Nike T90 Strike IV Review
Given that this is the first take-down model from the Laser IV, I anticipated the fit to not be as good as the Lasers, but surprisingly enough, the fit is not far off. The Strike IV is easily one of the best fitting, synthetic take-down model of any shoe that I have ever worn. This is a shoe that can be worn straight into a game from right out of the box, without any issues with discomfort. I would say that the overall fit of the shoe, through all parts of the foot is on the wider side, but not to the point that even someone with a narrower foot would not be able to wear them. I would say that the biggest difference in fit between the Laser IV and the Strike IV is the slightly roomier toe box on the Strike, which is hardly a problem, and is something that most people would not even notice. The upper of the shoe is a slightly padded synthetic, that is nice and soft, but without the stretching that you get from leather. These will certainly give a little bit in terms of stretching, but not much. You will also notice the not so premium synthetic leather heel liner and tongue, but again, when the shoe is on your foot, the difference in feel from the Laser in minimal. As far as sizing goes, the Strike IV fits very true to size. I wore my usual size 9US for review and they fit perfectly.
Believe it or not, the Strike IV actually weighs just a little less than the higher end Laser IV. While the synthetic Laser IV weighs in at 10oz, the Strike IV only weighs 9.6oz! I would think that the reason for the slight drop in weight would be the lack of memory foam inserts and nicer materials that are in the Laser, but in comparison, 0.4oz is not a noticeable amount of weight for the Strike to feel lighter. 9.6oz is a slightly below average weight, and the Strike IV is certainly not a boot that is going weigh you down.
The Strike IV uses the exact same stud pattern as the Laser IV. 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.
I found the material on the Strike to be just a little bit thinner than the upper that is on the Laser. While I feel that this is more of a personal preference difference, rather than a better or worse situation, I did like the little bit of a thinner feel from the Strike. The synthetic upper is thin, but there is still just that little bit of padding to it, which I felt really suites the overall feel of the boot. Given that this is still a T90, the large rubber, striking element plays a big role in how the touch on the ball will feel. 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.
The rubber striking element is identical to that of the Laser, therefore, striking the ball feels exactly the same. This is where I have a 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.
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.
The quality of the Strike is honestly very good. Given that it may not have that same polished finishing that the Laser IV has, the main components of the shoe are essentially identical. The synthetic upper doesn’t require any maintenance, and it won’t over-stretch. The shoe itself is pretty simple, so there is very little that could go wrong. For the price you pay, you are going to get more than your money’s worth in terms of how long they will last.
The T90 Strike IV really surprised me, mainly because of how nearly identical is terms of looks and feel to the higher-end Laser IV. The Strike IV seriously is something you should consider if you are looking at the Laser. It may not have that ultra-premium fit and feel of the Laser, but what it does offer is not far off at all. If you also look at the prices that you can get the Strike IV at, it seriously is one of the best values on the market.
Comfort/ Fit 8 out of 10
Weight 8 out of 10
Traction 8 out of 10
Touch 8 out of 10
Shooting 7 out of 10
Protection 8 out of 10
Durability 9 out of 10
Final Score 56 out of 70 or 80%