COPA DEL REY FINAL, VICENTE CALDERÓN: BARCELONA V ALAVES

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It has been a tear-filled goodbye tour for one of soccer’s greatest and most iconic stadiums. The Vicente Calderón has seen many things, but above all, it was the home of Atletíco Madrid’s notoriously passionate fans. Over the weekend the last official competitive match was played at the stadium and the only unfortunate thing about the affair was that Atletí was not involved. Thankfully the Copa Del Rey Final was a swan song worthy of the Calderón’s children and it’s aura. Played between the Basque minnows of Alaves and the Catalan giants of Barcelona, the match,  from beginning to end was special. Now when we say beginning we literally mean in the pubs or streets outside of the stadium hours before the match. The crescendo from calm, somewhat desolate to the increasing congregation of fans, beers, songs….the beautiful camaraderie that makes soccer unlike anything else on the planet, sport or otherwise. We were lucky on many levels as we got to see the brilliance of an in-form Messi, the aging beauty that was the Calderón and possibly the greatest fans we’ve ever witnessed in the flesh. Yes, Messi was near perfection as ever and the Blaugrana were in full force, but the undying endeavor of Alaves on the pitch was only paralleled by their beautifully relentless fans. It was as if they had won, not a single one of them left the stadium, instead, they rocked the withering stadium to its boundaries even an hour after the trophy celebration. 

Lastly, massive thanks to the good people at Hummel for being such gracious hosts on this amazing trip and experience. 

All inside stadium shots courtesy of Lino at revistalibero.com

#CHICKSINKITS: HOPE WATSON

Admittedly most of our #Chicksinkits features are centered around pro, semi-pro or college female soccer players. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But our mission with #Chicksinkits has always been to shed light on the female soccer perspective as a whole. From fitness models to producers to tv personalities and more, fans of our beloved game come from all walks of life and from every corner of the world. A case in point; our latest feature hails all the way from Australia. Her name is Hope Watson. She grew up loving soccer in a land where rugby reigns supreme. We sat down with Hope for some unique insight into the beautiful game from an Aussie girl pursuing her dreams.  

KTTP: So tell us your name and where you’re from?

Hope Watson: My name is Hope Watson I grew up in Canberra in Australia. I moved to New York about 5 years ago. I was fortunate enough to get a visa for modeling, so I did that while I was at university in New York. I moved to Los Angeles last year and now I’m transitioning into the film industry. 

KTTP: How would you describe your style?

HW: I’d describe my style as tomboyish, a little 80’s and maybe some 70’s, plus lots of color! 

KTTP: How do you think style effects soccer and vice versa?

HW: The combination of football and style/design is one of my favorite things! I’d honestly prefer to kick around with people that look sharp but aren’t necessarily that “good” than a bunch of boofheads that wanna yell and slide tackle. If I can relate to someone’s sensibilities I feel like it indicates we’d have other things in common. I wanna play with people I can relate to. 

 

 

KTTP: What are your favorite soccer boots?

HW: My favorite boots are either Adidas Samba’s or these Lotto boots that I got in Budapest a few years ago. I dunno know why I like them so much… They’re so comfortable. I think I just like them cos no-one else has them!

KTTP: Favorite pair of sneakers growing up?

HW: There was a pair of sneakers I had as a child, they were converse, low rise with one star and an arrow. They didn’t look like Chuck Taylor’s though. I tried to google them one time but I couldn’t find them! Also, Adidas made this super skinny martial arts looking shoe that was weirdly a big deal with all the soccer players in my home town. 

KTTP: What do you wear now?

HW: Now I wear Adidas Superstars basically every single day of my life. I just find them really comfy and I like the look of them. 

 

KTTP: Do you have any style or fashion tips?

HW: One thing I try to do with style is not follow direct trends. I just like to find nice fabrics and interesting colors. I feel like that’s cooler than finding something in a magazine and regurgitating it. 

KTTP: You’re from Australia, soccer isn’t the biggest sport where you’re from. How’d you get involved in the game?

HW: So, it’s a funny thing. In my hometown, people think rugby is what’s up! I don’t know why, but, my father was obsessed with soccer. I think because it’s truly a world game. We used to watch it every single night at home whether it was EPL or Champions League or even the Australian League. I actually hated that everyone liked rugby, but eventually I liked that I was into the “niche” sport… I would have feuds with rugby kids though – one time my all girls school had to visit this all boys school that was really big on Rugby. I told one of the guys I liked soccer more and he spat at my feet! I was pissed! So, yeah, it was a contentious thing as a kid for sure.

