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Review: Nike Phantom Boots

Ian Ebbs

Nike’s GX II is the latest on the Phantom line, joined by the Phantom Luna which in essence is the Phantom GX DF with the sock collar, they have both evolving from the 2023 Phantoms into essentially the same boot (with just one obvious difference, the collar). Read how this affects the performance for Phantom wearing players and find out if the Nike Phantom GX or Luna are right for you. 

What You’ll Find On This Page:

The Phantom GX succeeded the Phantom GT which rolled the VNM and the VSN into one, while the Luna debuted as Nike’s dedicated women’s boot. As such, it can be said that the Luna/GX carries decades worth of Nike football boot evolution as it has a link to Nike women’s football and shares a genealogical connection to past iconic power and control silos like the T90, Hypervenom, CTR Maestri, and the Magista Obra.

Phantom Models

One of the best knitted football boot today; available in Luna II and GX II models; costs less when you get the takedowns (Pro, Academy, Club) but with adjustments down in quality as you reduce the price.


Elite Luna II

The Elite Phantom Luna II is a boot that has Nike’s remarkable Gripknit, a knitted material that forms the upper and also is the main source of its grip and ball touch. It has bladed stud configuration that culminates in the Cyclone 360 formation on the forefoot. This is the high version with the sock collar.

Elite GX II

Simply take out the high-cut collar, and you now have the GX II! It’s no different with today’s Mercurial variation between the Superfly and the Vapor.

Phantom Luna/GX II Questions Answered:

  • Will there be a Phantom GX 2?

Tada! We now have the GX 2. Well, actually, it’s technically Luna/GX II, meaning to say that this generation is the second one for both Luna and GX. But as you have read earlier, the only thing separating the Luna II and the GX II is the collar. Calling it Luna/GX seems appropriate as it really is a hybrid of their respective first-generation boots.

  • What are Nike Phantoms designed for?

The Nike Phantom football boots are designed for the technical players and playmakers, mostly worn by midfielders as they are the ones who initiate and dictate the passage of play. But even those up front are into the Phantom, especially those who create and provide goal scoring opportunities in advanced roles.

  • Which is better Mercurial or Phantom?

Both are actually great football boots (not playing it safe here!). One becomes better depending on one’s preferences and sizing. That’s why Football Boots UK provides this kind of reviews, for you to know more about the boots (in this case the Phantom Luna/GX II) and, more importantly, to understand oneself better regarding likes and dislikes about football boots.

Nike Phantom GX II Elite Review

Five Things You’ll Want to Know:

  1. Luna II is the DF version (same collar as the Luna I) and the GX II is the low-cut one
  2. Comes with asymmetrical lacing system
  3. One-piece Gripknit upper comprised of sticky coated yarns and high-tenacity ones, all in a knitted base material
  4. Bladed Cyclone 360 outsole configuration a carry over from the Luna I
  5. Marketed as Nike’s control option; sold together with the speedy Mercurial and the heritage Tiempo

Our Phantom Luna/GX II Expert Review

Nike Phantom GX

The Nike Phantom GX are made for you to stick out on pitch with Gripknit technology to give you precise ball control, they are grippy on the ball but not too sticky.

Product SKU: DC9968

Product Brand: Nike

Editor's Rating:

✔️ Pros
  • One of the most comfortable option out there, even out-of-the-box
  • Has a distinguishable identity from the Mercurial and Tiempo
  • Gripknit works!
  • Good forefoot pivots and overall traction
  • Gripknit’s more pronounced thumbprint pattern a nice throwback to the T90; not rigid and even amplifies the Gripknit’s stickiness
  • Nice heel depth
❌ Cons
  • Quarter size long; might be alright to those who prefer some space on the front
  • Not the most responsive for narrow-feet players
  • Luna II’s collar more for looks than added performance benefit
  • Would take a lot of foot volume to totally fill out the space and prevent too much creases
  • Phantom Luna no longer women-specific

With its Gripknit technology, the Phantom Luna/GX  have given the final piece needed to make the silo perceptively on-par with its Nike peers. Moreover, it may have also made the Phantom line competitive as far as ‘control boots’ are concerned. 

Boot Rankings, Best For…

History of the Nike Phantom

The Nike Phantom has gone a long way since its inception in 2013. Take a look at the silo’s development over the years and how arrived to this point with the Phantom GX.

