' When Nike unveiled the Peel Orange Vapor IV back in 2007, there was no other boot that could hold a candle.
The Vapor IV was the football boot everyone wanted. It looked sleek and powerful, a complete overhaul from the Vapor III, it was an exciting prospect; infusing glass fibre – a material that only rightly belonged on space shuttles and Formula 1 cars – onto a humble football boot.' It was the pinnacle of design.
Then, in the next generation, Nike announced that alongside the hotly anticipated Vapor V they would be running a boot that would push the Vapor principals to their limits – the Superfly.
If you’re reading this, I don’t need to bring you up to speed on the interim; Vapor V has some Flywire in, Superfly integrity issues, relaunch, Superfly II and so on.
So here we are, with the new Superfly II about to the hit the shelves and no sign of the Vapor VI, and this only further emphasizes my question – is the Vapor being devalued?
First of all, Nike haven’t even mentioned the Vapor VI yet, whereas the Vapor V and Superfly I were announced at the same time. A cynic might suggest that this is so more people would pre-order the Superfly II, rather than settling for the inevitably cheaper Vapor.
But, in reality, it’s more likely that Nike feel that Superfly II offers more in the way of innovation and is worth having a period of exclusivity to let it get the attention it rightly deserves. Which, brings me to the next point; technology.
The Superfly II boasts a full carbon fibre sole plate, 2 NikeSense adaptive studs, re-stringed FlyWire, completely new upper and the ‘flicker’ of 2 contrasting colours in the colourways.
What can we expect from the Vapor VI? The definite inclusions, in my opinion, have to be; carbon fibre sole plate, the Flywire partially transplanted onto the instep (as on the Vapor V) and the new material on the upper including – don’t worry – the ‘Flicker’ contrast colourways, as well as keeping the lace cover from the past two incarnations.
As for rest of the innovations – like the studs – we’ll just have to wait and see.
My worry is – Have the Vapor’s gone from the the pinnacle in the world of football boots, to the entry-level version of the Superfly?
I’d say 90% of the professionals who wear the Mercurial range wear the Superfly – and rightly so, with all the extra tech at a lower weight, who wouldn’t? But, we don’t get to wear the exact same version of the boots that our heroes wear, unless we part with twice as much cash.
However, this is definitely not some Nike/Superfly-bashing piece. I have to respect what Nike have done with the Superfly II; they’ve taken the concept of speed to the limits of their imagination and then put a price tag on it, rather than working to create a boot that will retail for X amount of money.
What that says to me is this a company that takes football boots very seriously, and this is a huge show of dedication to make an idea perfect, and you have to respect that.
What it also shows is their willingness to collaborate with the professionals.
In our interview with Andy Caine, we learnt that he’d spent some 12 weeks meeting with the top Mercurial wearers in the world and discussing the tiniest details of what players do and don’t like about the boots they wear; what could be better and what would be the ideal.
In some ways, Nike have created a ‘concept’ boot – that’s the ultimate boot for the professional player, where every gramme matters, and it’s priced as such – so if you get a pair, you know that they’re the best of the best and you’re very lucky to own them, because they’re really not meant for the bobbled pitches of weekend league football.
Personally, I’d like to see the Superfly become a Limited Edition, like the Vapor SL’s were. Available to pros permanently, but die hard fans who really want them can snap them up if they’re quick enough.
They then become more of a show of power from Nike, like a ‘look at what we can do’ boot. That way the Vapor stays at the top of the tree, because it’s the only one that’s readily available to the public
What do you think? Do you think the Vapor now lives in the shadow of the Superfly? Or are they two separate boots? One that’s for professionals and one for the rest of us? What would you change?
Drop us a comment and let us know – or follow us on Twitter!