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Nike Mercurial Vapor IX Review

Nike Vapor IX

Is there a bigger release in the boot world than when Nike announce they are releasing a new Vapor? Again the hype surrounding this latest 9th installment, or the Mercurial Vapor IX, caused a frenzy of action online and not even the wildly colorful debut releases deferred attention away. And with the likes of CR7, Ibrahimovich and Theo Walcott, attention has been fully focused on the new release. I’ve had a pair for the past few weeks and have been putting them through their paces to see just how much difference there is with the new dimpled synthetic upper!

This Fireberry colorway, plus the Sunset, are currently available to buy at WeGotSoccer.

First Impression

The upper has a golf ball feel, with dimples covering the entire upper. Being honest, it looks extremely odd and I’m not sure about its purpose – interested to find out. The colorway is bright, but not quite as bad as I had anticipated. Soleplate looks extremely slick, liking the changes Nike has made.

Mercurial Vapor IX Boot

Nike Vapor IX with ACC

Breaking In

Since the Superfly, Nike has continually improved the break-in period of new releases in the range. And the Vapor IX is no different. Right out of the box they feel very comfortable, with no hotspots to report. One of the highlights is how soft the upper is and it provides a gentle stretch across the forefoot while keeping your entire foot securely in place. You might notice that it creases in parts as you flex your foot to a 90 degree angle, showing how pliable the material is. Taking them out of the box, I questioned whether the updated soleplate would cause any problems but thankfully it didn’t. There is plenty of flex and the new black region doesn’t take away from that in anyway. All in all, an extremely easy boot to bring into play.

Dimpled Upper

Obviously, the one thing that has changed between the Vapor VIII and the Vapor IX is the upper. On the VIII, we were treated to a suede like finish that provided excellent natural touch on the ball. The negative was the fact that it scuffed so easily. Well, this time around Nike has gone with a smooth synthetic material that is definitely minus the suede feel. Instead, the addition of a dimple effect coats the surface. It is almost like Tiger Woods had a stake in the design of this latest boot, and he insisted the same surface texture used on his golf balls (that can travel well over 300 yards) should be used to help Cristiano Ronaldo kick the ball as far. Ok, so it has less to do with Ronaldo breaking the longest soccer ball kick in the world, but it does play off the overall aerodynamics of the boot. See the “Performance” section to find out what I actually think of it…..

Vapor IX Dimpled Upper

Vapor IX Dimple Detailing

Vapor IX Nike Detailing

Nike Detailing

The debut colorways come in a Fireberry and Sunset, with both offering their own unique illuminating shade. I had the opportunity to test out the Fireberry version and have to admit that they look a lot better in person than I expected them to. The transition from a Pink Flash forefoot to a Purple heel works very effectively. In terms of branding, “NIKE” is printed along the inner forefoot, in a very visually significant area. It is simply part of Nike’s regular attempts to have their boots spotted, but it does have a seemingly negative effect from the beginning according to feedback from other players. I’ve noticed it has started to blend in and become less significant over time.

In-Game Performance

It can be risky for players to fork out big bucks on new releases, especially when they are new and there is little details on their performance. Well, let me be the first to tell you that Nike has taken this boot in the right direction and produced a winning package. The dimpled upper is a real winner, well the Teijin microfiber is and I’m tagging the dimples on to that! It offers a really soft touch and almost has an elasticity about it. When touching the ball, you get a slightly padded feel but it definitely doesn’t take away from the natural feel you want while dribbling. I’m of the opinion that the dimples are there to add definition and effect rather than any aerodynamic benefits (as some have stated) On a golf ball, dimples work as the ball travels through the air at 200mph. I’m not sure how that would transpire onto a boot at 20mph!

Now, there is one area where I do have concern and is worth highlighting. When the Vapor VIII was released my big concern was with the actual blade design on the soleplate. They felt sharp and I had concerns over player safety. This time around, the blades don’t feel as sharp and it seems like Nike might have adjusted things ever so slightly. But as a result, I definitely noticed some drag along the surface as I looked to back pedal. When I reference “surface” here, I am talking about artificial pitches. There is no doubt that 50% of players wearing them will be playing on an AG surface, so it is worth noting. On natural grass, there was no similar issue and I wouldn’t raise any concern if you are lucky enough to play on real pitches.

