Nike T90 Laser IV ACC Firm Ground Review
The Nike T90 Laser IV is arguably the least popular high-end shoe from Nike, but is one that I personally really like. In terms of comfort, the Laser IV is fantastic. Part of the reason why the Laser IV is so comfortable is due to the shoe’s solid construction. So many shoes currently on the market use thinner, less supportive materials for the sole purpose of shaving some weight, and while the shoes do end up a little lighter, they are almost never as comfortable as they could have been. The ACC model of the Laser IV uses an all-new, un-specified, synthetic material, which reminds me of a slightly padded Teijin synthetic, which is used on the Mercurial series from Nike. The inside of the upper is lined with a very soft, slightly padded material that feels great on your foot from right out of the box. The shoe also features a very nice Poron lined insole, which makes for immediate step-in comfort. Other comfort elements include a grip texturing which lines the heel liner, locking your heel in place, as well as a memory foam insert on the tongue. Overall, the shoe is very comfortable, especially after break-in.
As far as the fit of the shoe is concerned, the ACC model of the T90 Laser IV is a little different from the previous Kanga-Lite model. Unlike Kanga-Lite, this new synthetic doesn’t have very much stretch to it, so the sizing is ever so slightly thrown off. I wore my usual size 9US for review, and the fit was perfect, but was also noticeably tighter than the same size in the Laser IV Kanga-Lite model. So, if you like your shoes to fit really tight, go for your normal size, but if you want a little breathing room, go half a size up. Other than the slight sizing variance, the Laser IV ACC fits exactly the same as previous models. I really like the fit of the Laser IV, mainly because it has some bulk to it, but feels very streamlined when on your feet. The heel, mid-foot and toe box sections of the boot are all average in terms of width, allowing for the shoe to fit pretty much anybody, just as long as you don’t have an extraordinarily wide foot. The off-center lacing system does a good job of securing your foot in place, and the inside of the shoe wraps your foot perfectly when you pull the laces tight. Overall, the Laser IV is a very comfortable boot, and is one of my go to boots when I am looking for something comfortable to wear.
The Laser IV ACC weighs in at 10oz, which is exactly what I would consider to be “average” in comparison to most modern soccer shoes. While this isn’t necessarily what you might consider to be “lightweight”, the tight fit of the boot gives you that one to one feel, which makes the boot feel much lighter than it actually is. While weight is something to consider when buying a soccer shoe, it is by no means what I would call the most “important” aspect of a boot. If you were at all considering the Laser IV, you won’t at all be disappointed with the weight.
The Laser IV features one of my personal favorite bladed stud patterns. If you take a look at the pictures above, you will notice the longer than average, bladed studs, all pointing in different directions. This makes for a stud pattern that is going to provide tons of grip when pushing off and making hard cuts. Once you plant your foot, it is stuck, which can be both good and bad. Whether or not this stud pattern is going to be good or bad for you, really depends on how you move. If you tend to do more severe changes of direction, meaning hard cuts and turns, than you are going to love this stud pattern. If you do a lot of pivoting and twisting, than you just aren’t going to get the maneuverability from this stud pattern, like you would get from a shoe with a more traditional, conical stud pattern. The Laser IV stud pattern is also really good in terms of providing stability. Since there are so many studs under your feet, there is a much larger surface area coming in contact with the ground than your average boot, making a for a very stable feel. This an ideal stud pattern if you’re going to be playing on slightly harder ground. Overall, this is a stud pattern that provides some of the best multidirectional grip on the market. It isn’t for everybody, but if what I just described sounds good to you, than you’re going to love the feel of the Laser IV.
I have never been a fan of rubber elements on soccer shoes, whether they be striking or control elements. The reason why is because I generally don’t like having extra grip on the ball, especially when dribbling. The Laser IV is one of the few rubber elements featured on a soccer shoe that I actually do like. If you go back and read my original review of the Laser IV, you may have seen that my thoughts on the Laser IV were a little bit different, but after going back to shoe several times, I really did come to love the solid feel of the Laser IV. The striking element, while it appears very aggressive, is actually fairly minimalistic. The rubber section on the inside of the forefoot is the part of the boot that is going to see most of the ball, and was something that always bothered me on previous models of the Laser series. The Laser IV, like the Laser III, features rubber fins that hang off of the shoe, but on the Laser IV, the fins are much thinner, and much closer together. This allows for a touch on the ball that has a little bit of extra grip, but not enough extra grip to wear you feel like you’re tripping over the ball when dribbling. The rest of the shoe, apart from the “strike zone” is free of any rubber elements, leaving a fully exposed synthetic upper.
