Creative Soccer Culture

Why Odell Beckham’s Nike Cleat Game Is On Another Level

Football welcomed another player into the signature members club this week as Nike presented Kylian Mbappé with his debut Mercurial, but when it comes to signature series in football in the States there's one man who is playing on a different level: Odell Beckham Jr.

It takes a certain character of a certain ability to have the audacity to step out amongst a sport's greatest players on the biggest platform with a boot emblazoned with their own name on it. It takes an even bigger stance from the brand and the player to bend the league rules to achieve that. Odell Beckham Jr went from having artists customise his cleats to Nike making signature designs on the regular, and we're wondering how football this side of the pond can learn from that showmanship.


The majority of OBJ's designs are pre-game exclusives due to the fact that NFL players are prohibited from wearing cleats that aren’t “black, white or any constitutional team colour” during games. That's a solid rule, which only adds to the maverick status of rule-breaking that Nike and OBJ have accomplished with their collection of signature cleats, even to the point where the Swoosh had the whole NFL audience waiting to see what OBJ's next design would be during their weekly series of pre-game cleats.

What is significant is that Nike's OBJ signatures are rarely released to retail, they're predominantly just for the hype of it. A masterpiece PR exercise that gets eyes on the Swoosh, eyes on the players and when one actually does retail the demand is immensely higher, even with standard colourways that OBJ will wear. Everyone is looking out for his next design.


So, should Nike Football take inspiration from Nike US Football's approach? Should we see higher number of signature boots for Mbappé? True disruptives, rather than seasonal releases like Bondy? American Sports culture is having a strong influence on European Football and you know that the audience would lap it up. News is dating faster than ever, people want more, the latest, and the newest with every refresh, and Nike have the tools to deliver that moving into a new decade with Mbappé and Neymar so intwined in streetwear, culture, as well as being avid followers of American Sports.

The football season is busier than it's ever been, with pre-season tours, post-seasons tours, international, domestic and European football. There's a new platform every week and Nike may be inclined to bring their OBJ approach to soccer. Of course, the shackles of cleat design in NFL are taken off due to the fact that kicking the ball isn't the priority, but there's no reason soccer can't take a slice of the action. If Mbappé had worn a number of customs before his debut Bondy boot released, it would be hard to deny that the hype would be more intense.


We're seeing Nike use their lead athletes in more sporting cross-overs than ever before. OBJ has helped raise Tottenham's profile along with Nike using their new stadium for NFL, and the Liverpool x Nike deal was reportedly massively swung away from New Balance due to the power that Nike could bring when it comes to getting lead American sportspeople that the Swoosh could get involved in the club, again, like OBJ.


More signature boots for 2020? What we saying?


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