Sports brand Nike has debuted a new range of products, including a football boot with mud-proof soles and garments studded with tiny silicone fins to make athletes more aerodynamic (+ slideshow).
Nike's AntiClog Traction sole is designed to tackle the problem of playing football on muddy ground, when wet soil often clogs up the cleats (or studs) on the sole and weighs down the wearer.
"The beautiful game is never played in beautiful conditions," Max Blau, Nike vice president of football footwear told Dezeen. "Mud can add 50 per cent to the weight of the boot, seriously impacting performance."
"This has been around since cleated footwear started in the 1900s," he said. "It could mean the difference between winning and losing. Mud is the enemy of traction and speed, and that is why we're taking it out of the game."
The sole has a plate made from a material Nike described as an "adaptive polymer that becomes compliant when exposed to water." Essentially, the sole becomes so slippery that mud can't cling to it.
"We stopped thinking about repelling water and started thinking about using it to our advantage to create a lubricious layer, without sacrificing traction," said Jeremy Walker, senior materials developer at Nike.
"Understanding the molecular structure of mud was key to developing a hydrophilic solution, which helps keep mud from clogging the plate."
The brand will release a limited range of boots featuring the AntiClog soles via its Nike Football App on 15 April.
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