It isn’t often that when I first encounter a boot I know how they are going to go over with me down the line. The Nike Victory IV and past versions of the Victory have been a staple boot for the recreation, youth and players on a budget for as long as they have been around. You’ll see at least one pair amongst every group of young players. The main selling points on this boot would be the flashy colors and the visual cues that we see in the Vapor IX. Also seeing the Vapor on the feet of the pros, namely Cristiano Ronaldo, drive the visual selling points home due to the similarity between the Victory and Vapor. But buyer beware, they are called economic or low tier releases for a reason.
I got the Victory IV in a size 9US in the Sunset/Total Crimson/Volt/Black colorway. I put it through its paces and have come out of testing weary but relatively unscathed. I tested it along side the Nike Miracle II for no better reason then to gauge the fit. The Miracle II is in a completely different class than the Victory, so there isn’t much to compare between the two.
Right out of the box my first reaction was audibly saying “Yuck!”. Not because of the colorway but because of the quality of the upper. On several sites it is described as being “Soft and supple synthetic leather, offers great ball feel, and dimpled finish for control”. The truth is that it is a “Rather tough and unforgiving walmart plastic upper that offers low grade ball feel with a dimpled finish that offers minimal control benefits.” The colorway is fresh though and it does look pretty sweet for a flashy boot. Orange boots stand out very well on the field. I also like the studs as I’m not fond of the two-studs-in-the-back approach we see in the Veloce and Vapor.
The tech is all mainly the dimpled feeling in the upper and the semi light weight. In wet conditions I didn’t experience the slippery upper feeling that I was expecting. There was definitely some grip going on. This was more because of the texture of the upper as any added texture would aide in ball control so there is something to this dimpled upper nonsense after all. They weigh in at a decent 8.4 oz which is nothing to whine about, the f10 weighs in at 9.4 oz so Nike is doing something that adidas should be with their own speed boot take downs.
These fit pretty true to size but because of the quality of the upper I would suggest going up half a size. I wore a 9 and they fit very well but I wouldn’t be complaining if I got a 9.5, the upper is very unforgiving so the extra bit of space would have been welcome. Width wise I would consider them average. They fit a bit bigger than the Miracle II and a bit narrower. Compared to the Miracle III, they fit the same lengthwise and width wise except the upper isn’t as flexible. Once again, I would consult the Shoefitr app before making an online purchase.
Break in and Comfort
When it came to break in I resorted to wearing them around with my cleatskins on when I ran errands and walked around the house. After a day and a half of everyday wear I felt like they were ready for a game. All throughout they pinched and hurt my feet and in game they only got worse before they got better. I usually double sock so when I got a blister right below the toe nail of my big toe I was rather miffed. The upper folds rather badly where it bends when running so with each stride the upper bit in at my toe. Even “after” break in this issue continued. The upper does improve with use but not by much, it would be wise to go up a half size if you are considering these. The soleplate gave me no issues throughout and comfort around the ankle, heel and midfoot was very decent. Everything else however was a pain, literally. There was no toe jamming so they were true length wise. I did take off one layer of socks to get the very little extra space and it did help a bit, it was almost bearable. It took a good 4 games, 5 training sessions and 2 days of walking them around in cleat skins to get them up to snuff. Even after that they weren’t really comfortable.
Performance and Durability
With break in being the way it was I wasn’t expecting much performance wise. Which is why I was surprised when I managed to put the ball in the back of the net my first game wearing them. The touch isn’t all that but the texture gives decent ball control, this is an instance where the texture of the upper makes up for the ball feel it gives. Controlling the ball felt good for the most part. The upper being rather unforgiving translates over to decent shots and good protection. The weight doesn’t really translate over to performance in the case of this boot. They would suite the casual player pretty well but not those who take themselves seriously as a player.
The inclusion of four studs on the heel instead of just two means that I was able to include testing on turf which left me with no complaints. The short studs in the forefoot are pretty well suited to the turf game. With the Miracle III I wasn’t able to use them on turf because the impact on my knees was too great and too noticeable for me to safely test them so the four studs really make a difference. On grass they perform just as well, but in wet conditions I found myself slipping and catching.
Durability is a minor concern, I’m expecting the portion of the upper that is folded in on itself will decide to split on me. However I don’t expect it to happen any time soon. I will be keeping my eye on it if I do continue to use them which is unlikely.
Frankly the biggest negative about the boot is the material they have employed in the upper. While the Victory III the upper was acceptable for a economic release, the Victory IV upper should be tossed into a compactor and abandoned. I know Nike has the ability to make an inexpensive upper, the Libretto upper is very decent, but the fact that I was barely able to make it through the break in period leaves me disappointed. Even the upper of the lowest tier in the vapor silo, the Vortex, is softer and more comfortable than what we see in the Victory IV. They have also dropped the Glide version with the Vapor IX so there is no stepping stone between the Veloce and the Victory. Having the dimpled texture wasn’t worth a very sub-par upper material. It made the whole experience uncomfortable. I would consider the upper material of the F10 over what we see here.
Nike is usually very solid with their mid and low tier releases. But with the Victory IV, they seemed to have dropped the ball for the most part. I would rather they be concerned with getting a passable upper than giving it the dimpled texture we see with the Vapor IX. I consider comfort to be more important than tech when it comes to low tier releases, and in this regard Nike have failed. In terms of performance however they do have something to offer. I might be persuaded to try them out again in a size 9.5 but for the most part my opinion won’t change. They might resemble the Vapor but the quality has been lost for the most part.
The Victory IV retails for $69.99 at soccer.com.
Technology Efficiency: 60%
Total Score: 47%