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Right now, Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best soccer players in the world. And since Nike own his endorsement rights, what better way to showcase their biggest star than creating a soccer cleat exclusively for him – the Nike Superfly III Safari. The real name of the boot is actually the Nike Mercurial Superfly III, but you will notice that many different sources give them a varying name (with the above being my preferred choice). The print of the boot comes in a Safari design just like the original Safari release, only Nike has changed things up by adding a Black on Black pattern.
I have had these extremely unique looking boot in testing since they arrived last month in a size 9.5US and here is how they worked out. (For those interested, we also have full details on the Vapor VII Safari)
Safari Print Design
In 1987, Nike introduced the Air Safari running shoe. This is the first time that Nike has used the same leopard print design on a soccer cleat.
Again, I encountered a difficult time with a Nike Elite soleplate! Nike uses a carbon fiber soleplate to decrease weight, but in my opinion this ends up creating a difficult challenge to break them in. Through the first few training sessions, I could only wear them through jogging because of how stiff they felt as I attempted to make quick turns. They caused some cramping along the sole of my foot through wear, but eventually I felt comfortable enough to wear them in full training sessions. Overall, it took probably 8 training sessions and some wear around the house before I felt like they were broken in and ready to use in-game. If you decide to get a pair, make sure you are willing to spend some time getting them into game shape.
Performance wise, the Superfly III produces an overall tidy reward. The two advancements with this boot are the use of Flywire, and the adjustable studs. Unlike technological advances seen on other boots, you are not necessarily going to notice either addition on the Superfly. Flywire is designed to act like the support cables on a bridge by taking and holding the majority of the weight of the upper. This allows Nike to decrease the required materials and produce a lighter boot. You will notice that they feel light on your feet, but it is not something you will actually attribute to the Flywire. The adaptive studs are a very contentious addition to the boot. In theory, the studs have the ability to dig into a firm natural surface as you put your pressure down on the sole. It is something that is very difficult to actually see in action as the boot needs to be in contact with a surface as you put your full weight down. I’m not a huge fan of what they offer and feel they are a little gimmicky!
During testing, I liked how the Superfly III performed. They offer a well-protected, lightweight feel and are effective on the ball. Technology wise, I feel like Nike could do with toning things down and making things a little more basic.
Unlike other Nike Superfly reviews, I decided to move up a half size to get a better fit. One of the important characteristics to remember about the Superfly is that it uses Flywire through the upper. Flywire is designed to keep the upper in place while lowering the weight, and as a result it does not allow the synthetic to stretch. The extra half size made a huge difference and the extra space allowed for a more effective fit in game. If you currently wear the Vapor VII, look at ordering a half size up.
When they were finally broken in, I found that they are quite a comfortable boot. You definitely need to be patient with these and work on allowing them to mold to your required fit!
The official colorway for the release is Black/Volt/Dark Shadow and I like them a lot! The initial White/Black rollout never took my fancy, but this version looks really stylish. The surface has a unique textured feel due to the smoother overlay print. This overlay also has a metallic look that makes them pretty easy to spot under lights. Nike has also visually enhanced the boot with the addition of a very bright Volt Yellow geometric design along the inner side of the boot. The actual positioning of each piece does not hold any significant value; it is more the randomness of the design that makes them eye-catching as you run. Feedback from some of my teammates verified their effectiveness. Finally, Nike has increased the surface area covered by the Flywire, and this is easy to spot if you look along the side of the boot. It now runs from the midpoint of your big toe right around the heel of the boot.
There are two negatives that immediately spring to mind with the Superfly III. First off is the soleplate and the difficulties it creates through the break-in period. The same issue occurred with the original Superfly, so it something the Nike needs to address. Second is the price. Why Nike feel the need to give these an astronomical value is beyond me, especially when the Vapor VII offers an all-around higher, more effective, performing boot for around half the price. What it all means is that if you want the total Ronaldo experience, you will have to fork out big dollars!
Nike has crafted these boots to the exact specifications of Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the world’s greatest players and a star who has mass appeal around the globe. The design gets thumbs up from me, with the black on black print offering a very fashionable look. But there are aspects to the boot that need to be considered before you decide to fork out big money for a pair. The break-in period turns out to be tough with the soleplate offering a stiff feel, while you also need to be aware that the effects of the technology included are not going to directly noticeable when you wear them in game. Worth noting, there are two other colorways currently available in the Superfly III range that offer alternative looks, a Red Plum and a Photo Blue. In term of positions, I can see midfielders and forwards benefiting most, although I can also see defender’s sporting a pair since Flywire offers some additional protection to the upper.
Find all the latest Superfly colorways at SOCCER.com.