There is no denying that the Nike Mercurial Vapor is one of the most famous and best-selling boot silos in football. Ever since the series' introduction as the Nike Air Mercurial on the feet of (original) Ronaldo in 1998, the Vapor has made waves year after year. The 2002 Mercurial Vapor, the first of its kind, made a splash when, like many of its costars in Nike's famous "Cage" ad, it was shown off on TV. The commercial, below, like the Mercurial Vapor, is widely regarded as one of the best of its kind.
It has been well over a year since Nike introduced the Mercurial Vapor IX. The boot has seen more than its fair share of colorways since its initial bow last January. To say that it's due for a refresh in modern football timetables is a bit of an understatement. Now, with the World Cup looming large, Nike have done just that.
At their innovations event in Madrid this week, along with some other announcements (that kind of pale in comparison now), Nike made the Mercurial Superfly IV official. The new boot will, of course, be Nike's speed boot but it brings with it a number of new innovations that aim to change the way we look at modern football footwear.
Speaking about the new boot, Trevor Edwards, President of the Nike Brand, said:
"Innovating for the game's best is the very soul of Nike. It is the fundamental pillar of who we are and as players get faster and stronger, we challenge ourselves to keep improving - because sport is about constant progression - and so is the Nike brand.
"Today is the culmination of that journey as we head toward Brasil. It's a journey of innovation fueled by our deep-rooted passion for the game. Like the players we design for, when it comes to the World Cup we hold nothing back. Because when the eyes of the world are upon you, you have to bring your best. At Nike, we live for these moments; it's what we do. We know the dreams of entire nations rest on our athletes' shoulders, so we ensure they have what they need to succeed. Every day we challenge ourselves to live up to their ambition. They choose brilliance. And so do we."
The last iteration, the Vapor IX, came with a new "high speed " upper that featured a dimpled texture for better control on the ball. Nike have announced the Mercurial Superfly IV, a souped up version of its namesake that will be worn by Nike's top athletes. The Superfly draws a lot of inspiration in its design from the Magista boot with the mid-length Dynamic Fit collar featuring prominently. The launch Hyper Punch colorway with gold swoosh will certainly catch the eyes of onlookers. The upper is made of Nike's Flyknit technology featuring Flywire, now called Brio, running down the sides.
Phil McCartney, VP of Sport Performance Footwear, added:
"During the four years that we developed the new Superfly, we kept hearing the same message from our players: The game has changed. It's more intense than at any time in history. Players are fitter, stronger, more athletic and more technical than ever before. Based on those changes, our players told us they needed to be faster.
"We've delivered the boot for this new game because we know what a split second means. It can mean the difference between qualifying for the next round and elimination. It can mean the difference between being a champion and being a footnote. At Nike, we design boots to bring out the champion in all of our players. That drive and pursuit of perfection has led us to today and the Mercurial Superfly."
The outsole sees a return to carbon fiber technology, something that Nike hasn't done since the Superfly III, based on the Mercurial Vapor VII. The split toe design is inspired by the Nike HyperVenom with studs strategically placed for superior grip and quick cuts.
This is perhaps the most drastic change to the Mercurial lineup since its inception, offering a completely new look that draws on the boot's illustrious history while bringing the latest and greatest in football tech into the fold.