The Hypervenom 3 Launch Event in Munich was the big reveal, the first chapter, but not for Senior Footwear Design Director at Nike, Nate VanHook. For VanHook and his team, the journey began long before the likes of Kane, Lewandowski and Cavani unveiled their new wheels on pitch. We sat down with VanHook to hear his take on the third-generation Hypervenom story.

Goals. In short, that's what the Hypervenom 3 is built to make, but the concept and journey into making that possible is far more complex. Harry Kane and Robert Lewandowski were strongly involved in the test phase of the boot, with VanHook and his team tweaking at every step of the way until the final product was done. When the soleplate alone took six years to create, you know the Hypervenom 3 is next friggin level.

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Nate, how did you determine which elements needed to change from the first generation boot?

I think that's what is so impressive about our design team as a whole. We really want to make every part of every product better and we then look at what technologies we could use to do that. For instance, we used full Flyknit on the Hypervenom silo, that allowed us to bring in the Flywire cables. It's the first time we've made a Flyknit lo football boot. The plate is super lightweight. It's 17% lighter than Hypervenom II. The plate as whole is more flexible and each stud is really data driven. Every single aspect of the product was a case of how can we reset the formula and make it better and create something that nobody has seen before.

The introduction of a lo-cut Flyknit boot is a big step forward. How did that come about?

The feedback from a lot of the players triggered that – we ultimately want to make the athletes better. One example was that Harry Kane was saying he loved the Flyknit but he wanted the choice of hi and lo cut options. On this product as a whole we were able to take the exact same build and put the foam strike zones in there, the texture and the Flywire, so we really need that material to be able to do those things on the high and the lo silhouettes.

What's the key message around the boot?

I think we really just want to pull up on the key functions of the product – how it benefits the change of direction and strike of the player. It's the boot for the finishers and we want to pull up on that.

How do you look back on the previous generations of Hypervenom?

I think the first Hypervenom was an amazing product in that it really changed football boots with the NikeSkin and ACC, and players really talked about that, how soft and supple in was. They loved the honeycomb patternand we actually brought a little bit of that back in the Hypervenom 3 in some of the texture. The second Hypervenom was also a significant boot because it had that lockdown and it had the cuff. The Hypervenom 3 is kind of like blending those two ideas together and then adding the flexibility and the strike zone. 

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When did you start working on the Hypervenom 3?

We started working on it over two years ago, but the plate has actually been in R&D for over six years. It takes as long as it takes until it's right and the best it can be.

The plate is a work of art. Is that one of the key developments on the Hypervenom 3?

Yeah, this is a big innovation for us. The Hyper-reactive plate is so flexible and the crazy thing about this is that everything is designed in such detail. Even the structure going through has a great design language but it's really about making it as lightweight as possible and engineered to exact specifications. Each stud is placed for exact strategic reasons, from data informed information. The outstep ones are designed for cutting and the instep ones for rotational movements. 

The final cable position is asymmetrical, a lot more lined up in the forefoot for those sharp cuts, that works in unison with the cutting studs. Players love the arch fit and these cables really hug the foot when you pull the laces on the boot, you're really harnessed in, these are all positioned to provide the most comfortable, locked in fit.

That colourway. Strong. Talk us through it...

That came from the concept of creating a boot that was made for two key reasons – to cut and strike. Aiding forwards to make space and fire at goal. So we took that and just cut the boot in half to make it visually stunning. When you see players running around the pitch it looks incredible, you get that flicker of colour. It's a confident statement and confidence is something our strikers here have in abundance. 

What has the feedback been like from players?

It's been incredible. The best thing about the boots is that when we handed them out to players before we released them – players were saying "no we don't want to give them back!" and that's great to hear. All the things we set out to accomplish with the flexibility, the light weight, the softness and event he strike zone, every single thing has been picked up but the players. 

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How do you determine which player would wear the Hypervenom 3? Say, rather than the Mercurial?

We just listen to the players and what they want to do. It starts from there. We listen to them and find the right silo for them. Ultimately they'll decide on the boot for their specific needs, which can of course change throughout the course of their career. We've got some of the best finishers here today (Kane, Lewandowski, Rashford, Cavani & Higuain) and the Hypervenom 3 is something special for their movement and striking the ball, to complement their style and how they play the game.

2016 was huge for Nike. 2017 has started with a bang. How is the rest of the year shaping up?

We've got a lot in store for the year. We're never going to stop innovating, we're always pushing two years ahead and beyond. We're really excited to finally see this boot come to the market and that's an amazing way to start the year off, a year that's set to be another big one.

View the full recap from the Nike Hypervenom 3 Munich launch event here. Want a pair? Get them here.