UNBOXING: MERCURIAL SUPERFLY 360 X KIM JONES

Here to kick off our official inaugural KTTP Unboxing video series we have the highly coveted, much talked about Nike Mercurial Superfly 360 x Kim Jones. While we’ve dabbled in the Unboxing concept in the past, this episode marks our first full effort at highlighting all the details, notes, anecdotes and then some of the new soccer-related footwear releases that we feel deserve the limelight. To help talk us through the boots is our co-hosts Denise Jones, co-founder + EIC and all-around boss at sports hosting (who also apparently has some serious sauce!), and our very own soccer expert Andrew Medina, a face, and voice you’ll recognize throughout our platform (check him out on our KTTP Radio show if you haven’t already, and then be sure to subscribe!).

Throughout the Unboxing, Denise and Drew go in on the all-over Cheetah pattern, a design decision inspired by both Kim Jones’ own upbringing in Africa, as well as the speedy nature of the animal that went hand-in-hand with the performance of the boot themselves. The two then break down the construction, wearability, subtleties, accents and the finer details, as well as highlighting their own opinions and thoughts on Nike’s storytelling ability and about the highly limited Kim Jones Mercurials in particular. Hit play in the video above to watch Denise and Drew go at it on the Nike Mercurial Superfly 360 x Kim Jones.

OFF-WHITE MERCURIAL IN HAND: HAS OUR OPINION CHANGED?

Following our post on the announcement of the much talked about Virgil Abloh/Off-White rendition of Nike’s Mercurial Vapor 360, we managed to get our hands on a pair to truly see what all the fuss is about. Prior to that, we were basing our judgment on the quotes Nike News offered us from Abloh himself on the design and intention behind the boot, online reviews and comments, and our own opinions that took into account Abloh’s recent efforts towards the soccer realm – a conversation we went to lengths on in our KTTP Radio show.

Admittedly, from what I read about the Off-White Mercurials and the reasons behind Abloh’s designs, I wasn’t that impressed. It felt like the creative director/DJ was trying too hard to make himself and his soccer-related endeavors seem authentic when in reality, he only really played soccer during high school. That’s like saying I took a Judo class once in school and therefore I’m now a bona fide Judo fighter… While my sentiments on that remain, I will also admit that with the Mercurials in hand, I was surprised to find the attention to detail and the quality of the production was way better than what I had expected. That being said, was that in part due to Virgil Abloh’s input, or Nike’s continued effort at putting our quality products? Until we figure that out, check out our photo shoot of the shoes throughout for a closer look at the details.

MIDFLD’S NEW MEANING FOR THE COLOR PURPLE

Can you walk by the color purple and not notice it? I dare you to try especially when you have Midfld’s latest “Dal Viola” collection right in front of your own eyes.

No matter how hard I might try, the collection is one I cannot help but be drawn to. Though its soccer inspiration is what initially intrigued me, I find myself now more enamored with this offering because of the impression that it has left on me that’s totally unrelated to soccer.

The collection reminds me to appreciate the beauty in everything. For Midfld founder Daniel D’Angelo, it is from the color purple, which is what “Dal Viola” means, that he too was able to appreciate all the beauty around him. The color, however, has taken on a richer meaning as it signifies all the great Fiorentina teams he grew up watching. He refers to the great Fiorentina players such as Socrates, Batistuta, Rui Costa, and above all Roberto Baggio, as players who left a lasting impact on him both for the fashionable jerseys they wore as well as the creativity, skill, and genius they showcased. This overall style is what Midfld’s latest collection replicates.

The collection puts a twist on a classic Fiorentina logo and includes the team’s signature color in all except one of its garments. It is spearheaded by a unique tribute to Rui Costa in the form of a vintage style jersey that utilizes shadow numbering as well as Gothic print on the back to honor the player’s Portuguese heritage. As the title of the collection suggests though, purple merely serves as a portal as Midfld brings with it a slew of other vibrant colors with their own meaning.

The color selection for this particular collection has both a stylistic and thematic purpose. While staying true to the design heritage of the club by incorporating all the colors that they use, such as purple, white, red, and gold, Midfld also stays true to its own aesthetic by maintaining that casual look with more of an athletic sportswear vibe this time around.

