Nike Mercurial Vapor X – The Complete Review

Nike Mercurial Vapor X

With all the high publicity attention geared toward their advanced Mercurial Superfly release, Nike snuck the Vapor X in under the radar and set them on all out attack mode at this summer’s World Cup. A sneaky, but very smart move given it’s success to date!

For its tenth incarnation, a fresh new approach was taken and the Swoosh created something just a little bit different. It has less to do with materials or visual appearance, and more to do with modifications and that enclosed tongue design. Yes, this latest version of the Vapor is officially tongueless! As opposed to other brands that have tried this, Nike has pulled it off spectacularly well thanks to some specific cuts, folds and lace placement.

Added to all that, they also redesigned the soleplate and brought back some more dependable elements.Find out more about that below, as we feed you our review and performance breakdown of the Nike Vapor X.

You can find the latest Nike Vapor X colorways at Soccer.com.

Initial Reaction

Loving the overall design of these boots, with their bright Red upper and gold swoosh detailing. The tongueless design adds a fresh new dynamic, as does the lightly textured microfiber upper. Then there is the fact Nike reversed their two-blade heel design – you have to wonder what played a role in that decision?

Nike Vapor X Review

Breaking In and Comfort

Out of the box, Nike has again pulled off a very comfortable boot, with an extremely flexible design throughout. It is almost like they have an army of testers who break in your boots before they put them in the box! The soleplate has a perfect bend through the forefoot, and although not the softest we have seen in the Vapor series, the upper is still moldable from first wear. Overall, you are getting a natural feeling boot from day one.

Pending you have the right size, this is also a boot that shouldn’t cause any discomfort as the heel is perfectly padded and the inner lining of the boot extremely smooth. A perfect test for a boot prior to breaking them in is slipping them on without socks to see if there is any area that rubs or just doesn’t feel as smooth as it should.

In terms of the soleplate and stud configuration, it is important to note that Nike has reversed its two-blade heel design and this boot features a slightly modified 4-blade. Performance is ever so slightly altered and there is definitely a different feel on impact, even compared to other 4-blade heel designs on the market. What makes these different is the unusual round shape or placement of the blades on either side, following the contours of the soleplate. Personally, I didn’t find this to be problematic but I have put out some feelers to find out how other players have reacted to the design.

Vapor X Studs

Vapor X Enclosed Lacing

Tongueless Design

In the history of boot designs, no one has truly pulled off a tongueless design effectively. Lotto and their Zhero Gravity is the closest anyone has got, but even they didn’t provide the right type of fit. But then there is the Nike development team, who obviously took note of prior designs before pulling these off in spectacular fashion. Yes, this is what you call a definite winner!

Right across the forefoot, the tongue is welded down with the only separation existing up around the ankle. This produces a very tight fit but one that is easy to work with since there is some flexibility through the ankle region. Pulling them on takes a second, but they prove to be a very compatible fit. The key is loosening up the laces prior to putting them up, that way you allow the microfiber upper an opportunity to mold to your foot shape before you seal them completely up. Out of the box, one of the first thing I noticed was a crease right down the center of the boot. Thankfully, this is completely removed as you put the boots up and your forefoot squeezes up against the upper material.

Lacing Structure

Looking at the boots in hand, there seems to be laces going into and coming out of several different holes. It is a big jumble! Well, the reason behind that is a new lacing system that brings the upper super tight in against your foot. Let me rephrase that; the boots are already super tight against your foot, but this lacing design brings the entire structure of the boot in tight around your foot. The best part is that you get to determine how tight you want the fit to be!

Basically, on either side of the faux-tongue, the lace goes in through one eyelet and then it comes back out on the same side through another eyelet. From there it crosses back to the other side and repeats the pattern. In other words, there is a double eyelet on each side and this increases the amount of material the lacing is using to pull the upper tighter.

Vapor X Lacing System

Inside the Nike Vapor X

Vapor X Upper

In-Game Performance

We have covered the tongueless design, lacing structure and soleplate, so the final remaining area of performance that I want to focus on is the upper material and its texture. The synthetic microfiber used on this latest version of the Vapor X is very different to what we have seen before. You get a very standard thin feel and a soft inner lining, but this time around the outer coating of the boot features an added level of dimension. As a result, I found that the upper material is not as pliable as what we saw on the Vapor VIII and IX models. Is that a negative? Well it depends how you look at it.

