Denis Dekovic Interview: How we made the Nike HyperVenom

Denis Dekovic Interview: How we made the Nike HyperVenom

Football is the most popular sport in the world, one large contributing factor being that you only need the most basic of accessories to play it – a ball… and footwear (optional). Furthermore, with the absence of additional sporting equipment, the elitism that comes with other sports is not so prevalent. Football is – in the main – the same sport for the rich and poor alike. Given the scant equipment used in football, pursuit of footballing perfection is all the more difficult achieve, all the more focused; it essentially revolves around two key elements, namely the boots and the ball. Decade after Decade Nike Football have been reinventing the limits of design and technology in Footballing equipment and this year saw Nike unveil their most technologically advanced boot to date, the HyperVenom.

Editor and Chief of JOSHUA’s Magazine Eli Ankutse spoke with Nike Football Design Director Denis Dekovic to find our more about the HyperVenom and the psyche behind Nike’s new radical design.


{EA} We only get to see the end product, but have little insight into how these boots come to being. How long did it take to create the Hypervenom boot?

{DD} It’s a process. There is no hard and fast rule for a design from start to end in terms of timing but we are usually looking at somewhere between 1-2 years ahead of ourselves.

{EA} Nike Football boots have looked at different focal areas to lead the design in performance; Speed, Touch, Control, Agility and so forth. Looking to the future, what do you feel will be the main focal point for boot design?

{DD} This is really defined by the game and the players. Today football is faster, more athletic and there is less space. We see it and the players ask for something to give them an advantage against those challenges. That was what drove the Hypervenom creation. They wanted something that would help increase their agility and feel on the ball. They are looking for that increase in opportunity to make space so we began to design with that challenge in mind.

{EA} It is interesting to see the style of football in the sub-continent – the Brazilian team being a prime example – has become more physical, while the rest of the world football style is becoming more technical, skill based. How do you feel that the style game on the whole has evolved and what effect has this had on your boot design?



{DD} The Hypervenom is a great example of how the game has evolved and how we have reacted to that evolution. The game gets quicker, less space and the players need to create more space. So we look to create something that helps increase agility, quickness, control, touch. That drives the design process. We see something in the game, our players tell us what they need and we begin the process.

We’ve seen it happen several times before. Ronaldo in the late 1990s defined that speed was now a huge part of the game, so we created Mercurial. Today agility is become highly valuable as a match-winning talent. Think about Zlatan against England for example![Laughs]

{EA} A new boot a new colourway; what is the story behind the colour and visual design of the original Hypervenom boot?

{DD} Color-wise we wanted to give that feel of ‘warning’. This is a boot worn by deadly players, perhaps the defenders could do with a warning! The graphic is really informed by the mapping of the part of the foot that forwards use to score their goals. It’s made for a really striking aesthetic which our players and consumers are telling us they already love.

{EA} We’ve seen the Mercurial range develop since 1998 under the tutelage of Ronaldo to where it is today. Is this something you are planning for the Hypervenom, with more future versions/incarnations to come? Will Neymar be key in this process?

{DD} The Hypervenom will evolve as the game evolves. And yes, Neymar will be a key part of the evolution.





{EA} Nike handle the boots for many of the leading footballers worldwide. What was it about Neymar’s game that made you choose him as the leading voice for the Hypervenom?

{DD} We felt he typified this new deadly, agile kind of attacker that we wanted to serve with a ‘custom’ product. His ‘Puskas’ award goal is a great example. How many players are doing that? His volley in the opening game of the Confed Cup! He is and was scoring the kind of goals that we love to see and playing in a style that is very new and fresh. He’s an innovator.

He is also excited to work with us, which is important. He is prepared to go a little further with his feedback in order to get the product right. That benefits me as a designer and benefits us all when we get the chance to use the product.

{EA} Finally Denis, I’ve heard it posited that certain players strike the ball differently off either foot – one foot for power, one for placement. Do you think this is an idea that will ever come to fruition; a boot designed for each foot to suit the players’ technique preferences?

{DD} Perhaps through a service like NIKEiD, where you can already custom each foot. But I don’t see it happening simply because our players aren’t highlighting that as a need.

PHOTOS: Courtesy of NIKE

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