The Making of an Olympic Soccer Boot

Nike2fromNike

By Phil Hecken

As we continue our Olympics coverage her on Uni Watch, we go a bit “off uni” to take a look at the making of a specific piece of equipment — a soccer shoe, or football boot, or whatever you want to call it. And I’m pleased to have a wonderful, in-depth piece by Tim Newcomb. The genesis of this piece actually started with the following E-mail exchange:

I was in Italy earlier this month covering the launch of Nike’s new Green Speed soccer boot, which will debut at the Olympics. While Nike obviously did up the event, as you know having also attended these things, they did take us to a factory in Montebelluna, outside Venice, where they hand make all these shoes, and all of the soccer shoes, for their “elite” athletes. I took notes and photos while I was in the factory and was thinking this could be a fresh take Olympics-time post for Uni Watch, looking at the process of handcrafting these shoes, complete with wax molds of all the athletes’ feet to use as templates. Are you interested?

The answer was a resounding “yes,” and that led Tim to filing the following piece:

. . . . .

Handcrafting a Nike Olympic Soccer Boot in Italy
By Tim Newcomb

MONTEBELLUNA, Italy — Tucked into a nondescript business park in this small town about 60 kilometers northwest of Venice sits a grayish building with a small swoosh out front floating above a flowerbed. In atypical Nike fashion, the Montebelluna Research and Development Center is understated. But the work that goes on inside? You see that on every Nike-sponsored soccer player in the world, including during the London games as Nike debuts the sustainably minded Green Speed soccer boot, as worn by Brazilian star Neymar.

All of Nike’s elite athletes get special treatment, including having their boots handmade inside the Italian center, crafted specifically for them and the exact shape of their feet. The Green Speed isn’t any different in that respect, but it does signify a new concept for Nike in high-performance soccer cleats with a merging of ultra-performance and sustainable materials.

The new shoe, Nike’s lightest soccer boot ever at 5.64 ounces (on par with the lightest in the world) includes new materials that not only helped Andy Caine, Nike’s creative director for soccer and the designer of the Green Speed, go “considered,” but also increase performance. “We reduced things down,” Caine says, “but the performance is still amplified.”

Nike replaced petroleum products with castor bean and palm oils, used recycled or renewable products when possible and added in new plant fibers, a first. The spine plate, an asymmetrical design that mimics the foot and cut away plastic for a 15 percent lighter piece, is 50 percent castor bean oil and 50 percent renewable materials; the quarter, tongue and laces are mostly woven from recycled plastic bottles; kenaf-plant fibers create the toe board and shoe’s collar; water-based synthetic kangaroo removes chemicals; all glues come chemical-free; the overall sleeker design (the heel counter was moved to the outside to reduce padding and glues) cuts waste and product; and local Italian vendors and suppliers create a low-impact production process.

As Nike unveiled the Green Speed earlier this month in Venice, I was able to watch the process of Italian workers—wearing the coolest polo shirts with a small shoe logo—making the boot in the factory, taking all the reduced components and building the Green Speed. With a tour by Matteo Tessaro and Roberto DeMarchi, under the direction of U.S.-born factory director Ken Shaprio, the process starts with a piece of synthetic kangaroo leather cut into a single piece, reducing stitching needs.

The second step actually includes weaving the laces into the boot, pulling together the top of the shoe. From there, the single piece is stitched at the bottom and heel into a shape that, for the first time, resembles a foot.

That loose-fitting piece is heated up to encourage movement of the materials then wrapped over each player’s specific foot mold, as kept on shelves in the 15-person factory that can produce up to 600 pairs of shoes a day.

The toe board is glued to the upper (the upper has no fabric on the underside of the front portion of the foot) and then using one of about 20 machines in the plant—many specifically designed for Nike’s Italy factory—the shoe, with the toe board, gets pulled and tightened around the mold. The laces are continually tightened here too, pulling the shoe into an exact shape.

Before the shoe’s upper accepts any glue, the boot gets a full clean and even a hand massage to open the pores for better acceptance of the water-based cement. Once ready, a machine helps sand down the shoe at the plate and heel counter connection points.

Workers then mark out exactly where the heel counter gets attached and, after taping an outline of the section, apply water-based cement to both the plastic piece and the shoe. Once the glue is on and the tape is removed, the workers have one shot—this cement is supremely sticky, after all—to place the two pieces together. The spine of the shoe (the plate) gets the same treatment next.

The cement needs about 45 minutes of dry time before entering a heated compression machine that not only uses the warmth to fully activate the cement, but twice the normal pressure to ensure a tight bond. Not wanting to mess with curing times, the shoe then typically sits for a day.

With all the pieces in place, the shoe, still wrapped over the mold, travels a pizza-style conveyer belt for 10 minutes and comes out at minus-20 degrees Celsius, completely frozen and fully cementing all components in place. The shoe again waits overnight.

The final process includes removing the mold, inserting the one-piece sock liner and a final buffing to clean the shoe (hey, they even toss in the crumpled paper at this point to the front of the shoe to help it hold its form).

Since each shoe has a specific destination, workers will embroider the name of the player on the shoe and, using glue, adhere the player’s chosen country flag to the boot, giving it a fully personal look.

