Given the popularity of the newest Mercurial Superfly series, it is no surprise that fans are eager to find out what the TF version has on offer. Built using the same upper as the FG version, the turf specific is an electrifying shoe designed to give players ultimate performance on artificial pitches.
Since we originally posted our unboxing of the MercurialX Superfly VI Elite TF on Instagram, many questions have come in from players wanting to know when and where they are best used. I can definitely understand the intrigue as they are a very unique style soccer shoe that fit a specific purpose. So, we figured it would be worth giving you some further insight into who these are best suited for and in what playing conditions they are truly designed to be worn. Some very important questions are answered below!
You can find this colorway, released in the Nike Fast AF Pack, at soccer.com.
Here lies an area where Nike has made things slightly confusing. There hasn’t been a definite naming convention used for them across all platforms. So, you might have seen these listed as Mercurial Superfly X VI Elite TF, MercurialX Superfly 360 Elite TF, or any combo of both!
Just to cover performance for a second so you understand that is on offer. Again, the upper provides the same features found on the elite tier Superfly. A full Flyknit upper wraps all the way around your foot for a second-skin-like fit while a shorter Dynamic Fit Collar offers a seamless fit. And a zonal NikeSkin coating on the Flyknit upper offers enhanced touches at high speeds.
Underfoot is where things are very different, something that won’t come as a surprise seeing as these are a TF shoe. Nike has created a very strategically positioned rubber studded outsole that distributes pressure across the underfoot and allows for a more balanced level of traction on turf pitches. So, lower profile with an increased number of rubber studs, but let me clarify on the term studs here. Rather than being a traditional conical “stud”, Nike use an elongated blade style across the surface. Below are some images to clarify the design. I’ll refer to them as studs to keep inline with Nike’s terminology.
Where are these ideally worn?
They are a turf specific shoe, so anywhere you normally play on an artificial surface, they will work. Given the sheer number of artificial turf pitches being used for soccer across the US, it makes them a valuable market option. Basically, the low profile with increased rubber studs allows for more uniform traction on what is a spongier surface. Having so many studs increased the available surface area between the ground and the sole. As a result, I’d also add them to the category of options on hard playing surfaces, where you are basically on more dry dirt than grass. You won’t want to wear FG where grass is not present, so the added distribution of weight on a flat surface enhances your ability to stay upright.
Another place that they come in incredibly handy is on hot artificial pitches during the summer. I’ve had games where the pitch feels like it is on fire while wearing FG boots, to the extent of having blisters on my soles post game. For those that have experienced this, it is not pleasant and can really affect performance. Again, the added layer of material between foot and surface will reduce the burning sensation. It won’t be perfect, but the surface won’t feel anywhere near as hot.
Who are they ideally worn by?
The first player is the guy/gal that prefers a boot with increased stability in play. Think of central midfielder that need to be crafty with their lateral movements, moving from side to side reading the game and looking to shift the ball quickly as it gets to them. I like to refer to these as the “grounded” shoe, ideal for players that move a lot more in one position that up and down the pitch in quick bursts.
The other set of players are those in an older generation, that again need something to enhance their mobility in play. The Copa has long been synonymous as the golden generation’s boot of choice. But you can easily slide modern boots like these right into that same category. You don’t get a natural K-leather upper, but the general mix of new-age materials, including dynamic fit collar, can easily offer plenty of positives to players that want to stay on their feet and out of injuries way.
What player don’t they suit?
As much as it goes against Nike’s advertised designation (above), players focused on speed and quick darting runs won’t benefit from these. I fall right into this category, and that is why I don’t test a lot of TF specific boots. From my personal experiences, TF specific shoes offer more value to players that are not acceleration based. In other words, they are not for players that need to make quick turns and direct sprints where immediate traction and surface release is paramount. For that reason, I don’t recommend them as an option for wingers or pacey strikers that like to get behind the offside trap.
Would I wear them?
That is a funny question to follow up with after the last answer, but there is a valid reason why. A few weeks back, I injured my hamstring. It wasn’t enough to keep me sidelined long term, but it was just enough so that I knew rest was needed. As a result, I took the opportunity to fill in as a keeper in some small sided games. Less sprinting needed and it proved to be the ideal time to wear these TF shoes. I rely a lot on speed when I play, so in general I wouldn’t even look at a TF shoe. But, when the situation arose where I need something that provided more reliability, I jumped at the opportunity to test them out. Similarly, if my role was to play more centrally and look to distribute the ball, I would definitely take these into consideration as a quality option to wear. Their ultimate impact is dependent on situational circumstances and they have a definite positive role when paired with the right player type.
How do they fit?
This is a true to size shoe option, so you will want to stick to the same size you wear in FG boots. I found them to be pretty snug starting out, but I loosed the laces completely up and did some running to allow the knit upper to naturally stretch. I then used the laces to create a secure fit in play. Like with any boot, loosening the laces right up before wearing is an important step in finding the best fit.
This a boot included in Nike’s MAP system, so they rarely go on sale and they are available in limited supply. Current retail is $174.99. You can find this colorway released as part of the Nike Fast AF Pack at soccer.com.