What are Academy boots? How do they compare to those Nike boots worn by professionals on the pitch, will they suit you or your child for football?
What Do Academy Football Boots Mean?
Academy football boots are made by Nike and are usually the boots you wear when you’re still learning the game or playing socially. They’re designed to be comfy, supportive, and durable, without breaking the bank. They might not have all the fancy features of the elite or pro-level boots, but they still do a good job of helping you perform on the pitch.
What is the difference between Academy and Elite boots?
Academy are cheaper with less expensive materials, whilst Elite are more expensive with the latest technologies and premium quality parts, they are both made though to look alike.
The term “academy” usually refers to football academies (youth development programs run by professional clubs) that focus on developing young players’ skills, tactics, and physical abilities to prepare them for professional football careers.
Nike’s Academy boots are designed to cater to the needs of young players but with players having aspirations to be professional you’ll find many opt for the more expensive Elite boots.
Mercurial Academy Boots
Nike’s speed boots, a narrower fit and designed for fast players, the Mercurial is a great all round option for most players.
Superfly Academy 9
Superfly Academy is one of the most popular takedown boots given their connection to the popular Mercurial lines as well as being the budget option to the boots worn by Mbappe and CR7. The upper has a Nikeskin mesh upper that successfully mimics the barefoot ball touch from even the Elite level. There is some amount of pliability that helps the upper mould around the foot, but generally is well-structured enough to make the boot responsive.
Despite having a relatively wider last than that of the higher-tiered Mercurials, that structured feel from the upper helps the Academy provide that trademark Mercurial snug fit. The fit is more anatomical than expected for a budget boot. Zoom Air is also present on the heel like in the Pro Mercurial.
Vapor 15 Academy
What’s good about the Academy Mercs, be it the neoprene-collared Superfly or the low-cut Vapor, is that it has an exclusive multiground soleplate where some of the Tristars give way to conical ones. With MG, this Academy Nike boot can be used in both natural and artificial grass pitches without worrying about the warranty.
Phantom GX Academy Boots
Just like the Pro, Gripknit is absent and in place is a Nikeskin mesh, though there’s an argument that can be made that it now feels relatively textured. A more structured synthetic material supports the boot through the quarter, with the DF model extending to a loose textile collar. DF Academy GX also uses a padded mesh for the lacing cover.
We imagine certain players would like the more adjustable fit of the Academy GX low because of the standalone tongue construction, whereas the DF Academy would suit players that like a padded feel on the heel.
The Pro outsole makes it way down to the Academy, which might be good in terms of value but it does raise the question regarding the viability of the MG labelling.
One thing about the Academy Phantom is that it holds Nike’s sole product for footballers with special needs. The model we are referring to is the Academy Phantom with Flyease technology, which is the fold-down heel and velco wrap-around strap closure for an easy one-handed foot entry. Despite the move to the GX, the current Academy Flyease is still based on the previous GT line.
Tiempo Legend Academy
The Tiempo Academy is one, if not the best takedown boot in this price range in terms of replicating the experience of its parent Elite boot. While it is not using natural animal hide anymore like the Elite, the Academy Tiempo still has that leather-like characteristics and is the closest to the fit and feel of the Elite relative to other takedown boots.
Overall, the looks are certainly not far from the Tiempo Elite, and that the touch on hand can still fool anyone in that it still has that appearance of a leather boot. Going to the underfoot, the Hyperstability soleplate offers a natural flex and the stud configuration is multi-grounded. Just do take note that the rear studs are bladed and might be a tad bit aggressive.
Nike Academy Boot Reviews
We’ve gone in depth on each Academy pair, so if you want to learn more about their Academy boots, we have an individual review available on each of them, just click to discover more:
Academy Boots come in three different types for different grounds, the mixed soleplate is suitable for natural grass and artificial pitches, the anti-clog is your option for soft muddy pitches and the artificial gives a specific astro pitch sole.
Multiground Academy Boots
The exclusive feature among Nike Academy boots is the multiground applicability of the outsoles (whether they are safe to do so or even has any difference to an FG tooling in the first place is another story). There is significant change in the Academy Mercurial in that some of the Tristars are replaced with conical ones.
It might be there is though very minimal, but at first take GX Academy MG seems to have no difference with the soleplate of the Pro. Lastly, the Academy Tiempo curves up the bladed side of the Elite’s conical studs for its MG tooling.
Academy Soft Ground Anti Clog
With the SG-AC on the Elite featuring almost the same FG soleplate configuration and stud pattern, Nike moves in the first-gen SG Anti-Clog outsoles to the Academy level. Whichever silo you go for at this price point, you get a full-length, generic hydrophobic outsole with removable studs. Being able to change up the studs means you can extend the life of your boots, more economical than the Elite SG-AC.
For some Nike silos, you can get an Academy-level AG-specific pair where you get the benefit of hollow conicals. Those with multiple, small rubber nodes are your budget options for those shallow, carpet-like grass pitches of 5-a-side football matches.
Kids Academy Boots
Nike offers their Academy boots in ‘Jr.’ kid-friendly sizes. Jr. boots usually have a solid, padded feel to prioritise the safety and protection of our young athletes.