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Nike Mercurial Vapor 15

Dean Ariola

The Nike Mercurial Vapor 15 comes in four different tiers: the professional-level, top-end Elite, high-quality takedown Pro, budget option Academy and entry-level Club. On top of that, different soleplate types are available to get the exact Vapor for your playing surface. Browse through for more details or go straight to our full Nike Vapor review here.

Elite Review Academy Review Vapor 15 vs 14 Your Questions Answered

Nike Vapor 15
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While technically not the first Mercurial to feature the zoom airbag (having produced the Air Zoom Mercurial twenty one years ago), Nike’s long-running speed boot line gets the first application of the Air Zoom technology ever since its conception as the Mercurial Vapor in 2002. Given the boot’s significant development in terms of the upper, fit, and tooling, Nike turns to its midsole as the centre stage for the latest and greatest from the Vapor line.

Nike Air Zoom Mercurial Vapor 15

Mercurial Vapor Elite

Vaporposite+ upper
FG AG SGvapor>> Get Elite Mercurial Vapor 15 at Nike
Mercurial Vapor Pro

Minimalist mesh upper
FG Turfvaporpro>> Get Mercurial Vapor 15 Pro at Nike
Mercurial Vapor Academy

Nikeskin upper
MG TF SGvaporacademy>> Get Mercurial Vapor 15 Academy at Nike
Mercurial Vapor Club

Textured Synthetic materials
Mixed Grass Artificialvaporclub>> Get Mercurial Vapor 15 Club at Nike
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Elite – As implied by the title, the Elite has the best of materials, structure, and execution of the Vapor football boot; Price, features, and quality are minimised once you go to the takedown models (Pro, Academy, Club)

Vapor 15 Academy

Both in Adults & Kids Sizes – Cheaper entry level boot, that suits amateur players and those with growing feet, has the same look as the Elite version. It has a more substantial feel to it as far as the Nikeskin upper material itself is concerned, and once broken-in it does replicate the overall snug profile that the Vapor is known for. You can get the Academy Vapor in AG and SG-specific toolings on top of the Multiground default.

Mercurial Vapor Questions Answered:

  • Is the Nike Mercurial Vapor a good option for wide feet?

You’ll be better off with the Phantom GX or the Tiempo if you really have wide feet, along with these other options. With that said, the Vapor is now becoming more accommodating and can pack in some additional width. If you happen to test out previous Vapors and were a bit tight by the slightest of margins, then you might find the latest Vapor finally as a good fit.

  • Who wears the Nike Vapors?

Bruno Fernandes and Robert Lewandowski are some of the high-quality names playing with the Vapor. Joining them are the likes of Vinicius Jr., Ansu Fati, and Joshua Kimmich.

  • Is the Vapor good?

Yes! It’s the reason why the Vapor is now more than two decades old and is ever-present both among professionals and casual players. We could say it pioneered, and arguably still leads, the speed category in football boots.

Elite Mercurial Vapor 15 Review

Nine Things You’ll Want to Know:

  1. At around £230, it’s one of the priciest boot in the market
  2. Synthetic-based with its Vaporposite+ upper
  3. Directly competes against the likes of adidas X and Puma Ultra speed boots
  4. Better suited for narrow sizing, but is now more accommodating relative to past Vapors (more room on the midfoot plus the stretch from the Flyknit tongue)
  5. Breaks in quite easily
  6. Zoom Airbag gives a revolutionary underfoot sensation; might not be at par to its hyped energy-return expectations but nonetheless has a unique feel that needs to be experienced
  7. Tri-star studs have a nice sharp traction
  8. Save more by opting for the Vapor instead of the Superfly (whose Flyknit collar, while plush and premium, does not necessarily give value for money)
  9. Barefoot touch but with less sharpness on the sting of the contact

Our Vapor Expert Review

Nike Mercurial Vapor 15 Elite FG

The low cut Mercurial Vapor 15 is the most popular boot worn by professional players across Europe's top leagues, including Eling Haaland and Robert Lewandowski.

