It’s been a long time in coming, but finally, we have a review of the Nike Mercurial Vapor VIII in the Clash colourway with the SG-Pro soleplate. We felt another review of the Vapor VIIIs was in order after Nike changed the finish of the upper material, causing many people to claim the Clash colourway of the Vapor VIIIs felt like a completely different football boot! The leather finish Mercurials are here to stay, so we had to test them out.
Please Note: The photos in this review were taken on Turf, which we do not recommend when using a Soft Ground soleplate.
Design – 4/5 – Fantastic attention to detail really gives the impression that the Vapor VIII is a professional boot
It seems every Mercurial Vapor has to have some features that make you think; ‘Wow, this is bright!’ That trend continues with the Clash colourway of the Vapor VIII. Let me get this straight off the bat – the back half of this release is most certainly not red, and is definitely a fluorescent pink. I’d happily say that this is the brightest football boot that I’ve ever owned, which has caused my opinion on them to swing from negative to positive over time.
The silhouette of the Vapor VIII is streamlined, I suppose you could call it sleek too. It’s very minimalistic in design, and compared to past Vapors I’m pleased that Nike have brought this change about. While there is still a pattern on the heel, it isn’t something that screams for attention. The swoosh on the inside of the boot has been extended and gives the boot a hint of a classic theme, while the outside swoosh has been shortened yet still lets you know it’s a Nike boot from first glance. So far, so very Nike Mercurial Vapor.
This colourway most certainly isn’t for the faint hearted, and the Nike Mercurial Vapor VIII is a boot that sets out to impress. From the moment I first saw it back in the original Mango colourway, to this Clash colourway, the Vapor VIIIs have appealed to me in a way not many other boots do. I’d adjourn this primarily down to the design, with the Nike designers really striving to give some attention to detail. Whichever colourway you choose, you certainly won’t be let down in the design department with the Nike Mercurial Vapor VIII.
Comfort – 3.5/5 – Vastly improved on past Vapors, but definitely not the best out there
I was able to wear the Nike Mercurial Vapor VIIIs from right out of the box with almost no problems. The upper is unbelievably soft before you even try it on, meaning there will be no real hotspots of discomfort during use. As I mentioned in my First Impressions article on these football boots, the upper really does wrap around your foot after a tiny bit of use, and now whenever I use them they feel like they’re moulded to my foot. The upper has creased nicely and it feels like MY boot now, something which the Vapor range has struggled with for years. Alongside the extremely thin upper, is the tongue. Now I’ve always loved the tongues on Vapors, and it’s no exception here with the Vapor VIII. It’s super thin, but still helps prevent lace bite. For me personally, it’s a fantastic aspect of the boot and really helps ramp up the comfort levels during use.
However, despite these huge positives, there was one little quibble I had. I experienced a bit of foot cramping in my left foot after sustained use. It isn’t something that’s going to affect how you play, but it’s a little uncomfortable. I put this primarily down to the extremely narrow midfoot, which is something you’ll have to think about if you’re considering purchasing these football boots. But as I say, this is something really quite minor. You have to bear in mind that this narrow fit helps enable an extremely close fit, and so it’s almost part and parcel with every speed boot release out there, including the AdiZeros.
However, as I have already touched upon, the fit is unusual. It’s narrow but feels quite long, and on my first wear I found it to be a bit annoying. However, as I wore them for longer periods, the upper stretched slightly around the ball of my foot and now the gap at the front of my foot really isn’t a problem in terms of fit. When I first wore these, I was sure I should have had half a size smaller, but after wearing them I’ve come to the conclusion that you should order your normal size.
Performance 4/5 – Fantastic for performance, but not perfect purely because of the unusual fit
As I mentioned in my ‘Design’ section of this review, the Nike Mercurial Vapor VIII is extremely minimalistic. It’s just you, the ball, and a very simple football boot. Unlike my previous review on the Adidas Predator LZ, there are no technological claims by Nike to help improve performance this time, which is actually really rather refreshing. The Nike Mercurial Vapor VIII are by all means a speed boot, they make you feel fast. The upper isn’t bulky, the soleplate is very thin, giving you a feeling of being low to the ground. Put these factors together and they combine to form a vision of speed.
So let’s start with that upper. The stereotypical view of a Mercurial Vapor is one of a good touch. That trend continues with the Mercurial Vapor VIII. Bringing the ball out of the sky and into your stride is effortless and just feels ‘right’. The upper provides that bare foot feel (which has it’s positives and negatives) but in terms of first touch, the Vapor VIII in my opinion is the best on the market. Unfortunately, that pesky fit comes into play while dribbling though. I never felt truly comfortable while dribbling the ball, which is a shame as I’m a winger personally and found the Vapor VIIIs to be a little lacking in that aspect. If Nike were to eradicate that slightly longer toe area then I’d happily say the Vapor VIIIs are one of, if not the best, option for players who love to dribble the ball.
