Nike Mercurial Vapors

Posted on October 28, 2007. Filed under: Shoes, Technology | Tags: , , , , , |

Nike Mercurial Vapor III Following on from a couple of posts I made about the technology involved in soccer (first with soccer balls then monitoring/statistical equipment), I thought I’d look into the latest innovations in soccer boots/cleats. What better shoe to start with then the Nike Mercurial Vapors. Not that I’m a Nike man or anything but I’ve got the first version of this boot (released in 2002 just before the world cup) and the third version also. I feel that Nike has found the best synthetic material to date for the upper in the third edition of these boots.

They were quite revolutionary when they first came out as being the lightest boots ever made. They weighed in at a paltry 196 grams per boot. This weight has pretty much remained the same throughout the newer versions. Because of the low weight, they were ideal for fast players such as wingers and strikers but weren’t so suited to defensive work because the synthetic was so thin you feel everything, including each hard tackle!

However, because the synthetic was so thin, the touch, feel and control was almost like you weren’t wearing boots at all. It speaks a lot about the material in the upper and that the perfect balance was found in a material that’s elastic, comfortable, water-repellent and extremely hard-wearing. In fact the material in the III’s have lasted almost two years without sign of failing (which is impressive considering how often I play and the workout I tend to put my shoes through). Although I didn’t wear my original vapors as often, I still have them and only the glue on the underside is starting to give, not the synthetic upper. That’s 5 years I’ve had those shoes!!!

The original vapors were very narrow. This wasn’t a problem for me with my clown type feet but many with broader feet would struggle. I also found them very awkward to cross with at first but got used to them soon enough. The biggest problem with the originals was the heel. Right at the top of the heel, Nike may as well have used a cheese grater because the blisters you’d end up with were horrific! I needed to use band-aid’s and strapping tape religiously around the heel to play without getting injured just from running. Apart from that they were fine.

The vapor IIs I can’t say a lot about because I didn’t own a pair of these. They seemed close enough to the originals with many other colour choices and it seems they fixed up the heel problems quick smart! Apparently the synthetic was also thicker in the IIs to make them a more general boot that didn’t hurt so much to get stepped on!

As I said before, with the IIIs, they perfected the synthetic upper to create something similar to leather but thinner and bringing all the benefits of a synthetic microfibre. Apart from that, the boot was broader to accommodate larger feet and actually had the core built around carbon-fibre and glass-reinforced nylon (the carbon-fibre you can see on lifting up the sole and around the heel on the bottom, very cool). Also they did a lot of work on the heel counter to lock the foot and boot together and stabilise the ankle. This worked quite well but depending on your foot, did take time to get used to and in my case seemed to fatigue a few muscles I didn’t even know about. It only took a little while to get used to and was probably more a result of my dodgy ankles that have been rolled one time too many! It also protects the heel area very well (and the tender Achilles tendon) because it’s is very solid and hard.

Apparently the MV IVs are on the way soon. There were some leaked pics going around but I rarely trust them and they didn’t look that great either. Oh well, time will tell, hope they are another step up like the IIIs were.

Check out the other research Teijin and Nike teamed up to produce. Interesting stuff for those skeptical about benefits of the dri-fit, etc. type materials (myself included at one stage).

Other mercurial related posts…
Nike mercurial vapor IV review
Mercurial vapor 4s have arrived finally
Who is the fastest
Nike mercurial vapor IVs on the way
Ten years of mercurials
Nike mercurial SL (limited edition)


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2 Responses to “Nike Mercurial Vapors”

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I have seen the Nike MV IV’s and can confirm that these pictures are the genuine article –

Yeah they look like the pics I saw. It looks like a bit of a composite in some ways. They look like the MV IIs around the bottom and studs while they have the MV IIIs inner heel (the PEEVA stuff with the holes) and the top of the tongue looks like the original MVs. The lace cover and Nike tick look kinda strange but I’m the type of person that finds most new things strange until they finally grow on me.

Either way, it should be good to see the final product! It’s quite a lineage they have going now! Cheers.

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