Product SKU: DJ4978

Product Brand: Nike

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:

✔️ Pros
  • I think the Zoom Airbag is really something new in football boots and that how it eases the transition from one step to the other enhances the unique proposition of the boot; I imagine they would work well in giving comfort on harder pitches
  • Less sting on ball contact, so my foot hurt less over time of kicking the ball compared to previous generations
  • New Vaporposite+ works well in balancing upper flexibility and structural integrity; I can say the Vapor is able to walk that fine line between comfort and responsiveness
  • Besides comfort and responsiveness, I also think the upper performs well in being pliable enough to be form-fitting
  • Added space around the mid foot means more foot types can try the Vapor, not just narrow feet players like me; still best though for slim foot types
  • I like how the heel lockdown is really up there in terms of being the best in the business
  • Once I get the laces tied tight, I don’t think you’ll have any issues with the overall lockdown
  • I feel nimble on my feet thanks to the boot being as lightweight as any boot can be
  • I’m able to save a bit of money by going for the low-cut vapor instead of the collared Superfly
❌ Cons
  • To me, energy return not to the level of the past few preceding Vapors (to the point that Zoom Air as an energy return sounds like a gimmick)
  • Some might miss the traditional tight-fit as the Vapor continues to trend on becoming more relaxed; but for wide feet players they might still feel that the boot’s width as crushing and restrictive
  • I wouldn’t dare anyone step on my toes as the upper surely won’t protect my feet from getting hurt by another boot’s studs

Packed with unique mechanisms and top-level construction, Nike’s Mercurial Vapors are technology-packed speed boots that attracts stars and casual players alike. Affordable PRO & Academy versions replicate the look with economic materials and form.

Boot Rankings, Best For…

For SR4U:

  • Air Zoom tech in latest Mercurial is something special; unlike anything tried before
  • Durability not a concern
  • Has a running shoe ‘flow’ that he has not experience in any other football boot; there’s a smoothness in transition from moment of impact to the launch of the foot into the next stride; not so much into energy return but more on comfort and smoothness in every step
  • Previous Vapors just feels as low profile as the Vapor 15, despite it having less outsole layers
  • Does maintain the anatomic feel because of how the Zoom Airbag sits on the soleplate cavity
  • Tristar studs as aggressive as the signature chevrons of previous Vapors
  • Loves the technicality of the new Vaporposite+ upper construction; if you like the feel of the original Vaporposite not much has changed
  • Flyknit now more stretchy
  • Shape is bespoke Mercurial but added a little midfoot space
  • Unique flow and smoothness in step makes the Mercurial standout among its stiff competition from the adidas X and Puma Ultra

Summary of Jay Mike’s talking points:

  • One of the best in the market; seriously good
  • Job well done on balancing upper flexibility, responsiveness, and lockdown
  • Upper gives a little grip now because of the texture
  • Flyknit has a more premium and plush finish
  • Doesn’t get the energy return feel; but feels more in-tuned with the boot and comfortable because of Zoom Air

Get Your Pair Here

Vapor 15 vs Vapor 14

Because the main difference is the outsole technology, Vapor 15 edges in comfort and uniqueness in underfoot sensation. The Vapor 14, however, has the advantage in speed boost because of the snap and energy-return of the Aerotrak spine.

Both Vapors remain lightweight, but because of less outsole layers the Vapor 15 becomes even lighter.

Flyknit feels more plush now on the latest Vapor.

Despite the change in the Vaporposite+, once broken-in both uppers provide the same pliability. But the lofted mesh on the new material does lessen the sting of its barefoot touch.

The change from chevron to tristar retains the aggressive traction in the new Vapor. But agility and multidirection speed is the new emphasis, with the previous Mercs and their stud configuration representing the core DNA of linear acceleration.

Vapor 15 builds on the subtle change on the fit and shape of the Vapor 14 to trend towards accommodating more width. The boots might be laying the foundation of taking away the Vapor from its trademark strapped-in, tight narrow fit.

 How We Tested And Reviewed The Nike Mercurial Vapor

Check out first how we approach boot testing here at Football Boots UK by clicking here. But for the Nike Mercurial Vapor specifically, yours truly went ahead to review the boot as I best represent the type of player that would fit in well with the popular speed boot. As such, I believe my foot type would be the best to bring out the best (and frankly, the reasons why it has stayed as a top silo for a long time) of the Vapors. Now about the Vapor 15 itself, I subjected it to more and more running. Don’t get me wrong, I still went on with my drills, but straight-line acceleration is what the Vapor is known for. Not to mention the fact that Nike has made the Zoom Airbag its centre piece and marketed it as an energy-return feature for boosting speed. I also happen to still have my pair of Vapor 14s, and so it wouldn’t hurt to include a quick comparison so that we all could know what to look forward to and what we could be missing with the current Mercurial Vapor.

