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Nike Mercurial Miracle III – Boot Review

Nike Miracle III soccer cleats

As far as mid-tier boots go, you can’t get much better quality than the Nike Miracle III. In fact, I wouldn’t really consider them mid-tier because they can probably out perform not only past Miracles but a lot of Vapors too! They weigh in at a light 8.2oz, which is impressive seeing as the Vapor VII weighed in at 8oz!

Reviewing these bad boys has taken longer than originally expected. Many challenges arose along the way and testing was more complicated than it needed to be. The stud configuration made it so I was only able to test on some surfaces and field types. After one week of testing I ended up injuring my ankle, I wasn’t wearing them at the time but I’m sure that I would have hurt my ankle worse if I was testing out the Miracle III at the time. Never the less, I carefully kept on trucking and got testing done.

How They Compare to the Vapor VIII

When it comes to comparing a Mid-tier boot to the Top-tier version there is usually no contest as to which one has higher performance value, the top-tier always winning out. For me this is one of the exceptions to the rule. I’ve heard that many people have had their Vapor 8 fall apart after even just a few wears and even one person who needed to get stitches because he got gouged by the back blades of the boot. It might just be me but having a boot that can seriously maim someone is a negative.

I haven’t encountered any of these major negatives with the Miracle, the upper is holding up and the studs are much safer. You definitely get more protection and durability than the Vapor VIII because the upper is thicker (same suede texture) which is great trade-off. There are some things that you will miss out on though,  the lighter weight and the quirks of having the thinner upper which gives slightly better ball feel and flex to accommodate wider feet. I get a little more in-depth with how all the tiers compare to each other in my Tier Breakdown so check that out for more info. But over all if you want something that is like the Vapor VII and the Vapor VIII then the Miracle III is perfect. For more info on the Vapor VIII check out Bryan’s review.

Nike Miracle III Review

Nike Miracle III

Miracle III White

Break in Fit and Comfort

I was surprised to discover that they fit a half-size bigger than the Miracle II, so if you are a 9.5 in the Miracle II go for a size 9 in the III (or use the shoefitr application to find the right size for you). They also fit pretty narrow and don’t stretch all that much with wear. They have excellent arch support, personally I love this because of my feet are rather girly (high arches, narrow feet). Comfort wise I can wear them for 90 minutes of straight activity on the field without feeling like I need to switch to my go to boots, at times it feels like I’m wearing slippers. Break in time was nonexistent, you can wear them in-game straight out of the box so there are no problems with these boots comfort wise, far from it.

Traction and The Vexing Stud Configuration

This is where things get a little murky. These boots grip much better on some surfaces than others, I found that two-bladed studs in the back made for a unique (not in a good way) experience.

  • Artificial Turf:  I wore them for a total of five minutes on turf before calling it quits, that was the extent of the turf testing. Throughout the forefoot I got great traction on turf but the two heel blades made for a horrendous experience. The impact on my knees was too great and I knew I couldn’t turf test as long as I wanted to. I would never suggest using the Miracle III or the Vapor VIII on turf, it isn’t worth killing your joints over.
  • Firm Ground: This is where things got much better. All the studs cut and gripped into the ground very well and I never felt unstable. I made cuts and sharp turns in confidence and did notice that every stride was pretty smooth which is what they were going for by having two-bladed studs in the back, quicker penetration and release. They definitely performed better on firm ground than any other surface.
  • Soft ground and wet ground: Usually I have no problem with FG cleats on softer and wetter surfaces. As expected the Miracles performed as well on these surfaces as they did on firm ground but at times it felt like I was getting a bit bogged down. It was a little slower going on those surfaces but that is what the SG Pro version is for.
  • Hard Ground/ Grass & Dirt combo: This is where things get a little dangerous. One of the fields I test has rather short grass and it is next to impossible for the studs to really cut into the ground. I didn’t feel comfortable cutting or making sharp turns, there were more than a few incidents of minor ankle rolling. On the other field I did testing on that was more dirt than grass but the dirt was quite rich and had good consistency and I found that I enjoyed it almost as much as playing on firm ground. However a field of similar make up but with poorer quality dirt will be sure to roll ankles like crazy.

