Sports brand Nike has fused its Flyknit technology with a protective mesh to update the Hypervenom football boot and created a new version for street use (+ slideshow).
Both designs represent the company's attempt to "bring new style and aesthetics" to the game, according to Nathan VanHook, Nike's head of football design.
"What we do as designers is bring the science and innovations in from our research labs and blend them with art," VanHook told Dezeen.
"Ten to 15 years ago boots were all black and it was Nike that pushed colours through," he added.
The Hypervenom II boot – designed for use on grass pitches – combines Nike's knitted Flyknit technology with specially padded areas to protect players from injury. It comes in grey with a zigzagging orange graphic that cuts along its side, flowing down to its studded base.
The jagged graphic is formed from an additional layer of thin waterproof material called Nikeskin and acts as a transition between the hard base plate of the boot and its softer mesh upper. The entirely knitted and sock-like Flyknit collar extends up to cover the ankle.
Combined, the padded mesh upper and Flyknit collar work to offer greater protection to players operating in tighter spaces on the pitch – those more likely to be snagged by the opposition's boots.
"Its design is inspired by nature and the warnings of venomous animals," said VanHook. "The natural wolf-grey contrasts with the orange, the idea is that when a player like Neymar flashes past the team's defence, you'll see a pop of colour."
Strategically placed filaments – known as Flywire cabling – function like cables on a suspension bridge, providing support to the wearer's foot exactly where it is needed. Less material is used compared to the original version of the shoe to remove excess weight.
"The shape of the boot and the way it folds reads very architecturally," said VanHook. "Our team is always inspired by nature and amazing architects."
Additional siping – a process of cutting thin slits across a surface to improve traction – has also been added in the areas of the boot most likely to come into contact with the ball.
"Players today are fitter than ever," said Vanhook, who cited design as a major contributor to changes in the way the football is played. "They are running the same distances but at a higher pace, so we're creating a product that helps them unlock these new levels."
Nike has also created an adapted version of the Hypervenom II for small-sided games of football, usually played on hard surfaces in cities.
"The popularity of football exceeds the amount of space available to play it," said Nike's vice president of football footwear Max Blau. "Small-sided is increasingly the form of the game young players are introduced to and it's where their style emerges."
Like the Hypervenom II football boot, the HypervenomX fuses a padded mesh upper with an entirely knitted Flyknit collar, as well as including additional siping in heavy ball-contact areas.
Highly durable recycled rubber is used to form the underside of the sports shoe to cope with intense use on abrasive surfaces, while internal cushioning offers the wearer comfort against hard pitches.
HypervenomX is available in a black "street" version as well as the wolf-grey and orange colours of its counterpart.