Having reviewed the Adidas adiZero earlier on in the season, SportLocker thought it was only fair to get our hands on Nike’s most recent speed boot, and put them through a rigorous play test as well.
Over the weekend, Sam Van Gelder took a pair of Nike’s most outrageous looking football boots ever to the home of football (that’s Wanstead Flats, in case you didn’t know) and here is what he found:
The Boot: Nike Mercurial Vapor SuperFly II Safari CR7
Colour Tested: White/Total Orange/Black
Category: Speed Boot
Price (RRP): £274.99
Weight: 210 grams
Who wears them: Cristiano Ronaldo
Before we get on with the nitty-gritty, have a quick read over the technology that’s packed into this truly ground-breaking piece of football gear:
- Nike Flywire, a lightweight composite that forms the upper, increases range of motion while looking the foot to the sole plate, ensuring maximum transfer of energy from the foot to the ground.
- The carbon composite chassis keeps the player close to the ground for improved stability and responsiveness.
- The CR Mercurial Vapor SuperFly II features the unique NIKE SENSE adaptive traction system where designers created a pair of adaptive studs in the forefoot that can extend and retract by up to 3mm, based on ground conditions and pressure exerted by the player.
- Directionally positioned blades maximize cutting and allow for quick changes of direction, while secondary toe traction provides added toe-off power for those first critical steps.
In a nutshell, all of the above means that players have a boot that enables greater speed in all directions.
Having never been blessed with pace myself, combined with the fact that I’m an absolute football boot fiend, I was beyond excited to get my hands on and try out the newest edition of the SuperFly II series (in their barmiest colourway yet) to see what all the fuss is about!
The Mercurial Vapor Series have long been the kings of the speed boot world. Goalscoring legends such as Thierry Henry, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Ronaldo (the fat one) and many more have graced the beautiful game with their skills and goals whilst wearing Nike’s most revolutionary boot.
Every time a new Vapor is released, the footballing world takes note.
And these CR7’s (so much easier to type than Nike Mercurial Vapor SuperFly II Safari CR7) are no different. They really are a revolution in boot technology – with no less than four years of game analysis, biomechanical studies and player testing behind them!
Upon taking the CR7’s out of the very swish (not swoosh) looking box, my immediate response was of great shock. Never before had I seen such an eye-catching print on a football boot. I knew that the boots had been designed and built to the exact specifications of ‘Mr Look-at-Me’ himself but my first question was simply, “Why the animal themed print?”
“The CR Mercurial Vapor SuperFly II makes a statement on the pitch and the Safari print expresses my style,” answers Cristiano Ronaldo (although he wasn’t sat directly next to me). “Combined with incredibly light and responsive performance the boot gives me everything I need to elevate my game.”
Lovely sound-bite Ronnie! But a further look back in Nike’s history shows where the idea for the colourway could have come from. In 1987, Nike originally introduced the same print on the Air Safari running shoe, which quickly sold out for its ‘striking’ design.
Anyway, enough with the history lesson. Let’s put these things on!
After I had finished gawping in sheer amazement, it was time to slip them on. I was immediately surprised at just how snugly they fitted. What was really noticeable was how the heel counter locked my feet (in almost a vice like fashion) leading to a very secure feel.
This is despite the fact that the boot only weighs 210g. So they should really feel flimsy, but I genuinely felt protected in them.
I had heard rumours that the upper needed a brief ‘breaking in’ period. However, I didn’t find this at all, and thought they were extremely comfortable from the outset.
Running / Warming up
It was when I began running that I really started to feel the benefits of the technology that goes into the CR7’s, and in particular the traction sole-plate.
I wore the boots both for training (on 3G surface) and for a match (on grass, well mostly mud!) and I didn’t slip once. Which is a bonus really, as £274.99 is a lot to splash out on a pair of boots. So at least you can sleep well in the knowledge that these could double up as your firm ground and soft ground boots – phew!
The NIKE SENSE studs are excellent, and I really felt them digging into the turf when changing direction quickly both at training and during the match.
With non-leather boots, I’m always a little wary that the feel for the ball is neglected. I’ve always worn leather boots, so I was interested to see how the CR7’s reacted.
And I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I felt very comfortable on the ball. I felt relaxed when trying to manoeuvre the ball in tight spaces and there was the added bonus of feeling quick and nimble in the process.
For many years, the Mercurial Vapor series has been associated with pacy wingers or strikers. The likes of CR himself, Didier Drogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andrei Arshavin, Aaron Lennon, Theo Walcott et al all don the boots come match-day.
However, the SuperFly II series seem to have changed this trend. Yes, these players are still wearing Vapors, but far more ‘technical’ midfielders are wearing them. The likes of Luka Modric and Mesut Ozil to name just a few.
This shows just how the boot is being received by professionals within the game. Despite being a speed boot, players who base their game around guile, close control and creativity are now backing the boot.
This is the part where I tried to imitate that Cristiano Ronaldo freekick v Portsmouth in January 2008. Obviously I failed at that, so I decided to just shoot as only I know how!
The first effort I scuffed into the bottom corner, but by the second, I had the boots down to a tee and spanked one into the top right corner. (see photo) Practise makes perfect ay!
The innovative studs come into play here again, as they help to plant the anchoring foot which leads to a greater, purer connection.
So it’s easy to see how Ronaldo does it – it’s the boots. Apparently.
Another observation was how the boots appeared different at night and during the day. This is because (cue more Nike technology talk) the boot’s striking Safari print is overlaid with a tonal chevron pattern that is illuminated in certain light. Designed to appear as a flash in a player’s peripheral vision, the reflective graphic can improve player awareness on the pitch (or such is the logic).
Also, for those of you that would consider the colourway a little ‘garish’, I can assure you that they don’t look as bad on a pitch. A lot of my teammates commented that they almost looked gray from a distance.
Yet again, Nike have come up trumps! A technological master class makes for a really impressive boot which stands out from the crowd in a heavily populated market. Yes, the price is a tad excessive but you can argue that the technology that goes into the boot warrants it.
Either way, Nike have a stunning boot in the Mercurial Vapor SuperFly II Safari CR7 that will react to every ounce of your movement whilst maintaining comfort and an excellent feel for the ball. An exceptionally innovative piece of football equipment, Nike’s Mercurial Vapor is still king of the speed boots.