Creative Soccer Culture

Nike Drop The Next Generation Phantom GX

Taking the quarter finals of the 2022 World Cup as the perfect platform, Nike launch the next generation Phantom GX, with England players set to wear it in their huge match against France on Saturday.

There’s a disruptive launch, then there’s a disruptive launch, and Nike show how it’s done with the unveiling of the new Phantom GX, which arrives in the middle of not just any old tournament, but the World Cup. With fan focus firmly on the remaining eight teams, who’re set to duke it out in the quarter finals this weekend, Nike have seen the perfect opportunity to do something unprecedented, launching a new generation of its Phantom silo. Not a bad way to announce yourself to the world…

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We got our first look at what we now know is the Phantom GX earlier this week when Jack Grealish, Mason Mount and Eric Dier were spotted wearing them in an England training session, and they were soon joined by Harry Kane and Phil Foden when they returned to regular training, all but confirming that this boot will be worn in the Three Lions’ game against France. Not only is this one hell of a way to launch a new boot, it also speaks of the quality of the Phantom GX itself that the players are willing – nay, eager – to switch into it. And yeah, we said nay, what of it?

The Phantom GX obviously picks up where the Phantom GT II leaves off, it being designed for both creators and finishers. It’s all about accuracy, whether that be picking out that key pass or the bottom corner. But it wouldn’t be a generational update if there weren’t some upgrades, and the GX has some significant ones.

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To start with there’s the control and precision aspects; they’re key callout of the Phantom line, and so a lot of focus and time has gone into its improvement – two years to be exact – and it comes in the form of the boot’s major new innovation: the Gripknit Upper. Nike Gripknit technology is a huge step for the brand, and it’s said that it will revolutionise the football footwear landscape. A bold statement if ever there were one.

The material itself – a natural evolution of Nike's knit technology and visible on the launch edition in a bold "Hyper Pink" look – is a mix of high-tenacity yarns with a treatment to create Gripknit. The result is perfect interaction with the ball, offering just the right amount of stick – sticky enough to gain extra control while not being too sticky. It works in a similar way to your fingerprints, and you’ll instantly notice that when looking at the upper’s design aesthetics. Also of note is the fact that the Gripknit Upper travels further up the forefoot than usual, covering the lower section of the laces to provide a greater strike zone.

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And it doesn’t just stop there with the upper. The Phantom line has a nice back catalogue that includes the Phantom VNM and VSN, and the GT, and so it's able to cherry pick the key elements that work from those previous generations, tweaking their performance to perfection. One such feature is the Ghost Lacing system that was last seen on the Phantom VSN, and it will make an appearance for the Phantom GX on the DF version, providing an even greater difference between the collared and non-collared options. This lace cover provides a larger and cleaner striking zone and it’s the closest Nike have got to making a laceless boot.

Then on the underside, the soleplate features a new stud formation to help with manoeuvrability – getting out of those tight spaces and accelerating away when you do. For this Nike has opted for a mixture of star and conical studs; the stars are designed for improved traction to accelerate fast on the first three steps, while the conical studs are made for spin moves and turning on the spot. 

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There's no doubt that the Phantom GX is set to have a huge impact, both on boot design going forward and the action on the pitch. For now, there's no need for any huge marketing campaigns – Nike are happy to sit back and let the boot do the talking, starting with the World Cup quarter finals.

The Nike Phantom GX will be available at from Thursday, 15 December.

Daniel Jones

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