Nike Miracle III Upper

Nike Miracle Blades

The Bits and Pieces

I love the texture on the inside of the boot, my foot was comfortable and it kept everything in place, realistically they could have skipped or made it thinner to decrease the thickness of the upper but it would have been incomplete without it. The security of the upper is what really attracted me to them more than the Vapor VIII. What I especially love about them is their removable insole, I have to say it is my favorite insole so far. It is perforation and pretty thick, I would have to say it is thicker than the insole that came with the Pele 1962 and that had a pretty thick insole.

Staining of the Upper

I’ve never spent as much time trying to keep a boot looking clean as I have with these boots. The upper stains and scuffs like crazy! When Bryan said it stained I had no idea that he meant this badly. Bryan came up with a pretty decent way of cleaning the upper but I wanted to find my own way. Dirt comes off pretty easy, all it took was soap, water and some fine cleaning with a worn toothbrush. Any other staining was a completely different matter, I would use the soap, water, sponge and tooth-brush trick but I had to use alcohol swabs to get the more stubborn stains and marks (It actually made the blue dye in one of the swooshes run!). I never use harsh chemicals on my boots but I had to resort to diluted bleach at one point. At the moment I’ve managed to keep it  looking pretty fresh except for faint staining and some minor dinginess, it’s not really that easy to spot however.

Performance

When worn on the right surface they perform just like any top-tier boot. Ball feel was pretty crisp and the suede texture did add a bit of extra grip on the ball. It was a  comfort feeling the blades grip in the ground. I could hear the crunch as the studs cut into the grass and dirt which was very reassuring. Ripping shots and passing long balls felt great in them, I liked how they ball pinged off my foot. I got stepped on a few times and the upper took the brunt of it as it should, They are also holding up well. There are no signs of rips or tears which is good seeing as one of my friends had their V8 rip after a few games worth of wear. If the studs were more reliable these would be one of the top performing boots I’ve gotten to wear. Over all I found their performance enjoyable except on turf and harder ground.

Mercurial Miracle III

Nike Miracle Heel

Design and Colorway, One Sleek Looking Boot

I’ve had several people ask me why I chose this colorway and I have to say it is because it isn’t ugly. I did not know what color was the ugliest color until I saw the Mango colorway Nike concocted (slight exaggeration). I’ve really taken a liking to colorways with a blue/white combo and these look great and the name for the colorway sounds cool too (Sail/Soar=great name for a colorway). The only down side to the white color is that stains show up a little easier than on the Mango colorway but Mango is ugly so a few bad stains don’t really matter to me. I’m so mean to mango, I feel really bad now. I’m sorry Mango, people still like you even though I don’t. As far as the design goes I wish it had dual colors like they have had in the past but they look real slick with just the four dashes of color on the heel. Over all it is a good-looking boot.

Negatives

The staining of the upper was really disappointing but worse by far was the stud performance. Two bladed studs in the back for me wasn’t such a good idea, I want to be comfortable and confident wearing my boots on any surface where cleats can be worn as I usually am. I definitely couldn’t play confidently on hard ground or turf without fear of injuries, the fact that I rolled my ankles a few times while testing on  hard ground really got me down quite literally. I haven’t had that problem with any other boot I’ve tested, even the Pele Trinity with their Tripod stud configuration gave me no rolling issues, even though I expected it. Next time  Nike goes for an advanced stud configuration I hope they take into account the ankle. The Glide II and Victory II have the better stud configurations so I think I would have been safer in them. The fore foot traction was spot on however so no complaints there. Otherwise they were a superb mid/high tier boot.

Overall

These are great boots and are probably more reliable than the Vapor VIII and can out perform Vapors past. The only thing that miffed me off about them was the stud configuration. I’m sure because the Vapor VIII studs are sharper they cut into hard ground easier so the hard ground negative might not translate over to the top-tier. I’m sure if the studs were as sharp or if there were four studs on the heel then it would have performed much better. Also the scuffing and staining made the clean up job quite time-consuming, I’m sure eventually I will just give up on keeping them clean. So in the end they are well worth the money if you frequently play on firm ground or soft ground. It has been a strange experience testing these out and I hope I have many more strange testing experiences.

The Ratings!

Comfort: 75%
Performance: 68%
Technology Efficiency: 63%
Value: 69%

Total Score: 69%

About Jim Gauthier

Jim is a a licensed massage therapist with a vast knowledge of anatomy and injury. When he is not healing people with his magical abilities, Jim's goal is to provide everyday players with in-depth knowledge from an amateur players perspective. Find him on his Facebook Page for any personal questions or injury help!

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