For those that don’t have the luxury of splurging on the top market releases, the performance of second tier options becomes extremely important. Nike are well aware of that and the Vapor’s little brother has continually been recognized as one of the best back-up releases on the market. You might be familiar with names like Talaria or Miracle, this time around in the ever changing named silo we are treated to the Nike Mercurial Veloce. It is a boot that offers speed and efficient performance at a pretty decent price point. All in the sake of boot science, we have picked up a pair in the Sunset colorway and have been competitively testing and comparing them over the past few weeks.
For those interested in a pair, there are several colorways available at Soccer.com.
Seriously, these boots look and feel extremely similar to how the Vapor IX did when I unboxed them. It really is uncanny and Nike has done a great job of mimicking the more expensive release. There are some differences but most are very slight. I’m interested to compare how the upper on those competes against the Vapor.
It is pretty typical for second-tier releases to break in pretty easily and the same is true with these, even though they are specifically designed to be a speed boot. Players shouldn’t experience many problems with these as Nike has done a great job of padding them out in the right areas while managing to keep them light. The upper is soft and has a faux leather feel that produces a glove like fit after only a few wears. It is a Teijin microfiber, the same found on the Vapor IX, except this version doesn’t feature ACC technology. The soleplate is plenty flexible and doesn’t cause any discomfort. Something I am a fan of is the ankle lining, which sort of folds into the ankle and creates a tight fit, sitting just under the ankle bone. Nothing else important to note here.
How do I put this without the boots sounding boring? They work effectively. That is it. They fit and do what you need on pitch without producing any problems. But the real key to this release is the fact that they hit the heights of mid-tier releases by providing a competitive level performance for all players.
The upper is soft, supple and definitely has a high end feel about it. Nike again use a Teijin microfiber that is lined with a light felt underneath. It provides a nice cushioned feel on the ball, especially since it has that unique and extremely unusual looking dimple effect. There is no real technology employed and the strategy behind using the dimple upper is really vague. Nike has mentioned it makes the boot more streamlined and they have mentioned the whole “golf ball” thing. But I don’t see it adding any aerodynamic effect. Instead, it seems to be more about a different type of first touch and control.
In terms of the soleplate, Nike has stuck it out with the same soleplate seen on the Miracle III. I mentioned on that review that there proved to be some drag as you back pedaled. Again, the same was true with these to an extent on artificial surfaces. There was no drag on natural surfaces, but it seems like they might stick a little more on AG pitches. In saying that, it wasn’t nearly as noticeable this time around.
One final note that relates to the soleplate. Even though I was extremely pleased with how pliable and comfortable the soleplate is, I noticed a little divot right near the toes bend. With a little investigating, this turns out to be the endpoint of three inner grooves that line the soleplate. It hasn’t caused any problems in terms of comfort or performance, but I am wondering if it will prove troublesome in terms of durability down the line. Something worth noting and I will update if anything new evolves.
Compared to the Mid-Tier Market
Where Adidas fall short with their second-tier releases, Nike excels. Actually, let me rephrase that. Adidas look to produce second tier releases that are durable and offer plenty of padding for extra comfort (check out my thoughts on the Adidas F30). Nike, on the other hand, look to reproduce releases that mimic the top-tier release and the emphasis is on matching the performance at a lower price point. If your top tier release is lightweight and designed for speed, your second tier should look to hold the same properties…correct? Adidas fail with the F50 to F30 transition whereas Nike do a pleasant job of giving players on a budget a much more comparable option to chose from. Compared to the rest of the market and its tier, this boot really is a winner.
Veloce VS Nike Vapor IX
There really is little to differentiate the Veloce and the Vapor IX. In fact, I bet if I offered these to players not familiar with the Vapor range, they would find it difficult to state which one was more expensive. For the experts, the ACC sign on the tongue and the soleplate employed are the keys to differentiate both. I’m extremely satisfied with how Nike has approached the upper and visually, everything about both versions is identical – from the Swoosh right down to the Nike hit on the side.
Next up is first touch, and the Vapor IX upper has a slightly more tacky, thin feel compared to the smoother and slightly thicker Veloce surface. Feeling the inside of both boots, the you get a felt material under the hood of the Veloce rather than a thinner single Teijen material on the Vapor IX.
When it comes to the soleplate, the overall design is similar and the blades are positioned in a very similar fashion. Primary differences include hollowed out blades on the heel of the Vapor IX and second, the blades on the Veloce are actually slightly longer in width, which means they contact more surface area.
In summary, the performance of the Vapor is much more effective but I have to give props to what the Veloce has to offer. In terms of value, the Veloce is top class and being honest, I’d probably choose 2 pairs of them over 1 pair of Vapors!
How do they Fit?
In the exact same fashion as the Vapor IX, absolutely true to size, with a little extra breathing room along the sides. For players who have had problems size wise with an Mercurial boots in the past, note that these have a more natural fit that will suit more players.
Dang, this is actually a tough one and I think I am going to have to bow out without a concrete criticism. I will obviously be watching the soleplate issue (as seen above) and if you want a more personal opinion, I’ll admit to not being a huge fan of the colorways used. The Nike text that runs along the lateral side of the boot is also slightly obtrusive. But outside of that, I haven’t found anything problematic.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: An extremely useful mid-tier release that offers players a competitive lightweight package, designed for speed, without the extreme high-end price.
Category: Fall into both the economical and speed categories.
Weight: A really impressive 7.8oz. Light!
Would I Buy Them: I would and I rate these as one of the better mid-tier boots currently on the market. Well worth considering if you need a new pair of boots.
Player Position: This is the ideal option for attacking minded players. I really don’t see them appealing to defenders or players who need to get stuck into hefty challenges.
What are your guys thoughts on the Veloce and would you wear a pair?