much more technical detail of the shoe coming soon, including an interview with Link.
Once the footwear portion of the day had concluded, it was time to get a look at the 2011 Pro Combat uniforms, which were detailed by Nike?s Global Apparel Design Director, Todd Van Horne. After discussing the latest base layer advancements, including adjustable and interchangeable carbon fiber plates, we got a look at the upcoming uniforms of TCU, Florida, Boise State, and the University of Oregon?s National Championship gear. Not surprisingly, just as much technology went into the uniforms themselves as the base layer. The use of Flywire, chainmail mesh and Deflex padding in the Pro Combat uniforms plays directly into Nike’s “give the athletes what they want, and only what they want” philosophy.
Following the Pro Combat presentations, we had a chance to tour the massive stadium, and get a closer look at some of the upcoming products out of Nike Training, including the upcoming Zoom Huarache Trainer Low, and additional colorways of the Air Zoom Alpha Talon. It was an awesome experience, and a great reminder about how serious Nike is about football. With 2012 just around the corner, expectations are now higher than ever for when their NFL deal kicks in.
How many schools can be identified by simply calling out one letter? That honor resides solely with the University of Miami, better known as “The U.” The school is so easily recognizable because over the last decade, they’ve cranked out more top tier NFL talent than any other institution. Since 1999, Miami has sent 67 players to the NFL, only second to Ohio State. However, 33 of those players were selected in the first round, 8 more than any other school in the country. Earlier this year, 11 former Hurricanes were selected to play in the NFL Pro-Bowl, setting the record for the most players from one school selected to play in the annual game. While things have slowed down in recent years, there’s no doubting that Miami has produced some of the best talent in football over the last 10 years.
Miami’s status as one of college football’s elite programs made them an obvious choice for Nike’s 2010 Pro Combat program. For the program, a special Pro Combat uniform was made for Miami with elements of their heritage worked into the design. Tonal Fir palm-frond print representing South Florida was incorporated into the jersey numbers, pant and footwear. The ‘Canes unveiled their Pro Combat gear in a game against the Virginia Tech Hokies on November 20th.
In addition to the Pro Combat uniforms, Nike also hooked Miami up with a special Pro Combat colorway of the Zoom Huarache Trainer. The shoe, which is available here at Eastbay now, sports a fir green exoskeleton with black working the inner bootie, midfoot strap and tongue. Hits of team orange appear on the midsole and branding on the tongue and strap. Also orange is the insole, which also features the University of Miami logo and fir palm print. A large Swoosh on the heel is done in white, while an orange-grooved black rubber outsole finishes things off on the bottom.
Available: Nike Zoom Huarache Trainer “Miami”
Over the last decade, the Virginia Tech Hokies have been perhaps the nation’s most consistent football program. With their 37-7 beatdown of in-state rival this past Saturday, Tech extended their active record of seven consecutive 10+ win seasons. The school also has the nation’s second-longest bowl game streak, participating in the postseason every year since 1993. Next up for the Hokies? A date with the Florida State Seminoles in the ACC Championship Game on December 4th.
Acknowledging Virginia Tech’s rich heritage, Nike made the school part of their 2010 Pro Combat program. As part of Pro Combat, Virginia Tech received custom uniforms and footwear to wear during the season. When onlookers saw the uniform designs, they questioned why they were done in black instead of Hokies maroon. The answer came at the official unveiling, when alum Col. Rock Roszak was on hand to help explain the concept.
As you probably know, Virginia Tech has a prestigious military background that traces as far back as 1872. Their Corps of Cadets has produced 7 Medal of Honor recipients and over 100 graduates that have been promoted to General and Flag Officer Rank. The black Pro Combat uniforms worn by the Hokies this season were done in tribute to the Corps of Cadets, as well the cadet gray-and-black regalia worn by Virginia Tech’s original football team.
Nike didn’t limit the Pro Combat collection to on-field gear. For the 10 teams that were selected for the program this season, Nike also designed custom versions of the Zoom Huarache Trainer, including a pair for the Virginia Tech faithful. Like the Pro Combat uniforms, the VT Zoom Huarache Trainer features a black on black synthetic and mesh exoskeleton. Hits of orange turn up on the inner bootie, tongue branding, trim, heel counter Swoosh and outsole. Capping off this sleek looking sneaker is a custom Virginia Tech branded orange insole.
Available: Nike Zoom Huarache Trainer Pro Combat Collection
With the NFL Preseason less than 2 months away, Nike’s Pro Combat football gear has hit Eastbay.com. Minnesota Vikings Running Back Adrian Peterson made an appearance in the June Eastbay catalog wearing the Nike gear.
Available Now: Nike Pro Combat Football Gear
Nike Pro Combat is specifically designed to integrate seamlessly into your uniform. It is designed to provide the athlete with full protection without restricting their flexibility. It is engineered to absorb tough hits and helps wick moisture on the body.