What makes it different is that outer coating,  with a much more textured feel on offer. On the ball and as you dribble, you get an additional level of grip that provides a different experience for players. Rubbing your hand along the surface, it feels slightly more tacky and you could compare it to having an almost very light sandpaper feel. The end result is a material that tops my all-time favorite Vapor list to date. Yes, I am a definite fan of what Nike has done to the upper. But, don’t mistake that for them being my favorite Vapor to date, that one is still up for debate. It is simply the textured upper that adds a completely new element to the normally smooth Vapor and provides an upgraded experience on the ball. Whether controlling along your instep of shooting along the strikezone, the material features the same feel throughout and is a definite plus for pacey wingers and forwards that like to take defenders on.

Finally, when it comes to striking shots, you get a pretty standard feel compared to all prior models of Vapor. Even with the textured upper on these boots, the material is still super thin and you are not going to notice any substantial difference as you drive the ball. Given that there are a slew of top class strikers wearing these, you can be confident in the fact that they are going to work pretty well as you put yourself in attack mode!

Vapor IX vs X

Superfly vs Vapor X

Both the Vapor and Superfly are part of the Mercurial series although there is not a great deal of similarities between both boots. Yes, they are both intended for speed and feature a tongueless design, but that is about where they split apart performance wise. The upper material is completely different, with a synthetic on the Vapor compared to a highly advanced micro-textured FlyKnit on the Superfly. It actually leaves the Superfly sitting as a closer compatriot to the Magista Obra than the Vapor X!

I’m sure there are a lot of players stuck trying to decide which boot they should get, the important thing is to research both to understand what they have to offer and who they are intended for. My advice is this; sometimes simple is better!

How do they Fit?

Once you slip them on, the Vapor X has a very much true to size fit length wise and the spacing along the toe line is ideal. Width wise, they are very different and offer a naroow fit. That is pretty much in line with previous Vapor models, but the difference with these lies in the tongueless design and the fact that they are not going to have much give to offer. As a medium-wide fit, I found them to be comfortable although the material around my little toe fits very snug. Basically, wider fitting players beware!

Ultimately, they are a snug fitting boot, right around the foot. From a personal perspective, it is something I very much love and it really sets them apart from other boots on the market. If you enjoy snug fitting boots, these get top marks!

Nike Vapor X Fit

Critics Notes

This is a very restrictive boot with an extremely snug fit. This, of course, will prove to be beneficial to a lot of players and I am one of them. But, there will be a section of players that are on the fence and not sure if the tongueless design will work for them. Before excluding yourself, I definitely recommend trying on a pair prior to purchasing to ensure they suit your style. Where you can usually generalize a boots fit, it is not the case in this instance!

To date, there are two colorways to choose from in the Vapor X series. Find all the latest available on Soccer.com, or you can take on a pair of Veloce and do some customization through the NikeID process.

The Skinny Summary

Highlight: A high performing, lightweight Vapor release with a twist – Nike has given these a tongueless design and perfectly brushed, textured upper. Fantastic snug fit right around the foot.
Category: All-out lightweight Speed.
Weight: They officially check in at 6.4oz, which is slightly lighter than the Vapor IX.
Would I Buy Them: This is one of my favorite Vapor releases to date and I’d have no reservations about splashing out on a pair.
Player Position: Definitely more suited to attacking styled players, from pacey wingers and crafty attacking mids to strikers who like to dribble with the ball.

What is your take on this latest Vapor release and are you a fan of the tongueless design? Hit up the comments or find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Category: Product #: Regular price:$ (Sale ends ) Available from: Condition: Good ! Order now!
Reviewed by on. Rating:
Categories: Cleat reviews, Latest, Nike

Rating

16 out of 5
Comfort
16 out of 5
Performance
14 out of 5
Technology
18 out of 5
Hollywood Effect
20 out of 5
Speed

Total

4.2
4.2 out of 5

About Author

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.

Comments

  1. brazilianloser
    brazilianloser 31 July, 2014, 14:05

    Now if they would just hurry up and put some more options on the market other than the pink and blackout that still not available through etailers around the US… Season about to start and still waiting on this boot.

    Reply this comment
  2. Greg
    Greg 31 July, 2014, 23:41

    Hey Bryan, how do these fare on astro-turf, being blades and all?

