FROM THE SOLE: HAS NIKE DEVALUED THE MERCURIAL VAPOR?

' When Nike unveiled the Peel Orange Vapor IV back in 2007, there was no other boot that could hold a candle.

MV 4

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.
Superfly
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.

Superfly II

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.


Vapor 5

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.

Superfly 2

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!


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39 Comments

  • The superflies should be limited edition but the vapour is a normal person superfly and nike would never neglect the people who made them rich. The vapour vi will come just not str8 away nike want to show off thier babies first

  • most people in the world either couldn’t afford tungsten powder, spaceship glass fibre and formula car carbon fibre in their shoes -or didn’t think it worth the price; at the same time, those most people wanted to be as close as they could to their heroes…
    so there will always be an absolado, a trequartista, a shoot, a mistic, or a F30.

    that, ladies and gentlemen, are one thing that the superfly don’t have: a cheaper version.
    and if nike stick to their commitment of making superfly as the best boots could possibly been made, then we’ll never see a cheaper version of those babies. people would never wear them.

    the superfly are created to surpass the vapors on every performance aspect. accept it.
    sooner or later, the vapors are done.
    sure there are die hard vapor fans, but fans will just have to live with it… the newest predator doesn’t have a lace cover, i have to live with it.

    so, nike could set vapors as the “trequartista version” of the superflys, or maybe still have the vapors line for a lower target market… either way, the vapors are already the underdog product compared to the superflys.

  • What an article! Exactly how I feel about the vapor and superfly ‘story’.
    I hope the vapor VI come out as I love vapors but cant bring myself to splash £200+ on a pair.

  • 90% of pros do not wear superflies mate, sorry but that is just not true, Robinho has used vapor 5’s on more than one occasion, Nani is a vapor wearer as well. Granted many pros do wear the vapor, but it is not 90% of Nike vapor/superfly contracted players

  • CR7 – It’ll come, I reckon it’ll definitely be out in time for the WC

    Lorien G – Great shout, I reckon you’re right here – Nike just want to show them off a little first

    Channo – You’re always on hand with a great comment! That last sentence especially is exactly right – it just depends on how you look at it, I guess!

    Blair – Like before, I do think the Vapor VI will come, I just hope they don’t cripple it by giving it none of the benefits of the Superfly II

    Hugh – you’re probably right, 90% might be an overstatement!

    Robinho’s hard to follow: I think he switches between the two, he was wearing yellow SF’s for Brazil, was training in Vapors in the week, them played the match in White/Pink/ Black SF’s!

    And aside from Nani I can’t think of many other ‘Marquee’ players that still wear the Vapor, but you’re definitely right that if you included contracted Championship players and the like, it’s not going to be 90%!!

  • the vapor will NOT have a full carbon-fibre sole plate. if there is anything the justifies the ridiculous price, it is the sole plate. The Vapor 6 will have to have the adaptive studs as this will be the primary new feature. Professionals on soft turf do not even use FG studs, therefore, these were invented for the non-pro player. Also, we we really being duped by Nike? I remember once looking at ronaldo’s sole plate when he fell to see if I even say carbon fibre, and to me it looked like he was wearing regular vapors. Seriously, that make more sense, considering these players throw away boots like chewing gum. Nike has another serious problem coming in the f50 adizeros. They will be lighter than the vapors unless nike make drastic changes. I think nike is full of it personally.

  • interesting thots… my thots…

    1) If given a choice, I would buy Superfly… but too expensive

    2) Thus I should gravitate towards Vapors but… I feel like I’m not getting a good enough speed boot…

    I cant explain it but somehow its different from F50 vs F30 or F10, or with the Nike take-downs as well…

    And everyone seems to be saying the new F50 adizeros are gonna blow the whole speed boot market open… well, I’ve seen the pictures but I really cant wait to “test” the weight and wearability…

  • agreed! Superflys should definitely by limited edition, that would be such a better idea! and you could charge more for them, coz the diehard fans would pay owt for them.

    and nike shouldnt give up on the vapors! theyre the original!

