Back in 2009, Nike released the first iteration of the CTR360 Maestri. The name referred to the Italian word for master, and was crafted for the best midfielders in the game. Nike at the time had already been well versed in making elite soccer boots with the existing silos of the Tiempo Legend, the Total 90 Laser and the Mercurial Vapor. But as the beautiful game started to evolve into more of a possession and control game, just look at the Arsenal’s and Barcelona’s of the world, Nike saw the need for a specific boot for the midfield players who were becoming the Maestros of the pitch.
Nike has always been about designing products for the athlete, with the help from the athlete. The CTR360 is another great example of this. From its first model to the third iteration that was just released, one of the world’s top talents, Andres Iniesta, has been heavily involved in the development of the new technologies on the CTR360. This is a huge driving force for what this boot is supposed to do on the pitch. I love that Nike recognized the need for a certain position player, got the insight of the top players at that position, and created new tech such as the 3D control pads and next generation Kanga-Lite synthetic material to help those players go further with their game.
I think the most impressive thing about Nike and the CTR360 is the knack to stay a few steps ahead of what is to come. As I mentioned before, there was a shift in how soccer was being played to a pace where control was a premium. Passing and receiving became priority number one. The CTR360 is Nike’s answer to this shift. The medial of the shoe is a nice departure in conventional thinking with the 3D pads put in for ultimate control in passing and receiving. This also lends itself to a boot that looks like nothing else and performs like nothing else.
Which brings us to the aesthetic of the new CTR360. Nike puts a great amount of effort into having the product’s tech driving the look and feel of the boot, and this is no exception. Nike soccer took that notion further with color blocking, graphics, and materials. Choosing options that not only push the design forward but also help the athlete to perform at a high execution rate.
One of the most appealing elements of the Nike Soccer line and in particular the CTR360 is the beautiful graphic design that is showcased throughout the shoe. The midfield player has a lot of players around them during match play and the space is tight as they are trying to drive the game forward, so the visioning and knowing of how the ball is going to come toward them is incredibly important. That is where the color and graphics play an incremental role in the midfielder’s game. The graphic elements on the shoe are more than just an aesthetic as they are a purely functional design that aides in the vision of the athlete. Imagine yourself running through a crowd of players as you set the pace for the game. The game itself is close and you know this is your opportunity to score; this is your time to put the game away. But you can’t do it alone and you can’t find your teammates in a sea of boots. You feel the opportunity slipping away.
As you play you are to always keep your head up, no matter what sport it is; if you look at the ground, you are going down. You have to be able to see the game unfolding in front of you without losing control of the ball, you have to avoid defenders and you have to know where your teammates are at all times. Nike uses incredibly bright colors because the colors are stronger in value compared to their background color, grass. Not because Europeans are more open to a more fashionable palette compared to Americans, like I thought. So essentially, if your whole team is in Nike product; you will be able to identify them at all times by seeing the flashing light of bright colors out of your peripheral vision. The unique element to the CTR360 is that yellow reflects the most against the background of the grass thus giving you the greatest opportunity to see your teammate as you run towards that opportunity to score.
To determine the shape of their graphics, Nike actually took the time to study the reaction of how players see various graphics. They actually calculated a range to the graphic design and they found that the sharper the line the shorter the time was that the player reacted to a pass. The bold and geometric graphics provide a bold contrast and a sharp signal that resonates with the player’s vision. So essentially to see sport better you have to be able to see change and the bolder the color is to the background color the better chance you have at excelling in your sport.
The philosophy of the CTR360 is sophisticatedly simple. It is solid and bold in color, basic and sharp in shape but when combined it provides midfielder’s with the most sophisticated performance tool in their arsenal. It allows them to control the pace of the game with color, texture and moisture defying materials all while looking good.