After boxing the shoe, the boot gets shipped straight from Italy to the player.

Tim Newcomb is a regular contributor for Time, Sports Illustrated, Popular Mechanics, Dwell and other publications. You can follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.

~~~

Thanks Tim!

~~~~~~~~~~

olympics-london-2012More Olympics:

This new section will feature updates, lesser news, and reader submissions from the XXXth Olympiad — keep the Olympic news coming in! (Usually in the order in which I receive them — think of it as an “Olympics Ticker”.)

. . . . .

More observations from Uni Watch faithful:

* “Pau has ‘Gasol’ on his back while bro Marc (who he was traded for, a few years back) is the only one on Espana with FNOB.” (Pete Clark)

* “Just wondering about your thoughts on the American flags that are on the right side of some of the US swimmer’s caps. As Uni Watch has pointed out to me in the past, the American flag is always supposed to have its stars facing forward. “Always advancing, never retreating” is the phrase that has stuck in my mind over the years. It came to my attention on your website when people were up in arms during the World Baseball Classic that the flags on the uniform were backwards. As it turns out, they had it right according to the military guidelines. So that leads me to my question of why some of the swimmer’s caps seems to have the flag image backward. To the average viewer, these flags seem to be correct. However, not all of the caps have the stars facing forward. Missy Franklin is the one that comes to mind for me. Any idea why this is the case? You would think that if some take the flag guidelines that seriously for the WBC, that during the Olympics (a far larger stage) the uniform designers would be pay even closer attention to detail, no? For what it’s worth, not all US swimmers are committing this heinous act of treason. Many of the men only have their flags on the left side of their head which does not yield the same problem as in that situation the stars are in fact facing forward.” (Scott Lederer)

* “This year’s games have burned with a fire so bright, it’s like it’s not even there.” (Terry Duroncelet)

* “I’m shocked that Uni Watch hasn’t noticed that every Adidas-sponsored soccer team in the Olympics, doesnt have the signature three stripes of the brand. Thought that would have surely made the ticker.” (Patrick O’Neil)

~~~~~~~~~~

Screen Shot 2012-06-24 at 10.32.36 PM

“Benchies” first appeared at U-W in 2008, and has been a Saturday & Sunday feature here for the past two years.

. . . . .

Well, okay, but nobody—repeat, NOBODY—wants a tighty whitie sighting…

8-1-12 d-costume

Click to enlarge

~~~~~~~~~~

NUA_Logo_5#NoUniAds Campaign…Day 13

This will be a regular feature on Uni Watch until the NBA rescinds its incredibly offensive and stupid proposal to place corporate advertising on uniforms.

And now, a personal note from Paul:

It’s important that we keep making our voices heard: Call the NBA’s publicly listed phone number (212-407-8000), ask for Adam Silver’s and/or David Stern’s office), e-mail deputy commissioner Adam Silver at his his publicly listed address (asilver@nba.com), and tweet to @NBA with the hashtag #NoUniAds. Do it now.

~~~

More of your letters to the NBA, including some responses back to “Chelsea” after her form response:

You’ll recall “Chelsea’s” form response:

Dear {insert name here}: Thank you for contacting the National Basketball Association to express your opposition to the idea of placing sponsor logos on jerseys. We understand your strong feelings on this issue and appreciate hearing from you. Our fans are extremely important to us, and we value what you have to say. The NBA and its teams continue to evaluate the opportunity to add corporate branding to game jerseys. Jersey sponsorship is a well-established practice in sports leagues around the world. It is also not a new concept in American sports. NASCAR, Major League Soccer, professional golf, the WNBA, and the NBA Development League all feature sponsored uniforms. The NBA is a global sports league; fans connect with our game in more than 200 countries and territories. As much as we value our traditions, the NBA also realizes that we, along with the rest of the world, need to change and adapt in order to remain competitive in a global marketplace. Thank you again for sharing your feedback. We truly appreciate the passion you demonstrate for the NBA. Your feedback helps us as we work to enhance all aspects of our league. Sincerely, Chelsea NBA Fan Relations

Coleman Mullins:

“Chelsea”,

While I do thank you for your prompt reply, I do take issue with part of it.

“NASCAR, Major League Soccer, professional golf, the WNBA, and the NBA Development League all feature sponsored uniforms.”

Let me tackle these one at a time if I may. I apologize if any of this comes off a little sarcastic or rude, but, well, a point needs to be made that we as fans are not as dumb and easy to push over as the NBA seems to think.
Firstly, NASCAR: this association should not be included in the conversation. It, along with others you have mentioned and that I will address individually, is a sport where the athletes competing have NO home track, stadium, field, etc. NASCAR drivers and teams are responsible for their own revenue.

Second, MLS: I am an even bigger fan of the MLS than I am of the NBA by far. What you fail to realize, apparently, is that the fan base, while growing by leaps and bounds, is nowhere near comparable to the NBA fan base. MLS also does not have commercial breaks. Soccer matches are pretty much 90 minutes of action, take away injuries and halftime. There are no convenient breaks every 3 or 4 minutes to go to “a word from our sponsors”. Comparing your association to the MLS is ridiculous and you, or whoever put out what I imagine to be a generic, mass reply to the thousands of emails you have received on this topic, should know better.

Professional Golf: see Nascar. As much as I hate to see sponsors/advertising on golfer’s “uniforms”, its at least a little more understandable here.

WNBA: … You’re kidding me, right? They still exist?

Lastly, NBA’s D-League: Um, yeah. I’ve seen about 30 seconds of a D-league game. Ever. And that was on SportsCenter.

I know this email may seem long winded to you, but you must realize that we, as fans, are your bread and butter. Companies won’t pay for a 2.5 x 2.5 inch ad on a jersey that A) no one is buying or B) no one tunes in to see on television. I may be just one fan, but there are many more just like me. We matter, remember that.

Respectfully,
Coleman W. Mullins

Joseph Biskey:

This is not jersey sponsorship, it is advertising. NASCAR is not a sport, MLS is not one of the big four, individual golf players need the money to make it from event to event, and I am not going to even comment on the WNBA or the developmental league. If you want to compare your league to a small league, that is fine; however, I do not purchase products or support the smaller leagues, and I will treat the NBA as such. I guess the major four sports leagues are down to three.

I am happy the NBA has become a global league that has forgotten who buys tickets to their games. You have indeed saved my family and I a lot of money with your choice to worry about global sales as opposed to the people that grew your sport to where you could market it globally.

Michael Hall:

Dear Chelsea,

If I read this correctly, what you are saying is that you value greed over tradition. That is really a shame.

The sports fan is a sucker that continues to be exploited until we are all chased away.

Congratulations, I am done. Consider me chased away…

Thanks for the forum and good luck hanging out with Nascar and the D-league in popularity…

Sincerly,
Michael

Thanks for keeping the faith readers! We can stop the NBA if we can keep up the pressure.

#NoUniAds!

Thanks to Tim E. O’Brien and Chris Giorgio for the image in the upper right of this section!