    Reply this comment
    • Wong Kang Jie
      Wong Kang Jie 1 August, 2014, 00:30

      this boots are not recommended to be used on astroturf, especially sandy astroturf. should you use this on artificial turf, you should only use this, or any other FG boots, on high quality turf, which means those with the rubber chrome or pellets that always get into your boots.

      Reply this comment
    • soccercleats101
      soccercleats101 Author 4 August, 2014, 12:13

      In general, it is not recommended, but we all know players will wear them on the surface. I am one of those players and they worked out effectively. Some lateral drag because of the blades, but overall they were comfortable and after maybe 5 sessions on the surface, they still look pretty new.

      Reply this comment
  3. Jon
    Jon 1 August, 2014, 08:08

    Bryan,

    What IS your favorite vapor release??

    Reply this comment
    • soccercleats101
      soccercleats101 Author 4 August, 2014, 12:15

      These ones are up there, love the textured feel to the upper. Vapor III and the Vapor VIII are also on the list!

      Reply this comment
  4. LKK
    LKK 1 August, 2014, 18:48

    Thank you for the great review. Did you ever try the AG Vapor? Any thought/comment about it?

    Reply this comment
    • soccercleats101
      soccercleats101 Author 4 August, 2014, 12:15

      Not the X edition, but I have worn AG Vapors in the past with much success. The Nike AG soleplate is a top performer.

      Reply this comment
      • Greg
        Greg 8 August, 2014, 00:01

        spent an hour today breaking in Superfly's in AG. The soleplate is amazing on turf, comfortable and very responsive to chops and turns. The brio cables hold the foot in place as nothing I've experienced before and the fly-nit part where the tongue usually is, stretches out really well to accommodate my thicker feet. Over-all very pleased with the purchase. Thank you Bryan for the pointers!

        Reply this comment
  5. Jose
    Jose 2 August, 2014, 11:15

    I love this new Vapor. Tried it on and my foot is just and I mean just a touch too wide in the mid-foot for the comfort. Otherwise this would have been my first pair of Vapors. I wish Nike.

    Reply this comment
    • Greg
      Greg 2 August, 2014, 14:18

      did you try the superflys? everyone says they are a little more accomodating. Slightly different last and upper give a little more.

      Reply this comment
  6. Jacob
    Jacob 3 August, 2014, 21:17

    I had these cleats for a few weeks, and returned them after only using them to to a tear in the upper, a chipped stud, and the fact that the tongue turned all of my white socks pink! Also they are very loose around the ankle, as it is tight around the top of your foot, but then there is nothing to pull the ankle/heel part tighter to the bone.

    Reply this comment
  7. David
    David 5 August, 2014, 16:38

    Seen many cracked soleplate on the superfly iv, would you consider the vapor x a better deal?

    Reply this comment
    • soccercleats101
      soccercleats101 Author 6 August, 2014, 20:38

      I haven't experienced or seen cracking with the soleplate of Vapor series, so my answer is that you should be fine wearing them with no problems.

      Reply this comment
  8. mike
    mike 9 August, 2014, 13:14

    Does anyone know if there is going to be anymore colorways(besides the pink and blackout?) released?

    Reply this comment
  9. the enforcer 89
    the enforcer 89 19 September, 2014, 17:35

    I just bought a pair, and I love them. excellent grippy texture soft material, and the std config is solid. The only think i don't really enjoy (it makes no difference to the boot) is that the 1st eyelet (which isnt a double eyelet) kind of sticks out from the side of the boot, unless you tie them really tight. (see pic 9) It makes absolutely no difference to the performance of the boot, its just an aesthetic. And if anyone wanted to know, they are very similar to the vapor 9 leather edition (the reflective pack ie), which were my favorite shoes of all time.

    Reply this comment
  10. xtainn
    xtainn 22 October, 2014, 22:03

    Is it a good idea to wear Vapor X FG on AG?

    Reply this comment
  11. zeeshan
    zeeshan 25 October, 2014, 10:55

    Bryan what size are you and what size did you buy?
    I'm a size 11 and previous vapour I bought size 11 and they're fine, would it be fine now with vapour x? I have wide feet aswell

    Reply this comment
    • soccercleats101
      soccercleats101 Author 25 October, 2014, 11:12

      I'm a 9US and wore a 9US for the review. As per above "As a medium-wide fit, I found them to be comfortable although the material around my little toe fits very snug. Basically, wider fitting players beware!"

      Reply this comment

Write a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*