Nike has unveiled its latest football. Dubbed Nike Flight, the ball represents a radical change in design thanks to its new AerowSculpt technology.
While most footballs — regardless of brand — are plagued by unpredictable movement, the Nike Flight aims to combat inconsistent aerodynamics with AerowSculpt. Grooves along the Nike Flight promote air movement around the ball, which Nike claims has resulted in 30 percent truer flight when compared to its Nike predecessors.
Testing of the Nike Flight involved 68 different iterations before the design team ultimately settled on the final design. “Everything done at the Lab is rooted in science,” says Kieran Ronan, Nike GM of Global Football Equipment. “Here, we are able to detect small differences in performance that may not be perceivable to most athletes, but when those small differences are iterated upon 68 times, the result is a noticeable leap in performance.”
In addition to AerowSculpt, the Nike Flight features Nike’s famed ACC (all conditions control) ink. ACC improves grip and control in both wet and dry conditions. The Nike Flight ball uses the 3D ink layout to strategically print “micro flaps” across the ball, further optimizing aerodynamic stability.
While some players — namely Marcus Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo — have made a name for themselves by taking advantage of unpredictable flight with their knuckleballs, a more aerodynamic and predictable flight pattern will be welcomed by most players and, certainly, all goalkeepers.
Aesthetically, the Nike Flight looks like it could have easily come from the workshops of Tom Sachs or been part of an Off-White™ x Nike collaboration. The Nike Flight was released on June 29 via Nike.com and select retailers.