~~~~~~~~~~

ticker 2Uni Watch News Ticker: Looks like Arkansas State University football will sport new jerseys this fall to go with new head coach Gus Mahlzan. This was tweeted by Red Wolves tight end Anthony Kincy (and sent to UW by Larz G. Roberts). … Jordon Woodson notes, “Dijana Kunovac of Inside Carolina (the Scout site for UNC athletics) has been doing run downs of the Carolina football equipment room/manager/process. Pretty interesting videos. Discussion of new jerseys, the timeline with new coaching staff, etc. Helmets & Locker Room Prep.” … Jim Vilk’s new bestest friend, Kevin Brown says, “Angola’s women’s basketball team is using the most boring font ever on their unis at the Olympics. It appears to be Times New Roman: Front & Back.” I, on the other hand, think they’re just understated. … Rich Drummond was taking a look at some Eagles training camp pic and came across this. “I noticed Vick has changed to the Air XP.” That’s a helmet, right? … Andy Bergmann just wanted to let us know that the Evolution of Ball Kickstarter project has 20 days left. “I got a lot of really nice feeback from your users on the original graphic, so they might be interested in the screen prints.” … Used hockey sweaters have become a status symbol among the poor. No, really. Here’s the dish (thanks to Alan Kreit). This is pretty interesting, according to Chester Baker. “This is Tottenham’s, who recently partnered with Under Armour, equipment truck,” he says. Note that there is no logo for the manufacturer of the cab, only the brand of the company. It’s no Nike tank, but still. … I’m assuming he meant this sarcastically, but Tim E. O’Brien writes, “What the nation wants: More Hoosier Football News — Added B1G patch and stoopid collar shit.” … Christopher Bisbee observes that the Air Force has a uni-related problem with their F22 pilots and being able to breathe. … Mark Magowan wryly notes, “This is a screencap from MiLB.TV of Columbus Clipper Roberto Hernandez (or as you may remember him, Fausto Carmona) with the bar code sticker still under the brim. He also had the hologram sticker left on, but I couldn’t grab a good angle quick enough. Turns out this was his first start with this club, as he only pitched in one game in A-ball then got called up to AAA.” In a related story, Eric Davis writes, “Just a quick t-shirt design I did for the return of Fausto Carmona Roberto Hernandez of the Cleveland Indians.” … Chris Willis (among others) explains that the clear plastic shit on helmets is “called “Gouge Guards”…The decal is a 12 mil thick clear protective layer used by teams to help cut down on the scarring of the front of helmets, especially linemen, mostly during camp.” Michael McIntosh also observed this and informs us the Ravens use them as well during training camp and preseason games … More from Alan Kreit: Brad Richard’s dad’s goalie mask. … A reader who goes by “Sunsplash7777” found this vintage NFL (New York Giants) iron on. … Chris Mahr notes “UNC and Charlotte Football Both Unveil All-White Helmets” on the Lost Lettermen. … Couple uni-related comic book finds from Ricko — “Dream Team?” and “Bob Feller does the comics.” … “Such a deal,” writes Gary Moore. “As found at Dodgers’ Clubhouse store at Universal Studios CitiWalk. (yes, I grabbed it)” What’s it? A $5 pair of LA Dodgers stirrups. … Jason Natter was at the Nationals vs. Brewers game at Miller Park on Sunday, and noticed some quirky shit. Bryce Harper started the game with high socks and later was wearing long pants. He also went up to bat without batting gloves one time while wearing them the rest of his ABs. Strangely, he was wearing Roger Bernadina’s #2 helmet. … Michael Sullivan “went to Bills training camp Sunday night. I had a few uni related observations. Especially #3, #28, and #34.” … Yesterday the Philllies jettisoned 2 outfielders. Marc Bauche was on top of it: “In their article covering Hunter Pence’s trade from the Phillies to the Giants today, MLB Trade Rumors.com linked to this photo of Pence. I love how it looks like his jersey has 3 Ls. PhiLLLies. Only Hunter Pence.” … Kenny Ocker says, “Apparently, the Royals bought uniforms with taxpayer dollars in 2008.” … Is the white helmet the new BFBS uni? Hunter Towns notes the white helmet UNC will be wearing as a one-off sometime this season. That sound you just heard was THE Jeff punching a wall.

~~~~~~~~~~

That’s it for this fine first Day of August. Happy 70th Jerry. Nothin’ left to do but smile smile smile. And RIP Eugene Luther.

