The long serving and highly successful Mercurial Vapor gets modified into its eleventh generation model and here’s how the boots performed after we laced them up for a full review.
Designed and delivered to provide players with the platform for fast paced performances, the Mercurial Vapor XI is not only an elite level Nike product however also poses amongst the very top of high performing boots. Here’s how they compare to previous Vapor models and other speed-themed boots on the market!
FIRST IMPRESSIONS/COMFORT: Taking the boots out of the box and the most noticeable features of the Vapor XI were the aggressive Horizontal Ridges which wrap the boots giving the notoriously soft Teijin upper a slightly more structured feel and the new chevron studs on the Nylon sole plate not only gave a powerful look but felt deeper than previous Direct Inject examples.
SIZING/FIT: The sizing of the latest Vapor XI is identical to the previous X model so going true to size is the way to go. The biggest difference between the new and older Vapor boot is that overall fit is slightly more aggressive through the added lockdown resulting from Horizontal Ridges snugly wrapping the midfoot and toe-box. The Vapor silo isn’t the most wide fitting boot and the Vapor XI feels even narrower due to the stiffer upper and new contoured sole plate.
HORIZONTAL RIDGES: Without question the biggest additional given to the Vapor XI is the friction-enhancing Horizontal Ridges which flow across the entire boot from heel to toe however the medial side panel features more aggressive examples than the lateral side. When dribbling, the Horizontal Ridges were genuinely noticeable by gripping the ball, and also when striking for goal with different shapes I was given extra purchase through increased friction.
TEIJIN UPPER: The Teijin upper has been a true mainstay for the Mercurial Vapor and poses as one of the finest synthetic materials on the market and is once again the base for the Vapor XI. That being said, there is definitely a more rigid and structured feel to the Vapor XI due to the raised upper which doesn’t quite offer the same barefoot and second-skin feel as the super-soft Vapor X. The positive though is that the boots will retain their structure for a longer period of time.
NYLON SOLEPLATE: Mercurial Vapor boots of the past have opted for a flexible outsole however the updated Vapor XI matches its Superfly V counterpart by incorporating a more responsive layered Nylon chassis sole plate which contours with your foot shape for added lockdown and natural fit. The newer platform for performance also decreases weight by approximately 20 grams so the Vapor is now lighter than ever to enhance the ever quickening speed-theme.
TONGUE-LESS LACING SYSTEM: First introduced on the previous Vapor X, a tongue-less construction provides a more seamless and responsive fit on the Vapor XI. The beauty of the no-tongue technology is that issues with standard tongues sliding out of place doesn’t affect the Vapor XI and also gives a sock-like fit.
STUDS: Together with the new ultra-thin Nylon sole plate, the Vapor XI’s stud configuration gets a dramatic upgrade seeing highly aggressive chevron shaped bladed studs ensure the highest of traction on FG surfaces. An alternative SG Pro sole plate is also available for softer playing surfaces.
DESIGN & COLOURWAY: In my opinion, the design is the biggest weakness of the new Vapor XI. Whilst the Horizontal Ridges increase performance ten fold, Nike have opted to flaunt the technology through a pinstriped effect of Total Crimson/Pink Blast/Black which is definitely modern however not for my taste. There is a Nike ID option so you can customise the colour-way to your personal preference.
VERDICT: Overall, the Vapor XI has been taken to all-new levels of high performance compared to previous models and speed boots from other brands so the modification by Nike has been very positive throughout. The upper isn’t as soft but provides better quality effects on the ball and will also retain its structure after prolonged use. A fast-paced boot requires a responsive sole plate and the newest Mercurial model is exactly that so if you’re a player that doesn’t enjoy the mid-cut Superfly but still want a lightweight, responsive, synthetic boot then the Vapor XI could be your next purchase.
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Posted on June 24, 2016 Matt