29.06.2020

Nike present the Nike Flight ball

print version

This ball will be used by teams in the RPL next season.

The Nike Flight ball was the result of an eight-year study of improving the stability of football flight conducted by the Nike Equipment Innovation Lab.

Nike Flight has a number of features:

  • To reduce vibrations and create a more predictable and consistent flight path, the innovation lab has developed a solution in which air flows around the ball without trapping its surface. This performance-based design represents Nike's new patented AerowSculpt aerodynamic technology. Thanks to the new technology, the ball provides a 30% more accurate trajectory than its predecessor, the Nike Merlin.
  • The Nike Flight has a single four-panel design, leaving 40% fewer hard seams than a traditional 12-panel ball. This increases the surface area of the ball’s sweet spot for an excellent strike.
  • An additional design element was the use of Nike All Condition Control 3D ink technology. Introduced in 2014, ACC's special impregnation helps ensure optimal grip in both wet and dry weather conditions. The Nike Flight ball uses 3D ink ball coloring technology to create strategic "micro flaps" that, along with the Nike AerowSculpt, improve the aerodynamic qualities and stabilisation of the ball in flight.

The development of the ball took place in three stages:

During the Explore phase, several tracking systems were used to measure the flight of the ball from various types of strikes during the game. This helped the lab understand what conditions the ball is under during play, and allowed engineers to link quantifiable measurements to feedback from professional players.

In the Recreate stage, the lab copied the types of strikes observed on the pitch and used a robotic leg to reproduce different types of strikes with multiple repetitions of the same strike. This process allowed the lab to measure small differences in performance between balls and collect dossiers with quantifiable tests to innovate against.

In a controlled environment, the laboratory tested new ideas about aerodynamics, structures and materials for the ball at the Innovate stage. Testing the Nike Flight ball involved 68 different interations and thousands of hours in the lab. In addition, more than 800 professional athletes took part in field testing validation before a final version was reached.

The Nike Flight ball is available to order at nike.com from 29 June, as well as in Nike stores and partner outlets in Russia from 15 July.


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