When it comes to playing football, there’s one component that really is vitally important: the ball itself!
After all, without it, the sport wouldn’t be up to much would it?
And if a ball is good enough for the Premier League, Serie A and La Liga, then it sure is good enough for Sport-locker.net.
So when Nike sent in their new winter ball, the T90 Seitiro Hi-Vis – donned ‘the best ball on the planet’ by the brand – Sam Van Gelder was only too happy to put it through a rigorous playtest to see what all the fuss was about.
You often hear advertising campaigns claiming that their brand’s new football is the ‘roundest’ or boasts the ‘truest flight’ in history, but can a ball really be that different from its predecessor?
Noted, they’re not quite what they used to be, pig skinned with stitching and all, but how much difference can a ball actually make to a footballer?
I’ve been testing the new T90 Seitiro Hi-Vis for the past month at training with my team-mates and am now well placed write whether or not I agree with Nike.
It’s fair to say that the visibility of a ball should be a given. If you can’t see a football, then you’re in trouble!
However, because Nike has placed such emphasis on the new colourway for the winter months, I felt it was a natural place to begin.
Nike says the Nike Seitiro Hi-Vis is engineered to stand out on pitch when conditions are not ideal.
The Hi-Vis yellow and purple colour combination flaunts additional fluorescence and brighteners, making it even more visible in low light conditions than previous generations of Hi-Vis footballs.
Having tried and tested the ball under floodlights for some weeks now, I can report back only good things.
The striking graphics mean that you are able to see just how fast the ball is spinning and hence judge accurately how to control the ball.
This may sound like an ‘unrealistic’ statement to make but give it a go for yourself and you’ll agree with me.
The Nike RaDaR technology (meaning Rapid Decision and Response) allows players to see the ball better and capitalise on split scoring and passing opportunities – but I’ll leave that one to the pros!
Touch / Feel
I’ve played and trained with plenty of footballs in my (illustrious) career. But I can honestly say the Seitiro Hi-Vis is the best to date.
I’m a big fan of all things old school and the Mitre Ultimatch springs to mind in terms of top-notch footballs – but this is on a whole new level.
What’s immediately apparent is the micro-textured TPU casing. It makes the ball feel incredibly soft to touch despite it being fully inflated.
It really is the Rolls Royce of footballs. Every single player on my team couldn’t believe how amazing the ball felt to touch.
Ping a pass into feet and controlling it just seemed a breeze. Open up your instep and let the ball do the rest!
Again this sounds completely ridiculous, but I’ve never had to think less about controlling a football – no wonder the pros look so good (that’s what I keep telling myself anyway!)
But manoeuvring the ball around in tight ‘keep ball’ sessions was amazing to watch – the standard increased tenfold.
It felt equally as good when switching play over a larger distance. With minimal effort, the ball flies and crossing and long range passing was noticeably easier.
But the most impressive feature of the ball was how well it reacted to being sent towards the onion bag (or goal sack if you are reading this in America). Just kidding.
Across the board, every single player on my team noticed just how pure the strike was and it’s quickly become a must for every session – I’m even getting texts to remind me to bring it to training!
The technology behind the true strike is down to the optimal sphericity of the football which allows the ball to fly faster, farther and more accurately than other balls.
This was both for power shots with the laces and also curling shots with the instep of your foot. The ball just stays hit, but also grips to your boots in a way that I’ve never experienced before in a football.
Everything about it is consistent. We’ve had a number of shooting drills with it now, and there’s great room for error thanks to the structure of the Seitiro (it’s got a 360 degree sweet spot which distributes pressure evenly) so you don’t have to be completely pin-point with your shots.
But strike it true and you won’t get a better reaction – what’s more, your feet will still be fresh as a daisy the day after!
Having trained with the Hi-Vis Seitiro for over a month now, I can truthfully say I’ve only had to pump it up once. The shape-retention is phenomenal – it’s been sent over the fence and into the thorn bushes on numerous occasions – yet it’s still not looked like deflating in the slightest.
This is down to the flexible, cross-linked Nitrogen-expanded foam which aids shape retention and durability. Long may this robust feature of the football continue.
This review is starting to sound like I work for Nike (I don’t) but it’s not all great news for the Seitiro.
It may be the best football I’ve ever had the pleasure to play with, but it comes at a price. Literally.
The Nike T90 Seitiro Hi-Vis football will set you back a whopping £90. Now at £35-£50 I might be tempted, but double that is pushing it.
Especially because it’s basically a Tracer (which you can get a lot cheaper) with a new paintjob. I played with the Tracer at the launch of the CTR360 II and I found it hard to distinguish the difference between the two balls.
That said, the T90 Seitiro Hi-Vis is still the best football out there. It has the power to make a decent player an even better one and because of that it comes strongly recommended.
The price tags is a stumbling block, but get a whip-around going at your club and get one in for you all to enjoy. You won’t be disappointed!