At this stage, you have probably seen or read a lot about the latest Nike Mercurial Vapor release, which is in the form of an upgraded 2013 replica version. Basically, Nike has taken the current Vapor release and pasted a very iconic 1998 paint job onto it.
With a limited number available worldwide, only 1,998 pairs total, there is going to be a mass frenzy of people trying to secure their pair on May 8th. If there was such a thing as cyber wrestling, that would be the date that it would go down between soccer players. And I am sure there is going to be some disappointment when a slow internet connection or lack of release information leads to someone missing out. Note – we will have full release details listed on the 7th, don’t miss that post.
So, what really is different between the boots?
Over the past 15 years, Nike has steadily improved boot performance and the materials used in order to create a more streamlined product. If you look at the above images, you can see how the 2013 edition has been trimmed down into a more form fitting boot. Looking at the lacing system, you can see how it now sits closer to the foot and has more of a direct line down to the toe. The ankle region has also been re-sectioned and sits lower along the side of the ankle.
Then there is the obvious difference in the stitching. On the 1998 Mercurial Vapor, Nike splurged on creating a patterned stitch effect. It allowed the upper to fold and form to players feet. The modern day version doesn’t need that as the microfiber upper is thin and very flexible over the foot. Personally I also think it would rip apart if any stitching was placed through the ultra-thin material!
Next is the design and Nike has cleaned things up in this department. A new blast of Volt Yellow replaces the old-school yellow that helped detail the 1998 version, while the signature Swoosh also got a visual upgrade – increasing in size. I’m not certain that the design aspect has really captured the immediate attention to fans. Personally, I put that down to the stitching rather than the actual colors employed. The Vapor IX SE is more streamlined and visually they seem more modern. But, a lot of fans have aired there fondness of the old-school retro look.
Finally, the weight of the boot has dropped. When they were released, the Mercurial Vapor was seen to be a speed machine at 8.6oz and it literally paved the path for the entire range to be born. The current version weighs in at a mere 6.8oz, which is a weight point not many people would have found attainable back in 1998!
Again, for those interested in the range, make sure to come back on May 8th for a full list of places to buy.
Until then, tell us which version you like best and why!