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.

Example 1

Didier Drogba nike superfly rip

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!

Example 2

Is the Nike superfly defective

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:

defective nike superfly football boots 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.

Example 3

Luis fabiano ripped Nike Superfly football boot

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:

defective nike superfly football boots 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!


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  1. says: KK

    As I mentioned on the Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly article, these are only 10 grams lighter than the Mercurial Vapor III. The IIIs were one of the toughest ‘lightweight boots’ ever produced.(one of the best looking, too.) To me, this is Nike chasing a gimmick, and forgetting there are real people wearing these boots. They don’t seem to be failing identically, either, so it appears to be a legitimate concept flaw.
    They’ve destroyed the beauty and safety of the Vapor.
    All for 10 bloody grams…

    1. says: bw

      I’m gonna have to disagree with you on part of what you said. Yes the superfly’s are only 10g lighter than the III’s but the III’s were not as durable as you make them out to be, “one of the toughest ‘lightweight boots’ ever produced.” Everyone that I owned or known any of my teammates to own eventually ripped at the toe, it happens to midfielders most often because generally they are long ball specialist who have to dig in to the ground sometimes to play long balls. The IV was a great improvement to this problem and the SL’s of the IV’s are not far off in weight, so as of now the IV’s are probably the most durable light-weight boots out there.

  2. says: Sion

    I had concerns after hearing about Arshavin’s boots ripping.

    Sounds to me like this material is not strong enough for match use.

    I wouldn’t blow £225 on this boot. I need boots that will last a good season, not one game.

  3. says: Fenboy

    After the supposed amount of time in R and D plus a price tage in excess of £225 I expected far better from Nike.

    However I seem to remember Footy Boots pointing out when they launched, Flywire comes from athletics – not exactly known for being a contact sport.

    All in all, very poor.

    1. says: Charles Liu

      I didn’t know about al this Superfly ripping thing and I bought it when it launched first. I am very worried about the danger of my boot ripping halfway through my game so I am starting to wonder if 225 pounds were really worth it or not!!!

    1. says: Fenboy

      Agree with you Workout Planet, of course other boots have suffered similar problems. But not 3 versions of the same boot in the space of a few weeks. And certainly not boots coming in at £225!

  4. says: Fuzzy

    HAHAHAHAAHAHAAHA good this shoulc stop people from buying into gimmicks for ridiculous prices. I have a pair of white f30’s (the ones before the Allesklar) and in 4 seasons the only problem I have had is they are now a pale brown due to my inability to wash them! The Superfly is nothing but £225 quids worth of PR b*//*(#$

  5. says: Jay

    I Hope This Is Only A Problem With The Superfly’s Because I’ve Pre – Ordered The Vapor V’s And I Expect Them To Last For What I Payed For Them And I’m Sure All Of You Are The Same.

  6. says: Liam McArthur

    I am a footballer and i have had many football boots including the MV111 and the MV1V the MV111 are the best mercurial vapors, no problems with them what so ever, the MVIV ruined my feet, i have gone sensible now and bought sum predators

  7. says: Chelsea fc

    I love how Nike spends a fortune advertising and glorifying their products while Puma and Adidas just have to patiently wait for things like this to blowup in Nike’s face. This should make Nike’s credibility less now that their “technology” may be bogus.

  8. says: rbarsenal

    The Vapor V does not have a synthetic upper as thin as the Superfly. The Vapor IV SL’s were comfortable and durable, but had the same “skin” as the Vapor IV’s. Why didn’t Nike just release the Superflies with the same upper material as the vapor V’s and just use carbon fiber; they would be more durable be slightly lighter (not light enough for an extra $100.00, but they had the same issue with the IV SL’s). At least insure the boot won’t rip.

  9. says: ernesto

    i just knew about the problem yesterday after watching luis fabiano im shure nike has spent a lot in research and in marketing for this boots but it seems now that it was all a waste of money, i expect they do something about it.

  10. says: Aussie Lad

    Rb arsenal, the reason nike didn’t want to replicate the success of the vapor lV sl’s is that they wanted to lure more people into this gimmick.
    If Nike were to pruduce those types of boots you meantioned, it would just be a re release of the vapor lV’s. But with expectation they needed to up the anty, and it seems as though they tried too hard. Even though people see this, the brilliant advertising that Nike has done will still get people to buy their product because it will make them “faster”. Brilliant advertising qualities Nike, Poor standard of product.

  11. says: antineutrino

    the only reason causing the superflys to rip, is actually the flywire, how ironic.
    it isn’t due to the material,the boot would be fine without it.

    how do i explain this, one observation ive made is that every reported superfly ripping has been along the flywire thread.why?

    this is because when there is a tackle, or when the athlete is running there is a force acting on the thread and material. the flywire is strong enough to support this force without breakage BUT, then there is the material around the boot.this expands much more easily than the thread.

    Now this is how this difference betwwen them breaks the boot.because the material is attached to the thread there is a bit of material which resists the expansion while the material unattached to the thread
    does not resists and there is a force going one way and another the opposite way. aha! now that is how u rip/tear objects apart.

    that concludes my explanation, quite a lengthy one ahaha.

    well iwas thinking this up while i was in physics im not a nerd,hardly the opposite really.just loads of daydreaming.

  12. says: Zizou wannabe

    haha… just had to laugh at this one! My goodness, didnt take too long to blow up…

    Its all abt the adipure for me right now… one of the best priced shoe for its quality and like the design as well. Honestly, I am really tempted to buy into some of the gimmicks they sell (they = everyone!) but this adipure investment makes sense for me!

  13. says: mvp1

    The problem isn’t that Nike made a crap boot,it’s that they released it with all the hype without properly testing it.You have got to break some eggs to make an omelette,so failure shouldn’t be the fault here,it’s they’re zealousness to release a product without the proper R&D.

  14. says: JD

    Nike Vapor 5 Superflys have been pulled from the Nike UK online store. I can’t really think of a reason for them to pull them off the site 4 days before official release, especially when they were flying on pre-orders.

  15. says: rory smith

    has anyone noticed the in the pic of the boot rippin the sock as riped too so it must of been one hell of a tackle or the studs wer beastly!

  16. says: Joel

    ive managed to get a pair of carbon fibre superflys for 130
    as there cheaper than 225 are they now worth it?
    i am not going to play with them for college after hearing these stories but do you reckon they will suit playing soccer in america as im going to university over there next year?

  17. says: MFK Zemplin Michaloce

    For these boots, I had 350 pounds and after 2 months of rent to me completely … well they are played but are shoddily

  18. says: unknown

    i think nike is the best football boot distributor out dont forget everyone was behind them.
    so why should we all worry and bash against them for 1 mistake. of course the superflys are somewhat crap but dont forget about the v’s nd talarias

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