If you have been waiting for a boot that connects the original Ronaldo and Neymar, it has finally arrived! Released as a signature Neymar release, the Nike Mercurial Vapor “Puro Fenomeno” pays homage to two of Brazil’s greatest players. It is a boot that borrow aesthetic cues from the Superfly II that Neymar wore on his debut for the Brasil National Team and pays homage to Ronaldo’s original Mercurial boots from 1998.
Since their introduction, the reaction from fans has been very mixed. Some are in love with the iconic chrome and blue color scheme of the ’98 Mercurial, while others don’t see the design meshing effectively with the characteristics of the current Vapor series. Either way, they are intended to be an elite level boot primed for one of the best players currently in the game. If you need more info on what they have on offer, below is our summary review on what makes them a worthy special edition release.
Find the NJR Puro Fenomeno collection currently available at soccer.com.
It is clear that Neymar has become a key player for Nike, with this signature release following on in quick succession from the “Written In The Stars” version recently released. Let’s be honest, it is no surprise considering Neymar’s recent form and the fact he is arguably the best player in the French League 1 right now. I’m pretty sure releases like this were part of the conversation when he decided to make the move from Barcelona to PSG, increasing his individual appeal to fans.
Side note in case you are wondering, included with the all important speed-centric boots in the box, you will find a boot bag, adding to the valor of the release.
And something else really important is the fact that Nike has listed the sizing on the boot box in both Men’s and Women’s sizes. Why is this important? We are well aware that both Men and Women choose to wear these boots, so why not make it easier for both to have a solid understanding of the size they are getting before they buy. Rather than having to calculate, this gives female players the opportunity to have some sort of idea on what they can expect. I applaud Nike for this simple, yet very important update. I also hope to see it continue and develop as a natural inclusion with future releases!
In terms of performance, and compared to other recent Neymar releases, these is something a little different about these. We are talking about the added definition and control elements that run through the upper of the boot. On this edition, things have been toned down a bit, with added definition focused on key. We are talking SpeedRibs here, something that Nike has made a key feature of the current Mercurial Vapor series. On the Vapor, these SpeedRibs sat perpendicularly right through the upper, from front to back. This time around, they are reserved for very precise regions, emphasized by the unique colorway of the boot.
The lateral side of the Puro Fenomeno features the iconic chrome and blue color scheme of the ’98 Mercurial, with the speed ribs of the current Mercurial altered to mimic the original’s wavy lines. The black tips of the cleat studs are also a nod to the ’98 version.
The medial side of the boot features the bold graphic of the Mercurial Superfly II that Neymar Jr. wore as he burst onto the international stage. “Ousadia” and “Alegria” also appear on the medial side of the boots, consistent with the daring and joyful style of play he is known for. Additionally, Neymar Jr.’s personal logo is emblazoned on the heels.
Underfoot, they feature the Nike’s latest agility focused, anatomical soleplate that is aligned with the natural contours of the foot. It is actually 40% lighter than previous carbon fiber soleplate, while being stronger and more responsive. Note that this means there is a lot of undulation in the plate that you might not be used to. Personally, I found them to be slightly challenging to adjust to, especially with the narrow fit they provide.
Where they have got things right is with traction. For the first time, Nike Football leveraged virtual Finite Element Analysis (FEA) testing, which provided scientific data to identify which traction pattern works best for the speed-focused player, inclusive of linear sprints. I’ve got to say that it has paid off. The chevron shaped bladed studs that are intended to offer better straight line speed do enhance the traction you get through play, especially in moments where you are looking to power and accelerate out of a quick turn.
In reality, everything about them is built for players that value a lightweight boot with solid traction and the ability to accelerate quickly out of tight spots without losing control of the ball. It is safe to say that Neymar falls comfortably in that category!
What else do you need to know about this signature Neymar collection?
- There is no Superfly edition to choose from in this collection.
- This is the boot Neymar did his “goal celebration” with.
- The standard release is a Vapor, thus they naturally fit very snug.
- Add to that an enclosed tongue and lacing, and you get an even tighter fitting boot.
- In other words, these are not intended for wider fitting players.
- Retail for the elite level version of the boot is $254.99.