Worn by Harry Kane, Robert Lewandowski, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Marcus Rashford and goalscorers across the planet the Phantom Venom is Nike's successor to their Hypervenom Phantom line of boots. This drop pairs the boots with the Vision under then Phantom line, to sit next to the Vapor & Superfly in the Mercurial boot collection. Now you are either Phantom or Mercurial, but are you Phantom Venom?
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The Elite Phantom Venom was designed by Nike for its lethal finishers like Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, and Robert Lewandowski. It has a premium Flyknit-based upper with Flywire cables for a very secure lockdown and fit. The highlight of the Phantom Venom is the Precision Power Strike Zone, the polyurethane blades on the instep meant to improve power and precision. The PU extends to the toe box as a thin coating textured with a honeycomb pattern to aid in control and first touch. A Ghost Lacing knit covers the lower half of the off-centred laces for a clean and expanded striking surface. And speaking of the surface, the upper gets the All Conditions Control (ACC) treatment for a consistent touch even during wet conditions.
Read our in-depth Elite Phantom Venom review here.
The Pro changes the material composition of the Elite Phantom Venom for a cost-effective but still quality-feeling Nike football boot. While the thin upper profile is maintained, Flyknit gives way to a Nikeskin mesh and the thin PU on the forefoot is changed to a flexible Kangalite, the same synthetic leather material that appeared in the likes of Nike CTR boots. Ghost lacing cover and tongue are also switched to mesh, and nylon straps provide the lacing support instead of Flywires.
The Academy Phantom Venom does have a premium vibe because of the Nikeskin-mesh that comprised the entirety of the upper, granted that the midfoot up to the rear have a denser and smoother build compared to the softer and more flexible forefoot (as well as the strike zone appearing merely as a print). Given that Nikeskin mesh was first used in the OG Hypervenom, the Academy Phantom Venom is a significant value for money. The issue with this boot is that because of the lack of stretch of the material and the synthetic leather underside liner, putting this on is quite difficult and delicate (as you don't want to necessarily jam your foot in and tearing the boot apart). Nonetheless, once in the Academy Phantom Venom is a comfortable and form-fitting football boot.
The Club gets you the design of the Phantom Venom via graphical print on a soft textile mesh upper with a thin plastic coating. This Venom tier though really lacks any responsive performance because of the absence of a structured feel and the lacing are just regular lace loops instead of the sole-connected straps found in the higher-tiered Venoms. This is an economic choice for Kids (who are still developing rapidly in a physical sense and thus may always need to get new boots regulary) or for casual players who needs a comfortable pair above all else in low-intensity games.
Children's Phantom Venom
If money is not an issue and you just want the best pair of Phantom Venoms for your children, it is possible to get the Phantom Venom Elite inKids's Jr. sizes. All the goodness of Flyknit and Hyperreactive outsole scaled down in size to fit the young ones.
Grass – FG (Firm Ground)
The Hyperreactive FG tooling of the Phantom Venom has a Pebax main plate that is the primary source of the soleplate's flexibility. Sitting on top of the Pebax are the TPU zones of different densities to provide the stability. These zones also form around the forefoot to break down the Pebax into multidirectional lines, giving the tooling flexibility to push of in any direction. The stud configuration is comprised mainly of chevron studs that face toward the outside, giving the Hyperreactive outsole not only with aggressive traction but also multidirectional bite as a complement to the Pebax lines on the forefoot.
Muddy – SG (Soft Ground & Anti Clog)
The SG-Anti Clog soleplate of the Phantom Venom has a full hydrophobic plate that allows the wearer to easily wipe off the mud from the outsole. For effective usage, it is advisable to water the surface to create that repellent effect. Moulded plastic chevrons provide additional stability and traction to that being provide by the replaceable metal studs, which are lengthened to make sure they dig in well. Just take note that there is noticeable weight increase because of the screw-in structures and metallic studs added to the tooling.
Artificial – AG-Pro
The chevron-based stud configuration is usually too clingy to artificial pitches, and that extra pinch may cause unnecessary shocks that could in turn result to unexpected injuries. This is especially noticeable when an FG boot is planted firmly on the synthetic ground. In addition to the penetrating capability of blades and chevrons, the material of AG is usually rubber and thus already has a grippy feel to it (making twisting and rotating less effortless). Nike AG-Pro on the Phantom Venom has a thicker plastic composition and hallowed conicals, which automatically address pivoting issues and whose material build allow the studs to easily slide in and out of the artificial pitch. The thicker plastic also shields the bond or the glue between the soleplate and the boot from the heat caused by friction of the artificial surface. In fact it is much safer to play the AG Venom in natural grass than the other way around.
Turf – TF
Turf is very carpet-like and has a shallow depth (possible for the short grass to even sit on a concrete base), so in this case a Turf-outsoled Venom is what you need. It does have the very short rubber nubs scattered across the outsole that evens out the pressure from the hard surface while giving that right amount of cling to the shallow grass, something that an FG or even an FG will give in unnecessary abundance. Using an FG or AG on turf will just result to stud pressure points, since the studs are longer than the grass and that they are hitting the hard base.
Indoor & Court – IC
A flat surface also needs a flat outsole, as there is no depth for studs to dig in anyway. The good thing about the Phantom Venom Indoor (available in Pro tier) is that it adds Nike's patented Zoom air technology in its midsole cushioning to make it comfortable to bounce around, and partners its non-marking outsole with a Nikeskin-mesh upper that hugs and wraps around your foot closely, thus increasing comfort. Instead of PU blades and honeycomb forefoot, the Indoor Venom uses a Hyperscreen film that has grippy feel to it.
The 2019 Hypervenom Phantom has evolved into the Phantom VNM, still a goalscorers boot, with technology added to advance your game. Precision PWR panel added similar to the T90 Laser of the past, paired with NikeSKIN and Flyknit uppper and a Honeycomb like texture over the forefoot, for adding control and touch when dribbling the ball.
The soleplate is updated from the Phantom III, still Hyperreactive the plate incorporated the split toe design under a six pointed star in the centre of the foot, with Chevron studs and two braking blades in the middle, for the ultimate strikers traction.
Part covered laces look to give you an adaptive lockdown into the boot and you get a cleaner striking area, paired with the Precision PWR panel a textured area in the strike zone for a powerful and cleaner strike.
This indepth report was written by Ian Ebbs, founder of FootballBoots.co.uk in 2010. He supports Blackburn Rovers, is President of a 1,000 member football club, a central midfielder he plays twice a week and coaches Junior teams.