The origin of the iconic Nike Mercurial soccer boot starts back in 1996 with the Brazilian National team and its young star Ronaldo. Nike wanted to build a soccer cleat that would hold up to the the young striker's explosive style of play and introduced two concepts that would prove to be revolutionary. The first was the discontinuation of kangaroo leather through the use of a synthetic replacement called KNG-100. The second was the reduction of the plate thickness from the normal 3 mm to 1.75 mm, which was unheard of at the time.
Nike then launched the first ever Mercurial boot in 1998 under the names the Tiempo Ultra Light and the Ronaldo Ultra Speed. Since then the shoe has morphed into the technological marvel that is the Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly IV that is prominently on display in Brazil for this World Cup. To get the complete history of the Nike Mercurial boot head over to Nike and read through the timeline.