Following two years of research, development and design, Nike have unveiled their first ever women’s-led football boot. Offering unique elements specific to the anatomy of the female foot, 'Phantom Luna' is the brand’s “most innovative and researched women’s-led boot”.
With the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup just weeks away, women’s football across the globe is in the spotlight now more than ever. Inspired by the growth in the scale and competitiveness of the female game, Nike recently launched their latest football boot, the Phantom Luna.
Unique to this launch, the boot has been designed with the female foot at the forefront of their design, in the brand’s first female-led project, which puts ‘her at the centre of the process every step of the way’. The launch follows two years of research and design, listening to the voices of female athletes to accommodate a product which elevates their play and boosts their confidence.
The release comes hand-in-hand with important research from the European Club Association (ECA), who have been researching over 350 female footballers across Europe over the last twelve months. Findings that 82% of female players across Europe suffer from regular discomfort whilst playing has reignited conversations on the importance of having specific female-designed products to enhance the safety and performance of female athletes. Bringing up the question as to whether major manufacturers are doing enough in adequately supporting female athletes. With a responsibility for developing the women’s game, these conversations have been ignored for too long.
Women’s bodies anatomically differ from men, yet there is still an expectation for them to perform to such high standards in ill-fitting kit, as traditionally football boots are designed for a generic white man’s foot. This issues women with discomfort and runs a higher risk of injury, as research by Dr Katrine Kryger (St Mary’s University, Twickenham) has revealed, as a women’s foot varies in shape and size from their male counterparts, and a lighter body weight determines a need for different stud sizing.
The commonness of season-ending ACL injuries widespread throughout the female game has highlighted the need for products specifically designed for women in all aspects.
The design of the Phantom Luna has been centralised around female anatomy, with women generically having a smaller foot with a higher arch and a different heel shape to that of men. Dr Elysia Davis, Principal Researcher in the Nike Sport Research Lab, mentions that the Phantom Luna is "thoughtfully designed for her, with a new stud pattern and fit to help athletes move with precision and confidence on the pitch”.
Featuring a new breakthrough circular stud pattern situated at the front of the foot, the Nike Cyclone 360 pinpoints the boot’s rotational traction and ‘allows players to move with agility, precision and confidence on the pitch’. Necessary due to the high intensity of the game demanding the quick change of direction on the pitch.
The fit of the boot around the foot is tuned to provide stability and comfort for female athletes, the Nike Asym fit provides a snug fit around the ankle. Ankle shaping, including a lower cuff and a higher collar, allows for increased lockdown to reduce the rotational traction at the knee, which alongside the Nike Cyclone 360, pinpoints traction and reduces the risk of ACL and other severe knee injuries. Additionally, high cuff heels attempt to combat irritation on the achilles, along with the availability of selecting differing arch heights best suited to the anatomy of a player’s foot, ranging from flat-foot to high arching feet. Resulting in an extra sense of security for players, providing an extra confidence boost and comfort as they play.
With a style of play which often features a high-press and attacking as a team, accuracy and quick passing is a key part of the play. With women typically having a smaller foot, a larger touch zone is required to enable this accuracy and the boot accommodates for this. The Nike Gripknit provides ‘optimal boot-to-ball connection’, by featuring a ‘tacky’ coating integrated into the material whilst maintaining a soft and pliable boot, helping to enhance control in a high intensity game.
The launch could not have come at a greater time for women’s football, with the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup starting in Australia and New Zealand on July 20th! The Phantom Luna is available at retail now online at Nike.