Nike T90 Laser IV Kanga-Lite Review
Innovation through studying and understanding player movement, touch and strike. This is the striker’s ultimate weapon. It offers a snug fit no matter the foot shape. Enhanced shooting and swerve zones amplify the natural movement of the foot. Secondary traction with more flexible plate to reduce slippage. Kanga-Lite synthetic leather for enhanced touch. The Adaptive shield amplifies flexibility, swerve striking, and shot accuracy. Engineered Microfins, ie. Small raised TPU fins, deliver increased friction with the ball to ensure more swerve. Molded EVA with poron insert for reduced stud pressure. Lightweight TPU for maximum stud penetration and quick release. Secondary traction combines with a more flexible forefoot to enhance agility.
In terms of fit, I can definitely say that the Laser IV fits a little more streamlined than the past Lasers. The biggest difference coming in the shape of the toe box, which is now much more narrow in comparison to previous Lasers. I would call the, overall fit, and feel, very similar to that of the CTR360 Maestri, with a slightly wider mid foot. The heel is also slightly more narrow on the Laser IV, which just improves the overall fit of the boot. The lacing system is exactly the same as the Laser III, with the laces pushed to the outside of the foot. The tongue is also very similar, with a strip of memory foam running through the middle to take away any chance of lace bite. The upper itself is also very soft from right out of the box. This is the same material that is used on the CTR360 Maestri, but I think it feels even softer on the Laser. Nike has done a really good job implementing this material for the upper. It is soft, does not stretch and dries more quickly when it gets wet. I would have liked to seen a kangaroo leather option, but Kanga-Lite is the next best thing. The last thing to note is that the soleplate is a little more flexible than past Lasers, which is good in some ways, and not so good in other ways. The overall fit and feel of this shoe is very Maestri-esque. As far as sizing goes, I wore my usual size 9US for review and they fit perfectly. These boots fit true to size, so if you are looking to order a pair, you should go with your normal size.
This shoe weighs in at 9.8oz, which is slightly less then the standard Laser III was, but I do feel that Nike have taken away some elements which would explain the slight weight loss. The soleplate is a little thinner and the rubber element itself is a third of what it used to be in terms of bulk, making for an overall lighter shoe. This is an average weight for most soccer shoes, and feels just right for this type of boot.
The stud pattern on the Laser IV, although it may look different from the Laser III stud pattern, is almost exactly the same. You get an all blade stud pattern, with one full row of blades that run perpendicularly in the forefoot. This makes for a stud pattern that grips very well on nearly all surfaces and will provide good traction for stops and starts. This stud pattern was formulated mainly to have the best grip for shooting, meaning that once you plant your foot, you are not going to slip. This also means that you do not get the most rotational movement when your foot is planted, something that you would get more from a stud pattern of conical studs. One of the new additions to the stud pattern is the very small grooves that have been places on the toe and heel area. It is very similar to the small grips that you find at the very front of the toe area on the Mercurial line. It really isn’t a big addition, and it makes no real difference in traction, but I like that Nike it included, because in the end, it could be the difference between slipping and staying on your feet.
Being that this shoe is made of Kanga-Lite, I was expecting a fairly high quality feel from these boots. The touch, and overall feel of the Kanga-Lite version of the laser feel extremely similar to that of the CTR360 Maestri. The entire feel of this shoe is not at all what the Lasers have been in the past. The Laser IV has little to no bulk, and the actual rubber element is very minimalistic in comparison to what it used to be. To me, this boot feels very much like the CTR360 Maestri with a small rubber element. The rubber element itself still has those rubber fins on the instep, but they are much smaller and not as noticeable, especially when dribbling. The actual striking element that covers the top of the foot is also much thinner that it was on the Laser III. Nike have also removed the layer of memory foam that used to be under the striking element, making the Laser IV feel very thin in comparison to the Laser III. The rubber is also much less abrasive on the Laser IV, so you never get that same feeling that the ball is getting stuck in your feet when playing in dry conditions, but you also don’t get the exceptional grip in wet conditions. The touch on this boot is the exact opposite of what you got from the Laser III. But none the less, these have a pretty good touch.
This is where I have a major problem with the Laser IV. The striking element has been severely stripped down from what it used to be. The new element is thinner, uses no memory foam padding, a much harder rubber (less abrasive) and covers about 40% less of the boot in comparison to the Laser III. What I loved about the Laser III was how over the top the actual striking element was. It felt like no other shoe when striking the ball. You got that feeling of satisfaction when you really struck through the ball, a feeling that I can’t really describe but I am sire much of you know what I am talking about. The Laser IV just doesn’t provide that same feeling. The element is very thin and they removed the memory foam that used to be underneath, so you don’t have that extra padding that felt so good when shooting the ball, or that sense of power that I felt in the Laser III. The rubber itself is much harder and therefore less abrasive, so you don’t get that same grippy feeling when you strike the ball. The last thing that I really didn’t like was how much smaller the striking element is in comparison to all of the past Lasers. I found that it just doesn’t cover the surface of your foot that strikes the ball on most shots. The only time that you could really strike the ball directly on the element is on free kicks or the odd time that the ball just sits perfectly for you. To be completely honest, I just didn’t have that feeling of satisfaction when striking the ball, which is something that has to happen on a boot that is labeled as a “Power” boot. If I don’t feel a difference when striking the ball in a pair of boots with rubber elements, I would rather they not be there. Striking the ball in these boots is not bad at all, it just isn’t as good as the Laser III, which should not be the case.
The durability that these boots offer is going to be pretty good. The Kanga-Lite upper will not stretch, requires no maintenance and will not wear out as quickly as a natural leather will. This is a boot that you can safely wear on any surface without worry of them not lasting for at least an entire season.
These boots will offer a fair amount of protection. The upper is thin, but not too thin, but with the rubber elements, they will provide some decent protection should you get stepped on. There is also an internal heel cup and the top half of your foot, closer to your ankle, will be pretty well covered. These are not as protective as the Laser III, but they are still going to offer a fair amount of protection, which is always a plus.
I have to say that I am somewhat disappointed with the Laser IV. I have always been a fan of the over the top designs that the Laser line has introduced through the years, and I just don’t think that the Laser IV follows that same pattern. This is by no means a bad boot, in fact, I would call this a very good boot, the problem I have with it is that it just isn’t a Laser. If you are looking for a more minimalistic Laser III, you will love the Laser IV. It offers an improved fit and a more streamlined feel. I would recommend this boot to those who love the CTR360 Maestri, but would like a slight change of pace and want to try something new.
Comfort/ Fit 9 out of 10
Traction 8 out of 10
Weight 8 out of 10
Touch 8 out of 10
Shooting 9 out of 10
Durability 9 out of 10
Protection 8 out of 10
Final Score 59 out of 70 or 84%