Vapor IX Soleplate

Nike Vapor IX Upper

How do they Fit?

Absolutely true to size, with a little extra breathing room along the sides – something we haven’t seen with previous Nike releases. This is a boot that will suit a lot more players size requirements in my opinion. If sizing and width has proven the downfall in your relationship with Vapors, these might be worth considering.

Compared to the Vapor VIII

There are a lot changes between both boots, but it is difficult to determine if they are better or worse. For example, I was actually a fan of the suede textured upper featured on the Vapor VIII and loved how they felt on the ball, but there was the problem of scuffing, which they did very easily. This new release offers something completely different, with a smoother finish and a the ability to offer players with a slightly wider fit something more comfortable. Performance wise they are pretty equal and I really can’t pick one that is better over the other.

Critics Notes

I don’t think Nike has perfected the actual blade design – if Sir Alex Ferguson got his hands on the designer, he would probably strangle him! They are still slightly sharp and I definitely had some concerns in the drag they caused while back pedaling. Also, I’m personally not a huge fan of the colorways used and the Nike text that runs along the inside of the boot. It comes as part of a Nike release, but I will be watching out and hoping for slightly less obscure designs to come!

Pick Up Your Pair >>

The Skinny Summary

Highlight: Nike take a new approach to the Vapor range by redesigning the upper and materials used, with a speed-controlled, dimple textured upper offering a pretty unique visual effect.
Category: Lightweight and  designed for explosive speed (in Nike’s words)
Weight: 6.6oz – the lightest Vapor to date.
Would I Buy Them: Pending the right colorway, I would invest in a pair to wear.
Player Position: I feel like there is enough about this boot to suit most players right throughout the field. But, realistically they are better suited for attacking players who thrive on dribbling and taking defenders one on one.

About Bryan Byrne

The mastermind behind the revolution that is SoccerCleats101. Bryan started this website back in 2008 and has been testing boots on a daily basis ever since. Check out our About Page for more details on Bryan and the website.

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72 comments

  1. The syntax used in the majority of this review is awkward. And also, there are some minor typographical errors.

      • I did! Where are my manners, I still enjoyed reading it, nonetheless.

        • <comma splice> "Where are my manners? I still enjoyed . . ."
          😉

          Seriously, though, I am thrilled with the light weight and incredible feel of my Vapor VIII boots. If these IX are a bit more forgiving in the width, I'm game for a pair. I'm extremely lightweight for my height, so the thin blades are perfect for me to be able to penetrate the turf at 120 lbs. My only real trouble is on defensive play where coming in straight forward on moderately moist ground. As I tend to keep the toes up a bit, the blades in the rear do little to bring me to a quick stop compared to a broader spike.
          I too value style, and I'll be eagerly waiting to see if they have some different color options.

          Great Review!

          • Definitely a better option in terms of width, this offers a more padded feel on the ball compared to the slightly tacky feel of the Vapor VIII. Maybe a Blackout version with silver detailing – that would be nice!

    • You started the second sentence with "And", your opinion is irrelevant.

  2. I bought these a few weeks ago, and they are the most comfortable Vapors I have worn yet. The upper is amazing, it almost feels like you are slipping your foot into a tight baloon or something. It's hard to describe, but it is AWESOME! You still get that "pop" you expect when shooting from previous Vapors. In my opinion MUCH better and comfortable than the Vapor VIII. I could do without the "NIKE" on the instep though.

    Excellent review!

    • I agree with you about the upper, it is very difficult to describe how it feels…but I think you are pretty close when you say "tight balloon"!

      • It seems that the Platinum/Green/Black version has a different upper compared to the other two colorways. It looks like it lacks the dimples the other two have but has a "leather-like" material instead. Any thoughts as to what the difference in comfort and touch would be between the two types of uppers? I was planning on getting the pair in Crimson/Sunset but I'm pretty skeptical given that this will be my first pair of vapors. I've had synthetic versions of the F50 and I hated it. I usually stick with leather boots. I've been looking for that "balloon-like" fit as mentioned above. Thoughts?

        • The Platinum has a smooth feel compared to the dimple versions. It is difficult to say how much difference there is in terms of touch and control, but the overall performance of the boot is going to be extremely similar. I'd recommend the Crimson version as a suitable option, even it is your first pair of Vapors. Just make sure you get the right size and you should be fine.