The selection, in the end, is compelling, but again Midfld is more than just about outward appearances. One of the brand’s posts on its Instagram page captures the true core values behind this collection through a quote from Roberto Baggio which reads, “you have to believe in yourself. You don’t believe that something external guides your life – basically, it’s you. You understand your defects. You learn to be happy.” In line again with its mantra, Midfld reminds us to find our space through the players which found their own.

It is when thinking about this message that it becomes easier to choose my favorite piece from this entire collection. I arrive specifically at Midfld’s tribute to Socrates in the form of a gold t-shirt with the number 8 on the left chest and the words “find the space” in Portuguese. As a player who not only dazzled me on the field, Socrates might be better remembered for his involvement in pushing for democracy in his native Brazil. His exploits thus expand the meaning of what Midfld has come to mean. It is not simply about finding your own space, but rather also realizing how your space can become a space for others as well.

Midfld’s “Dal Viola” collection makes it difficult to overlook the beauty of this thought. I hope you too can notice the beauty the brand has put before us through the color purple and pick up your favorite pieces from its online shop.

Images via Midfld.

ANIMAL PRINT STEPS OUT OF THE JUNGLE AND ON TO THE PITCH

For anyone that calls themselves a sneakerhead… in fact, most that are even remotely into sneaker culture will have seen at the very least one footwear iteration that boasts Nike‘s synonymous animal-inspired patterns & prints, be it from an Animal Pack or a Safari drop. The soccer realm, however, has finally received its long awaited follow up, Mercurial CR7 Safari being the first, into the animal kingdom – despite the amount of flash out on the market – thanks to renown fashion designer and director Kim Jones‘ efforts with Nike’s Mercurial Superfly 360. Cast in a blazing “Total Orange,” the boots’ upper brought on an all-over display of Cheetah-print, which in our opinion puts this design miles ahead of the game.

Now, you may be wondering why the ex-men’s artistic director at Louis Vuitton and the now current artistic director at Dior Homme is adopting the pattern of a cheetah onto not just a shoe, but a soccer boot at that. The reason behind the design is refreshingly straightforward. “I grew up in Africa and have always admired the strength of animals. The cheetah is the fastest land animal, so it makes complete sense as an inspiration for me,” the designer tells Nike News. Jones is not the only one who within the past month has decided to put their creative touch on a soccer boot.

We of course have Virgil Abloh – who coincidentally took over Jones’ role at LV if for some strange reason you haven’t heard that news already – and his Off-White take on yet another Nike Mercurial: the Vapor 360s. However, his design has the people divided, with one side approving of the Off-White stamp, and the other questioning the authenticity of his involvement in the game. In Kim Jones’ case, there’s no statement given by the man that makes it sound like he’s a soccer head, but rather a nonchalant (and perhaps more believable) mention that he likes the sport. The focus of his shoe then lies on the purpose of the design and its aforementioned link back to Jones’ upbringing in Kenya and Botswana.

For us at Kicks to the Pitch, the Nike Mercurial Superfly 360 x Kim Jones boot falls exactly into our niche category of lifestyle and soccer, given the brand heritage of animal print, and how the Mercurials also followed the release of Nike’s Air Max 1 collaboration with Japanese sneaker and streetwear imprint Atmos. While animals patterns have been a recurring theme for not just Nike, but within the sneaker realm as a whole – think Vans, Supreme, Stussy, adidas, Jordan Brand, Reebok… the list goes on – Nike is without a doubt the head of the pack when it comes to tapping into the animal kingdom’s artwork. In fact, Nike and Atmos together have played a big role in imbuing the sneaker landscape with unmatched efforts in animal print; a case in point being the 2007 Atmos x Nike Air Max 1, Dunk & Court Force “Beast Pack.”

