With the World Cup right around the corner, we wanted to pay a visit to one of the key boots Nike players will be wearing in Russia this Summer. Depending on where you read about them, they can be listed as the Superfly 360 Elite or just the Mercurial Superfly VI. Either way they are the same boot designed to celebrate 20 years of innovation in the Mercurial series, engineered for the fastest players in the game.
Visually, this is a boot that offers up all the trademarks of a signature Mercurial release. They are streamlined, lightweight and feature all the signature Nike tags you’d expect. But they also come with a lot more tech specs than we have seen on any previous edition. Here is what you need to know about the Superfly VI “Just Do It” edition.
If you want to jump into a pair of “Just Do It” Superfly, they retail for $274.99.
World Cup Ready
Released as part of the new Nike “Just Do It” pack, these are the boots that will be worn by Superfly players at the World Cup. Crafted to shine under the bright lights of the world’s biggest stage, the Just Do It Pack’s pearlescent, all-white upper strips away distractions. What that then leaves is a clean slate, you’re free to play on pure instinct.
There are several visual change-ups on this release that distinguish it from releases in the series to date. First, Nike has re-positioned the Swoosh, shifting it from covering the strike zone to sitting on the outside of the boot. This creates a much cleaner look and falls right in line with their “pure instinct” focus. The heel has also undergone a rapid transformation. Gone is the large M and “designed for speed” motif, with a much more simplified Mercurial design put in its place. The triangle will actually play a significant role at the World Cup, as Nike will fill each players with the specific colors of their national team flag. It will give every pair their own unique identifying mark, and instill a feeling of national pride!
In person, the detailing colors used by Nike are absolutely on point and turn these into real showstopper. A mix of Total Orange with a Silver Metallic finish on the swoosh contrasts very well. Underfoot, the Total Orange plate really stands out and makes them look a lot more dynamic.
Of course, the one issue with a release like this is keeping them clean! They are going to pick up their own unique shade of black after a few wears. Some people like to call it the shadow effect. Just note that if you want to keep them looking fresh, you will need to spend some time cleaning them after each wear!
Breaking In and Comfort
Starting out, these are not going to be a boot that provides immediate comfort. The upper material is stiff and you have to contend with the undulated soleplate. If or when you receive your pair to wear, I’d stress the importance of getting them out of the box and on your feet to walk around in, allow them to loosen up slowly. This is not a boot you are going to want to break into a game on first wear. Time will be key to getting the most out of them long-term. Allow for the materials to gently stretch over a few training sessions.
Out of the box, I was surprised with the over stiff feel of the boots and it took a little bit of work to get them on for the first time. Initially, I tried to take them right into a training session. But it wasn’t happening. So, I wore them around the house for a few days (on and off of course) and the material eventually started to release. You can try the hot water trick if you’d like to speed up the process, but I was able to take time before taking them out onto the pitch. When I did, they still felt tight and rigid, but after several games they felt a lot more natural. If you are wearing a pair for the first time and find them uncomfortable, bear with the process and they will eventually provide a more efficient fit.
360 Flyknit Upper
Just building off some of the comments above, I wanted to provide some additional detailing on the upper materials. One of the key features of this Superfly silo is the fact they are built using a full Flyknit upper. The material actually wraps under the boot and there is a single layer of stitching along the spine of the soleplate that holds them together. As a result, I was expecting to encounter a very pliable material. But that isn’t the case, with the Mercurial VI featuring a stiff upper out of the box. Rather than having a stretch feel like you’d expect a knit to have, it is a lot more like a synthetic that needs some wear to break in. The reasoning; they are designed to lock your foot in place and eliminate unwanted movement.
Rather than applying Nike All Conditions Control (ACC) as an outer layer, ACC is embedded into the Flyknit—eliminating additional skin, while remaining tough against the elements.
It took 2-3 wears before I started to feel natural in the boots, something that surprised me in a negative way. Maybe that has something to do with the fact I was testing the UA Magnetico at the same time (talk about a plush, supple upper!!!) but still I’d expect a more flexible feel from a boot that places an emphasis on Flyknit as its primary upper material.
Touch, Control and Shooting
One of the things Nike did with this release was infuse ACC into the Flyknit upper material, essentially eliminating a layer. That is in theory. But what it actually does is make the upper more rigid, meaning you are losing out on the natural level of touch on the ball. After a wear wears, the material does loosen so it becomes less of an issue.