Hypervenom Phantom I (2013)

Successfully replacing the iconic T90 was a tall order, but Nike did just that with the Hypervenom Phantom in 2013. It introduced a ‘new breed of attack’ by moving on from the tanky build of the former in favour of a soft and honeycombed Nikeskin mesh upper and a lightweight feel. The nimble and deft Neymar headlined the boot, and effectively epitomised what the boot stood for-skills and agility are as important as strength and power.

Hypervenom Phantom II (2015)

Not many will fondly remember the Hypervenom Phantom II. It was thought of as a massive disappointment-comfort suffered a lot because of the stiffer upper and too much lockdown from the reinforcing Flywire cables. Pros were so unhappy that Nike moved back to the Nikeskin upper material in 2016, starting with the Hypervenom Phantom II in the Spark Brilliance pack. The DF-collared and low-cut offerings in the Phantom line first appeared in the Hypervenom II, with Nike calling the uncollared variant the Hypervenom Phinish.

Hypervenom Phantom III (2017)

Flyknit featured fully for the first time in the silo’s history with the 2017 Hypervenom Phantom III. This was also where Nike decided to simply name the collared model DF and the low-cut as simply Hypervenom Phantom. The standout feature was the texturing on the upper that hardened upon impact, adding power without necessarily stiffening the upper. Hypervenom Phantom III was an acceptable change, though it did not reach the height of the OG release.

Phantom VSN (2018)

Replacing the Magista (which in turn succeeded the CTR Maestri), the Phantom VSN introduced the concept of control to the Phantom line in 2018. It later coexisted with the Phantom VNM at some point, kind of presenting themselves as control-power twin of the silo. The boot had Flyknit covering the internal Quadfit case (its primary source of lockdown), a ghost lacing cover to clean up the striking surface and a Hyperscreen coating on the upper to carry out minitexturing essential for ball touch. The changes in the VSN II released in 2020 were minimal, such as the external heel clip, lower collar and revised Hyperscreen divisions, and not enough to change the essence of the boot. Under the Future DNA pack, the VSN effectively brought back the black and citrus launch colourway of the Hypervenom Phantom.

Phantom VNM (2019)

With the VNM in 2019, the Phantom carried on with its power roots despite the existence of the VSN at that time. The Flyknit boot was instantly recognisable with its ridged Precision PWR Zone on the instep, clearly invoking the spirit of the T90 series. Speaking of which, the VNM suited up with the classic black and white look of the T90 II in the Future DNA pack. Assisting the lockdown of the boot were the integrated Flywire cables. Both the VNM and the VSN gave way to the Phantom GT in 2020. 

Phantom GT (2020)

Phantom GT started during the COVID year and was known for the ‘Generative Texture‘ on its Flyknit upper that aided ball grip and control. The open-arched Hyperquick tooling was targeted on stability when moving and landing side-to-side. The only difference between the GT 1 and the GT 2 a year later was the change of the Generative Texture from a micro-pill shape with varying intensities and concentrations to a generic, all-over chevron one. 

Phantom GX (2022)

Nike Phantom GX made a splashing debut in 2022 as it started appearing in the knockout stages of the Qatar World Cup. GX brought the sticky Gripknit to the football boot world and provided some formidable challenge to the dominance of the adidas Predator in the grip/control department.

Phantom Luna (2023)

Nike’s football boot ‘By her, For her.’ The Luna was released as the brand’s dedicated boot for women’s football around the 2023 Women’s World Cup and also applied the Gripknit upper technology in a fit and style that catered well to its target audience. More importantly, it had the Cyclone 360 outsole that placed some blades in a circular formation on the forefoot for better rotational traction. More about the Luna here.

2023 Elite Phantom GX Review

Five Things You’ll Want to Know:

  1. Available in DF and low-cut collar
  2. DF collar includes ghost lacing cover
  3. New Gripknit external layer for the grip/control element
  4. Snappy outsole w/ a versatile stud configuration
  5. Wide-fitting

Our Phantom GX Expert Review

✔️ Pros
  • Out-of-the-box comfort is top-notch; little to no break-in time
  • Stands distinct from the synthetic Mercurial and leathered Tiempo
  • Gripknit does have some sense of ball grip
❌ Cons
  • Runs a quarter size long
  • Ghost lacing cover might present difficulty regarding adjusting the laces
Boot Rankings, Best For…

