Want proof? Just check out their game-changing generative design process. Before each cleat reaches your foot, Nike takes actual athlete data from their Sport Research Lab and implements it into the cleat plate. So before Nike introduced the new Alpha Menace cleats, they brought in Russell Wilson to wear-test them and give his own feedback. All of this led to a cleat optimized specifically with the flex points and support that agile players like the Seattle QB need.
We sat down with Kyle Strek and Erin Cochrane, two designers on the Nike Football Footwear Team, to dive into the details and find out what else makes each cleat so unique.
The Focus: Speed
The Inspiration: Odell Beckham Jr.
Kyle Strek (K.S.): With the Vapor, everything revolves around being lightweight and getting a second-skin fit. We want these cleats to feel like they are a part of your body. The Vapor Untouchable 2 specifically has a Flyweave upper, and that’s huge because the material doesn’t stretch at all. It’s so tightly woven, if you look closely, there are probably 10,000 ends of thread inside each upper. It’s similar to the seatbelt of a car — it keeps you so locked in and is completely non-stretch.
The carbon fiber plate gives you a lot of forefoot snappiness. Whether it’s a receiver jumping off the line or a defensive back getting in those first few backpedal steps, these speed players are really focused on that area of the foot. This plate gives them that energy return and explosion.
K.S.: Here, it was all about showing off the fastest guys on the field, the guys with the most athleticism. Odell fits that idea perfectly. His ability to run full speed forward and switch directions in a split second, how he can jump over people — we’ve all seen the incredible stuff he’s able to do on the field.
Erin Cochrane (E.C.): The designs definitely embody each unique player. For the Vapor, those fast chevron shapes coming from the toe and moving back represent how fast and athletic Odell is when he’s moving down the field.