 

KTTP: So why did you ultimately choose soccer over rugby?

HW: Well as I said in my hometown Rugby was king. But I just thought soccer was much cooler, more chic. I thought soccer players were better athletes. So I was always fine with liking soccer.  

Q & A: AUTHOR/SNEAKER HEAD/SOCCER LOVER NEAL HEARD

The search for like-minded fans of soccer, sneakers and streetwear is never-ending. As we continue to carve out a niche it’s always reassuring to meet someone that gets it. Neal Heard is very much, that. Having authored ‘Trainers’ and ‘A Lover’s Guide to Football Shirts’, the Welshman has turned his love of sneakers and Soccer into a full blown career. With a recent kit collaboration, the launch of a Youtube channel and more on the horizon, we linked up with Neal for a quick Q & A.   

 

KTTP: Give us a brief background of where you’re from and what you do for a living? team you supported?

Neal Heard: For my sins I am from Newport in South Wales, by which I mean, I support Newport County who are perennial under achievers, but that’s my town and my team.

KTTP: When/how did your love of sneakers start?

NH: I was an 80’s Football Casual, which today, most people would call a Soccer Ultra on a global parlance sense. The movement was way ahead of it’s time and is way too over-looked. We picked up on European sportswear, like Fila, Lacoste, Kappa etc and British Heritage brands like Burberry and Aquascutum way before the mainstream. This movement was well into their Trainers (as we call sneakers) at about the same time (late 70’s early 80’s) that our more well known cousin, Hip Hop started digging them too, but we weren’t influenced by Hip Hop or Breaking but lead our own style, which mainly centered around adidas running shoes.

KTTP: What are some of your favorite sneakers?

NH: Well being an old casual, I would say adidas Trim Trabb, Stan Smith, Munchen, ZX series etc etc but I do also love the pre 80’s Nike.

KTTP:  You’re also an avid vintage Football shirt collector, what are some of your favorite kits?

NH: I always go back to the NASL shirts from the late 70’s early 80’s, the late 80’s and early 90’s shirts of Serie A of Italy and anything obscure or unique. As for examples, I would say the 1981 St Etienne Le Coq Sportif Super Tele shirt, Chicago Sting and Tampa Bay Rowdies, Smapdoria 91 with ERG as sponsor, oh lots and lots.

KTTP: What are some good sources for finding rare kits?.

NH: Well obviously it’ got easier with Ebay and the internet, but you usually find the odd jersey in Charity/Thrift Shops.

KTTP: Tell us about your books ‘Trainers A Lovers Guide’ & ‘A Lovers guide to Football Shirts’ how did the ideas come about and how long did each one take?

NH: Well simply these were my interests, as well as my areas I earnt a living from. I spent the 90’s searching for deadstock vintage trainers and this lead me to write the book in 2003. The same thing kinda seemed obvious with football shirts, which are only now being appreciated as style items.

KTTP: How do you feel about the current trend of soccer boots emulating sneaker culture with limited/rare releases?

NH: I must admit, I love the old skool Black and White models, but I am old now. I think it’s just the trend of everything going that way. Design and hype are just way more prevelant in society now, and boots also reflect this.

KTTP: Tell us about the kits you’ve recently collabed on

NH: I am proudly working with Le Coq Sportif on a small apparel collection based upon the 1981 St Etienne shirt I love so much, which is a dream fulfilled and I am also developing a pair of Trainers with them, which again, is something I had long wanted to do, so now I just hope I do it all justice.

KTTP: Via your instagram I’ve noticed you have another project in the works. Are you able to talk about it?

NH: I have started a Football meets fashion/street wear label called Lover’s F.C which plays with the cross over between shirts and street style, and it is sold across Europe in Urban Outfitters stores and I am also opening a pop up shop in London. I have been lucky enough to launch a collaboration label with fashion label Y.M.C and am looking to do more collabs with unique and linked houses.

KTTP: What else can we look froward to as far as future projects?

