Mercurial Superfly V - 2016
Things were changed up once again in 2016 on the Superfly V which continued with the Flyknit/brio cable upper but introduced both the knitted Speedribs for better grip, and the new anatomical soleplate made of a nylon material which allowed your foot to sink more into the plate and secure an even better lockdown at just 191 grams. It also brought us Anti-Clog and was overall well-received by a lot of players.
Mercurial Vapor XI - 2016
The Superfly V also gave us the 11th version of the Vapor, which is the lightest to date at just 167g. It featured the thinnest Teijin upper yet with synthetic speed ribs and an internal support cage like we’ve seen since the Vapor 8 to give a bit of stability. Add the anatomical sole plate from the Superfly to that, and you had an extremely popular Mercurial which is still used today.
Flyknit Ultra - 2017
But Nike were planning to do even bigger things, and teased a bit for their upcoming Mercurials with the Flyknit Ultra in the fall of 2017. Coming out as a low-cut Flyknit version of the Vapor 11, it had a knitted upper with hardened Speedribs and an interesting gradual NikeSkin coating that was stiffer and stronger at the bottom that then got softer at the top for a better fit and comfort. It was a very limited boot, but sparked the development of GripKnit, which was introduced 5 years later on the Phantom GX.
Mercurial Vapor 12 & Superfly 6 - 2018
2018 brought about the Vapor 12 and Superfly 6, which were made to shine at the biggest stage during the World Cup 2018. For the first time ever, the Vapor and Superfly were identical apart from the high-cut Dynamic Fit Collar on the Superfly 6. Both uppers were full Flyknit, which wrapped all the way around the foot with an internal chassis providing the stability. It also continued where the Flyknit Ultra left off with 3D engineered speed ribs for grip and a gradual NikeSKIN silicone coating for the most optimal fit.
Mercurial Vapor 13 & Superfly 7 - 2019
A year later, Nike perfected their Flyknit-upper formula with the Vapor 13 and Superfly 7, which combined the softer Flyknit yarns with high-tenacity yarns which blended naturally into the upper but also provided strength and stability to the upper, while only weighing in at 187g in the Vapor 13 version. The new upper provided a slightly more textured feel on the ball, and thanks to the mix of soft yarns and high tenacity yarns, many will argue that this was one of the most comfortable Mercurials generations to date. The Swoosh also increased the length of the studs with 1 mm, giving them even more bite than on the Vapor 12 and Superfly 6.
Mercurial Vapor 14 & Superfly 8 - 2021
In early 2021, it was time for another Mercurial upgrade. This time, Nike said goodbye and thank you to Flyknit as the main upper material, and instead introduced a synthetic composite upper called Vaporposite - in essence, it was a sandwiched upper consisting of layers of different synthetic materials to offer both stability, strenght and softness where it was needed. Those layers had a thin, textile mesh on top to provide a bit of texture on top, and was finished off with a thin silicone film - and while it was quite a change from the full Flyknit upper, both the Vapor 14 and Superfly 8 continued the trend of almost plug-and-play comfort and playability right out of the box.
Air Zoom Ultra - 2022
After years of hard work, Nike gave us another Ultra-boot, teasing tomorrow's innovation. This time, Nike had been working on integrating their Zoom Air technology into the Mercurial boots, and had engineered a highly limited edition boot around the Zoom Air unit from the KD12 basketball shoes. The boots had been shown as a concept boot in 2020 at the Nike Innovation Summit in New York, and was now finally ready to hit pitches all across the World - if you were lucky to get your hands on one of the only 1,000 pairs released.
Air Zoom Mercurial Vapor 15 & Superfly 9 - 2022
In 2022, Nike then introduced the current generation of Mercurial - but with a twist. The Vaporposite+ upper has been reworked from the ground up. Nike wanted as little structure in the upper as possible while still being able to secure the foot during the most aggressive movements - football is one of the sports that require the most lockdown, and thus you need to securely lock in both the toe, the midfoot and the heel - and still allow for a good, natural amount of flexibility. Nike took to the Roman sandal, and studying the sandals of Roman warriors showed a new way to create the perfect lockdown for a football boot. The result is the SpeedCage - made with a midfoot and heel strap for the most optimal lockdown. Nike made their SpeedCage from a thin, strong synthetic material with the ‘straps’ and the cutouts to fixate the foot as well as possible. On top of the SpeedCage, there’s a thin mesh layer in the forefoot to make sure that you get a sharp, barefoot like feel as well as a textile mesh woven in a chevron pattern and then covered in a silicon film to offer a grippy, uniform touch on the ball.
The gamechanger in the boots are naturally the new Air Zoom unit in the outsole - which we already saw in Zoom Ultra, however the new Air Zoom Mercurial are quite different. The Air Zoom has a 4.8mm thick pocket of compressed air - 20 PSI which is around 1,3 bar, more than a fully inflated football holds. Giving you that extra bounce in every strive, just enough to beat your competition. The Air Zoom unit covers ¾ of the sole and sits in a little cavity inside the tooling itself in order to get you as close to the ground as possible. It’s taken Nike 2.5 years and 3 prototypes to get here, which goes to show that this technology is more than ready for those big games.
Last but not least, Nike has opted for a new stud shape and placement. These new tri-star shaped studs, gives you a flat surface in three different directions, meaning that you can push off and cut more effectively. Lastly they also found that speed is more than just acceleration. Making this boot more responsive whenever you brake or change direction. Fastest just became faster.
25 years of Mercurial speed - but where will the boot silo go next? Let us know your thoughts below and don't forget to check out our huge selection of Mercurial boots to find YOUR next boots.