The Nike Pro boots are the first set of boots under the Elites that represent minor changes from the top-tiers to bring down the price by around £100. Understanding these will help you work out if you can get more value for money by going to the Pro boots instead.
Mercurial Pro Boots
The Mercurial Pro gives significant value for money considering it does feel good, though arguably not as premium as the Elite. It is circular knit-based with toned-down applications of the internal Speedcase, and relatively has slightly more rigidness out of the box. The Pro Mercurial limits the Zoom Air unit to the heel, with the rest of the outsole traditionally reinforced with an inner board. This makes the Pro less lightweight than the Elite.
Other than that, the Pro does an excellent job replicating the snug fit and barefoot ball touch of the Elite, and once broken in ultimately has that pliable feel of the Vaporposite+ material. The Tristar stud configuration also filters down to the Pro, ensuring that the traction profile of the Elite is also at this price point.
If you like what the Pro offers but don’t want a sock like collar, save yourself the extra money and opt for the Vapor instead. The Vapor Pro is low-cut but does have the circular knit filling up its edges on the opening.
Phantom GX Pro Boots
It’s unfortunate that Nike is not able to pass on Gripknit to the Pro-level Phantoms. What you get is an engineered mesh coated with a Nikeskin plastic. It’s soft enough for comfort but does have a more structured feel. The quarter is comprised of a neoprene fabric that compress nicely to the foot shape.
For those that fine the Elite’s soleplate too flexible, the Pro is a welcome change because of its stiffer, more stable midfoot. And while the top GX model has heel structure where the counter is limited to just the sides for the sake of comfort, the Pro moves to use an internal heel counter to perhaps focus on lockdown instead.
Studs-wise, the Pro GX contains the same variety of conicals and tristars. Another Elite attribute that carries down to the Pro is the familiar wide last of the Phantom line.
The DF or Low options are also present in the Pro GX. Which also means that if you choose the collared GX Pro you’ll have the Ghost Lacing System. Nice for a clean look but you might have difficult with lacing the boots up.
Tiempo Legend Pro
If the Mercurial Pro already gives value for money, wait ’til you get the Tiempo Pro. Nike only specifies the leather on the Pro as ‘premium leather,’ but it’s presumably calfskin that allows this takedown boot to be way less expensive. The boot feels thinner on the ball, which might appeal to some who prefer a less padded feel from a leather boot. The cutouts on the conical studs are less prominent now, though we doubt that really does much in affecting the feel of the traction.
The thing about the Pro is that whatever little difference it has with the Elite, be it in quality of leather, heel liner or soleplate, all of that disappear once the boot is fully broken-in (which should not take that much time).
Aside from the popular FG soleplate, Pro Boots come in other types of outsole. The Artificial gives a specific astro pitch sole and you can choose the Turf ones for the shallow and hard, carpet-like 1st Gen synthetic pitches.
Each of Nike’s boots is availalbe for firm grass pitches, often suited for much of the season around the world and typically a British Summer, Spring and Autumn, and a specific artificial soleplate is available if you are only playing on 3G/4G/5G Astro Turf.
Natural Grass Ground Pro Boots
Among the three, the Tiempo Pro is the one most similar to its Elite counterpart in terms of feel. The GX Pro, as mentioned above, has a soleplate that has a rigid midfoot as opposed to the flexible one on the Elite. Mercurial Pro’s tooling feels relatively thicker because an inner board takes up the space left by the Zoom Air unit, which is now limited to the heel. No changes on the stud layout from any of the Nike Pro boots.
Nike’s artificial soleplates have Turf versions suitable for the hard and shallow carpet-like Turf pitches. They have multiple short rubber studs spread across the soleplate to avoid slipping from the short grass hairs while also getting close as possible to the hardness of the ground. For the advanced 3G/4G/5G pitches with longer synthetic grass hairs, Nike’s AG soleplates have hollowed raised conicals that provide enough bite to the simulated depth while still remaining stable on the hard base.
Nike Jr Pro
Nike offers kid-friendly Pro Jr. sizes usually to the Mercurial Superfly. At the moment, other silos are capped at the Academy level. The Nike Jr. Mercurial Superfly Pro is Nike’s first laceless boot ever and utilises a crisscross band to act the closure mechanism. The Zoom Air unit is placed directly under the heel just like the adult Pro Superfly.