NH: I have started a You Tube Channel about the search and visits to interesting places with great archives of both Trainers as well as football shirts and clothes which are part of common culture, it’s called Lover’s TV and the first show was the record of our visit to the Northampton Shoe Museuem which had an archive of 700 VTg trainers, and the show is called Shoe Gaze, go follow the channel, there’s more to come.

For more on Neal Heard and all his endeavors check out: nealheard.shopify.com or Ig: @nealheardtrainers

 

DETAILS: POGBA COLLECTION ACE 17 PURECONTROL & BALL

One of the most polarizing figures in all world soccer recently dropped a brash and bold collab with adidas. The Paul Pogba  Collection features a broad spectrum of fare that tows a line between lifestyle and soccer. For our latest details piece we take it to the pitch with the Pogba Collection ACE 17 Purecontrol UltraBOOST and soccer ball.

First the ball, dipped in a shiny black coat with subtle, gradient reptilian skin texture and an elegant gold Pogba logo. The boots are given a gold sole plate, the upper features a never before seen marble print that bleeds a gaudy vibe. A Pogba logo features on the tongue tab and seen in other of the Frenchman’s signature boots,  the words “POGBOOM” grace the heel tab.

The entire collection will be on display tonight at the Paul Pogba season 1 Collection launch in Los Angeles, see the flyer below for details. 

 

DETAILS: UNDER ARMOUR CLUTCH FIT 3.0

Last week Under Armour announced the release of their revolutionary Clutch Fit 3.0. Designed for playmakers, the latest from UA is wildly different from its previous incarnations.  The boot features a memorizing auxetic pattern upper that resembles shark sin.  The heel cup is dressed in a patented UA grippy coat which offers enhanced stability. Rounding out the tech upgrades is a redesigned sole plate, which offers increased flexibility plus traction for maximum stop and go movement.

The Under Armour Clutch Fit 3.0 oozes that “devil in the details” ethos, check them out up close and personal below.     

Want to cop? There are limited quantities but there are still a few sizes available at Underarmour.com

 

BEST 11 SOCCER BOOTS OF 2016

For all the flack 2016 got, it was pretty solid year for soccer boots. From wildly progressive tech, to the re-imagining of classics, from the super-limited, to milestone/commemorative cleats that resemble pieces of art  more than athletic wear, soccer boots are reaching new levels of culture never seen before. More than ever the beautiful game is blending with outside forces and worlds which naturally, reflect in the products.

Unlike an off-pitch streetwear kit, or soccer inspired sneaker, the soccer boot still needs to perform on the pitch. All the more reason to praise a quality design and aesthetic within the confines of function. It is what that in mind that we take a look at our favorite boots of 2016.  

1. Nike Mercurial Superfly “Vitorias”

Created for Cristiano Ronaldo, The Nike Mercurial Superfly “Vitorias” was a commemorative masterpiece.  The gorgeous boots honored CR7’s stellar year in which he captured a fourth Ballon d’Or, third UCL title and his first European title with Portugal. The boots apply look like a trophy but maintain the quality and lightweight tech the silo was built upon. The boots are dressed in a pristine pure platinum upper and light blue tint that fades from heel to toe. The metallic gold plated sole-plate is a nod to the trophies Ronaldo has accumulated and the words “Vitorias” (Portuguese for victory) grace the sole cup with a number for 777 pairs that were created.  

 

2. adidas Ace 16 + Purecontrol custom “Viper Pack”

The Ace 16 + Purecontrol was already a game changer boasting a laceless tech fit design, primeknit upper and Purecut collar. But these custom “Viper Pack” boots created for Paul Pogba to rock in the Manchester derby, were next level.  Evoking the venom and power of the French starlet’s game, these bad-boys featured a menacing grey/black snake skin upper with minimal red accents on the collar and heel tabs, that latter laced with the words “Pogback.” 

 

3. Puma King “Made in Italy”

There’s very few silos that can be mentioned in the pantheon of eternal soccer boots with the Puma King. In 2016 the classic silo received an elegant resurrection worthy of it’s 48 year history. Tasking Italian shoe makers to fashion the boot, the quality of the Puma King “Made in Italy” is obvious and second to none. Boasting high-grade leather, intricate hand-stitching on a timeless silhouette, the Puma King “Made in Italy” evoked nostalgia and craftsmanship rarely seen in modern times.   