One of the main selling points of the new ACC Laser IV, as well as the rest of the ACC releases from Nike, is in fact Nike’s ACC technology. ACC, which stands for All Conditions Control, is designed to provide superior friction, or control, on the ball in wet playing conditions. Think of it as a “wet weather” control element, allowing for the best possible touch on the ball in all types of playing conditions. Basically, it doesn’t allow water to sit on the outside layer of the upper, so you won’t have as slick of a touch on the ball when playing in the wet. ACC itself, is not actually a coating either, but is actually something that is permeated to the upper itself. The process by Nike is pretty secretive, but we do know that ACC is actually in the makeup of the Synthetic upper, rather than being a coating that could wear away.
So, does it work? The answer to that is not exactly straight forward, because it does what it is supposed to do, but at the end of the day, control is down to the player and not the shoe. When playing in dry conditions, there is arguably a little bit of extra grip on the ball, but not much. It is something that you’ll notice for the first 20 minutes, but once you get used to the feel of the shoes, nothing feels out of the ordinary. When playing in wet conditions, there is a slight amount of extra grip on the ball due to the ACC, but again, the difference in comparison to a non-ACC shoe is not night and day. I would say that the star of the show when it comes to playing in the wet is the striking elements itself. The fins on the inside of the forefoot do a really good job of providing some pretty decent grip on the ball in wet conditions. With the addition of ACC, I would say that the Laser IV ACC is one of the best shoes for playing in the wet, but of course that is just my opinion.
Striking the ball in the Laser IV feels solid. The striking element is made from a slightly stiffer than average rubber material, that doesn’t add much in terms of grip on the ball when striking with the laces, but does offer a very responsive feel. What is important is that the striking element fits closely to your foot, and it certainly does that very well. The second portion of the striking is located on the inside of the forefoot, which features small, rubber fins that hang off of the edge of the boot. They add a little bit of extra grip on the ball, but I wouldn’t say that you are going to be able to bend the ball better. I would say that the fins allow you to put spin on the ball slightly easier, rather than better. Overall, the striking element is fairly minimalistic, and is there to add more of solid feel when striking the ball, rather than a grippy feel, which is what you will get from most other rubber striking elements. One more feature to note is the stud pattern itself, which feels incredibly stable when striking the ball. The stud pattern is laid out in such a way that once you plant your foot, it is securely stuck in the ground, which is super important for your plant foot when striking the ball. If you have always wanted to try a boot with a striking element, but don’t want anything over the top, than the Laser IV is a great choice.
For a boot of this type, one might expect a little bit more in the way of protection, but like I said, the striking element is surprisingly minimalistic. Should you get stepped on directly on top of your foot, the solid rubber striking element will provide some very good protection. There is also an internal plastic heel counter, which will provide plenty of protection should you get kicked in the heel. Being that the shoe is made from a moderately thin synthetic material, the majority of the forefoot area does not feature any specific form of protection. If you’re looking for a shoe to keep you safe, than the Laser IV should meet the standards of most people.
As far as durability is concerned, the Laser IV is very solidly made. Being that the entire boot is made from a more rugged synthetic, there is no maintenance required, the shoe will never over-stretch, and there just isn’t very much that could go wrong. The only thing that could potentially go wrong with the Laser IV is the rubber fins on the instep could wear away, or come off, should you get stepped on. Other than that, the Laser IV is a shoe that can really take a beating. Just keep in mind that the firm ground model of the Laser IV, or any firm ground shoe for that matter, is designed for use on a natural, grass playing surfaces. Using a firm ground soccer shoe on artificial grass, aka turf, will have a major impact on the durability of the shoe.
The Laser IV is a shoe that I didn’t like when I first tried it out, but after coming back to the shoe several times over the last year or so, I have to say that it has become one of about five shoes that I regularly pick out to play in. They offer a solid fit, a unique striking element, and with the new addition of Nike’s ACC technology, this is a shoe that I can strongly recommend. If you have ever considered the Laser IV, my best advice is to go give them a try, and you won’t be disappointed.
|Comfort/Fit||10 out of 10|
|Weight||8 out of 10|
|Traction||8 out of 10|
|Touch||10 out of 10|
|Shooting||9 out of 10|
|Protection||8 out of 10|
|Durability||9 out of 10|
|FINAL SCORE||62 out of 70 or 88%|