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The story behind Nike Football's Hypervenom 3 boots

09:26 GMT+3 04/02/2017
NIKE Hypervenom 3 designer
Goal Singapore gets in touch with the senior design director for Nike Football, Nathan Van Hook, to learn more about the Hypervenom 3 boots.

As the third iteration of Hypervenom, were there any elements in the new Hypervenom 3 that are brought over from the first two versions?

We were focused new innovations so we worked hard to develop a new, better plate as well as a Flyknit upper with responsive foam pods. There are elements to the texture of the Hypervenom 3 upper that may remind some of the first Hypervenom, but it’s constructed with Flyknit this time and includes pods for the first time. The technicality continues to improve over time with advancements in manufacturing, materials, and technologies and as a result your creativity needs to mold to these new methods to create the best product. The evergreens of football still remain the same in what we are solving against; fit, touch, and traction and making product that is lusted after.

What were the insights and feedback from the first two Hypervenom that defines the new Hypervenom 3?

The focus for Hypervenom 3 was on cutting laterally and striking the ball to score goals. Those were the critical actions for the players we designed for and reflective of their feedback on what was most important. Player feedback really helps validate that we are on the right path and solving for our their specific needs. We break down there movements, get feedback from prototypes they are testing to continually hone in the product so when it comes to market for the world it truly has been engineered to the exact specifications of championship athletes around the world.

What were the tests you used to perfect the Hypervenom 3?

We tested the traction pattern extensively through our Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and also tested the strike zone foam to ensure the proper placement and responsiveness. The entire boot was of course wear-tested extensively by our elite athletes.

What were the challenges you faced when conceptualising the Hypervenom 3 design and making it a reality?

The Hypervenom 3 is an design/engineering/and development feat. Getting all technologies to come together so uniformly took a lot of problem solving, but clever thinking and innovation help us provide a boot that gives the player the benefit of a boot that reacts to their feet. From the Hyper Reactive plate moving naturally with your foot and coinciding with the Flyknit Upper that is built anatomically to lock your foot in with the 3 meters of Dynamic Flywire cable, to the intricate upper molding for great dampening and texture on the ball, to the precisely lasered and placed Rate Dependent Foam Strike Zone, there is not one part of this boot that has not been obsessed by the best team in the world from all over the world.

As the designer of the new Hypervenom 3, which of the innovation used in the boot excites you the most? Why?

The entire boot excites me but if I had to choose one element it would be the plate, as that has been in development for over six years and is the most flexible forefoot we’ve ever had in football, which enables the player to push of for sharp cuts.

How would players in positions apart from a striker benefit from using the Hypervenom 3? As a designer, how big is the effect of a player’s boots selection on their performance on pitch?

Any player could benefit from the Hypervenom 3 strike zone, flexible plate, and emphasis on lateral cutting. For example, quite a few goalkeepers prefer Hypervenom 3 as they move laterally very quickly to make a save and appreciate the strike zone pods on long goal kicks. It really comes down to player preference and the boot attributes they value most. I’d say players rightfully take their boots pretty seriously as valuable tools of their trade.

With Harry Kane and Gonzalo Higuain becoming part of the Hypervenom line-up, what are the traits that made them part of this selection? Are there any specific traits or style of play that defines the Hypervenom player?

Kane and Higuain are both outstanding finishers and we’re honored that they choose to wear Hypervenom 3 boots. We look forward to all of the goals they will score in them and are appreciative of the feedback they provided throughout the boot’s development that led to the final product.

As we know, Nike always listens to the voices of the athletes. What were the insights from the players that give rise to the components of the Hypervenom 3 that would help a striker score goals? Who were the key players that were involved in the process?

We always start with the Athlete and the insight. What problem we are solving against to help give them an edge and allow them to take their performance to a new level. Then we start looking at what technologies we can bring to the table and the collaboration starts getting into 3D as fast as possible. Not one person ever creates a product, it takes a large team to bring this level of innovation together.The players talked to us about cutting and striking and we built the Hypervenom 3 to do exactly that. They also wanted a more flexible plate, which we spent years developing. And of course, it had to look cool, that is always important as well. We worked with many great players on the Hypervenom 3, including Lewandowski, Kane, Cavani, Higuain, and more. Their insights and feedback were critical to the design process.

Tell us more about yourself. Becoming a designer for such a prestigious global brand like Nike, what was the journey like?

have loved sport and art since I was a little kid, these two connected to getting into Design which eventually lead me to Nike. Since I have been at Nike for the past 8 years I have had an amazing opportunity to work in Nike Sportswear on Energy Product and ACG, work with some of the best Athletes in the world such as Olympian Ashton Eaton in Men’s Training, and now I have have the Dream Job to be in Nike Football. The young kid watching the 1994 World Cup in the US could not imagine the present.

Do you have any advice for design enthusiasts who also want to produce revolutionary products like yourself?

It’s a very exciting career so I would encourage any design enthusiast to go for it. Tap into your own creativity and problem-solving skills to develop a style all your own. Take in inspiration from everywhere – sports, nature, architecture, etc. and learn all you can about materials and technology. I work with a very great team and would encourage anyone to surround yourself with the kind of talent and teamwork I get to experience everyday – it makes you and everyone around you better.