The Nike Mercurial Vapor V was the very first high end football boot that I ever bought. Released back in 2009, the Mercurials were known for being one of the lightest and unique looking boots around. Before I can get into talking about the Vapor V, I have to mention the greatly popular Mercurial Vapor IV. The Vapor IV featured a very sleek design that incorporated bright single colored uppers made of synthetic leather, paired with a contrasting large Nike Swoosh along the front of the boot. The laces on the boots were covered as well which made them stand out with a very aerodynamic and streamlined aesthetic. I remember watching highlights of Cristiano Ronaldo showing off his skills with Manchester United while wearing bright orange Vapor IV boots. Since I was a Ronaldo fan even then, I was dying to get a pair of Vapors for myself.
The Vapor V and the Superfly
The Vapor V released along with the brand new Mercurial Superfly. The very first Superfly every created. Nike’s marketing team did well to make the Superfly look and sound as cool as possible. Incorporating Nike Flywire technology that was being used in Nike’s track shoes, the Superfly took the football boot world toward a new direction. The boots also featured a fancy carbon fiber sole plate that had all of our mouths watering. Obviously all this new technology meant an enormous retail price for the Superfly boots. So I had to settle for the Vapor V boots which were still considered high end but a step down from the Superfly. The Vapor didn’t feature the Flywire clad upper and the carbon fiber soleplate of the Superfly. With that being said, the Vapor V was still an amazing football boot. Now, 9 years on from their initial release, and with many Mercurial Vapors having been released since then, lets take a look at what made them special.
Lightweight Upper and Lace Cover
The Vapor V featured the same synthetic leather upper that was used on the Vapor IV. This material was called Teijin Synthetic Leather. It was one of the thinnest materials on a football boot at the time compared to the Nike Tiempo and Adidas Predator series which had thicker and more padded uppers. The thinness of the boot upper allowed for the best ‘barefoot feel’ on the ball at that time. The touch on the ball was great and I thought it helped give a better feel of the ball as well. The material sort of felt sticky on the ball and this was especially nice to have when taking small touches on the ball while running or sprinting with it. The boot did take a few training sessions to break-in. The break-in process wasn’t that great as I remember getting blisters on heel a few times after wearing them. After breaking them in, it felt like the boot had conformed to my foot a little bit which helped it give a nice tight fit.
The top of the boot incorporates a large lace cover, similar to the one on the Vapor IV. The lace cover definitely added to the aesthetics of the boot and made me stand out on the pitch. This also proved awesome to shoot with since the cover provided a nice clean strike zone on the instep of the boot. Although the lace cover had its benefits, I found it difficult to tighten the laces or clean underneath the cover since it wasn’t adjustable or removable. The boot would have been just as great without this feature, but maybe not as aesthetically pleasing.
This colorway was particularly bright and contrasted nicely on the green pitch. Nike did a great job with the color combinations as I felt the standout orange color was nicely balanced with the touch of grey/silver and dark purple Swoosh accents. Looking closely the finish on the upper did have a slight shimmer to it but it wasn’t greatly noticeable. Although the Vapor V was not entirely covered by Flywire, Nike gave the Vapor some love and incorporated some Flywire by the arch, along the inner side of the boot. I don’t think the Flywire provided a significant performance benefit for the wearer, but it did help create a more lock-down fit.
The upper of the boot was amazing but that wasn’t even the best feature about this boot. The sole plate was where my attention went to. Being known as the best ‘speed boot’ at the time, the Vapor was meant for players who were fast, flamboyant and skillful with the ball. This meant that the boot had to assist with sprinting, acceleration, deceleration and quick changes in direction. I can tell you now that without a doubt, the Vapor V ticked all these boxes. The firm ground blades on this boot felt amazing to run in and provided great traction on the ground. Sprinting seamed easy and I felt like I could get to my top speed in a matter of seconds. The stud pattern didn’t hinder my control either when I had the ball under my foot. I was able to comfortable roll the ball and perform skills with confidence. The only complaint I had about this sole plate was that I would start to feel the stud pressure on the bottom of my feet after extended periods of wearing them. This could have been due to the lack of cushioning provided by the insole of the Vapor V.
Even 9 years after it’s release, I can still look back at the Mercurial Vapor V and consider it an amazing boot. The lightweight Teijin synthetic leather upper provided an awesome, barefoot type feel on the ball and the trademark mercurial stud plate made it a joy to play in. It is true that there is no product that makes you play any better, but having awesome boots definitely did help.
Hope you enjoyed this #ThrowBack boot review of the Nike Mercurial Vapor V. Let me know what you think of boots in the comment section below and keep an eye out for my video review of these boots which should be out soon!