Designed for speed and agility, the Nike Zoom Mercurial Vapor 15 is one of those boots I was ultra excited about getting to test out. They feature a lightweight design with a streamlined, low-cut profile that allows for quick movements on the field.
When it comes to the Superfly vs Vapor 15 comparison, there is only one significant difference, and that is in the dynamic mid-cut collar. If you are a fan of a higher ankle cut with lockdown, then the Superfly is absolutely the way to go. But if you prefer a more tradition cut around the ankle that offers a little more freedom, then it is the Vapor you want. Outside of that, performance on foot is very similar, at the same high level that makes them one of the best options currently on the market!
Also, if you are wondering what the Q stands for, it is Qatar. This particular colorway was released as part of Nike’s World Cup pack , with the color listed as Metallic Copper. You can find them HERE.
Vaporposite+ Upper Material
We were first introduced to Vaporsite on the last generation of Mercurial. On our Vapor 14 Elite review, I noted that the material was on the rigid side, having an almost plastic like feel. On foot, they played far more pliable than imagined, offering a natural touch on the ball. This version offers a dramatic upgrade. Nike has just added a + to the name, but performance wise they are on an entirely new level!
Gone is that rigid feel and in its place comes a very responsive upper material. It still has a grippy, grid mesh design with a premium material for optimal ball control at high speeds. Nike has managed to successfully reduce the thickness of the material without impacting durability. Let’s hope we see this material used on future releases, as it is a HUGE win performance wise!
Touch, Control, Shooting
In terms of performance on the ball, the entire design creates a very natural feel and clean touch. If there is an upper where you can see and experience the impact of their research and development, this would be it. The added grip created by the grid mesh allows for a clean touch, with the thinness of the material ensuring you get full feel on the ball. They don’t fall into the power category, but they do fall into the “I want to get on the ball, dribble at speed and score some goals” category. Pretty sure there will be a large subset of players that are looking for a boot like that!
3/4 Zoom Airbag
On release, this is the addition that piqued most interest, with fans wondering just how Nike could integrate an airbag into a soccer shoe! It seems pretty wild and audacious to think it could positively enhance performance in a sport that relies on quick shifts and dramatic changes in direction.
For the first time in our history, Nike has developed an all-new, soccer-specific 3/4 Zoom Air unit. It sits in the plate and provides an additional level of springy underfoot feel that helps you move faster on the field and create separation when it matters the most—whether you’re scoring goals, being first to the ball or going by defenders.
One might expect an airbag to be super thick and make the footed 4 inches thick. Well, thankfully that is not the case! If you take the insole out, you will find the airbags that sit from the does back through the midfoot. It does sit off the surface of the footed, raised ever so slightly to add that extra layer of spring. To the touch, it feels squishy in the same way as memory foam does. There are groves in specific areas where the insole bends, ensuring it still offers a lot of natural flexibility.
In play, you can absolutely feel the difference and its impact on performance. There are not many times when you can actually tell the difference in soleplate technology. It is usually “if it doesn’t impact performance, it must be good.” But in this case, Nike has added high tech specs that positively impacts how you play in game. I would 100% agree with the statement that it creates an even greater sense of snappy, propulsive energy return.
Soleplate and Traction
Another important update is the introduction of a Tri-star stud design that provide multidirectional traction with every step, so you can change directions quickly and confidently. It is about as aggressive as you can get on a soleplate, creating a bite as you hit and push off the surface. I wore them on both FG and TF with success. In saying that, they are probably not going to work for players who prefer a more conservative configuration. In other words, if you like a simple, conical stud design you are going to want to completely avoid these.
Nike also use a contoured heel stud profile that provides traction and stability when braking. And there is a duo of toe-off center studs that give you traction during explosive starts.
How do they Fit?
Very, very well is the answer to this one! This is the most natural and accommodating Mercurial we have ever had! More players than ever will be able to wear them without the stress of being too narrow or snug. You do get a snug feel from first wear, but as per above it subsides thanks to the pliable materials used.
I’d recommend them as a true to size option in terms of width, with a forefoot width that will accommodate a far wider variety of players that ever before. If you have a medium/wide foot, they will work on nicely. If you have a wide foot and have never been able to wear the Vapor or Superfly before, give yourself the opportunity to try a pair on. These might just work!
Performance wise, these are a boot that top my current list of favorites. Nike worked on creating a total package with these, ensuring the upper and soleplate offer attacking players the type of on-field advantage they dream of. I genuinely love wearing them, and the feedback I’ve got from friends wearing them has been just as positive. The best Mercurial released to date? I’d argue strongly that YES, they are!
Find the current line-up of Vapor 15 options available at SOCCER.com.