Nike Force Football Cleats: Made for Football's Biggest and Baddest
Linemen are the biggest and most powerful players on the gridiron. They require a cleat that enables them to be equally powerful and fast.
"They’re super physical and aggressive, but they’re also explosive and incredibly versatile,” Nike designer Erin Cochrane says.
The Nike Force football cleats are specially designed to meet the physical needs of linemen and express their personalities.
"It was our design intent from the beginning to make the Force a cool-looking cleat because linemen traditionally don’t get a lot of love. A lot of the style just came out of the unique insights these players gave us," Cochrane explains.
In 2017, Nike introduced an innovative high-top football cleat inspired by All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack. The Nike Force Savage Elite makes both power and speed possible.
"They consider themselves not just power guys, but speed guys too. That’s why Khalil is the perfect face for it. The Force gives linemen that added stability they need while still making them feel light and fast. And that’s reflected in the look," Cochrane continues.
Defining Features of Nike Force Football Cleats
The Nike Force football cleats offer elite-level protection on the field. At the forefoot, Nike designers added a TPU layer to protect the foot from stud stabs.
“Offensive linemen get stepped on a lot when they’re trying to protect the quarterback,” Cochrane explains, “so we wanted their cleat to act as a steel-toed boot.”
Inspired by wrestling shoes, the Nike Force Savage Elite features a flexible high-top design that locks the foot and ankle. The cleat's high-top cut and integrated Flywire cables also provide a heightened sensation of support.
"Those oversized cables on the upper speak to the attitude these guys play with. The Flywire actually splays out across your midfoot—they really grab your foot when someone takes a lateral cut, locking you into place. From the inside view, that same Flywire pulls from the arch to help the cleat morph to the shape of your foot better than traditional cleats," Cochrane says.
To balance both power and speed, Cochrane also redesigned the Nike Force Savage Elite's sole.
“You’ll also notice that the bottom of the plate is curved. We focused on widening the cleats out so that it fits a lineman’s foot better. We actually put Lunar foam in the midsole with a Zoom bag in the forefoot, so they’re created sort of like a Kobe basketball shoe. These guys are on their toes a lot, and that Zoom bag allows them to get that needed comfort and energy return.”
In 2019, Nike designer Tyler Luckey fine-tuned the Force Savage and took some design inspiration from the "The King."
“It all started with the LeBron inspiration. You look at LeBron, and he’s massive on the court. He’s a huge player that can perform in the Soldier at the highest level when he’s his size and creating that power on the court. We took that insight over to football with the athletes that are arguably the same size and power dynamic.”
Reminiscent of the Nike LeBron Soldier 10, the Nike Force Savage Elite 2 features a laceless upper with three straps.
“We talk to a lot of guys on the line, and they have laces break. They get stepped on, the lace breaks, and they’re either going to go through the play, and their shoe could fall off, or they have to sit out and miss a play. We want to keep that from happening, and this does it. If something happens now, they can just strap right up,” Luckey explains.
The Force Savage Elite 2 also boasts an updated cleat plate.
“We have a brand new plate on the bottom of this cleat. The stud placement, width, and heights are fully engineered for bigger guys from a comfort and traction standpoint. When you look at the cleat from top to bottom, we’re fine-tuning it for that specific athlete and the movements they’re making,” he continues.
Expect to see more innovations from Nike as linemen evolve and take their game to new places.
Nike Force Savage Elite Athletes
The Nike Force football cleats are designed for the most explosive players such as All-Pros Khalil Mack and Aaron Donald. Let us get to know these elite athletes and find out why they are such a force on the gridiron.
Khalil Mack is widely recognized as one of the most dominant defensive players in the National Football League. In 2016, Mack made NFL history by being named All-Pro at two positions—linebacker and defensive end. The following year, the hybrid linebacker-defensive end was named the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
“Even with all the accolades, I’m always trying to improve and get better every year,” Mack said in an interview with Men's Journal. “I always preach this to people, even my teammates and family: ‘Always know someone’s working harder than you, trying to get that spot you have.’ That’s what drives me.”
In 2018, the Chicago Bears traded for Mack and made him the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL. The Bears signed Mack to a six-year $141 million extension that includes a $34 million signing bonus and guarantees him $90 million.
“He brings a ton on the field, but he really fits what we are building in our locker room, too,” Bear GM Ryan Pace said in a statement. “Elite defensive players in their prime are rare, so when we knew we had a legit shot to acquire him, we did everything we thought necessary to get him. I’m confident the compensation to Oakland, including the return draft picks to us, and the contract extension for Khalil are fair to all parties.”
Aaron Donald made an immediate impact after being drafted into the NFL. He quickly impressed then-Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and made his first start in Week 6 of the season.
"He’s a very quick, instinctive player," Williams said in an ESPN interview. "He feels very comfortable in what we’re doing."
As the season ended, Donald, the 13th overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, edged out number five pick Khalil Mack and was named the 2014 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
"Like I always say, hard work pays off, and this paid off," Donald said as he accepted his award.
Donald's stellar play continued as his NFL career progressed. He was named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in two consecutive seasons (2017 and 2018).
"You don't want to mess with that man," former-teammate Trumaine Johnson once said. "He's a one-man wrecking crew."
Hard work truly pays off. In 2018, the Los Angeles Rams finally paid him what he deserves. Donald signed a lucrative contract extension with the Rams worth $135 million. The six-year deal includes $87 million in guarantees.
"If anything, it just motivates me to work a little harder," Donald says. "Anytime your organization invests a big amount of money like that into you; you want to do everything and more to thank them."
The 99 Club
Electronic Arts' Madden NFL has been the top football video game for over a decade. Each year, EA developers rate each NFL player based on 50 different attributes. The highest overall rating a player can have is 99. However, only a select few get into Madden's 99 club. For Madden 20, only four players managed to reach the 99 rating.
Khalil Mack's and Aaron Donald's elite-level play has earned them a spot in Madden 20's coveted 99 Club. To commemorate this achievement, Nike and Electronic Arts laced up the newest members of Madden's 99 club with special edition football cleats.
Both Mack and Donald received a customized Nike Force Savage Elite 2 that features a full-white upper with gold detailing. The cleat's midfoot strap includes personalized touches written in gold.
5 best Nike Force football Cleats
- Nike Force Savage Pro 2 D
- Nike Force Savage Shark 2 Mid
- Nike Force Savage Elite 2
- Nike Force Savage Pro 2
- Nike Zoom Force Savage Elite TD