But surprisingly, striking is really where the Vapor VIII excels. That Tepex Glass Fibre soleplate is phenomenal for striking the ball, providing that bit of rigidity to really help you strike the ball forcefully. Not since the Adidas AdiPower Predators have I been able to ‘punch’ the ball in such a consistent manner. As I’ve already mentioned, I play as a winger and so I primarily provide curling crosses for my team-mates. The Vapor VIII really helped me wrap my feet around the ball and it really is staggering how comfortable it was striking the ball. Whether you’re using your laces to strike a powerful shot, or your instep to curl a ball around a defence, there really isn’t a boot out there that feels as good to strike a ball in as the Nike Mercurial Vapor VIIIs.
As well as the soleplate, I personally believe that leather finish upper is partly to thank for such a wonderful connection when striking the ball. As I have already testified to, the Vapor VIIIs upper is so thin that it almost feels like you’re playing bare foot. Therefore you really do feel the ball when striking, and the lightweight nature of the boot helps ensure correct technique is applied consistently. No matter what style you’re employing, driving or curling, I really cannot recommend the Vapor VIIIs enough in terms of shooting, and I feel Nike have done an excellent job on this front.
The listed weight of the Vapor VIII is around 175g. In comparison to other speed boots, it’s a tiny bit heavier, but this of course is unnoticeable during use. The Superflies were marketed as weighing around 220g, and so it’s nice to see Nike finally attempt to dethrone their main rival, the AdiZero. In fact, throughout use, I always thought back to how lightweight the Vapor VIIIs feel during use. I personally think this can be put down to the tight fitting nature of the boot, which really makes it feel like a ‘second skin’ as such. The extremely lightweight nature of the Vapor VIIIs and the tight fit combines to create an almost unrivalled feel throughout use. Top marks to Nike on this front.
Moving onto the SG Pro stud configuration, this was certainly an interesting area for me. As I highlighted in my unboxing video, this stud pattern is something that has been used by many professionals for quite some time now. I used it on very wet, boggy pitches as well as slightly firmer pitches. I think the most interesting case to prove the SG Pros usefulness is with some drills we did in my team training. They involved lots of sharp turning on a wet pitch. I comfortably turned with absolutely no slipping, while my team-mates (who wore standard 6 stud soft ground configurations) fared rather poorly in comparison. I personally feel this stud configuration is absolutely fantastic for use in the wet. You can feel the blades providing that extra bit of grip when you turn, which is exactly what they’re designed for. Yet again, top marks to Nike on this.
Value 3/5 – Decently prices but durability remains a concern for many
It’s almost guaranteed that Vapors sell well – even if they are terrible boots. Despite having plenty of competitors on the market, the Vapor is very well priced at £155, which is kind of the average asking price for football boots these days. Compared to the Superflies, it’s a million times better which is excellent. You have to consider that in just 6 months time, the next instalment of the Vapor line will be released, meaning the Vapor VIII really isn’t being given much love by Nike. So if you’re happy to purchase a pair and not fret about it being ‘out of date’, then by all means pick a pair of Vapor VIIIs up. If you are actually worried about them being out of date soon.. Well, quite frankly, the VIIIs probably won’t last 6 months of use before falling apart anyway.
So far I’ve been reasonably lucky with my pair. I don’t know why as other people have claimed their boots have just fallen apart after a little use. My pair however, has minuscule tears in ‘hotspot’ areas, mainly around the ball of the foot. In all honesty, I’d just say it’s general wear and tear. You’re never going to keep a boot in perfect condition and so it’s part and parcel of buying an expensive pair of football boots. I’d imagine if I wore them up to 3 times a week I’d get around 6 months of use out of them (maximum). However, the soleplate is well made and there will not be any problems with that. If you’re going to be wearing them in muddy conditions, then I’d suggest buying another pair of laces, as the white ones won’t be white for very long.
The final score
Design – 4/5
Comfort – 3.5/5
Performance – 4/5
Value – 3.5/5
Total: 15/20 or 75%
I really enjoyed testing the Vapor VIIIs. They were a boot which I had high hopes for, and they almost exceeded my expectations. If it wasn’t for that long fit, I’d rate them as one of the best performing football boots on the market and would have no qualms recommending them. The new upper crafted by Nike is unique, and is one of my favourite aspects of the boot. You can find the Vapor VIIIs for quite a bit cheaper than the RRP of £155, and so if you shop around you’ll find them for a decent price which is an even bigger draw. The Nike Mercurial Vapor VIII is an impressive boot – and one that will help you perform to your highest ability. For that reason, I really recommend them to each and every one of you, just don’t expect them to last you years.