 

4. Nike Tiempo Legend “Pirlo”

The Tiempo is Nike Soccer’s foundation in which it built its empire. Of all the greats that have worn the silo in its various iterations, you could argue that Andrea Pirlo encompasses the subtle quality of the boot more than anyone. Created in the latest Tiempo silo, the “Pirlo” was a fitting nod to the Italian maestro and his wine making roots. The trade mark k-leather upper is dipped in a deep burgundy similar to that of a Merlot, while the sole inserts are dressed in cork and feature Pirlo’s elegant logo. Four gold stars sit on the heel counter and plate, one for each of Italy’s World Cup titles. The boots even come in wine box made of wood and stuffed with shavings for protection. 

 

5. Nike Mercurial Superfly “EA Sports”

In honor of EA Sports Fifa’s 20 year history, the Mercurial Superfly “EA Sports” were a jaw-dropping  and colorful, limited release. Bright hues of orange, pink, and green were built into 16-bit digital print that faded into an a crisp HD design, a stellar nod to the progression in graphics of the games timeline. A wild iridescent, metallic  covered the sole-plate while an EA Sports logo and numbering out of 1500 detailed the heel counter. An equally stunning silver, iridescent foil and digital embossing covered the shoe box which the shoes came in. 

 

6. Neymar X Jordan Hypervenom II

A milestone, the Neymar X Jordan Hypervenom II marked Jordan Brand’s first foot-steps into the beautiful game. There’s little argument that Neymar is a perfect poster boy for the historic boots, but so too is the Hypervenom silo. The mustang fighter jet markings seen on the Jordan 5’s are a classic trademark and dress perfectly on the boot. The cement print evokes classic Jordan4 DNA as does the black and grey colorway. A Jumpman logo graces the heel cup and and embroidered number 23 sits on the right while Neymars number 10 sits on the left.   

 

7. adidas Glitch

The glitch makes this list because it is arguably the biggest game changer of the year. Less a boot and more a concept, the Glitch was fashioned with unparalleled customization in mind. Players could change the entire make up of their boots on the fly via unique, interchangeable skins and an inner boot. Adding further progressive context, the boots/skins were not release via standard retailers or online vessels but rather an app. Access to the app is only available through word of mouth from hand selected soccer athletes chosen by adidas.  

 

8. Puma evoTouch “Derby Fever” Santi Carzorla Edition

Not to be outdone by the big two in soccer brands, Puma joined the commemorative soiree withe their “Derby Fever” releases.  Two separate iterations were created for Puma athletes Antoine Griezman and Santi Carzorla leading up to their respect Derby clashes, we favored theblatter to make the list. Dropping in a an Arsenal inspired colorway, with a commemorative nod to the North London Derby on the toe box and unique “Derby Fever” logo on the lateral side of the boots, the evoTouch proved a worthy canvas. As expected the tech remained featuring a buttery K-leather with evoKnit sock for unmatched touch.

 

9. New Balance Visaro “Signal Edition”

Inspired by the coloration of the poisonous dart frog, the Visaro “Signal Edition” showed some shocking endeavor from New Balance. The royal blue and black frog-skin print was a bold, refreshing and entirely unique aesthetic. As with all of the boots on this list the Visaro “Signal Edition” maintained the tech that makes it what many consider to be New Balance’s best Silo, albeit in limited quantities. 

 

10. Copa 17 “Crowning Glory”

The re-imagining of one of the greatest soccer boots of all time was a massive undertaking. Luckily adidas succeeded in the execution by resurrecting the heart and structure of the beloved Copa Mundial. The Copa 17 employed modern tech with a flexible neoprene tongue along with a classic, k-leather upper, reinforced heel cup and sole-plate for an unrivaled touch in durability. While it was only the 2nd colorway for the Copa, the “Crowning Glory” was a gorgeous touch that paid homage to the great players that have donned the legendary boot over the decades.   

 

11. Nike Magista II “Floodlights Pack”

After a two year run the Magista received an innovative upgrade fitting of the revolutionary silo. Taking inspiration from the pruning of hands, an evolutionary trait that allows humans to grip under wet conditions. The Magista II was a work in sensory amplification. Made of varying peaks fashioned from flyknit, the higher peaks are strategically placed in high touch zones, which are also marked by different coloration. The “Floodlights” Magista II  features a vibrantly rich aqua with a volt swoosh and accents that had us salivating.