The Nike Mercurial Superfly II was released in a blaze of glory a few weeks back, with Cristiano Ronaldo standing in front of a world-wide audience holding the coveted speed boot. There are always expectations when a company releases a second version of a soccer boot, so Nike focused on creating a new dimension to improve a player’s acceleration out of sharp turns. The result is a cleat designed very similar to the original Superfly, with the addition of some pretty crazy adaptive studs. For testing I wore a size 9US, played in 3 games, 3-4 training sessions and multiple morning workouts. If you are considering getting yourself a pair of Superfly II’s I encourage you read below and consider some of the issues I encountered.
In similar fashion to the Vapor VI, the Superfly II took quite a while to break in. In fact, the Superfly II was actually tougher as it is a much tighter fitting boot. Finding the right fit in these is the first challenge. As I said, I wore a size 9US, which is what I wear for all testing and reviews. But these were super tight from day 1. Knowing I would blister, I wore them for several (maybe 4-5 mornings) running sessions before attempting to wear them in a game. When I eventually wore them in the first game, I still ended up blistering probably 25 minutes in. Not a good start, particularly since I worked hard to ensure they felt broken in before wearing them in a competitive game.
Consider ordering a half size up
My advice to anyone who doesn’t have 3-4 weeks to truly break these in is order half a size up. In order to keep the weight of these cleats down, Nike does not use much padding on the inside of the cleat. What you are getting is a very thin layer of material, and as a result you really need to have them well worked in before you can wear them in games. Another issue is the Carbon Fiber Compound sole-plate that has also been specifically created to lower the weight of the boot. It seems that this makes them a little stiffer than normal cleats; it is particularly evident when you try bending the cleats in your hand. After wearing them 2 games in a row I can say that they have somewhat adapted to the shape and contour of my foot and are very effective at fitting their role as a speed boot!
What is Flywire?
When Nike released the initial Superfly, we covered the technology behind Flywire and what it is all about. The goal of Flywire is to minimize weight and maximize support. Its high-strength threads work like cables on a suspension bridge with support engineered precisely where a foot needs it. One thing to note is that Flywire acts just like a tendon would on the front of your foot. The layer of material used to cover the cleat is only there to keep out dirt and rocks; it is the Flywire structure that protects the foot.
It is Flywire technology that allows Nike the opportunity to be able to create such a light cleat. The upper is made of a super light Teijen that is lined with specifically positioned Flywire. There are wires that come from the heel area to the center of the cleat, while there is a second set of wires that line vertically along the outside. Next up is the key to the Superfly II, the adjustable studs. You can clearly differentiate these studs from the others as they have very distinct wings around a small round inner stud. The idea is that when you apply pressure to the front of the cleat, the inner red stud extends out and allows for extra traction when you swivel. There are two adaptive studs on each cleat. After testing, this is more noticeable on grass surfaces than on turf fields. Does it actually work? It is difficult to say. You actually can’t get the adjustable studs to extend without wearing them, so it takes extensive pressure to get the technology to behave as expected. To be honest, it almost reminds me of the Twist’n Go technology that Lotto has adopted in their range.
Style and Design
The initial release from Nike was in a Violet colorway, but Eurosport also released an exclusive Dark Obsidian/White/Cool Mint color and that is what I was testing. To be honest, I prefer this color far more than the Violet as it is not as bright and the mix of Obsidian and Cool Mint goes really well together. Another thing that I like is that Nike uses no lace cover. While testing the Vapor VI, the lace cover was one of my negatives as it caused issues with actually getting my feet into the cleats. You can also clearly see the carbon fiber composite on the clear sole of the cleat. This is a big plus for me and is something you won’t see on very many other releases. Nike has again used the hollowed out blades to decrease weight. I think this looks great, and to be honest I would like to see this on all cleats!
It took some time to actually break these cleats in, and for the price I don’t think this should be the case. If you are paying a lot of money for a pair of cleats, they should offer comfort that surpasses anything else on the market. But that is completely not the case with these. I am also pretty disappointed in how much blistering they caused. If you read a lot of prior reviews, you will note that I don’t blister very often, and am careful about ensuring a boot is well broken in before using them competitively. I am big on giving up comfort just to have a lighter cleat.
I am still in awe at how Nike has developed a boot that can weigh a super light 7.8oz. It almost defies logic, and you really have to hold them in your hand to understand just how light they are! There purpose is to be a speed boot, designed to give you the greatest advantage when it comes to beating the opposition to the ball. The combination of Flywire technology and the new adjustable studs combines for deadly acceleration, especially when it comes to sharp turns. At around $400, you really need to be sure that these are the cleat that you are looking for and really want, while knowing that you will need to be patient in order to allow them to adapt to your feet. Personally, I don’t believe they are in any way worth the money, but I am sure there are players who are willing to invest and trust in Nike’s technology!
(*boots supplied for review by soccer.com)