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When Nike first unveiled Anti-Clog technology back in 2016, we were a little bit taken aback. It’s one of those concepts that you don’t quite believe will actually work until you seen it in action. It most definitely does though – anyone who’s tried an AC boot on a Sunday morning will attest to the difference it makes when you’re up against cloggers on a wet, muddy pitch.

Until the Anti-Clog version of the Premier II was released last year though, it was out of reach for many, available only at the Elite tier of Nike’s four main silos. A shame, really, given that the players who really need it – those playing on sub-par pitches at grassroots level – might not usually buy the top-line boots.

That’s all changed though with the release of the Always Forward Pack, as Anti-Clog makes its first appearance at the more affordable Academy price point. For now, it’s only available on the Academy-tier Phantom VSN and Tiempo, both of which are exclusive to Pro:Direct and Nike.

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The two Academy boots are identical underfoot, and as far as execution goes, it’s not far off the Elite AC soleplate. In fact, it’s the same one seen on the latest Premier II Anti-Clog releases that have gone down so well with amateur players around the world. That means you get the magic self-cleaning outsole, along with soft-ground-friendly 12-point traction.

Stud layout consists of four screw-ins at the forefoot, two at the rear, supported by an extra pair of moulded plastic studs either side of the midfoot, and additional traction towards the forefoot and toe-off area. Compared to the Elite-level version, the screw-in studs are only aluminium-capped rather than entirely metal, the moulded rearfoot studs are round rather than bladed, and the extra forefoot traction is straight rather than chevron-shaped, also missing one point right on the end of the toe.

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That’s really not a bad trade-off at all considering you’re saving around £150. Naturally there’s a lot more tech that goes into making an Elite-level boot, well, elite, but Anti-Clog is such a major deal on its own that it makes SG-PRO AC Academy offerings a very attractive proposition. The Anti-Clog Tiempo Legend VII Academy, for example, is outrageous value at £65.

If you don’t want to be bogged down by the bad weather this winter, we’d recommend investing in a pair of Anti-Clog boots, especially now the tech’s available at lower price points. After the first time you show a dirty, hatchet man of a defender a clean pair of heels, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.

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Both the Nike Phantom VSN Academy SG-PRO AC and Nike Tiempo Academy SG-PRO AC football boots are available to buy now at prodirectsoccer.com. If you’d like to know more about Nike Anti-Clog technology, how it works and the benefits it brings to your game, take a look at our three-part Tech Talk series with Nike Global Insight Analyst Lee Molyneaux.

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