The sport of football is faster than ever before with athletes training and competing at previously unseen levels. At the top of his game, wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Jr. seems almost superhuman. Standing at 6’5”, 236 lbs., with a 42-inch vertical leap and a 4.35 second 40-yard dash, he is one of the most dynamic athletes in all of modern football.
Johnson's unique combination of size, strength and speed makes him a powerhouse on the football field and requires a new level of thinking when it comes to his gear. To that end, Nike designers worked closely with Johnson to create his new signature Nike CJ81 Elite TD cleat, combining dynamic natural motion engineering in the upper with a new lockdown support system and hybrid collar design for 360 degrees of explosive speed.
With a background in engineering and a scholarly pedigree, Calvin approaches his game and his equipment from an analytical perspective. His collaboration with Nike designers delivers a cleat that contains, protects and unleashes his athleticism. His size, speed and quickness demand a cleat that offers full range of motion like a low-cut version with the performance benefits and ankle support of a mid. With this in mind, Nike designers created a new lightweight proprioceptive collar that allows full freedom of movement without sacrificing lateral ankle stability and support – a mid-cut that plays like a low.
Calvin’s performance is at an all-time high coming off the 2012 season where he wore the Nike CJ81 Elite TD cleat and broke the all-time single-season receiving record previously held by the Jerry Rice.
“Nike took the time to understand exactly what I need in my cleats — from the way I move, to how much support I need, to the way it feels,” Johnson says. “My new CJ81 Elite TD cleat is built for hardcore performance and it looks amazing.”
Based on Johnson’s insight, strong arch support is critical to his ability to explode off the line of scrimmage as well as make quick powerful cuts. The CJ81 Elite TD features a new dynamic midfoot arch strap created to provide side-to-side and heel lock-down as well as cradled support. The strap transitions from the internal medial side of the foot to the outside lateral side, providing a more customized fit around the arch, while the open mesh panel allows for more ventilation in this area. To support his powerful movement, he also needs additional toe and ankle protection so the lock-down fit from the strap helps with those quick, sharp cuts.
The diamond star pattern across the forefoot and side panel of the cleat upper provides a purposeful body-led solution that allows the upper to conform to the foot providing a more customized fit. The tongue also features a large diamond star perforation to help keep the foot cool and dry.
The full-length speed plate includes a Pebax® outsole for lightweight durable strength and a 12-cleat pattern for precision traction and control on real or artificial turf. Four supplemental studs in the forefoot help to enhance traction and when making quick cuts.
The CJ81 Elite TD cleat is available at Nike retail locations and online at nike.com.