~~~

“When I was a kid, I competed in an Ocean Champion brief, which gave way to the teensier Speedo of the 1970s, which I adopted as the norm for recreational swimming as I aged, and I gotta say, aging recreational swimmers in Speedo briefs don’t always present themselves in a flattering light.”

–Conn Nugent

 

100 comments to The Making of an Olympic Soccer Boot

  • Cort McMurray | August 1, 2012 at 7:23 am |

    Nike’s use of renewable oils to make their shoes is admirable. I don’t know if it’s enough to atone for dressing US medalists in our new national colors: grey, black and neon green.

    George, I trust your daughter arrived safe and sound in Dubai, carried by the fine professionals at Etihad Airlines. I checked that BBC site: the Olympians I most closely resemble are Chuluunbat Jargalsaikhan, the Mongolian wrestler, and Cedric Mandembo, the Congo judo superstar. I’m confident that both of them can kick my butt.

  • FatMagz | August 1, 2012 at 7:24 am |

    I gotta say that I love seeing Benchies everyday. Wish it could continue as a daily feature.

    • Phil Hecken | August 1, 2012 at 9:58 am |

      agreed…but it’s not my call ultimately

  • Coleman | August 1, 2012 at 7:27 am |

    Todays lede was amazing, and interesting as hell. Now I’m off to read the rest ofth entry.

    Also, what’s with all our comments being put into italics?

    • Coleman | August 1, 2012 at 7:37 am |

      Well, now it looks different, *D’oh*

      Also, just noticed my letter to the NBA was posted in todays group. Nice. I know its a little long-winded, but their comparisons and excuses just pissed me off.

  • Arr Scott | August 1, 2012 at 7:30 am |

    No no no on the flag thing. On clothing, the union always goes on the left. The only exception is for the US Army – not the military as a whole, just the Army – which invented that “always advancing never retreating” BS about a decade ago. Aside from violating the US Flag Code, it’s not even good military strategy. Sometimes retreat is the right move, and can even help defeat the enemy, as the Army itself used to know back when it actually won wars. For example, in the Battle of the Bulge, when the Army’s crack troops wore this:

    http://www.theworlda...

    Anyway, it’s troubling that any civilian would cite “military regulations” regarding anything. We don’t live under martial law; military regulations only govern the military. For everyone else, the US Flag Code codifies flag etiquette, and it is crystal clear: the stars are always on the left, even on the right side of your head.

    • Sam Belk | August 1, 2012 at 8:23 am |

      And in response to the issue Scott raised – the flag is in its “always advancing” position assuming the athlete is swimming the backstroke, correct?

      It’d be interesting to see how they choose the direction/side of the cap for the flag according to what events they were swimming during the games. I doubt there was really that much forethought here, but you never know…

      • Connie | August 1, 2012 at 10:05 am |

        I’d love to see a thorough review of all the different uni looks that US athletes have sported these Games. Some I really like, some are dreadful, some are meh. Surely the balkanizing tendencies of different sports federations are at play, but is there any other country that shows such lack of theme?

        As a general rule, I’ve liked the dark-blue unis with conservative insignia, but some others are appealing for idiosyncratic reasons, eg, the women’s soccer barrel-stripes and the women’s gymnastics star-spangled Vegas-blue thingees.

    • ChrisH | August 1, 2012 at 12:43 pm |

      “On clothing, the union always goes on the left. The only exception is for the US Army – not the military as a whole, just the Army…”

      Do the other branches of the US military even wear flag patches?

  • The Jeff | August 1, 2012 at 7:34 am |

    Did you really need 2 different links for UNC’s stupid white helmet?

    /at least it has a white mask rather than gray

    • Ry Co 40 | August 1, 2012 at 8:52 am |

      the white UNC helmet actually pops up 3 times in the ticker (equip. staff video). is this a new record?

