During the World Cup this Summer, Neymar broke out a pair of special edition “Meu Jogo” Mercurial Vapor 360. They were designed to represent Neymar’s expressive style of play on the pitch, although lets be honest not even this canary yellow colorway could live up to some of the Brazilian’s most “expressive” moments.
We are a little late picking up a pair, but with plenty still available, we figured now was as good a time as ever to piece together a feature review on! Note that a lot of elements here come from testing the Mercurial Vapor XII silo, rather than these specific boots. But they should provide you with the key details you need to know if you are considering picking up a pair!
Neymar Signature Release
Neymar first wore these in the Brazil vs Mexico game in Russia. He scored a goal, grabbed an assist, and helped Mexico move on to the World Cup quarter finals with a 2-0 win. Pretty much an ideal way to introduce a new boot! They come in a Brazilian style canary yellow with an underfoot graphic that leverages the 360 construction of the Mercurial. “Meu Jogo” references Neymar’s commitment to playing his game.
Neymar says of his playing style, “I got here because of my football. If football brought me to where I am, if it made me conquer the things I did, then I don’t need to change.”
Mercurial Superfly vs Mercurial Vapor
Here lies one of the unique elements to the current Mercurial line-up. Both the Superfly and the Vapor are identical minus one key piece; the dynamic fit collar. Outside of this single piece of material, they are very similar in style, fit, feel and performance. So, what you hear about the Vapor will sound very similar to the Superfly.
Personally, I really prefer the low cut Flyknit collar that sits around the ankle of this Vapor silo. First, it provides a classic feel that doesn’t take much to adjust to. Then you get the bonus of a slightly constrictive fit that comes compliments of a Flyknit material. It keeps you locked in place without fear of discomfort like you might experience from more rigid materials.
The design is extremely clean in person, you are immediately drawn to the detailing right across the surface of the boot. On the upper, Nike use the primary canary yellow color, but mix in some gold flakes that seem to create a slight shimmer effect. This same gold color is used on the heel, where there is an series of arrows pointing from the heel toward the front of the boot, obviously providing players with some reminders on where they are supposed to kick the ball. “This way to goal.” Looking directly at the heel, the design is slightly trippy and it definitely catches your attention.
Underfoot, that soleplate. DROOL. What a design. Nike has gone with a metallic chrome finish that just oozes class and sophistication. It has a sort of liquid bronze finish to it, where it looks more fluid than static. Added to the mixed arrow effect on the dynamic style soleplate.
Breaking In and Comfort
Starting out, these are not going to be a boot that provides immediate comfort. The upper material is slightly stiffer than you’d expect and you have to contend with an unusual racing style undulated soleplate. 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.
360 Flyknit Upper
One of the key features of this Vapor 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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
There is an entire line-up available as part of the Meu Jogo collection. Included is a range of FG boots and sole hard court releases. The primary boot is obviously these Vapor XII Elite. I personally think they are absolute quality, the design is invigorating and stands out in a stylish way on foot. They also come with a special NJR bag, retailing for $274.99.