Right after the victory over Ukraine, Nike and France unveiled the 2014 World Cup kit with Franck Ribery, Blaise Matuidi, Yohan Cabaye and Raphael Varane. Combining the best in performance innovation with insightful design details, the new French kit captures the innate style and national pride of France with a sophisticated look. One of the most beautiful kit I’ve seen.
Cooling and Comfort
Aiding performance by regulating player body temperature over the course of match is a primary focus for Nike’s design teams. Utilizing a combination of Nike Dri-FIT Technology, “burnout” mesh and laser-cut ventilation holes, designers are able to localize cooling where players need it most.
Nike Dri-FIT technology pulls moisture away from the skin to the outside of the garment where it evaporates more quickly, and laser-cut holes and engineered mesh in key areas where heat is generated allow for increased breathability and airflow across the skin.
“By managing sweat and keeping the body cooler longer, players feel more comfortable, sweat less, and perform better,” said Martin Lotti, Creative Director for Nike Football.
In addition to keeping players cool, Nike is utilizing a new dual-knit fabrication that incorporates cotton and recycled polyester for the best in moisture wicking properties, while adding a softer feel and more flattering shape.
In line with Nike’s commitment to superior performance with lower environmental impact, the shirt, short – and for the first time in a national team kit, the socks – all feature fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. (100% recycled polyester in the shorts, 96% recycled polyester in the shirt and 78% in the socks).
Each kit is made using an average of 18 recycled plastic bottles. Since 2010, Nike has diverted almost 2 billion bottles from landfills, enough to cover over 2800 full-sized football pitches.
“Incorporating environmental benefits is a key part of the design and development process for us,” said Lotti.
“We consider every aspect of product creation across our supply chain, including waste, chemistry and water usage outputs to create a kit that performs for the players while bing good to the planet.”
Designers used three dimensional body scans of elite footballers to collect data on the form of today’s players and identify an updated fit, improving comfort and allowing the body to move more naturally within the kit.
While looking at every element of the modern football kit, Nike designers also paid special attention to the kits’ socks. Combining athlete insight and research with new materials and fabrications, the Nike Elite Match Fit sock for 2014 features a sleeker fit specific to football.
Strategically cushioned zones provide comfort and protection at the big toe and anklebones where the majority of impact occurs, while arch support locks down the foot to prevent slipping. Material was also eliminated to enhance touch and decrease bulk, and flex grooves were added to the ankle and the top of the foot to prevent any bunching.
Nike Pro Baselayer
The new Nike Pro baselayer is the lightest ever from Nike and features increased venting and breathability.
For 2014, Nike will offer a variety of Nike Pro baselayer styles for players to choose from. These are designed for the varying temperatures and conditions athletes will encounter in Brasil, which are expected to vary from high heat during mid-day matches, to much colder temperatures in the southern match locations during evening games.
Nike has redesigned its baselayer short for 2014 taking insights directly from some of the best players in the world.
“When we asked players to talk about the kind of protection they need during a match, they showed us scars and abrasions on their upper-back hip area from sliding,” recalled Lotti.
“Several players showed us these same injuries so we set-out to add more protection, while balancing the need for lightweight and breathability.”
The result is the Nike Pro Combat Ultralight Slider Short. Featuring increased and adjusted protection to match the athlete’s sliding pattern, the short is also 20% lighter than previous versions and made with 87% recycled polyester.
Weight was eliminated through the addition of mesh for increased breathability and cooling where the athlete generates heat.
“In addition to providing the best in performance innovation, our aim is to celebrate the spirit of each country our kits represent,” said Lotti.
“We looked at what French players were wearing off-pitch, and they favored a classic, hand-crafted kind of style. We wanted to reflect this and give players that same level of luxury and same idea of tailored fit.”
The fabric detail of the French National Jersey is inspired by the story of Nîmes, a town in the south of France. Nîmes was the birthplace of modern denim, and the fabric takes its name from the town (literally ‘de Nîmes’).
Nîmes is historically known for its textiles and patterns and the landscape of Nîmes is said to have inspired today’s rugged denim as well as the silk shawls worn throughout Europe in the 18th century.
This paradox between raw denim and elegant silk mirrored Nike designers’ desire to create a beautiful design aesthetic for the French home shirt.
“The Nîmes fabric story inspired us to use the twill texture and 45 degree angle of classic denim combined with a focus on beautiful craftsmanship,” said Lotti.
The design team spent time refining the home kit’s collar focusing on comfort and beauty. The collar and side-hem also feature a selvedge-like accent.
The crest features a new design inspired by the 1958 crest and reflects players’ feedback of wanting to “feel the history of our country”.
The cockerel-design has been enlarged, freed from its badge and given the space to again become the ultimate symbol of French national pride. It’s also beautifully embroidered just above the heart and on the bottom of each player’s number, and a flag is placed on the inside of the neck on each kit.
“Representing France is the ultimate honor,” said Blaise Matuidi. “When we play it is for our fans and our country – we want to make them proud. The new home kit is a symbol of French elegance with the technology that will help us perform at our best in Brasil.”
The shorts are a classic white with venting to assist in cooling, and a cut specifically designed to aid movement and comfort. Simple and iconic, the fit is slimmer and more tailored to the body based on fit research with a cut specifically designed to aid movement and comfort.
The center back of the shorts feature Nike’s signature laser vents to aid in cooling and allow for moisture management. [Source: Nike.com]