UPDATE: This page has been updated to reflect the changes made to the Nike Mercurial line in 2016.
The Nike Mercurial Superfly V sucks up a ton of attention. And for good reason, it’s a spectacular boot in every sense. But there is much more to the Mercurial series than that, and there are some very exciting, less publicized changes that have been made to Nike’s lower tier boots. What changes I hear you ask? That is what we are here for, check out the definitive breakdown of the new Nike Mercurial collection.
Nike Mercurial Superfly V
Like we did back in our Magista tier breakdown, we may as well start from the top. Just before the 2014 World Cup kicked off, Nike brought back the Mercurial Superfly IV to our lovin’ arms. Now, almost two years later, the innovative boot has arrived in its fifth edition.
Flyknit and Flywire go hand-in-hand on the Mercurial Superfly V to give it a seamless one-piece Flyknit construction that is locked down by the Flywire cables that are integrated into the laces. You can also find a layer of Nikeskin to add a bit of protection without putting on too much weight. For enhanced touch on the ball, Nike have redesigned the upper to include 3D Flyknit speed ribs.
And in case anyone had a fear that playing in Flyknit might see your feet soaked, the Superfly has been given the same All Conditions Control (ACC) treatment as all their other top tier boots. The Flyknit runs right up to the Dynamic Fit collar, which locks down the foot for a truer range of motion.
Perhaps the most significant update to the Superfly V was the soleplate. Nike hollowed out the compressed nylon plate to make it 40% lighter than its predecessor. If that seems like a serious change, they also morphed the plate into an anatomical shape that eliminates gaps between your foot and the plate. This will make for a snugger fit and better traction on the field.
Want further proof the Superfly is made for speed? Check out the stud configuration that has been engineered for grip, braking, and acceleration. Like the Magista Obra and Hypervenom Phantom, you’ll find the Mercurial Superfly at a retail price of $300 these days.
Nike Mercurial Vapor XI
Wow, hard to believe that we are now at the eleventh generation of the Nike Mercurial Vapor, hey? I still remember Ronaldo ripping it up in the 2002 World Cup with the chrome Vapor I…that was 14 years ago now. But let us come back to the modern day, with the all new Vapor XI. And boy, a lot has changed.
A look at the Vapor XI makes it clear that Nike did not knock Flyknit off the Superfly and repackage the Vapor as a poor man’s Superfly, a lot of thinking and technology has gone into the Vapor XI. So while it loses Flyknit, Flywire, and the Dynamic Fit collar, it maintains a sleek Nikeskin to keep your foot as close to the ball as possible. Instead of the 3D Flyknit ribs, the Vapor XI has embossed horizontal ridges on its upper to give you that added ball control. There is also a layer of ACC incorporated into the upper as well.
Something that Nike started on the previous Vapor was the tongueless construction, meaning the upper is literally one whole piece of synthetic. While there is still a little flap to adjust for comfort, it is actually a part of the upper, creating the closest fit ever seen for a Mercurial Vapor. Now Nike have added this feature to every tier of the Mercurial line.
Nike loved their new Superfly V outsole so much that they put it on the Vapor XI as well, so you will find the same super lightweight anatomical soleplate here. However, the Vapor is cheaper than the Superfly, retailing at $230.
Nike Mercurial Veloce III
Appealing to the mid-tier market is the Nike Mercurial Veloce III, which like the 3rd tier of the Magista and Hypervenom series, costs $170, making it at the top end of the mid-tier market when it comes to price. While it loses a few of the specs found on the Vapor XI, it has enough about it to lift an eyebrow or two in comparison to other mid-tier boots.
First up, you’ll notice the Dynamic Fit collar has returned here. This is to give those who can’t afford the luxurious Superfly a chance to give the collar a go. It also makes the Veloce III look much more appealing than previous versions. If the collar isn’t your jam, Nike now offers a non-collar Veloce III at $110, so it’s up to the individual to decide if it’s worth $60 extra to them.
The Nikeskin and ACC technology is ditched here for a micro-textured synthetic. While the Veloce III does feature those embossed ridges on the upper for better ball control, they are slightly inferior to the quality of those ridges on the Vapor XI.
Yes, the feel on foot is still quite soft, although it will not give you the same barefoot-like feel as the Vapor or Superfly. However, it does have the tongueless design of the two more expensive options.
Things are slightly different when it comes to the soleplate as well, with the crazy light, anatomical construction of the Vapor/Superfly making way for a TPU overlay on compressed nylon outsole construction. The stud configuration of the Veloce is identical, but the plate does not have the low weight or the anatomical shape of the higher Mercurial versions.
Nike Mercurial Victory VI
Not everyone is going to go for boots that may hit the wallet pretty hard, so the Nike Mercurial Victory VI is all about giving a decent boot to those looking to work on a smaller budget. Granted, it loses a few more of the features found on the higher end models, but it still has that iconic look of the Mercurial.
Crafted from a synthetic leather, the Victory VI surprisingly has the same micro-textured embossed ridges as the Veloce. But considering Nike is working with slightly inferior materials on the Victory, there is a little more padding and a bit more going on between your foot and the ball.
The stud configuration on the Victory VI is consistent with the one found on the higher end models, but like the Veloce III, it is made from lower quality TPU that is not anatomically contoured. Price-wise, the Victory VI stays at $80, being the only boot in the Mercurial line that didn’t see a cost spike with the latest updates.