As Umbro launch a fresh chapter in their long standing history of boots, the Velocita 3 moves into new territory, balancing performance innovation with a striking aesthetic. We sat down with the design team of the boot to understand the engineering that lies underneath that tailored 'A-Frame'.
The Velocita 3 looks like a revolutionary fresh chapter for a stand out boot. Before we get under the hood, what are the characteristics you really wanted to stamp on this third instalment?
"Velocita is about multi-directional speed and our aim with this boot was to build on the strengths of the previous models and deliver a shoe that is not only lightweight and provides optimum traction but one that really works in conjunction with the athlete. We spent a lot of time analysing the anatomy of the foot and its motion during a typical game. This led to us creating the three layer construction that provides support and protection where required but also allows for a freedom of movement that is unique to the Velocita."
The obvious question, but what are the core differences between v2 and v3?
"Velocita 3 introduces a new three layer upper system that offers a responsive fit, provides support exactly where its required and delivers amazing comfort. To achieve this we have a mesh and neoprene baselayer, a TPU double A-Frame support cage and finally the super fine lightweight synthetic outer layer which creates a highly durable surface."
Where do you see this sitting in the marketplace? Is there a type of player or asset of characteristics you see the wearer of this boot having?
"As the game has evolved it’s impossible to assign a boot to a particular position but from speaking to players and studying data and statistics there is a player who has more high intensity movements (sprinting, cutting etc) than other players and this boot targets that player. As with all our boots comfort and fit are paramount so there will always be exceptions and ultimately we just want to create a boot that feels great and will give a player confidence regardless of their position or playing style."
What inspired the launch colourway?
"Colour is often a tricky thing to get right as it is very subjective. With the launch colourway we have chosen three distinctive colours to highlight the three key areas of functionality. A 'Dawn Blue' mesh vamp represents areas of natural movement and flexibility. The 'Fiery Red' neoprene around the midfoot, collar and heel area showcase a locked down fit and the 'Spectra Green' highlights the double A-frame system for security and stability in all directions."
The design elements and attention to detail are always features that catch an innovative eye from Umbro. Was this boot a headliner in terms of the position Umbro see’s itself?
"Yes, Umbro is a brand with rich history of product development and innovation, and this boot is a continuation of that rich heritage. However we do not rest on our past achievements, we are constantly challenging ourselves to innovate for the future."
The aesthetic has a lot of life, what are the stand-out innovations you’ve brought into this boot?
"One of the stand-out innovations in the boot is the evolution of our iconic ‘A-Frame’, traditionally used to stabilise the midfoot. For the Velocita 3 we have created a ‘Double A-Frame’ which not only secures the midfoot, but also the forefoot. This helps to support the foot during sprinting where the natural motion is to land on the forefoot. Other elements of this new upper have been the introduction of a dual material base-layer consisting of mesh and neoprene to aid comfort and stability."
The sock element is the headline addition. How much has this been a feature brought about by trend? Is it more of a functional introduction?
"Form follows function, and our decision to adopt a tongue-less construction was influenced by the feedback we received from players. We found there was an issue with the tongue moving around during wear and players also wanted a more responsive fit so we made the conscious decision to develop a way to remove this problem. The answer was to create a ‘bootie’ construction which would cover the foot whilst the lacing system which runs through the double A-Frame provides the ability to tighten and allow the athlete to have a more bespoke fitting boot."
What does this boot say about the direction of Umbro for the forthcoming year?
"Innovation is certainly something high on the agenda for Umbro moving forward. We have our own vision and own identity; we like to keep relevant but not follow. It’s important we continue to push the boundaries and that’s what will hopefully become evident throughout the years to come."
This is a boot that was designed and created in Manchester. How much inspiration for a fresh product like this do you guys get from the local surroundings?
"Inspiration can come from many different places and Manchester is a fantastic city with a rich history in many areas: sports, music, fashion, art, the list goes on. It’s a place constantly reinventing itself, and it’s that ability to embrace change that provides inspiration to create new ideas and innovation."
There must be a real sense of pride to have the ideas come from the UK and travel around the world from pitch to pitch?
"Yes I can’t deny there is a definite sense of pride which is really born out of the fact that the modern day game has its roots in the UK. To know that we are still designing products that are worn by todays players gives us a huge amount of satisfaction and the motivation to deliver more."
Photography by Matt Stansfield for SoccerBible.