Nike Phantom Vision Pro
The new Nike Phantom Vision silo took many by surprise when they dropped in mid-July this year. Unbeknownst to Nike fans, the new silo replaced the beloved Magista line that Nike had just perfected in every way possible; comfort, traction, looks, padded feel, and responsiveness, to name a few. Since the Magista has officially been retired, it’s time to take a look at its replacement. We’ve already reviewed the top dog, the Elite version of Phantom Vision, so in this piece, we’re going to be reviewing the first takedown, the Phantom Vision Pro.
If you’ve been waiting to discover whether this is the boot for you, you’re in the right place; we’ll be diving into the tech specs, touch, fit, feel, and performance.
The look is a controversial topic of discussion with the new Phantom Vision model. It’s a boot unlike anything we’ve seen from Nike before, with the return of the lace cover (or what Nike calls it, “Ghost Laces”), something we last saw with Nike on the Mercurial Vapor VI. However, back then, the lace cover was different from the way it is now; instead of a synthetic piece stitched onto the upper covering the laces, the mesh NikeSkin upper on the Phantom Vision Pro (Flyknit upper on the Elite version) acts as the lace cover. This completely hides the laces, initially begging the question whether these boots even had them.
It appears Nike is doing everything in their power to keep their laces while adidas, the creator of the laceless revolution dating back to early 2016, is turning boots laceless left and right. We’ll see whether Nike’s attachment to laces makes a noticeable difference on the pitch, but as a heads up, we think it will. Drenched in black, this test version “Stealth Ops” colorway is perfect for those who like to stay under the radar, minimal in the attention they draw on the pitch. Rather, let your skills and playmaking do the talking.
In our Phantom Vision Elite review, we uncovered some important details that you should know in order to better understand this boot. The two tiers differ in many ways, not just in price points, but in upper material and present technologies. Where the Elite features Nike’s latest technology, the QUADFIT system, this Pro version does not, but where the Pro dabbles in affordability, the Elite does not. There are pros and cons to both boots; let’s dive into the tech specs of the Pro variation to see what you get for the $150 retail price ($125 less than the Elite).
Similar to the Elite, the Pro features “Ghost Laces,” which simply means laces hidden underneath a cover. This leaves you with a clean, undistracted striking surface and a buttery smooth touch. Under the cover, there are small nylon straps or “lace loops” that connect the laces to the internal lining structure. This holds everything in place and allows you to achieve a tight, secure, locked-in fit. If you choose to wear the boots without laces, you won’t have any lockdown and you’ll barely have any stability; the laces are there for a reason so you should definitely use them.
Unlike the Elite, the Pro doesn’t feature the internal QUADFIT system that makes for incredible lockdown and responsiveness; it doesn’t feature an external Flyknit upper either. This makes it a completely different boot in nearly every single way. Internally, there’s a padded mesh liner that acts as the structure of the boot. This mesh is also found on the lace cover portion of the upper. On top, or what would act as the external “shell,” you have a mesh based NikeSkin upper that feels quite soft and premium to the touch. Overall, the Pro features the same basic construction as the Elite, but not the same materials. There’s just one exception; the QUADFIT system on the Elite runs throughout the entire inside of the boot as an independent piece, whereas the upper on the Pro actually attaches to the liner on the inside of the boot around the toe box area. The Pro’s toe box is completely independent of the internal mesh lining material; it is its own entity altogether.
The Phantom Vision’s soleplate is a totally new design compared to what we saw on the Magista; it is much more aggressive, almost as aggressive as the Mercurial’s traction. Looking quite similar to that of the top-end Elite version, the Pro’s soleplate is actually made of a different material, adding some extra weight to the boot. We’re only talking one ounce, though, so it’s not a very noticeable difference on foot. The aggressive stud pattern features four blades under the heel, hybrid bladed/conical studs under the forefoot, and a big bladed stud under the big toe for push-off grip. It’s strictly designed for firm ground surfaces such as natural grass; we don’t recommend wearing them on artificial grass since not only will the durability take a hit, but they’ll be quite clingy which isn’t very safe. If you play on artificial grass, you should check out the AG-Pro or Multi-Ground stud pattern variation.
The Pro’s touch on the ball is quite impressive for a takedown model, and quite different from the Elite. The mesh based NikeSkin upper feels soft and premium, and is thinner than what you’d get from the Hypervenom and Tiempo lines, but not as thin as what you’d get from the Mercurial line. Nike has found a happy medium with this new silo giving players something in between a padded touch and an almost barefoot one. Dribbling and striking is always a blast due to the smooth, undistracted striking surface that the Ghost Laces provide. If you’ve ever worn the adidas X 16+ Purechaos or X 17+ Purespeed, you already know exactly what it’s like.