Previous Models

Officially launched in 2002 (albeit with strong connection to Brazilian Ronaldo’s ‘R9’ Mercurials that first appeared in 1998), Nike unveiled their first ever speed-themed silo which has since become arguably the most iconic boot of the past two decades. Updated usually every two years, Nike release a new generation for World Cup and European Championship tournaments.

Vapor 15 is the current model, revealed in the Summer of 2022 with two launch editions, the Coconut White LE & the Bonded pack for the Women’s Euros for the said year.

Mercurial Vapor 14

The Vapor 14 was like a prayer answered for those desiring to return to the synthetic days of the Nike Mercurials. The new Vaporposite material was thin to give you that raw pingy sensation upon ball contact. And after just a short break-in time, the material became more pliable and complemented the softer Avail Q microfibre liner, making your feet comfortable in the long run.

Mercurial Vapor 13 (2019)

The Mercurial Vapor 13 released in July 2019 had the best construction of Nike’s trademark knit material called Flyknit. A soft yarn base layer had a structural reinforcement in the form of Nike’s High-Tenacity yarns, resulting in a Flyknit that remained pliable while also being structurally sound. This reinforcing yarns also worked in harmony with the boot’s tight-fit built and central lacing closure to produce a boot that had a very secure lockdown and noticeable responsiveness.

The 2019 Vapor launched with the New Lights colourway made up of light blue base colour and white accents, the crimson-based Future Lab, chromic Neighbourhood, and vibrant Daybreak Vapors got wide releases in terms of usage among Nike-contracted professionals. Neymar’s last few Nike-signature boots were the racing-inspired Vapor 13 Speed Freak and the kaleidoscopic Jogo Prismatico, whilst the Future DNA Vapor 13 finally brought the orange and silver Superfly 1 colourway available for retail.

Mercurial Vapor 12 (2018)

The Vapor XII started the trend of essentially being the same as the Mercurial Superfly, just less the collar. Called the Vapor 360 at launch, this Mercurial had the first Flyknit construction that completely hugs the foot up to the underfoot, made possible by the split soleplate and anatomically-shaped internal board. The chassis inside the boot had a debossed pattern that matched the embossed pattern underneath the insole, locking in together and reducing internal boot slippage.

Mercurial Vapor 11 (2016)

Together with the Superfly 5, the Vapor 11 were launched in May 2016 under the Spark Brilliance Pack dedicated for that year’s Euro tournament. The Vapor 11 had a Teijin synthetic upper and Speed Ribs texturing on the forefoot, the paint job of the launch colourway was predominantly red that faded to black towards the heel with black and pink highlighting the Speed Rib elements. Other black accents included the tongue, laces, and soleplate, with Volt details such as the Swoosh and the stud tips. Neymar’s first signature Mercurial Vapor were the Vapor 11 Written in the Stars; this blue-green Vapor with yellow accents showed a constellation graphic whose points detail the journey of Neymar in the football world at that time.

Mercurial Vapor 10 (2014)

In May 2014 Nike followed up the release of the then-new gen Superfly IV with the Vapor 10. Vapor 10 utilised an ultra-thin microfibre upper that introduced the integrated tongue construction. TPU studs filled in the nylon soleplate. The launch colourway of the Vapor was the same Hyper Punch Red and Gold as that of the Superfly IV. If you liked the Laser Orange Superfly 7 Limited Edition, then the Fall 2014 Vapor X might have also appealed to you, partnering the laser orange upper was a white Swoosh with a black outline. Nike’s penchant for bold colour combinations was also evident early on with the Vapor X Silver Storm which had an understated wolf grey upper and a hyper pink swoosh and soleplate, that were debuted on pitch for the 2015 UCL Final.


Dean Ariola

Dean has worked Chief writer at the Black & Orange team since 2020, he has an indepth knowledge of all the soccer shoes from the big brands, you have him to thank for all the updates to our Boot Secrets guide and he is first on the scene with all the new releases for you!