  • if you think about it the superly design look better on the superflys and they don’t look as great on the vapors. I wish they wouldn’t both just have flywire, extra carbon fibre or thiner microfiber but also a diffrent design and colorways branching apart into two different cleats entirely. I mean come on who is really going to pay all that money for a pair of superflys, we’d still rather wear the vapors

  • Hmmm my take on this? Ur a sucker for buyin the SF’s… why? because look at those orange peel iv’s! theyre are amazing! And its all about how well you play in ONE boot, and if you perform well and ur compfortable in the boot then why change?

    I will go ahead and let everyone buy the SF’s as the price of other vapors go down…. Speaking of that i just bought 4 pairs of the vapor iv orange peel for 50usd on ebay, each.

    soo 4 pairs of boots for less than the price of one? I’d take that any day.

  • The adizero will not kill the Superfly or beat them out. Just cause they are lighter and cheaper doesn’t make them better.
    A lot of Pros wear FG sole plates. Ronaldo wears a hybrid most of the time. Who cares if it’s 90% or not, fact is a lot of pros wear the superflys.

  • i have a big problem with nike not showing the vapor 6, or even saying if they willl have a vapor 6. one problem i have is that i can afford the superfly II but it looks nice and all but, if i could see what feaeutures the new vapor has i could decide if i wanted to buy the superfly or the vapor.
    another problem i have is i actually prefer the vapor i dont care about the minor weight difference i love the lace cover and the fit. it would be nice to see a vapor 6 so i can kno if i should buy an extrra pair of 5’s.
    i have worn superflys so im not bashing on them at all there great cleats but i just prefer the vapors soo it would be great if i could see the vapor 6.
    i am very disappointed in nike.
    o ya great article as always by footy boots(:

  • i forgot..
    in my mind the greates thing nike could do for the vapor is make it a combo of the sl and the superfly
    have all the superfly but keep the lace cover like the SL also add the carbon fiber sole plate i think nike could do that for 220$ if not remove the cabon fiber.

  • After reading most of the comments on this page I feel I may have to reiterate a point I made on a different article a few months ago.

    By all means the reviews of top of the range boots and boot innovations are great but why do we hardly ever see reviews about the Mercurial Talarias, Mercurial Steams, CTR trequartista, F30s, F10s etc. Because lets face it we are not Ronaldo or Messi on ££££ a week getting these premium boots chucked at us by the shed load.

    Most of us amateur players could do with knowing what we can get away with and where we could save a few quid.

    I mean we love to look at Ferraris & Lambos but most of us drive Ford Focuses & Vauxhall Astras.

    As for the Vapor vs Superfly, I prefer the lace covers so Vapor for me, but in that case why not Mercurial Steam?

  • well from what leaked images i’ve seen i’m assuming the Vapor VI will have the following features:

    1) Much less Flywire (as was the case with the 1st Superfly and Vapor V) meaning in a thicker material i.e. heavier which would make some people deem it “inferior”

    2) I’m about 95+% sure that the soleplate will NOT be carbon fibre however it looks as if it’s made of some other sort of fibreglass(?) :S i don’t know

    3) It will have a lace cover which Nike has shortened a little at the top for easier access to the laces

    4) Now here’s the big drop Vapor fans: it will NOT have the new NikeSense adaptive studs but the old studs from the first Superfly i.e. with holes drilled in them

    again PLEASE NOTE i am not sure on ANY of these facts that are simply well educated assumptions made based on leaked pictures i have seen

  • Nike and every other successful footwear company release new shoes and boots so often in an attempt to have peoiple stockpile the shoes that they want, so if people like the old vapours then they expect people to buy more than one pair in fear that they will soon cease to be made.

  • Hey guys the shop where i always buy cleats they already have the Vapor 6 in pre order. I have to say, it doesnt look bad but it could be better…

  • the new vapor VI has: some flywire near the arch of the foot (vapor V style). 1 reactive stud(sf has 2). glass fibre not carbon (reduces weight but more cost efficient). lace cover(just a bit shorter). still tejin synthetic. hollowed out studs(sf 1 style). I have seen this shoe. I have also tried on the AdiZero to me there is no contest I will get the Adi at 200$ rather than the 220$ vapor or the 400$(new cost for sf) fit is better and the weight is lower.