With the Phantom Vision, Nike is saying you don’t have to ditch laces to get a clean striking surface; just hide them underneath the upper. It’s as simple as that.
One huge difference between the Elite and Pro though, is that the Pro doesn’t have micro texturing all over the upper (forefoot and lateral side) like the Elite does; in fact, there’s no texturing there at all. The Pro’s upper has a mostly smooth, slick finish, except for the medial side of the boot where you’ll find a large triangle zone. This zone has a very gritty texture, almost feeling like rough sandpaper, and has micro texturing all throughout. It’s a signature element of the new Phantom Vision model, and it provides a lot of extra grip on the ball. When passing and using the instep of the boot, say goodbye to poor contact or slippery passes; the ball makes firm contact with the boot and goes exactly where you want it to go. Other than that one area, the upper doesn’t really get any grip on the ball.
Fit & Feel
Out of the box, the Pro feels extremely soft, flexible, and comfortable on foot; the Phantom Vision is one of those boots that’s ready to go from the second you put them on. Break in period? That’s foreign to the Phantom Vision. However, like with all boots, there’s just a period of getting used to them.
Getting the boots on can be a bit tricky, but I still found it easier than getting on the Mercurial Superfly 5; the Superfly 5’s dynamic fit collar fits very snug around your ankle, so you really have to stretch it out to get your foot into the boot but you can’t stretch it too much or else you’ll end up over stretching the Flyknit, and you don’t want that; so you’re kind of walking on egg shells trying to get the boots on in a timely manner. You eventually just end up saying, “start the jog without me guys, as I’m still trying to get my Superflys on; I’ll catch up when I’m done.” With the Phantom Vision Pro, you simply loosen the laces, grab both ends of the dynamic fit collar (which Nike appears to have made slightly less snug), and slide your foot right in. The best thing to compare this to is a snug bootie; an extremely comfortable one at that.
Folds in the upper, and they exist but is that a bad thing? Not necessarily, but it’s worth noting as you’ll discover them eventually. The mesh upper folds slightly more than normal because of the way the lace cover is cut; the upper has more volume near the top of the foot in order to fit your foot comfortably. On the Elite, these folds are nonexistent since the Flyknit upper doesn’t have as much volume as its elasticated nature allows it to stay lower and closer to your foot, stretching out to the shape of your foot when needed. Touching back on the dynamic fit collar, it’s there simply to provide a seamless transition from your foot to your lower leg. It’s not very noticeable when you’re playing, and it doesn’t hinder entry into the boots like it does on the Mercurial Superfly 5, the Magista Obra 2, and the Hypervenom Phantom 3. In direct comparison, it feels softer and more flexible; it appears Nike has made it much less rigid for obvious reasons. Unlike the Magista which ran a half size too small, the Phantom Vision runs true to size.
After putting them thoroughly through their paces numerous times, I’m glad to report that the Phantom Vision Pro exceeded my expectations as a takedown boot. Nike has had some good and bad takedown models in the past, but this is definitely one of the good ones, in fact it is one of the best ones out right now. The internal mesh heel liner feels far from cheap – a common problem with many of Nike’s takedown boots; it offers just the right amount of padding and grips your heel surprisingly well. Flexible yet solid, the soleplate is responsive and gets amazingly aggressive traction on firm ground surfaces. It’s not as aggressive as the Mercurial’s traction which drew inspiration from agile cheetahs, but it’s definitely more aggressive than what the retired Magista brought to the table. You easily get tons of grip when pushing off with your toes as Nike have included bladed rotational studs just under that area. As for the rest of the soleplate, blades at the heel and mixed conical/bladed studs under the forefoot penetrate the ground nicely and provide tons of bite. A solid and quality boot to play in, the Phantom Vision Pro is checking all the right boxes: comfort, traction, looks, soft touch, and responsiveness and I’m left thinking maybe it’s not too far off from the Magista after all.
With the Phantom Vision, Nike is giving players something new, different, and unlike anything they’ve put out in the recent past. Despite being a takedown model in this new silo, the Phantom Vision Pro doesn’t sacrifice on quality or comfort; Nike has given us a solid boot that fits well, feels comfortable, has grip where you need it, delivers bite when you need it, and does all of that for just $150. If you’re on the hunt for a boot like the one I just described but aren’t willing to pay the price for the Elite, you’ve officially met your match with the Phantom Vision Pro.