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Nike Phantom Vision Pro DF Boot Review

Nike PhantomVSN Pro

If you are looking for a modern control boot designed to complement creative players, the Nike Phantom Vision Pro might just be right up your alley. The “Pro” part of the name is very important here, as these are actually the mid-tier version in the PhantomVSN line-up. Nike might have targeted them to directly to attacking playmakers, but there is so much more to them that reaches right across the pitch.

We spent some time testing out the pictured Pure Platinum colorway, which have since sold out. As one of the original colorways in the silo, I guess it can be seen as a positive sign that people have bought up all the remaining pairs. Here is how we found them to perform.

Find all the latest PhantomVSN Pro colorways at soccer.com.

Initial Reaction

Something that is real nice about the Pro version is how similar it looks to the Elite version. Out of the box, they have a quality appearance that also makes them somewhat complicated. Yes, they are pleasantly surprising when you see them in person for the first time, but there is a whole lot of tech right across the boot that leaves you wanting to explore every inch. The collar feels a little cheaper to the stretch, but you still get the Ghost Lacing System to give you that mysterious, tech advanced look. Also note, the boot is referred to as the Phantom Vision and the PhantomVSN, both being correct naming conventions.

Nike PhantomVSN Pro Upper

Nike PhantomVSN Pro Ghost Laces

Breaking In and Comfort

Having tested them, I’ve got to admit that this is my favorite part about the boots. They proved to be super comfortable right from first wear, and felt so in tune on foot right through testing. Eliminating any comfort issues insured I got to focus on the performance aspect right from the first training session, something I definitely appreciate. I wasn’t as fortunate while reviewing the Elite version, as they felt tighter starting out. Bonus points for the mid-tier version!

Both the upper and soleplate prove to be pliable right out of the box, Nike has pieced them together very effectively. The collar is less dynamic and more like a sock around your ankle, with less of a focus on the “locked in” aspect. Right along the inner heel, there is an additional layer of padding that helps alleviate any possible discomfort through the area. Underfoot, there is nothing overly complicated, so pressure feels evenly distributed on both FG and AG surfaces. They turn out to be a very gracefully shaped boot that move comfortably with your foot.

How Is The Upper Constructed?

Nike build the boot using a two layer design. On top, a soft synthetic NikeSkin provides subtle touch on the ball, with plenty of natural feel on offer. Inside, you slip your foot into what I’d call a bootie. It is essentially an inner layer that surrounds your foot in a snug fashion, leveraging the laces to really lock your foot inside.

Phantom Vision Pro Ghost Laces

Phantom Vision Lacing System

“Ghost Laces” and Collar

You have to love the naming convention Nike has come up for this one! Basically, “Ghost Laces” is the system used by Nike around the area where you’d traditionally find a tongue and the lacing. On the PhantomVSN you get a mesh that covers over the lacing, with a higher cut lip sealing everything hidden inside the boot. This lip is a built-in mesh that essentially sits where a tongue normally would, providing a more uniform area for striking the ball, if you like to give the full monty when taking shots. Just underneath the surface, the lacing is actually attached to an inner bootie. As you tighten the laces, it pulls the bootie in around your foot, creating a very snug and controlled fit. And this is how the two piece system plays out together in unison; the upper creates that protective layer while the bootie allows you to dictate your fit.

Behind this system is a collar that you need to slip your feet in through to put the boot on. It is labeled as a Dynamic Fit Collar, but it doesn’t have the same impact as collars found on other Nike releases. First time out, it might seem odd that it takes a little work to get them on, but as you familiarize yourself with them you can slip them on and off in a few seconds. Rather than it acting like “an extension of the boot”, it is more like a deterrent for stopping the pesky black pellets from getting in your boots on AG surfaces. Although that might sound like I’m making fun, I appreciate its addition on the boot as it does add a feeling of security.

*Please note here that this collar will not provide any support for your ankles, it is simply like having an extra sock on.

Touch, Control, Shooting

In terms of synthetic uppers, the NikeSkin on these boots is incredibly soft and pliable. It easily molds to your foot shape through wear and is thin enough to provide a high level of responsiveness on the ball. Normally the mid-tier release features an upper that is slightly thicker than the Pro version, but that isn’t the case here. Running your hand across the forefoot, there is some dimension along the material. It is like a bunch of small triangles have been punched into the material, creating definition in the material rather than on the material if that makes sense. The result is a surface that is very clean for striking shots. You don’t get any added tech to enhance shots, but you do get a little extra grip that compliments creative style players.