    • Chris Holder | August 1, 2012 at 9:10 am |

      What does it say that I’m a big college football fan, and I thought all this time that UNC already HAD a white helmet? Hmm.

      Personally I think it needs a blue facemask. But as far as white helmets go, it’s not too bad.

      • The Jeff | August 1, 2012 at 9:28 am |

        Well… if you’re somewhere around Ricko’s age, it’d mean you’re having flashbacks.

        They used a white helmet from ’63-’66, so this new one is sort of a throwback.

        • Ricko | August 1, 2012 at 9:37 am |

          Yup. So in that respect it isn’t “white for the hell of it.”

        • Ricko | August 1, 2012 at 9:39 am |

          Wait, you’re saying it’s a bad thing that some of us here have a bigger storehouse of memories than most?

        • The Jeff | August 1, 2012 at 9:56 am |

          It was just a joke, Ricko.

          Remembering that the Rams played in Los Angeles is good, referring to the current team as the LA Rams is “old guy having flashbacks, lol”.

          Calm down, yo.

          /I guess I’m not as funny as I think I am. :(

        • Ricko | August 1, 2012 at 9:57 am |

          I know. Forgot the :)

    • Phil W | August 1, 2012 at 1:22 pm |

      A gray face mask would really make that helmet look sharp imho :)

    • walter | August 1, 2012 at 1:42 pm |

      The beauty of a white helmet is it matches your jersey half the time.

  • Elliott Josypenko | August 1, 2012 at 8:29 am |

    I’m not convinced that the plastic shit [sic] is 12mm thick.

    Is that a typo? It doesn’t look 12 mm thick!

    • The Jeff | August 1, 2012 at 8:36 am |

      Yeah… I’m thinking more like 1.2mm thick. 12mm is nearly half an inch.

      • Matt13 | August 1, 2012 at 8:49 am |

        It says “12 mil.” As in 12/1000 of an inch.

        • The Jeff | August 1, 2012 at 8:56 am |

          Or that I suppose.

          /damn not refreshing

      • The Jeff | August 1, 2012 at 8:55 am |

        Actually… make that .12mm, which is about the same thickness as a sheet of paper.

        • M.Princip | August 1, 2012 at 8:58 am |

          12 mil = .3mm

  • Joe Barrie | August 1, 2012 at 8:41 am |

    When the blouse is unbuttoned all Phillies jerseys look as though they are spelled “Philllies”.

    Pence should know better than to appear like that, but more and more players dress like him now. It goes along with pajama pants, inside-out pants pockets and other evidently Caribbean traditions, I guess.

  • Winter | August 1, 2012 at 8:56 am |

    In re: the Royals’ purchase of uniforms in 2008 — I’m not sure it follows that that necessarily means the purchase of player uniforms. Many people in a major league organization wear uniforms — security, ushers, PR people, etc. Some stadiums contract that stuff out, but I’m not sure all do.

    Between this story and the story about the Chiefs last year, sounds like KC sports’ administrations are a bit odd.

  • James Craven | August 1, 2012 at 9:16 am |

    Angola’s Nike Times New Roman font is far classier then the Aussie’s adidas Arial Compact font or that pumaeuroshit lowercase font.

  • John in KC | August 1, 2012 at 9:19 am |

    Regarding Michael Vick’s helmet – he switched in 2011. Several other quarterbacks who previously wore Riddell helmets switched last year; I suppose they were following Aaron Rodgers lead as he switched toward the end of 2010 when he returned after a concussion.

    Even Tom Brady was wearing an Air XP the first couple of weeks of the 2011 season but he went back to the Riddell by at least week 4 (if not week 3).

  • James Craven | August 1, 2012 at 9:35 am |

    BRA vs AUS – a/k/a The Battle of the FIBA-Banned Unitards – is on right now on the Olympics Basketball Channel. Advantage BRA in uniforms,

  • Gary | August 1, 2012 at 9:45 am |

    I think those “gouge guards” look ridiculous. Not only that, but when I played football, as a defensive lineman, I wanted as many gouges and paint marks as I could get on my helmet. If I wanted a helmet without gouges, I would have been a kicker.

  • Bernard | August 1, 2012 at 9:59 am |

    Nice job by Eric Davis on the <a href=Fausto Carmona shirts. They look really sharp.

    Though, in this instance, wouldn’t it be appropriate to say “I Still Call Him Fausto”?

    • Bernard | August 1, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Tony C. | August 1, 2012 at 12:57 pm |

      Why’s it maroon though?? or is that just my color being off on my monitor

  • Ricko | August 1, 2012 at 10:01 am |

    btw, Mick got what he wanted, because today IS “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.”
    http://www.huffingto...
    http://www.boston.co...

    • Ricko | August 1, 2012 at 10:03 am |

      Mike. Mike. Mike.
      Grrr….

    • anonymous | August 1, 2012 at 3:01 pm |

      Ah, I’ve always been a Zaxby’s man anyway.

  • Nick | August 1, 2012 at 10:02 am |

    That slideshow about the poor wearing hockey jerseys is over 2 years old, and I’m almost positive it was featured in the ticker over a year ago.

  • Bernard | August 1, 2012 at 10:03 am |

    Mike, as always, in the Black and Gold adidas. I love you, Ricko.

