There was once a time when the Nike ‘Air Zoom’ series ruled the roost when it came to elite football boots – no other boot out there got anywhere near them.
But since it’s reincarnation to the T90 series, Nike’s ‘Power’ boot has struggled somewhat to keep its place at the top of the wishlist for pros and punters alike.
However, this could all be about to change! Step up to the plate the Nike T90 Laser IV – the football boot designed to create ‘The Perfect Strike’.
Nike sent Sport-locker.net a pair to try out and Sam Van Gelder was keen to see if the boots were indeed back to their very best.
1. First Impression / Fresh out of the box factor 10/10
Having reviewed two of Nike’s elite football boots (CTR360 Maestri II & Mercurial Vapor SuperFly III) previously this year, I had extremely high expectations for the new Lasers. I didn’t get the chance to review the Laser III which meant I could treat this boot as a completely fresh entity.
There’s just something special about a new Nike football boot. Unlike any other brand, when you first open the box, it’s genuinely exciting to see what technology advancements Nike have come up with.
And I wasn’t disappointed. Taking the T90 Laser IV out of the colour-coordinated drawstring bag (those ones you used to carry all your school textbooks in at secondary school) you immediately get the impression that this boot is the real deal.
I always felt the previous Laser looked a little clumpy and had far too much rubberised material on it. But these feel lighter – they are in fact 20% lighter than the Laser III – and a lot sleeker and polished. I couldn’t wait to get them on!
2. Comfort / Fit 10/10
As soon as you put the boots on, they just ooze class. I thought that comfort couldn’t get any better than the CTR360 Maestri II but these are right up there.
They are a relatively narrow fit, so it’s definitely worth trying before you buy if you have wide feet.
But just like when I first put on the Maestri IIs, I immediately got the impression that the Laser IVs were going to be one of my favourite boots in terms of recent releases.
The slightly off-centre lacing means that when you tighten the laces, you can feel the boot wrapping around your foot, making for an extremely comfortable yet streamlined fit.
3. On the move / Warm up 9/10
The feel-good factor surrounding the boots continued as I began to run and warm up in them. It was really noticeable just how light the boots feel for a supposed ‘power’ boot yet also how amazingly comfortable they are as well – the PORON innersole makes for a very smooth ride.
The positioning of the studs is also an interesting addition. That’s because they have been “designed to maximize the speed of penetration and release on pitch without increasing stud pressure for the player.” The traction on them is very good and doesn’t seem to put any unnecessary pressure on part of your foot when turning at quick speeds.
4. Touch / Control 8/10
Perhaps the most important aspect I look for in a boot is how they react when the ball is at your feet. The feel for the ball should always be the all-important feature of a football boot.
Apart from the KangaLite material of the CTR360 Maestri IIs, I’ve always felt a synthetic upper negates the ‘touch’ attribute in a football boot in some way.
You can’t beat a K-leather upper, but Nike have done very well with the synthetic upper in the Laser IV – I’d describe it as slap bang in the middle of a plastic feeling adidas adizero and the synthetic leather feeling of the CTR360 II.
The forefoot area features a newly configured adaptive shield design and this never feels like it is getting in the way at all.
5. Short Passing 8/10
It’s always difficult to get across in a review just how well a boot reacts for short passes because, frankly, you could pass a football five yards in your slippers!
However, one thing that stands out in this department in the Laser IVs was the fact the re-distribution of the studs led to the feeling that I was constantly on my toes. So after playing a short pass, it was almost a given that I’d be on the move and going for the return.
This sense of dynamism was a much welcomed feeling!
6. Long passing 8/10
Being a power boot, I felt very comfortable pinging the ball over longer distances in these. And unlike many boots, thanks to the padded nature of the instep, I had no aching feet at the end of the session.
7. Shooting 10/10
When a boot is marketed and designed specifically for strikers, boasting of creating ‘The Perfect Strike’ – shooting should be where it earns its coin.
Hence why this was the department I was so eager to put to the test.
Nike say to ensure a perfect strike of the ball, the reconfigured shooting and swerve zones on the instep of the boot are designed to flex naturally as the foot contacts with the ball, amplifying the natural benefits of the foot to strike the ball cleanly.
The key contact zones are broken up into flexible strips which enhance the natural power and accuracy of the foot while the swerve zone fins reduced in size and height allow a closer feel to the ball providing friction to curved shots.
Finally, along the tongue and top of the boot, shape correction foam increases instep accuracy for a seamless strike of the ball.
And I have to report back that all of the above seem to run true! They really are a stunning boot in which to send a football goal-bound (or wall-bound in this case!)
With each strike you feel completely balanced and well set-up and the upper reacts superbly when putting your laces through the ball – it ‘stayed hit’ for sure.
Equally I felt tangible rewards when curling efforts, as the fins added that extra zip and purchase upon impact without ever getting in the way – a huge improvement on the silicon pods from the Laser III.
8. Security / Tackling 8/10
Again, I’ve nothing bad to report in this section. Despite feeling very light and dynamic in these boots, it didn’t hamper my confidence in the slightest when going into challenges.
They are not flimsy at all, and you feel very comfortable, compact and secure in them.
Granted, a metal stud would instil you with a bit more confidence, but hopefully you’ll be out of the defender’s stud radar before he gets to you!
9. The endurance test 10/10
It’s all well and good performing over a short stint on the green stuff, but does the boot stand the test of time?
Of course it does! I’ve been testing the boots for about a month now, and as time goes on, they seem to get better and better.
The upper has slowly begun to get more and more creased, moulding to my feet in the process – which makes for an even better feel for the ball.
The only downside is that they now no longer look as pristine and stunning as when they first came out of the box (the fin area really is a pain to clean and maintain) but then you wouldn’t expect them to.
10. The tech factor (Does it do what it says on the tin?) 9/10
Having discussed the adaptive shield design and the fin section of the boot (of which I’m a big fan), there’s another bit of technology that really makes the boot stand out – and that’s its soleplate.
With flexibility and movement key in today’s game, enhanced mid foot torsion creates a stiff power transfer from heel to toe.
The heel, medial, lateral and toe off edge traction combined with a more flexible plate also enhance agility – making for a complete boot in the process.
Sport-locker.net play test rating: 90/100
Wow! What a truly stunning pair of football boots and a massive progression from T90 Lasers gone by.
Improved traction, reduced weight and indeed ‘The Perfect Strike’ – these Laser IVs are seriously a force to be reckoned with.
What’s more, at £150, these come in at £75 cheaper than the CTR360 II Elite and a whopping £125 less than the SuperFly III – an absolute steal in my opinion.
The ‘Zoom Air’ days could indeed be back readers! All we need now is Nike to rally up the troops (Rooney, Higuain, Sneijder, Maicon et al) for an advert!
What do you think of the T90 Laser IV? Will this boot get the series back to the heights of its ‘Zoom Air’ popularity again? Let us know via the comments section below or on our Twitter and Facebook pages.
You may have also noticed the Nike Seitiro Hi-Vis football being used in this playtest. Stay tuned as we’ll bring you a separate feature on the Premier League’s winter ball in the coming weeks!