In terms of Nike releases over the past few years, it would have seemed difficult to overshadow the introduction of a brand new silo/new ankle tech/new materials that showed with the Magista Obra. However, hushed whispers and rumblings within the boot world hinted that a bigger name may reveal itself on the horizon…and, with the mere confirmed mention from Nike of a new “SuperFly,” the gear nerds and soccer players of the world began to drool over the prospect of the newest member of the Mercurial family. Still, while the SuperFly has divided more than its fair share, one boot has been pushed to the side of much of Nike’s advertising fanfare…the Vapor X.
So, is the Vapor X only worthy of basking in the SuperFly IV’s shadow?
The Vapor X offers a completely different experience from the SuperFly while only sharing a stud pattern with its “top-tier” companion. The Vapor X houses new tech and strides forward that has gone unnoticed as the praise piles up for the Flyknit and collar of the SF IV. This new Vapor provides one of the best fits to your foot that you can currently find on the market. The tongue-less design, while creating a bit of a learning curve with putting your boots on (a relatively short learning curve), makes sure that the boot immediately wraps around your foot and keeps the ball as close as you could expect with such a thin material. Factor in the new lacing system with the tongue and you get a boot that allows you to situate your laces in whatever manner makes you the most confident.
While most will claim that it is merely Nike marketing, the Vapor X still draws in a large stable of players because the X offers a top-tier experience. Unlike most boot silos, the experience is not improved by moving up a tier to the SF, but merely changes into a different playing experience (and changes massively). For the rest of the boots in the world, a step up within a silo means a higher quality boot and a higher quality playing experience for the player. With the Vapor X, Nike has crafted a boot that has taken a huge step from its predecessor in the Vapor IX.
Once again, while the focus fell on the SF IV, the Vapor X improved on many aspects of the Vapor IX that we had already found to be very impressive. The fit has been improved and the slightly odd sizing in the length now sits with the SF (some of us here went true to size/some went half a size down) instead of the X (according to lots of us here at Instep HQ, always true to size). The huge “NIKE” on the instep has been removed after a relatively large outcry by the fanbase. The boot also has shied away from any possible type of fish scale (unlike the IX) and looks great with the upper/soleplate combo that Nike has moved towards.
While some may claim that the title of this post is misleading as the Vapor X has clearly been overshadowed by the SuperFly’s existence, those same naysayers would be missing the point. The Vapor X may be overshadowed in terms of recognition and advertising, but the X stands on its own in terms of quality. The Vapor X may not get the headlines, but there is no reason to not treat it as an equal to the rest of the boots that Nike has sitting atop the heaps as their “top-tiers.” If the SF sits outside your price range or if you are looking for that fantastic barefoot feel that the modern player always chases (or, a slight combo of both), then you should definitely check out the Vapor X. A truly fantastic boot…and we cannot believe that it seems to be flying under the radar…