Today, Nike introduced their second signature “What the Mercurial?” boot, 20 years after the line debuted. This version follows on from the initial 2016 release, but in a very different way. Rather than focusing on vibrant colors and extreme visual effect, this version offers distinctive nods to past boots and a celebration of iconic Mercurial elements through classic styling.
With the new Mercurial Superfly 360 and Flyknit as its base, the boot begins life at the pinnacle of football innovation. Past references on the boot include the wave graphic of R9’s original 1998 Mercurial, the swoosh placement of CR7’s Black Gala, and the 2015 What The Mercurial heel lettering that combined four previous Mercurial logos.
Though simple in its monochromatic aesthetic, the What the Mercurial also advances the Mercurial silo’s lineage of progressive graphic application. This is not your standard design boots, there is actually a lot of tech behind the process, and Nike has jumped beyond any preconceived expectation in the process of creating them.
1. The Mercurial 360’s Flyknit yarns have the capacity to be molded into a variety of textures and shapes.
2. This allowed designers to create a 2D graphic incorporating icons of the Mercurial lineage and translate it into a 3D element of the boot’s design.
3. The 3D design is created through a mold that heats and presses the design into the Mercurial 360 knit.
So, in reality, Nike went into releasing this Superfly 360 Elite knowing they could manipulate the upper due to its fundamental characteristics. Being able to create unique designs thanks to an upper that can be graphically changed is a huge game changer! Think of the crazy new patterns they will be able to place on future releases.
Significance: Celebrating 20 years of Nike’s Mercurial silo, the 2018 ‘What the Mercurial?’ pays homage and breaks new ground.
Pairs Released: 1,998 pairs of What the Mercurial boots will be available. 20 pairs will release at NikeLab Milan on March 8, while the remaining will launch March 12 on nike.com and through select retailers.
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