Nike Maxim Football
It is the football used in Europe's three major football leagues and carries the bold slogan "The World's Best Ball". There are a lot of footballs out there, but Nike is the only company brave enough to go head and shoulders above the rest with their aggressive advertising of the Nike Maxim.
While adidas have been constantly changing the designs of their match balls, Nike have more or less stuck to the same formula for the past 4 seasons, but is it time for Nike to change what they see as an already successful formula?
While I would be most concerned with the performance of a football above all else, Nike have really pushed the design of the Nike Maxim in their advertising of the ball. Both the regular and hi-vis Nike Maxim feature Nike RaDaR (Rapid Decision and Response) technology. The RaDaR technology means that, when the ball flies through the air, it creates a flicker-like effect. In other words, the ball does not blend into one consistent colour. The colours are broken up so that it is easier to predict the speed of the ball and how it is spinning, the predictability of which will help the player make decisions quicker on the pitch - in reality, this does genuinely help.
The Nike Maxim really has the feel of a premium match ball; while most budget footballs are constructed with one layer of spongey rubber, the Maxim has five layers that provides the perfect amount of give. You feel in full control of the ball when bringing down 40-yard crossfield passes or attempting delicate flicks of the ball, yet the construction of the ball also gives it terrific rebound properties when strking the ball (situations where you will drive your foot through the ball). If the ball had too little give, then it would be too hard to do the light stuff, but too much give would make it too hard to kick the ball. This is something I loved about the Maxim, every single type of touch you needed to do with the ball felt so good, and a lot of it is down to the number of layers the ball has. This also contributed to the ball being perfectly weighted and it feels good for both distributing and receiving the ball.
The textured surface gives the ball "a 360 degree sweet spot" and ensures the ball is grippy enough to use in all conditions. It provides friction between the ball and your foot, enabling it to perform well in both wet and dry conditions. It will always feel fantastic at your feet, to the point where the people I play with often pick it up just to feel the ball in their hands.
The unpredictable nature of adidas footballs in the past means finding a good flight is something Nike want to get right and while I found it was easy to overhit the adidas Tango, the Nike Maxim was a lot more forgiving when going for delicate passes. The ball is consistent in the air, and when volleying or controlling the ball, I found it was easy to predict where the ball would end a few seconds after leaving the kicker's boot. The ball would not swerve or be unpredictable in how it flew through the air, and it soon became a friend of both strikers and keepers being able to accurately judge where the ball was heading.
The Nike Maxim excels in nearly everything I try to do with it on the pitch. The combination of the five-layer construction, hardness and weight of the Maxim creates such a quality, all rounded product. The construction of the ball means that the energy from your shot is spread evenly throughout the ball. You do not need to hit it absolutely perfectly to get something similar to the final product you were trying to achieve. This leeway means it is easy to get a good connection on the ball when driving the ball at goal.
I have been using the ball for the best part of 6-7 weeks with a lot of use on synthetic grounds and the ball has definitely held up very well - it only need pumping up twice in that period. While there are one or two marks on the ball, it is hardly noticeable and the print is as strong as it was on the day that I received it. You can really tell Nike have put some high quality materials into the making of the Maxim, and it feels like a ball that will last a long time.
I really rook my time reviewing the Nike Maxim because the ball seemed way too good to be true after a few weeks of use. I wanted to make sure was as impressive as I first though and I am left with the same conclusion now as after the first month: this ball is brilliant. When someone looks for a 'premium match ball', this resoundingly fits the bill. It is so well-rounded that I find it hard to criticise the performance of the ball; it feels brilliant whenever you latch onto it, and it is very generous in giving you that satisfying feeling we all love whenever we hit a really, really good shot. If you have an upcoming birthday or if you're simply looking for a new ball to kick around, put the Nike Maxim on your wish list and you will not be disappointed.
Jordon English is an editor for Soccer Reviews - www.soccerreviews.com