        • I wore the F50i's for a while and kept switching back and forth between those and the Vapor IV's just due to the weight. I did like how the upper on the F50i would stretch and mold to your foot ( almost like the Vapor 9). I really suggest you go try on the Vapor 9's. I tried on both the Orange ones ( which I now own ) and the Silver ones. The silver pair were more like a leather boot and would probably have some stretch to them over time like the Vapor 8's did.

  3. Hey Bryan. Great Review as always. Personally I usually wear Pirma's because they are a great performance option at an affordable price. I will definitely be wearing a new pair this year. However, this year is my last year at the club and highschool level and I am looking to play in college. So this year I decided I would treat myself to a nice pair of boots. What I would like to know is if these fit similar to the Nike Tiempo Legend IV? Thank you.

  4. Am I the only one who though these were slightly long? I went down a half size.

  5. hey im currently using CTR360 ( the first Version) but they slow down my game . Ive always been on the lookout for a shoe that gives me that raw barefoot( well close to that ) experience . im flat ( planus) footed and yea my feet are wide. do u think these shoes are for me :/

    • Close to it – the upper almost feels like a rubber balloon across your foot, with a little extra padding thanks to the dimpled texture. In terms of width, probably the most forgiving of any Vapor to date, but they are still more of a medium/wide fit.

  6. Hey Bryan, would consider these boots a safe chose for Midfield players with a lot of pace (does the upper give good protection from harsh tackles?)

  7. Anyone else finding these run a tiny bit larger to size?

  8. I feel that the Vapor 8 shoe notably the victory one is unbeatable to date. I have a pair myself…….In reality I am a defender but I am regularly called on to support my teammates attacks in other words, strike. So what shoes would you recommend for me? Vapor 8,9 or Hypervenom or any others???

    Sincerely,
    Me

  9. Do the Nike Mercurial vapor IX's seem durable?

  10. Hi Bryan can you do a review of the Platinum Vapor IX? That pair seems like the perfection: texture of the VIII and comfort of the IX?

  11. do you recommend these or the under armour blur carbon iii? and great reveiw

  12. YES PLEASE! And how about reviewing the AG versions? Looks like nike revised the AG soleplate for the new mercs.

  13. Bryan- im looking for a pair of boots and i dont know if i should get these vapors or the Nike CTR360 Maestri III FG. i play midfield buy the way, with kinda wide feet… thanks

    • Midfielders will generally find the CTR360 to be a better option as they have the extra bonus of pass and control zone, whereas the Vapor is designed to be more of a direct speed boot.

  14. Are they wide

  15. Bryan, I thinking of getting these shoes because my tiempos are really tight. Should I get them half a size bigger or stay with the same size. Please respond.

  16. Great Review as always!
    I was wondering if the vapor IX would stretch? The shoe is a little tighter than I prefer and wanted to know if I should move up a size or not. I do like the tight fit and I've only wore the shoes inside once for about 5 minutes. This is the first time I've tried the synthetic shoes so I need help!

    Thanks

    • Steve –
      You won't get very much stretch out of this synthetic material, so if it is tight to play in I definitely recommend moving up a half size. Definitely better to be on the safe side than have them being uncomfortable to wear in games.

  17. My feet are 10cm wide can I have them or will it be to tight?

  18. Which one is better Vapor 9 or vapor 7? and why?

  19. Do these fit similar to the tiempo legends as in true to size?

    • A very different fit, but it is primarily relates to the materials used in the upper. These have a slightly longer fit compared to the Tiempo. I wore a size 9US in both, the Tiempo was slightly tight, the Vapor offered just a little bit of extra space.

  20. Hi there guys – I'm really considering buying a pair of Vapor IXs in the new CR7 colourway. I'm currently using the CTR360 trequartista IIIs, but I'm not liking them as much as previous vapours. I have a relatively slim foot, but I'm unfortunately flat-footed. My favourite pair of boots had to be my Vapor VII miracles – they fit like a charm right out of the box and never gave me a day of trouble. The CTR360s occasionally hurt my feet – any thoughts as to if I might have any trouble with these? I'm probably going to be moving up a tier to get the proper Vapor IX, so I was wondering if you had anything I should be concerned about.