    • Ricko | August 1, 2012 at 10:04 am |

      And they look good with ANYTHING.

      • Shane | August 1, 2012 at 11:36 am |

        Half the reason I got the the “Sea of Sunshine” or whatever Adidas called the world cup colorway for my soccer boots was because of the black and gold. Such a solid look:

        http://www.soccerbib...

        • Connie | August 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm |

          Very nice.

        • Bernard | August 1, 2012 at 1:08 pm |

          Gorgeous.

  • Ricko | August 1, 2012 at 10:11 am |

    Damn, another badminton scandal.

    • The Jeff | August 1, 2012 at 10:13 am |

      Well it’s got “bad” right in its name, what do you expect?

      • Ricko | August 1, 2012 at 10:36 am |

        It just hasn’t been the same since we learned the ball was CG in FORREST GUMP.

        • Nick | August 1, 2012 at 10:49 am |

          Forrest Gump played ping pong, not badminton

        • Ricko | August 1, 2012 at 10:53 am |

          He certainly did. That’s what I get for thinking about it on the drive to the office. All those fumes on the freeway…I feel faint…I…

          (In other words, I screwed up. Yes, I did.)

          Besides, who’d believe anyone would want their shuttlecock CG’d.

          I mean, really.

        • Ricko | August 1, 2012 at 12:38 pm |

          I owned up to my fuzzy thinking, but it’s been stuck in moderation. So let’s try this…

          Ricko | Your comment is awaiting moderation. August 1, 2012 at 10:53 am |

          He certainly did. That’s what I get for thinking about it on the drive to the office. All those fumes on the freeway…I feel faint…I…

          (In other words, I screwed up. Yes, I did.)

          Besides, who’d believe anyone would want their shuttlecock CG’d.

          I mean, really.

        • Ricko | August 1, 2012 at 12:38 pm |

          Geez.

        • Tim E. O'B | August 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm |

          And badminton is played with a shuttlecock, not a ball. Come on guys, pull it together!

        • Ricko | August 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm |

          Didn’t we just clear that up?

        • ChrisH | August 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm |

          Gump played football before he picked up ping pong:

          http://cdn.bleacherr...

          Roll Tide!

    • name redacted | August 1, 2012 at 11:59 am |

      were the DQ’ed badminton players shuttlecockblocked from wining a gold medal?

    • James Craven | August 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm |

      Well, stupid is as stupid does…

    • ChrisH | August 1, 2012 at 1:24 pm |

      I wonder if this will impact attendance.
      Do you think this will result in increased ticket availability?

      • Ricko | August 1, 2012 at 2:12 pm |

        I sure hope not.
        Hate to see the return of badminton blackouts.

        • SoCalDrew | August 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm |

          London 2012 now has its very own “Black Sox” scandal!

  • Mike | August 1, 2012 at 10:21 am |

    It looks to me like the swim cap is meant to be worn with the flag on the left side (i.e. facing the camera when swimming towards the finish). If a swimmer turned the cap around 180 degrees, the flag would be on the right side and be “backwards.”

  • Connie | August 1, 2012 at 10:26 am |

    “… Michael Sullivan ‘went to Bills training camp Sunday night. I had a few uni related observations. Especially #3, #28, and #34.’ …”

    I’ve always loved Bills fans.

  • David | August 1, 2012 at 11:01 am |

    Army 2012 home game uni on twitter:

    https://twitter.com/...

    • Simply Moono | August 1, 2012 at 1:24 pm |

      MEGUSTA

    • Andy | August 1, 2012 at 2:35 pm |

      That’s a picture perfect uniform, as long as they don’t do something weird with the helmet.

      • David | August 1, 2012 at 9:35 pm |

        Andy, the “weirdest” I could possibly imagine would be to go with the wide stripe that was worn for the 2011 Army-Navy Game.

    • Arr Scott | August 1, 2012 at 6:15 pm |

      What, no camouflage anywhere, no giant flag patches? Obviously, Army hates the troops.

  • mike 2 | August 1, 2012 at 11:47 am |

    Great lede today!

    If the manufacture of shoes interests you, I posted some of this last week. Nike is also debuting the Flyknit racer and Flyknit trainer in London, featuring an upper woven as a single piece of fabric. Seamless and significantly lighter than competing shoes.

    http://www.knittingi...
    http://www.knittingi...

    Its easy to hate on Nike for over-the-top marketing of insignificant innovations, but the construction of this shoe is (IMO) a game-changer for high-performance running shoes.

    • Andy | August 1, 2012 at 2:36 pm |

      adidas has a knit shoe debuting at the Olympics as well. Looks like really cool technology from both brands.

  • 1vox | August 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm |

    wanted to chime in about the flag debate…whether or not for military means for sports too, i won’t get into…but, not just unis come into question…

    there is a proper way to display the flag itself, and it pisses me off that people can’t check the etiquette facts before hanging one if they don’t know for certain…

    the video on this link (not the one at the top, but the second one…scroll down the page a bit) is called “physique: wambach and morgan”…

    http://msn.foxsports...

    the flag is hanging backwards as she interviews usa national squad representatives…i literally yelled “what the fuck?” when i saw it…i doubt fox even cares (apparently they didn’t care enough to check before they hung it), so i didn’t bother to contact them about it…

    btw, instructions here…

    http://www.ushistory...

