The Clash colourway of the Nike Mercurial Vapor VIII was released just prior to Euro 2012, and proved a roaring success with the professionals, finishing as the Top Goal Scoring football boot of the tournament. There is more to this release than first meets the eye, with some surprisingly stark differences to the original Mango colourway of the Vapor VIII. Below are our first impressions of the boot..
First of all, in true Speed Boot fashion, the Vapor VIII is extremely lightweight. It’s the first thing you notice when you pick the boot up, and that’s testament to Nike’s design. Past incarnations have focused on ‘traction’ but when you first pick up the Vapor VIII, it’s clear to see that Nike have attempted to rival the Adidas F50 AdiZeros incredibly lightweight design.
This post has been written after wearing the boot twice for around an hour each time. It’s clear to see that the Vapor VIII is VERY form fitting when you first try it on, which straight away struck me as a huge positive. The upper really does wrap around your foot, and makes for a surprisingly comfortable ride when wearing them. There are one or two little quibbles I have however, mainly down to the length of the boot. As I mentioned in my unboxing video, the Vapor VIIIs fit slightly longer in the toe than other Nike releases, most notably the CTR360 III. This creates (in my opinion), a clumsy touch when dribbling the ball. It’ll be interesting to see whether my opinion changes over the coming weeks.
As already mentioned, that leather finish upper is fantastic. It is really unbelievably soft and it’s something Nike will be aiming to replicate on future releases. It could perhaps be the thinnest upper on the market, which makes for an unbelievable feel of the ball. Which is a shame, because the awkward fitting appears to negate this feel from first impressions.
Having been lucky enough to try on past Vapors with the Tepex Glass Fibre soleplate, it’s interesting to note the huge improvement in the quality of the soleplate. Coincidently, I wore the Soft Ground version of the Vapor VII, and the new dual density Glass Fibre soleplate (on the Firm Ground version, it’s a single layer) makes for not only a very comfortable ride, but a very strong one too, meaning it is much improved over the past Vapor. This should (touch wood) mean no soleplate issues with this football boot.
Sticking with the soleplate, the new SG-Pro stud configuration appears to be a genius addition to the Nike line. I have so far worn it on soft ground and slightly firmer ground, both to excellent results. Interestingly, this stud pattern makes for an unusual feel under foot. It’s not so prominent that it cannot be used on firmer ground, which may make it slightly more adaptable between the two different ground conditions. In a word, it appears to be a perfect soleplate for a mixture of different grounds, but we cannot conclude that to be completely true without proper testing.
As usual with the Vapor line, the most noticeable performance aspect of this release is the visible ‘pop’ you get when you strike the ball. It really is an excellent boot for striking the ball, especially in dead ball situations. From personal experience, the Vapor range has proved to be the best boot to perform a knuckle shot in, and I’m excited to see how they fare after further testing.
Expect the full review to be up in 2-3 weeks. If you have had trouble debating whether to buy the Vapor VIII or not, Soccer Reviews’ review of the Clash colourway of Nike’s latest speed boot will be the most comprehensive one on the entire internet. For now, leave your thoughts in the comments section below.