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The Football Boot Factory That Nike Built For The World’s Best Players

The Football Boot Factory That Nike Built For The World’s Best Players

It is no secret that in the realm of sportswear brands, Nike are the indomitable king.

Its competitors regularly come up second best to the Swoosh, especially when revenues are factored into the equation.

Be it the iconic sneakers that dominate pop culture, the frankly brilliant marketing campaigns or the bonafide superstars that sport the shoes, Nike throughout history have simply been a step ahead.

The brand has also been blessed with numerous superstars that captured the attention of the entire world while sporting its boots.

Think Ronaldo running European defences ragged armed with Mercurials, or Ronaldinho lacing up the sauciest Tiempo’s ever created before pinging the crossbar three times in a row.

Scenes such as these inspired every young footballer to get their very own pair and get an essence of the larger-than-life icons.

But of course, not all boots are made the same.

There are some very distinct differences between boots made for regular customers and those crafted specifically for players.

Athletes playing at the highest level require the utmost levels of comfort and precision, and as such, mass-produced boots from Vietnam or Indonesia simply won’t cut it.

To tackle the special requirements, a factory in Montebelluna was set up, one which has largely been inaccessible to the public.

Fortunately, the folks at Unisport were given an opportunity to wander through the facility’s famed halls, after which, the footage was put up on YouTube.

So if you’ve ever wondered how the boots players wear are created, you’ve come to the right place.

Packed with state-of-the-art machinery and top-tier Italian craftsmen, the factory is the stuff of legend, and fittingly enough, its creations are intended only for top-tier footballers.

The process begins by using casts of the player’s foot, which perfectly represent the dimensions required.

These casts also incorporate extra padding requirements or specific arches, in order to get the best possible fit.

In the video, the boots in focus are the Tiempo Legend 9 Elite MI, which feature a classic Blue/white colourway inspired by those worn by Andrea Pirlo during the 2006 World Cup final.

On this occasion, the Timepo’s are being specially crafted for AC Milan midfielder Sandro Tonali.

The upper of the boot is created outside of Montebelluna, using high-grade Algerian Leather, and it arrives as a bit of fabric in the factory.

It is then wrapped around the player’s cast, with intricate stitching and cuts to ensure a perfect fit.

The video then takes us through some very sophisticated machine work, all while the boot looks like a mere infant, far from what we typically imagine them as.

After a bit of buffering, we head to the next major step, which is placing it on the sole plate.

Two layers of adhesive are carefully brushed on, after which the upper and sole plates are put together, and placed inside a high-pressure machine.

They are repeatedly pressed together to complete the boot’s assembly, and now it is a matter of cooling the glue down.

And when it comes to cooling, what better than a fridge eh?

The boots are tossed on a conveyor belt leading into a -15C freezer, and the soleplate is essentially ‘frozen’ in place.

The process isn’t done here, as the boots are then enveloped on the cast once again, for around 48 hours this time.

Custom accents and stickers are then stamped on, and finally, the boot is now match-ready.

It’s quite baffling just how long this process is, we’re talking around 3 days for a single pair.

Well, that’s just how seriously matters are taken in Montebelluna, personifying the expression ‘only the best for the best’.