Nike's new Phantom Luna soccer cleats, which you'll see being worn at the upcoming Women's World Cup, have been designed specifically to reduce injury for female players.
Yale Medicine found that female athletes are two to eight times more likely to suffer an ACL tear than their male counterparts. Why? In a nutshell, because women's bodies are different from men's bodies. The typically wider female pelvis sets up a different mechanical geometry between the femur and tibia, which the ACL is strung between. Women have less muscle mass surrounding their knees than men. On top of that, women produce less testosterone and more estrogen, and the prevailing theory is that this hormonal equation results in looser tendons and ligaments, increasing the risk of injury.
What's not a theory is that ACL tears typically occur in sports that require pivoting on one's foot, as soccer does. Soccer cleats are meant to provide traction on turf, but they can work against the body if they provide the wrong kind of traction when a player is trying to pivot. Thus Nike's designers have added a circular traction pattern, which they call the Nike Cyclone 360 Plate, on the bottom of the Phantom Lunas.
"Engineered to optimize traction while also maximizing rotation, the plate releases from the pitch quickly so that footballers…can make agile and confident cuts on the world's biggest stages."
The cleats are also equipped with a non-gender-specific feature: Nike's GripKnit texture covers the ball-contacting surface, and consist of "texturing details to help create control…. Slightly sticky, it's perfect for precise dribbling, passing, and shooting."
The Phantom Lunas are available to civilians for $275.