    • Ricko | August 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm |

      Know what else, at Twins games, for example, they raise the stars n’ stripes ever so slowly and dramatically during the anthem. If I remember my flag etiquette correctly, the flag is to be raised quickly and triumphantly and lowered slowly with reverence.

      Can anyone confirm or deny?

      • walter | August 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm |

        As Bill Murray put it, “Oh, and if any part of the flag touches the ground, you go straight to hell.” All flag protocol seems to be ad-libbed to emphasize graveness, earnestness, and Adam West-ness. Just ask the soggy Old Glory hanging from the railroad overpass in my town.

        • Ricko | August 1, 2012 at 1:55 pm |

          “The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously.”

          From here…
          http://www.usflag.or...

          It does NOT say, “raised slowly and ceremoniously.”

        • ChrisH | August 1, 2012 at 2:05 pm |

          I much prefer the way Johnny Cash put it:

          http://www.azlyrics....

          PS: Happy Birthday, Francis Scott Key.

        • Cort McMurray | August 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm |

          Once, when my oldest kid was in Boy Scouts, the Scoutmaster got the brilliant idea to hold a Flag Retirement Ceremony on the 4th of July.

          We collected about 20 old, ragged, frayed flags, and dressed in the full regalia, we assembled in a very high profile spot of our church parking lot, and as horrified passersby who weren’t familiar with flag etiquette looked on, we burned those flags, one by one. On the 4th of July.

          It was not our finest moment.

        • Arr Scott | August 1, 2012 at 6:21 pm |

          Cort, if your passers-by thought a bunch of uniformed Scouts were desecrating flags, that’s on them, not y’all. Your only mistake was being late – you’re supposed to do that on June 14.

          Popular misconception that flags must be burned. The Flag Code says only that nonservicable flags should be “destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.” But since burning flags is likely to shock the conscience of an onlooker, and burning things in general is often illegal, it is not really always preferable. The key is “dignified.” Throwing away in the trash isn’t dignified. Just about anything else would do. I’ve heard of American Legion posts in drought areas doing burials instead.

  • Konrad | August 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm |

    I thought I remembered there being a controversy over whether the three stripes violated the Olympic restrictions on the size of branding. After a few minutes of research, it appears the stripes have indeed been banned:

    http://www.brandchan...

  • Brendan Burke (bwburke94) | August 1, 2012 at 12:55 pm |

    Re: Gasol entry

    “FNOB” is full name on back (MARC GASOL)
    “FiNOB” is first name on back (MARC)

    Marc Gasol is FiNOB, not FNOB.

    • Tim E. O'B | August 1, 2012 at 1:10 pm |

      to avoid confusion, I propose: 1stNOB

  • mike 2 | August 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm |

    We had a discussion about Volleyball (the indoor kind, not the beach kind) yesterday and discussed uniforms and the Libero.

    I have a question that I hope somebody smart here can answer – when did the ball change?

    http://www.inforum.c...

    http://www.london201...

    The last time I played competitive volleyball was in high school in 1982 and we used the all-white ball. It seems to me that the new ball would significantly change the game by helping the receiving team pick up the spin off the serve. With the old ball, when I played if you could disguise the spin you had a HUGE advantage serving. Is this advantage gone now?

  • maccapee | August 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm |

    This gallery of patent drawings at wired.com features some real beauties, including a football helmet with face guard.

  • Joseph Gerard | August 1, 2012 at 1:35 pm |

    Looks like some Pitt fans want Pitt to go back to their old, Dorsett/Marino look.

    http://www.lostlette...

    Personally, I think they need to disband the football team, but I’ll give their pending move to the ACC the benefit of the doubt. If they can’t draw fans to see Florida State or Virginia Tech (or even Maryland for that matter), then they need to dump football and focus on basketball. Pitt has become more of a basketball school anyways.

    • Chris Holder | August 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm |

      I agree that they should revive the old look. Navy and gold is great, but used by far too many teams already in college sports. The closer-to-royal blue and mustard look is way more unique. I’m all for unique color schemes. DO IT, Pitt.

      • Joseph Gerard | August 1, 2012 at 2:08 pm |

        I think its too similar to WVU. (Personally I side with the Mountaineers when it comes to the Backyard Brawl.) How about changing it to black & gold? Who uses it in college besides Iowa and VCU? Allegheny County should pass a law requiring ALL sports teams that play in the county to have black and gold as their team colors.

    • Pittsburgh Contrarian | August 1, 2012 at 4:22 pm |

      Pitt shouldn’t disband the football team. They should just move to the MAC.

      • Coleman | August 1, 2012 at 6:06 pm |

        I don’t care what pitt does, I just want to see The Backyard Brawl every year, “as God intended”. This is the second biggest reason I hate all this conference realignment BS.

