With the release of the Tech Craft collection, players are offered a completely different type of performance on the favorite Nike boots. Each of the Hypervenom, Magista, Mercurial and Tiempo have been fitted with a special layer of leather across the forefoot. The end result is a series of uppers that deliver a more responsive touch on the ball. At least that is the goal.
One boot from the series that received feedback for being slightly “stiff” was the Hypervenom. Both the Phantom and Phinish feature an new ultra responsive loft mesh of varying density levels. It is intended to offer a spring like effect that provides a dampened feel while controlling the ball and some extra cushion as you strike the ball to reduce full impact. Because of that, it has a slightly cardboard type feel, which is very different to everything Nike. I can understand why some players have concerns and as a result, we’ve been bombarded with questions about the Tech Craft version and how it compares to the original.
Having each boot in hand, I’ve got some of my own personal thoughts on the regular and Tech Craft version to share. Here is a breakdown on the difference in upper and hopefully it will answer some of your pressing questions!
Check out all available Hypervenom boots and new colorways at soccer.com.
Difference In the Upper Material
It seems pretty obvious, but the difference is Mesh vs Leather. On the regular, the material runs right around the upper of the boot. It merges seamlessly with the knit upper on the Phantom inside the boot, as well an under layer for added support. It is what gives it that slightly stiff feel and covers the Flywire that runs across the upper of the boot.
The leather version features a similar setup, except the mesh upper layer is replaced by the leather material. It is fused onto the upper. The footwear team leveraged a balance of oils to offset the steam and prevent the leather from stiffening, so the touch it is very soft. In order to add it to the boot, it is cut in such a fashion that a secondary synthetic takes control of the rear of the boor, around the ankle. This provides extra structure and an added level of protection through a region that needs it.
How Do They Feel?
With the above considered, there is a significant difference in how each version feels on the ball. The leather version feels a lot more natural because the material is designed to be softer. Touching both, you can feel a deeper texture and more grip across the surface. But, you need to remember that it is NOT a single layer of leather. Nike place it across the same synthetic under layer found in the regular version. Yes, you will notice a difference when dribbling with the ball, but that stiffness might still be a factor for some players. I never really noticed in the original, so it was never an issue I faced personally!
How could the same boot differ in size across releases, right? Well, from my experience they are different. In the same fashion as any leather vs synthetic, the regular version has a more spacious fit starting out compared the Tech Craft that stretches over time. Slipping them on for the first time, I found that the Tech Craft fits tighter. Will this change over time? I’d imagine it will to some extent, but that again comes down to the under layer and how much give it has through stitched areas. In general, I’d still recommend players order true to size in both versions. Just note that you will encounter a tighter fit than you might have if you’ve previously worn the regular.
Hypervenom Phinish or Phantom?
This right here is all personal taste and which boot you prefer is down to your playing style. Personally, I’m all about the regular cut Phinish. That mid-cut collar on the Phantom is innovative, but I have found it is restrictive as you look to chop and turn at pace. I want my ankle loose and free to swivel naturally than have to exert to push through a tighter fit. And I’d definitely choose the Tech Craft version over the regular release. The leather feels a lot more natural on the ball, with a cleaner touch.
Check out what Tech Craft boots are still available at Soccer.com.