The recent release of the Atmos x Nike “Animal Pack,” however, which features the fur from the Leopard, Tiger, Zebra, Giraffe, and Horse, takes the whole animal print game to the next level. The combination of all five animals comes from the mind of Atmos’ creative director Hirofumi Kojima, and represents yet another example of when Nike trusts an outside creative to run with their wild ideas. Another example of that being Nike’s “What the” Dunks, and more recently the “What The” Mercurials. With the animal print – and the “What The” design for that matter – having expanded outside of lifestyle and into soccer territory, who knows what else we may be seeing in the near future, especially since the sport of soccer is really starting to make its way into more facets of both the mainstream and niche creative industries. Let’s just hope we get to see more authenticity within what’s to come as opposed to bandwagon jumping.

Nike Mercurial Superfly 360 x Kim Jones images by Richard Gordon

SCOUTING REPORT: DIOS NECKLACE BY NIVELCRACK

So often now you see soccer-inspired brands release jerseys, shirts, pants, and shorts all year long but rarely accessories. The most accessory type of gear you would see would be a pin to possibly put on your hat, coat, or bags. Nivelcrack, a streetwear brand from Seoul, is once again testing its limits when they released the “DIOS NECKLACE” in both gold and silver. The release was an innovation in its own way in that not many brands care to include accessories like a necklace in their collections, and what better player to use as your design inspiration other than the one with the flashy lifestyle: Diego Maradona?

Overall Design: The name and the design of the necklace tells you exactly what moment in football history this is referring to: the infamous “hand of God” goal scored by Diego Maradona against England in the quarter-finals at the 1986 World Cup. A legendary move like this will not happen in today’s World Cup games due to the implementation of the VAR starting this year, but then again soccer is always full of surprises… This necklace takes the silhouette of that exact moment – kind of like the Jordan “Jumpman” logo – taken from a staged photograph of when Diego Maradona jumps up to extend his arm to score the goal. In the post-match conference, Maradona explained that the goal was scored by “…a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God.” Overall I think this design, which comes in both gold and silver, is ingenious. Taking one of the most iconic moments in soccer and using its image to replicate it into a necklace is simple, but it’s also one of those cases where in hindsight you can easily say “why didn’t I think of that?”

Score: 5/5


Functionality: The necklace is about 57cm in length and the pendant has a width of 2.4cm and height of 3.7cm. It’s not the longest, but I personally prefer medium sized ones like this one. I own one of these myself and they’re a great accessory to throw on everyday for any occasion with confidence due to its sturdy feel from its construction of 925 silver with 24k gold plating.

Score: 5/5

Wearability: Remember when players were allowed to wear necklaces on the pitch? That is now technically not allowed for good reason to protect the players, but I can’t lie that I miss the look of the players running around with their necklaces bouncing off their neck/chest. One image I have of a moment like that is when Hwang Sun-hong of South Korea scored the first goal against Poland back in 2002 at the World Cup. The reason I bring up that point is to remind people reading that these would look good to wear both on and off the pitch. I don’t even think it’s that dangerous to play with accessories on but that’s just me being me.

Score: 5/5


Details: The pendant has enough details in it that fans of the beautiful game would be able to tell what this piece represents as soon as they look at it. The back of the pendant is a flat smooth surface and all the details are shown on the front; Nivelcrack has even included a soccer ball in the design. In my opinion, the one improvement that would’ve made the piece just that much better would’ve been to include the stripes of the Argentina jersey, but again, that’s just me being me.

Score: 4/5

Technology and Innovation:  As mentioned in the introduction, I think the “DIOS NeCKLACE” is innovative in its own way, not because of the design, but because of the refreshing take on an iconic moment in soccer and replicating that into a high-quality accessory, and not into basic apparel.

Score: 4/5

You can purchase the Nivelcrack “DIOS NECKLACE” through Nivelcrack or RBC.

SHUKYU MAG’S ISSUE 5 TALKS TECH WITHIN SOCCER CULTURE

SHUKYU magazine, for those who are unfamiliar, is a print effort out of Tokyo, Japan that introduces the realm of soccer through themes, topics, and categories that branch out into the creative sphere. While soccer – or football to the rest of the world – is without a doubt a leading sport the world over, there’s unfortunately only a handful of printed publications that do an amazing job at encapsulating the many facets of the sport’s culture. SHUKYU is one such example of doing it right, made obvious through its creative design, quality of writing, level of content and its overall aesthetic.

