In a day and age where the international stars of the game only wear top of the range equipment and the world’s leading brands lavish players with their product as they chase exposure for their gear, it was interesting to see Kenya’s Willy Ambaka donning a pair of very basic Nikes in the latest round of the IRB Sevens circuit on the weekend yet still helping his side to a monumental result as the unheralded Africans came within a whisker of snatching the title in Wellington.
Something many consumers may be unaware of is the fact that when a company launches a new boot they release a selection of those boots, ranging from the top-of-the-line model to a down-graded, more affordable version. You might see Owen Farrell sporting the latest Nikes one day and head to the store to purchase them the next, only to find what looks to be the same boot offered in three or four varying prices brackets.
Ambaka wore a boot that looked like the Nike Mercurial Vapor VIII, but was infact the Nike Glide III. The Vapor VIII was the flagship boot when the range was launched, weighing in at 187 grams and featuring a Glass Fibre outsole and Nike’s All Conditions Control technology.
Under those were the Miracle IIIs, a boot with the same colour scheme, but with a TPU outsole instead of the Glass Fibre one, without the ACC technology, and weighing slightly more at 232 grams.
Following the Miracles are the Glides which Ambaka wore, an even more down-graded version of the original Vapor VIII. While the Vapor retails for around £90, the Miracles are just £50, and Ambaka’s Glides about £30. It just goes to show that all the money in the world might be able to buy you the flashest kit, but it’s no substitute for raw pace and genuine power!