We have seen the Magista launched to (at least I think) very positive responses from the general public, the adidas Predator Instinct is on the way, but both of these boots are arguably shadowed by the big daddy release of this summer. We are, of course, talking about the new Mercurial Vapor, and nothing quite generates hype like a new Mercurial. Especially when Nike stick a Dynamic Fit collar on the relaunched Superfly. 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 series.
Nike Mercurial Superfly IV
Like we did back in our Magista tier breakdown, we may as well start from the top. Two and a bit years since the last Mercurial Superfly, Nike bring back what is arguably one of the highest profile names back into the football boot world. This is a bit like Jaws being hired as the muscle in the Roger Moore-era 007 movies, he disappeared for a movie or two then came roaring back in Moonraker. But unlike Jaws, the Superfly has come back with a 2014 facelift.
Like the Magista Obra, Flyknit is the name of the game when it comes to their top tier boot. But unlike the Magista Obra, the Superfly IV allows the Flyknit to become the true hero of the upper, being the sole material Nike have put on the Superfly. However, to make sure it stands up to the rigours of a football game, the upper is made up of three layers of Flyknit. 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, as well as Brio cables running down the side to support the boot.
When you think Superfly and soleplates, we all think carbon fibre, right? Keeping up the tradition, Nike have brought carbon fibre back onto the Superfly IV, which allows for a flexible soleplate and is still rigid to aid acceleration and put a bit of solidity behind your kicks. The Superfly IV also has a split-toe construction, which made a successful debut on the Hypervenom Phantom and has been put onto the three highest Mercurial boots. Want further proof the Superfly is made for speed? Check out the stud configuration that has been engineered for grip and acceleration.
Nike Mercurial Vapor X
Wow, hard to believe that we are now at the tenth generation of the Vapor, hey? I still remember Ronaldo ripping it up in the 2002 World Cup with the chrome Vapor Is…that was 12 years ago now. But let us come back to the modern day, with the all new Vapor X. And boy, a lot has changed.
A look at the Vapor X makes it clear that Nike did not knock Flyknit off the Superfly IV and repackage the Vapor X as a poor man’s Superfly, a lot of thinking and technology has gone into the Vapor X. So while it loses Flyknit and the Dynamic Fit collar, the same supple Teijin synthetic leather from the Vapor IX is back on the Vapor X. Except this time around, the dimples on the upper are not so pronounced as they were on the IX, which Nike are calling Micro SpeedControl, which helps enhance grip for the ball. There is also, meanwhile, a layer of ACC incorporated into the upper.
Something that sets the Vapor X apart from any other Vapor is the tongueless upper, 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 Vapor. There is also a series of synthetic strips on the medial side to strengthen the upper, as well as move with the foot in movement.
While the Vapor X shares the same stud configuration as its big brother, the sole itself has been crafted from nylon, which is springy and responsive, making it perfect for sprinting. The Vapor X is also cheaper than the Superfly, retailing at $200 over on SoccerPro.
Nike Mercurial Veloce II
Appealing to the mid-tier market is the Nike Mercurial Veloce II, which like the 3rd tier of the Magista series, costs $130, 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 X, it has enough about it to lift an eyebrow or two in comparison to other mid-tier boots.
First up, the Teijin upper is ditched in favour for a slightly inferior synthetic upper. Yes it is still quite soft, it will not give you the same barefoot-like feel as Teijin does. However, the boot still comes with the same slightly dimpled finish as found on the Vapor X. However, ACC exclusively remains on the Vapor and Superfly models. The Veloce also does not feature the tongue-less design of the more expensive boot, but the tongue is still quite low profile like the tongue on the Vapor IX.
Things are slightly different when it comes to the soleplate as well, with the nylon construction of the Vapor X making way for a lightweight TPU construction. Interesting little note, all of the Nike mid-tier boots (bar the Hypervenom) feature a TPU construction, perhaps indicating how popular the TPU construction is. The stud configuration of the Veloce is also identical to the Vapor X, bar a few studs coloured yellow when they are clear on the Vapor X.
Nike Mercurial Victory V
Not everyone is going to go for boots that may hit the wallet pretty hard, so the Nike Mercurial Victory V 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 Trophy Touch synthetic leather, the Victory V surprisingly has the same slightly textured Micro Speed Control finish as the Vapor X and Veloce II. But considering Nike is working with slightly inferior materials on the Victory V, there is a little more padding and a bit more going on between your foot and the ball.
The stud configuration on the Victory V is consistent with the one found on the higher end models, but this time around, the soleplate has been constructed from moulded rubber rather than TPU or nylon. With moulded rubber making it’s way onto the soleplate, it means the boot loses the split-toe construction found on the higher end models. Price-wise, the Victory V costs $80, which makes it marginally higher than most bottom tier boots.
Much like we did with the Magista tier breakdown, we have come up with a jazzy little table summing up the differences between the boots.