As you move to the instep, you will find a lot more texturing. Nike use what look like 3 pointed stars to fill in the area and add a sandpaper like feel. It follows along the lines of the CTR360 and Umbro Geometra that featured control elements along the instep. This is an area where you should be controlling long passes and taking quick touches. I’m a huge fan of added tech in this area, as it really does have a positive impact in how you manipulate the ball in important situations.

Nike PhantomVSN Pro Instep

Nike PhantomVSN Pro Up Close

Nike Phantom Vision Pro Soleplate

Traction and Soleplate

Underfoot, they feature the same Hyperprecision plate that is found on the Elite version of the boot. Side by side, it is very difficult to tell if there are any significant differences. Maybe there is some difference in the undulation through the midfoot? But in play, you really can’t tell that there is a whole lot different. A mix of hybrid studs provides solid traction on both FG and AG surfaces.

The overall purpose of the traction pattern is to accommodate quick multi-directional cuts and it plays out very well in play. One of the most unusual inclusions is a set of rotational blades right under the big toe region. Each blade is offset with the intent of catching the surface through a movement easing the pressure on your foot and allowing you to focus on quick acceleration.

How do they Fit?

My advice, stick with ordering true to size, or what you would normally wear in Nike boots. I definitely wouldn’t vary your size choice, because ultimately the length is very similar. And they can very easily accommodate a medium/wide fit, almost moving into the wide fitting category. But there is a twist. How they play out on feet might be different to what you expect, because of the bootie. Ultimately, they are a snug boot that really does hug your foot. If you don’t enjoy the feel of a boot locked up against your foot, they probably won’t be the ideal boot choice for you. But if you are the type of player that wants to feel completely in sync with your boot in an incredibly secured fashion, these are going to be a quality choice!

Phantom Vision Pro Review

Elite vs Pro

Naming the mid-tier boot in the silo “Pro” is actually a very smart business move by Nike, as it makes them seem like they are the boots worn by pro players. That is not anywhere near true, and thus causes confusion with fans. These are the actually the mid-tier option in the silo, with the PhantomVSN Elite version being the pair worn by top-level players.

How do they compare on foot? It’s funny, because I look back at testing both pairs and to be honest, I couldn’t really tell there was a whole lot of a difference. Nike obviously spend a lot more time and money producing the Elite version, with a lot of research put into piecing together a top-level boot. So, the Elite version has the edge in terms of touch and control on the ball, but the Pro tests very well and you could say it offers much better value for money.

Critics Notes

The mesh around the lacing doesn’t seem very durable. I’ve already had a small tear in the area, and even though it won’t impact performance, it makes the boot look more used than it should be. Plus, long-term it will impact the lifespan of the boot. Second, you are not going to be able to replace the lacing as it is very difficult to get into the area between the bootie and the upper. The laces won’t get dirty and you are not going to switch them out for looks since they are hidden. So, as long as they don’t rip or you don’t plan on switching them out at any stage, that shouldn’t prove to be as big a problem.

Retail Details

There are several different colorways available right now, with the original retail price listed at $149.99. Some are currently priced as low as $99.99, which is extremely good value considering what you getting.

You can find the entire line-up of available colorways right now at soccer.com.

The Skinny Summary

Highlight: A very clean boot that features plenty of Nike tech in a simplified yet effective form. Offer great feel and touch on the ball.
Category: Control, designed for creative players.
Weight: 8.5oz
Would I Buy Them: I definitely would. These are without a doubt one of the best mid-tier boot options currently on the market.
Player Position: So broad. Nike advertise them as being an attacking style players boot, but midfielders and defenders can use them just as effectively.

Review Scores out of 10

Comfort
Performance
Technology
Visual Effect
Control Category

7.8/10

User Rating: 4.6 ( 1 votes)

About Bryan Byrne

The mastermind behind the revolution that is SoccerCleats101. Bryan started this website back in 2008 and has been testing boots on a daily basis ever since. Check out our About Page for more details on Bryan and the website.

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