The Nike Mercurial Vapor is that thing older fans like remark about when randomly watching soccer on television. The trailblazer for all of those bright colored boots you see today, the Mercurial Vapors represent Nike’s first foray into the synthetic speed boot market that the swoosh has come to define. Signing some of the best players in history, including a couple guys named Ronaldo, to wear the lightweight boots certainly did not hurt their chances of reaching the heights they occupy in today’s football swag pantheon. This How the Nike Mercurial Soccer Cleat Changed the Game.
Carter Daly is the owner/editor of
The Nike Mercurial That Started It All
The first Mercurials came on the scene at the 1998 World Cup where a 21-year old Ronaldo rocked Nike’s newest creation to the tune of 4 goals and 3 assists on Brazil’s road to the final in France, which they would end up losing 3-0 to the home country. That loss, however, was most definitely not the Mercurial’s fault. A revolution was born.<!--nextpage-->
Nike Mercurial Vapor I
The all-time leader in World Cup goals took the Mercurial line with him on his way to becoming one of Brazil’s greatest strikers. Nike, sensing the potentially tremendous marketing opportunity of having a Michael Jordan of the world’s game dominate a Japan and Korea based World Cup, pushed Ronaldo as their main man heading into the summer of 2002. In addition to sporting an insanely dope forehead only haircut, Ronaldo came away with the Golden Boot Award, notching 8 g-notes and leading Brazil to their 5th ever World Cup title. The Mercurial Vapor was on its way.<!--nextpage-->
Nike Mercurial Vapor II
The Mercurial Vapor II dropped in 2004 and was sported by Ronaldo and current New York Red Bulls, former Arsenal FC striker Thierry Henry, who scored 2 goals against Inter Milan the first time he wore them. The boot was made out of thicker, softer material and featured a more protective heel plate. Heel plate protection is a good thing<!--nextpage-->
Nike Mercurial 10th Anniversary Edition
On September 13, 2007, Nike dropped a limited edition 10th anniversary edition of the Nike Mercurial Vapor that combined all of the technology of the current MVIII with the striking design elements that Ronaldo wheeled in 1998. Throwbacks are not just a hoops thing.
When the MV IV hit, Nike really started pouring some gasoline on the speed fire they had hoped to create. Ads featuring the former world record holder for the 100m sprint, Asafa Powell, and Cristiano Ronaldo outrunning a Bugatti helped get the message across. These boots fast. They also signaled a shift to the production of boots made entirely out of carbon fiber.<!--nextpage-->
Nike Mercurial Vapor V and Vapor Superfly
Next came the Vapor V and the Vapor Superfly, which is probably the most aggressively named football boot of all time. “So what should we name this boot?” “SUPERFLY.” Word. These were the first boots made with the Nike Flywire technology that we see everywhere today. With 2010 came the Vapor VI and the Superfly 2. “Is Superfly better the second time around?” you ask. The answer is “yes”. Both boots got lighter as C.Ron and Zlatan Ibrahimovic showcased by incessantly chasing down balls in the final third and ripping them into the net while wearing them. They did the same thing in the VIII’s and Superfly 3’s, which, naturally following the technological update imparted on the VI’s and the 2’s, just got brighter. Words like “Volt” and “Platinum” were now commonplace in describing football boot colorways.<!--nextpage-->
Nike Mercurial Superfly II
Nike got real wavy when it decided to hook the Mercurial Superfly II up with the famous ‘safari’ print and a big orange swoosh. The safari print implied the speed these boots were made for, while also displaying the confidence and swagger of a 1970s pimp. Ronaldo often wore these while doing what he does best, scoring goals in a Real Madrid shirt.
Nike Mercurial Vapor IX
The Vapes are now up to Vapor roman numeral IX and Cristiano Ronaldo is still doing his thing carrying the torch. The colorways keep coming in really hot, the most recent models were described by Nike as Sunset/Total Crimson/Volt and Fireberry/Red Plum/Electric, and the weight keeps dropping, now to a low of only 6.7 OZ. While we all know that none of these colors could be ever found in a Crayola 64 pack, football boots will always have to weigh something. They cannot weigh nothing. And is because of this fact that Nike is going to need to find a new kid named Ronaldo to score goals in Vapors before Cristiano gets washed up. Or they could just keep letting Neymar wear them.