If you are on the market for a new turf shoes, these are likely to be a very strong contender! In similar fashion to their FG equivalent, the Nike Zoom Vapor 14 Pro TF edition is built for explosive speed, just in their own unique way. They feature a very different type of construction than their FG counterpart, with these designed to provide maximum grip and comfort specifically for those that need it on artificial turf surfaces.
And it is obviously the sole and traction system that most have questions about. How does it play out on TF surfaces? Does it really make that much of a difference, and if so, what is really on offer? I’ve been wearing them the past few weeks in games and also while coaching to see what they are all about.
Find the Nike Zoom Vapor 14 Pro turf at SOCCER.com.
One of the first things you will notice about them is the upper design, with a very multi-dimensional styling. There is a lot of definition throughout, highlighted by a Hyperscreen overlay across the forefoot that provides extra grip on the ball and some durability needed to stand up to your season. Run your fingers across the top of the shoe and it feels like a series of raised rubber ridges. And it really does offer some additional grip on the ball, not just because of the rubber feel, but also because its inclusion increases surface area that can connect with the ball. There is an (I’ve got to be quite when I say this part) almost Adidas Predator like quality about its implementation, although in a much more toned down way.
Note that the underlayer is like a fabric or knit style material, so without the Hyperscreen layer you would feel the full impact of the ball. There isn’t a lot of material between you and the ball. This helps with first touch; you get that natural feel but have a slight grip material to keep the ball close to foot.
Traction – Turf vs FG
Being a turf specific shoe, they are intentionally designed for shorter, synthetic surfaces. So, it is unlikely that you are going to wear them on firm grass surfaces. Can they be worn on FG? Yes, they can. I’ve actually played on several top quality natural grass pitches where I’ve seen players use TF footwear. But, if you rely on speed or acceleration you are going to notice a difference in traction, especially if the surface is in any way wet or damp.
Underfoot, they are designed for cushioned comfort. This has a lot to do with the Zoom Air unit located in the heel area, providing responsive cushioning for greater energy return as you step. Playing on turf, the surfaces are generally harder, especially if there is not enough padding under the turf mat. So, you need that little extra cushion to reduce impact as you stride. They play out as a really comfortable option, and I didn’t notice any unnecessary pressure on the surface. In other words, they provide a distraction free level of performance.
How do they Fit?
Size wise, they are a little tricky. Initially, I was very skeptical about wearing them because they seemed to fit so tight. First challenge is to squeeze your foot through the tight ankle collar and into the shoe. My trick was to angle the boot 45 degrees and turn it as my foot went in. It took a few wears to perfect the strategy. On foot, they do fit really snug. When it comes to width, they are a medium to wide fitting option. I wouldn’t recommend them to players with a naturally wide fit. In terms of length, they worked as a true to size option for me, but I ultimately could have done with a half size up. My toes were right up against the outer material. Not enough to cause discomfort or blisters, but enough to make me consider a half size up as an option. Over time they definitely loosened up and became more accommodating my foot size, the upper has some knit style materials that have some stretch.
Listen, I’m not a turf shoe guy. Wearing them, I don’t feel as secure and connected on the surface as I do when wearing an FG boot. I feel a step slower, almost like I have to take a little extra caution before accelerating into space. So, this is not the type of shoe that suits my playing style or helps me get the best out of my performance. But, I still tested them as there is value in sharing my feedback and experience on how they compare to other boots.
And in general, they felt great to wear – easily the best TF specific shoe I’ve got to wear recently. Traction was on point, and I’m a huge fan of how the upper felt on the ball. You get plenty of grip thanks to the feel of the Hyperscreen overlay, and it also provides extra durability. They feel comfortable, although my one concern is sizing. If you have a chance to try them on before buying, it is probably a good option. Again, I went true to size and they worked, but a half size up might have provided a more suitable fit.
Find all the latest Nike Zoom Vapor 14 Pro TF colorways at SOCCER.com.