    • These offer a slightly tighter fit across the forefoot but also provide a little extra width, which makes them different to the CTR360. vs the Trequartista, these are a better boot hands down, so I'd imagine the performance difference you will notice to be +10 times more improved!

  21. How do you feel about the hypervenom phantoms vs. the vapor ix ?

  22. hey i was looking to get these in the leather finish if i currently wear a 9.5 in the predator lz should i go with a 10 for these?

  23. Do you find the dimpled upper on these cleats to be at all slippery? I’m a little concerned that I won’t be able to get any grip on the ball, especially when it’s wet out. Also, how is the durability on these? One last thing, is the shooting and barefoot feel on these as good as it was on the vapor viii cr7? Thanks for any help

    • It is sort of the opposite – the dimple upper adds a little extra grip on the ball since there is more definition. A smooth upper would probably offer less direct control on the ball. The Vapor VIII offered a different type of feel on the ball since it had that thin lightweight feel, there is more of a padded effect on these – although there is still a very natural feel on offer.

  24. Hi Bryan,
    Have you had any durability issues with this vapor 9 similar to the vapor 8? Thanks in advance!

    • None really, they have held up really well, which is nice considering the type of performance offered by the upper! Versions with white in the colorway tend to scuff, so that would require some cleaning.

    • I've had the two rear studs crack on boot of my standing boot when kicking. Had to send them back to get a refund. will see how they hold up!

  25. Hey there, I’ve been reading your reviews for a long time now and by now, I can say that I’m a fan :). I’m looking to buy a new pair of cleats really soon, but I just can’t decide whether to buy the Hypervenom Phantom or the Vapor IX. In terms of their performances, I love both of them, but what I’m concerned with the most is the durability. I’ve seen many comments on the Internet saying that they have problems with the upper separating from the sole-plate of the Vapor IX. So which cleats do you think has the better durability? Thanks in advance. (PS: I have average to slightly wide feet.)

    • The only real durability issue lies with the Vapor IX, where people have had problems with the back blades breaking off. This is a very limited issue. Separation is going to happen with most boots over an extended period, especially with uppers that are thin. Both offer their own benefits, and it will be down to whether you want a boot advertised for explosive speed or pure agility. No matter which you choose, you will like them!

  26. Brian,

    How do the FG versions of the Vapor IX perform/held up on artificial grass?
    Are they durable?
    And what is your favourite football boot ever?

  27. Hi Bryan i play as an attacking midfielder and i have flat feet and i would like to know which is better for flat feet adizero f50 micoach leather 2 or the nike vapor ix?

  28. I was looking to get hypervenom phantoms and i wear a 10 in mercurial but i have inserts in them, do the hypervenoms run same size as the mercurials or should i get half size smaller or half size larger

  29. I was wondering what the difference is between Royal Blue tipped cleats and red tipped cleats?

  30. I have struggled to fit into these boots. I also find that it is a bit loose & it’s hard to really put my foot through the ball.

  31. hey Bryan, a little late commenting, but I thought I'd ask anyway, this year I want to try out mercs, customizing them on nike id, and i'm just wondering if these dimpled boots are better than the leather grain. Also if I will get a season or two out of them without them ripping.

    • Nike has done a great job of making the synthetic upper feel natural on the ball, and the dimples add a little extra texture/grip as you dribble. So I would chose them over the leather grain version.

  32. Miss the old vapors.

  33. Are the fg studs work on ag studs.? Because I play on both ag and fg and I don’t want to buy two versions of the same boot in one season.

  34. bought these and the back two studs broken off within 2 months. want to buy another pair but afraid the same thing might happen.

  35. So these fit me exactly the same as the F50 leathers. I wear a size 11 in both and my toes are really really close to the end when standing in both. But I don't understand why all the reviews I read about these saying they take no time to break in. They took me at least 3 – 45 minute training sessions and 3 – 90 minute games before the sole plate started loosening up and the toe box started opening up. They have a very different feel after they've been loosened up, but it definitely took longer than the end of a 90 minute match. And I still feel like they could break in some more. Not that its not a normal or bad process, but every thing I've read says different.

    Overall, for someone who normally prefers natural leather, I'm happy with them.

  36. It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of information. I am satisfied that you
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  37. You pen equal everything is at the philosophical
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  38. Sir Alex only allowed studs – no blades allowed at Man U

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