First debuted back in May of 2015, the magazine is now five issues strong, having just released its Issue 5 only a few days ago. Dubbed the “TECHNOLOGY ISSUE,” the book delves into the integration of technology within soccer culture, with themes revolving around how we view games in today’s world, how social media is changing the landscape, and even what the near and far future may look like, which could very well include robot players apparently. “We as football fans watch live matches on our smartphones, access daily information via social networking platforms, and are further approaching times in which we read articles that have been written by AI. Who knows that in 50 years or so robots will be playing at the World Cup, and events beyond our wildest imagination may be taking place,” states the mag’s Editor Takashi Ogami in the Editor’s Notes.

However worry not if you’re one of those “AI technology will be the end of humankind” types, as, despite its exploration into the positives and negatives of technology within soccer culture, the issue settles on the fact that “football is football so long as there are 22 players that run across the pitch aiming for the goal and pursuing the ball, and the enthusiasm and excitement of watching a match in the stadium is the same in any era.” With great articles coupled with stunning visuals under a very pleasing design, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t pick up a copy of SHUKYU Magazine No.5 TECHNOLOGY ISSUE.

Head over to its online store here to order yourself a copy for ¥1,500 JPY (approximately $14 USD), as well as copies of their back issues, and although they’re written in Japanese, each copy comes with an English translation booklet. The store also features special collaborative merch that we can totally get behind, such as hilariously kitsch T-shirts, socks, and accessories, including the awesome “Yellow and Red Card” series with Hender Scheme. For now, check out a few examples of what you’ll find in issue 5 throughout.

GUERRILLA FC’S SPRING 18 COLLECTION IS FOR THE CULTURE

When you think of “guerrilla,” you think of small concerted efforts. For Guerrilla FC, which takes this very name, the term fittingly described its past product offerings. However, if those releases were an attempt to briefly disrupt, its new Spring 2018 collection might be better seen as an all out assault or takeover of both soccer fashion and culture.

This release from Guerrilla just felt a little different. Immediately from the first teaser videos that I saw on the brand’s Instagram account, I could sense more of an artistic direction behind this new product offering. It almost felt as if I was seeing a new Guerrilla that was now marketing itself as less of a soccer and creative collective who just so happened to make cool clothing, but rather more of an actual football lifestyle brand. A visit to Guerrilla’s site now only confirms this venture as Guerrilla FC now calls itself “streetwear for the football cultured.”

This term is obviously laden with meaning. In terms of streetwear, the inspiration is evident both in the staging of the brand’s lookbook as well as the edgy design of the individual pieces. One of the standout items from the entire offering is a third iteration of the brand’s jungle leaf motif jersey which now arrives in a streetwear-ready and all-too popular blacked out version. A track pant too replicates the same aesthetic, however, the collection also introduces a bit of color through a black and white ringer T-shirt, as well as an off-white short sleeve hoodie.

Interestingly, it is this same short sleeve hoodie which makes the intentions of this entire collection most clear. Imprinted with the words “for the culture” on its front, the hoodie brings into focus a number of different aspects from the collection. You begin by realizing that for something to be “for the culture,” it has to be of the culture. The collection definitely meets that requirement as Guerrilla’s partnership with Umbro, together with the offering of soccer staples such as jerseys, ringer tees, and track pants, lend the whole project a sense of legitimacy and authenticity. This organic quality is only magnified when you turn back to the video lookbook itself. The whole production has this candid home video feel to further stress that these products are made by real everyday people who are part of the culture they are selling.

While the pieces on their own make a bold impression, the loudest statement may just be from the models for the actual clothing itself. It is important for one to note that unlike most other soccer or soccer lifestyle brands out there, Guerrilla consistently makes an effort to highlight women. For this reason, there is more to take away than just style, as by highlighting a culture of inclusivity, Guerrilla contributes a voice that can more effectively speak to the true spirit of soccer culture.

With this, I think back to Guerrilla’s “deeper into the jungle” mantra and start questioning whether it is Guerrilla who aims to find something, or if it is just us who are glad to have found them.

You probably already have your own answer to that so make sure you head here to pick up Guerrilla FC’s new collection.

Images via Guerrilla FC.