The addition of micro-texturing across the Flyknit provides extra traction on the ball. You can see it clearly in the images above, and it really is as prominent as it looks. This helps increase control at top speed. The texturing is extremely defined, way more than you’d expect. They sit in a series of horizontal lines down toward the toes. Whether you are looking to add some additional swerve on a shot or a little extra power on goal bound strikes, it plays a positive role. The additional surface area allows you to really wrap your foot on the ball when you need to add a little spin. And for players in need of a power style boot, dare I say you get some additional ping of shots thanks to its placement through the strike zone.
Dynamic Fit Collar
If you’ve been wanting the same style collar seen on previous Cristiano Ronaldo and Leroy Sane’s boots, then you are in luck. What was a customized feature for pro players alone has now reached our feet via this release. The focus here is to produce a different type of fit around the ankle, one that utilizes an as one fit between foot and ankle in a more reduced format. In other words, there is still a connection but the cut is low enough to still allow for natural ankle motion through high-speed movements. This is an area that has taken me away from the Superfly series in the past, but I’ve definitely appreciated and enjoyed the change-up on this version.
Traction and Soleplate
There is a lot of undulation featured on the insole of the Superfly VI, something we also saw on the Superfly V. This is part of the dynamic internal system used by Nike to create a “Racing-seat-like” fit. Coupled with a split soleplate chassis and Chevron studs, everything on these is built for explosive speed and sharp deceleration.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of how it feels underfoot. It is something a lot of players will need to adjust to through the first few wears. Over time, it does become a lot more natural, but you still notice a difference each time you switch from flat sneakers/shoe to the boots. I get the concept and how Nike are trying to provide players with an even more dynamic type of system underfoot, but it doesn’t work when it is not the soleplate you are using right throughout the day.
In terms of aesthetics, Nike has gone with a sort of copper chrome glow on the split soleplate. Wow, does it stand out from anything else on the market! Depending on the angle that you look at it, the color tends to change and shift. It is a great look that adds a fresh dimension the release.
How do they Fit?
Compared to previous Mercurial releases, this boot is a lot more accommodating and provides some additional width to suit a wider audience. In saying that, they are still a Mercurial geared toward speed, so the silhouette is intended to be sleek and aerodynamic. I have a medium/wide fit, and they felt just “OK.” Through the forefoot, I had the right amount of space for them not to impact performance, but I can’t say with confidence that the same would be true for a wide fitting player. If you have the chance to try them on, I’d definitely recommend doing so before buying.
Mercurial Meets Fashion
In the past few months, we have been introduced to the details of 2 major Mercurial collaborations. Both Kim Jones and Virgil Abloh (OFF-WHITE) are creating very unique, special edition boots that take the Mercurial into the world of fashion. Both designs feature the original Total Orange upper colorway, with individual pieces added to tell a unique story from each designer.
In the months since testing the original pair, durability has been very much on point. These are as good as any other boot currently available when it comes to longevity, especially when compared to other boots in the same price range. I feel confident complimenting Nike on the design and how well they hold up over time. Even after wear across the past two months, they still look like they are in pretty new condition. What helps here is the 360 Flyknit Upper design, with less opportunity for the boot to rip around the upper to soleplate joining. The overall structure of the boot and the materials used are pieced together effectively.
As much as I harp on about negatives I’ve found with the Mercurial Superfly 360, the reality is I’m not a big Mercurial fan. My preference has also been on boots that provide some stretch through wear and offer a natural feel on the ball. The focus of the Mercurial series is square on being as streamlined as possible, a complicated tool that enables speed in play. I do like speed, but I’m all about it being more simplified. If you have enjoyed previous Mercurial models, it is very likely that you will enjoy these just as much!
Note that this particular colorway won’t stay clean very long. The design is glorious and they look spectacular when you open the box for the first time, but in Nike’s own words these are a “clean slate”, ready to pick up every fresh color the pitch you play on has to offer!
If you want to jump into a pair of “Just Do It” Superfly, they retail for $274.99. That is on par with previous Nike models, meaning you need to pay up if you want to wear a pair right now. They are also available in an AG-Pro model, and a toned down Academy model for those on a budget.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: The 6th generation Superfly release features the first full 360 Flyknit upper, designed to provide an as one, speed fit internally.
Category: Absolute Speed.
Would I Buy Them: If you lined up all of Nike’s current releases, this wouldn’t be the first pair I’d pick. But, they are definitely the best looking Superfly released today, a boot befitting of the best players in the World.
Player Position: Definitely a more attack focused boot, ideal for players that like to move quickly with the ball and explode in space.