When something malfunctions for the first time, you hope it’s a one-off. When it happens a second time, then you know you have a problem. On the third occasion it’s obvious that rather than just being a problem, it’s become a trend.
Update: Nike have responded to the findings of this article – Nike Responds to Superfly Problem
The Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly has experienced one of the most high profile launches in football boot history. Since it’s unveiling, Nike has continued to put the considerable weight of its PR machine behind it and the boot has been worn by some of the world’s top players. So, what on earth could go wrong?
Well, quite simply, it’s beginning to look like the Superfly isn’t up to the job.
Whoops! Drogba’s Superfly boots rip
It was back in early February when the Ivory Coast played Turkey in an international friendly. Chelsea’s Didier Drogba played that day and it was he who scored an injury time winner to level the match at 1 – 1 and earn his side a draw. However, preceding his late strike, Drogba’s blacked out Superfly’s were ripped, virtually beyond recognition, as he was stepped on while challenging for the ball.
At the time, Footy Boots commented that we hoped that this wasn’t going to be a recurring problem. The trouble for Nike is that it has become one!
Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly football boots
Andrey Arshavin may have scored a wonder goal for Arsenal against Blackburn Rovers but by the time his second half effort hit the net, the Russian international wasn’t wearing Superfly’s, the football boots in which he started the game. Instead, he’d switched to Vapor IV’s after his boot was ripped and his foot injured after a tackle by Blackburn’s Andre Ooijer .
Indeed, such was the seeming lack of protection, that Arshavin reportedly had eight stitches in his foot at half time. After the game Arshavin said:
Blackburn is the toughest tackling team I’ve ever played against. Ooijer tore my boot and the skin too. At half-time, our doctor had to do a lot of work on my foot. So when I scored the second goal, I ran over to thank him for a job well done.
Interestingly, Arshavin dropped the Superfly’s for Arsenal’s next game though he was back in them for the trip to Newcastle United on Saturday.
Luis Fabiano’s ripped Superfly from the Seviile v Valladolid game
Any thought that the above two instances were isolated incidents were shattered this weekend during the La Liga game between Seville and Valladolid.
Seville’s Luis Fabiano the so called ‘bad boy’ of Brazilian football was bearing down on goal when he was tackled by two Valladolid defenders. Fabiano hit the deck looking for a penalty but none was awarded and replays showed that the first defender didn’t make contact while the second took the ball first.
On getting to his feet, Fabiano started motioning frantically to the bench and when the TV camera’s showed a close up of his Superfly’s it became obvious why. The boot on his left foot was ripped down the side along the length of the Nike swoosh.
The embarrassment for Nike, which must have been acute with live TV pictures of the damaged boot being beamed around the world, was compounded as Fabiano changed into then scored in old Vapor IV’s.
All of this is completely at odds with Nike’s promotional material on the Flywire technology within the boot which says:
This revolutionary technology transforms how footwear is engineered by reducing the amount of material required for the upper of a football boot to the bare minimum without compromising on durability or integrity and support.
As the examples above prove, this statement, though bold in its intent, is currently proving well wide of the mark.
The Vapor Superfly boots may be light, designed for speed and full of innovation but they clearly aren’t standing up to the rigours of professional football.
Nike has a major problem on its hands and it needs to solve it and solve it quickly otherwise as far as the Superfly is concerned, the word ‘rip’ could well become R.I.P.
Update: Nike have responded to the findings of this article – Nike Responds to Superfly Problem and the football boot is now improved and in our shop!