        Also, EAT S**T pitt. (As a Mountaineer, this is a required message when referring to pitt)

      • Joseph Gerard | August 2, 2012 at 12:16 am |

        Pitt seriously did consider it back in the late ’60s-early ’70s when my cousin Dave Havern was playing for them. They decided against it (basketball wasn’t as popular at Pitt as it is today, so if they would’ve disbanded, then athletics in general would’ve likely been de-emphasized.), and won the national championship in 1976. But if you look at their attendance at home, who do they draw? Well, when WVU came to town for the Backyard Brawl, Heinz Field would fill up–with Mountaineers fans. Whether it be Pittsburgh or Morgantown, it was always a WVU home game. Outside of that? The WPIAL championship games gets more fans than Pitt.

        Basketball is a completely different story. Though Pitt did win some meaningless tournament last season after they missed the cut on the NCAA Tournament and even the NIT, they still drew better there than football. The Steelers and Penguins always sell out, and even the Pirates are starting to have higher attendance numbers when fireworks aren’t part of the postgame. Something has to give, and its Pitt football.

  • George Chilvers | August 1, 2012 at 3:29 pm |

    Sorry for a late response to this but just got back from the Spain v Morocco game – 0-0 draw – quite a few chances, but Spain aren’t the force we know.

    Patrick O’Neill said he was surprised no-one had commented on the lack of Adidas stripes. My article on Monday had of necessity to be brief and in pruning it I cut the relevant comment.

    The Adidas stripes could contravene the Olympic Charter: Bye-law to Rule 50 states “Equipment: any manufacturer’s identification that is greater than 10% of the surface area of the equipment that is exposed during competition shall be deemed to be marked conspicuously. However, there shall be no manufacturer’s identification greater than 60 cm2. It then goes on to say The word “identification” means the normal display of …. any other distinctive sign of the manufacturer of the item, appearing not more than once per item.

    http://www.olympic.o...

    • Cort McMurray | August 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm |

      A lot of countries wore Kappa in the 80s, and their designs featured the logo all over the place, easily more prominent than the Adidas stripes.

      So did the policy change, and if it did, why?

      • George Chilvers | August 1, 2012 at 4:20 pm |

        The Olympic Charter was last updated in 1992 according to Wikipedia.

        Why? I don’t know – but can guess.

        • Cort McMurray | August 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm |

          Me, too.

          I’m beginning to think that nutty evangelical guy is right: put three of ‘em together, turn ‘em on their side, and swooshes look like “666”.

    • George Chilvers | August 1, 2012 at 4:23 pm |

      Just realised that Konrad answered this above. Sorry!

      (At least we got the same answer!)

  • Silver Creek Doug | August 1, 2012 at 4:35 pm |

    Anybody else notice the referees in the GB-URU match changed kits at the half?

    They started in yellow and changed to cyan blue. Can’t really figure out why, either, as GB in their blue and URU in their change white.

    • George Chilvers | August 1, 2012 at 5:31 pm |

      Maybe they got wet? I don’t know what the weather was like in Cardiff but at Old Trafford the heavens opened at half-time.

  • Mike Engle | August 1, 2012 at 4:53 pm |

    Number news: Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has yielded his No. 8 (previously an homage to Yogi Berra, when Donnie’s more familiar No. 23 was occupied by Derek Lowe) to Shane Victorino. Donnie is now No. 12.

    • James Craven | August 1, 2012 at 8:40 pm |

      In a related note, since #3 was retired for Bill Terry, Hunter Pence will wear #8 on San Fran.

  • kyle | August 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm |

    Aritcle on Grantland about the CFB “Uniform Crisis”

    http://www.grantland...

    • [name redacted] | August 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm |

      If only ESPN had a guy to write about uniforms that Grantland could have used…

  • Greg | August 1, 2012 at 9:09 pm |

    Got a new reply from “Chelsea”….

    Dear Greg:

    Thank you for your response to our note about the league potentially placing sponsor patches on NBA jerseys. We appreciate the passion you demonstrate for our league and value your feedback on the issue.

    The NBA is constantly exploring ways to keep our business competitive in an ever-changing marketplace. With that in mind, we understand the significance of our fans? views as we strive to improve all aspects of our league, and your comments will be taken into consideration.

    Thank you again for your feedback.

    Sincerely,

    Chelsea
    NBA Fan Relations

  • Patrick_in_MI | August 1, 2012 at 10:51 pm |

    Could that adidas wordmark on the Hoosiers football uni get any larger? It’s almost eclipsing the Hoosiers underneath it! As if the teamname is the adidas Hoosiers (shudder!).

  • Feit Can Write | August 1, 2012 at 11:08 pm |

    Not sure if this has been reported – all Big 10 football teams will be wearing a “B1G” patch on their jerseys per league rule.

    This is from @NUequipment (the equipment guys for Nebraska – and a pretty good uni-centric follow). The tweet: “all the B1G teams will have them on their jerseys this year. #newrule”

  • Justina Hudson | August 6, 2012 at 12:14 am |

    Roger Federer versus Andy Murray at an Olympic Wimbledon – the titans meet again! This time the Olympic glory and the victory goes to Murray. It was hard-won and much deserved. Let’s hope it makes up for previous disappointments and sets the stage for many further Murray victories.