  • @Kyle: hahaha, one good dose of comment everyday after reading the articles on footy-boots keeps me up to date ;D

    @fifinho: well that’s quite disappointing if it’s true.
    then basically vapor VI is just the same as vapor V -since the heart and soul of the improvement this time is the adaptive studs.
    another disparagement for the vapor line…

    anyway, i noticed the last two real madrid matches where Ronaldo are still playing in his old yellow superfly. anyone know why hasn’t he wear the new purple superfly II?

  • These are the facts regarding the vapor VI:

    1) NO flywire!

    2) Glassfibre soleplate with the hollow studs of the superfly I.

    3) Lacecover aprox 2/3 of the lacing.

    4) No NikeSense studs.

    5) A wider, “higher” fit.

    Spot on Fifinho!

  • Does anyone know, which boot is the most comfortable between, Nike Mercurial Vapor V and Nike mercurial Vapor Superfly?? 🙂

  • I think that with the Superfly II, Nike made the message quite clear that both the Vapors and Superflys are two distinct line of football boots.

    BTW I don’t like the idea of the Superfly’s being an limited edition

  • Well first off the full name of these boots is the Mercurial Vapor Superfly II, so the notion that they are a seperate line is wrong. at least thats not how nike wants to project them. so the vapor is no longer the top dog of the mercurial family but that makes doesnt necessarily mean that the value of the boot has decreased. Nike has just created something that is better. theres been talk of nike creating an “elite” version of its other cleats as well. really you could say theyve already done it to the tiempo line; they bumped up the legend in quality and price and put the tiempo classics in which are ~$100 and still quality k-leather.

    as to whether or not this is a good thing, i think it is it pushes the technology and quality forward and will make the other brands have to compete for professionals while the technology will filter down to us layfolk in the more affordable versions.

  • all this talk of the new vapors not having the superfly sole made me think back to an earlier post i made on the new superfly…

    i said that alot of pros would just opt for the less gimmicky sg option anyway…

    and dempsey tonight debuted the superfly II, with yup you guess it, SG studs, not the new ones that nike focused on so heavily. So that in itself devalues the whole range I think.

    I’m a vapor wearer, i play mainly as a winger but have played fullback and striker too, and personally the new vapors dont look as nice as the 4s or 5s to me.

  • About the vapor VIs:

    Unfortunately NO FLYWIRE
    Weird Soleplate NOT CARBON FIBRE
    Smaller Lace cover
    May be available in sg superly 1 fg and Nike Sense studs.

    Personally, I think people need to remember that the first 5 Mercurial Marks and Vapors never had the lace cover.

  • Superfly’s are way overprized for example in Germany, 315 GBP.
    Football is still a game everybody can be part of it. And everybody should somehow afford fancy boots too.
    The dealers have difficulties to forecast on those boots, changing colours, high prized, no supply. On a long term a consumer will buy what is available. This cannot be seen as some basketball shoes (air jordan). Will Nike be able to offer everybody to be an athlete or not?

  • I LOVE the mercurial vapor range. This is why i have a very strong opinion on these new boots. I have owned every pair of vapors from the 1s – 5s. As soon as the 4s hit the shelves, i feel that the nike has shown a complete lack on innovation. The 4s 5s and now 6s have been virtually the same boot. I personally much prefered the vapor 1,2 and 3’s, which were lighter and thinner – similar to the superfly.
    I cannot justify paying 180 pound for these new vapors, when i see virtually no improvements from the last pair. I would love a pair of superfly 2’s, but i can’t afford 275 pound.
    I feel that the mercurial range peaked on vapors III and IV. How can nike justify a 50-60 pound increase on the vapor V’s?
    I will be switching to f50 adizero’s, because i feel forced. At least adidas have made improvements.
    Many people seem to view the superflys and vapors as a different line. I however see them as a direct step down. Steam, Talaria, Vapor, Superfly.
    And yes, i would say that 90% of mercurial wearing pro’s opt for the superfly.

  • If nike wants to do a limited addition they should update the vapor iiis like they did the tiempo 94s. thatd sell like crazy

  • i love the nike mercurial vapor sl’s but i cant get my hands on them anybody have any size 7.5 0r 8? i will pay a lot of money for them please!!!

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