According to pro player/boot reviewer Noah Cavanaugh:

  • Unbelievable; beyond gorgeous
  • Soleplate is very snappy
  • Megasoft straight out of the box
  • Gripknit feels waxy; has the same on-touch sensation as the texturing on the Ultra Venom
  • Shape is similar to the Phantom GT
  • Quarter thumb extra length kind of a bummer
  • Width not an issue (foot width: medium wide); no pressure points and stretches nicely to Noah’s foot width
  • Lovely touch on the ball-nice, thin, feels GT and Ultra Venomesque
  • Awesome fitting boots; looks like a hit for Nike
  • Swoosh within the Swoosh outline a cool detail
  • Heel liner is as good, if not better than that of the GT

Elite Phantom GT 2 Review

The Phantom GT was the direct replacement of the VNM and the VSN, the previous phantom lines that ran simultaneously. The silo was relatively the youngest at that time, but it didn’t lack in boot history considering its roots to the likes of the T90, Hypervenom, CTR Maestri and Magista Obra.

Five Things You’ll Want to Know:

  1. Updated and streamlined Generative Texture relative to the first Phantom GT; additional embossed strip design
  2. A quarter size long in length; might need to adjust accordingly when picking up a size
  3. New webbing graphic
  4. Still available in DF and low versions
  5. The same Flyknit-based upper, wide last, open-arch Hyperquick soleplate, and off-centred lacing system

Our Phantom GT Expert Review


✔️ Pros
  • For those who’ve been missing the original Hypervenom Phantom 1; these are arguably the best non-mercurial Nike boot since 2013. They feel like a knitted OG Hypervenom with its thin and soft Flyknit upper providing a comfortable barefoot sensation.
  • Has a distinct identity relative to the synthetic Mercurial and leather Tiempo
  • Updated graphics provide unlimited possibilities in producing memorable colourways
❌ Cons
  • A cosmetic generational update at best; no need to upgrade if you still have the GT 1, or best to get a discounted pair of the first Phantom GT whenever possible
  • Responsiveness not on par w/ the Nike Mercurial
  • Bested by the adidas Predator in terms of ball grip despite the focus on ‘Generative Texture’

The Phantom GT, with its knit-based upper, wide fit, and functional flexible outsole, stands its ground well vis-a-vis other Nike silo. There’s a good reason why it commands a significant following among professionals.

Boot Rankings, Best For…

For SR4U:

  • Exact same GT 1 boot
  • Generation update very Un-Nikely given the change is very minimal
  • Streamlined Generative Texture contradicts marketing for the intricacy of the tech in GT1; feels more ‘Generic’ than ‘Generative’; gives a point at least for continuing the texture through the Swoosh
  • Graphic feels cheap
  • Structured heel tab another minor update
  • Fit and feel is the same as the first gen; true-to-size for most people
  • Some who experienced heel chaffing might experience the same issue
  • Unless previous GT1 is completely worn out or prefer to always wear the latest model, upgrading to GT2 is a ‘No’; even suggested getting older colourways for the GT1 that are now discounted
  • A lazy upgrade but not to the extent of other brand’s previous generational update like the adidas Predator 18 to Predator 19; hopes Nike does not continue the trend

Boot Wizard talking points:

  • Change in Generative Texture makes the GT2 feel similar to the VSN1; texture now feels more like a rough-matte like the older Phantom than the tacky sensation from the GT1; personally prefers the GT1 in this regard
  • Slightly stiffer out-of-the-box from the GT1
  • Change in GT slightly frustrating given the marketing behind the technology in GT1
  • Has a slightly thicker liner
  • While not noticeable on feet, minor changes brought weight gains for the GT2
  • True-to-size if width fits well; go down half-a-size for narrower feet
  • Still a good football boot, but changes does not warrant an generational update to the name

Get Your Pair Here

Phantom GT 2 vs Phantom GT 1

As emphasised earlier, not much difference is there between the GT 1 and the GT 2. Besides the generic chevron Generative Texture and the rough tactile upper sensation, the GT 2 is the same as the GT 1. The second generation is not different structure-wise, meaning it has the same Flyknit-based upper, wide-last, slight excess length, and open-arched Hyperquick soleplate. The off-centred lacing is still present, but at the very least, the GT 2 has a new webbing graphic that allows for more colour combinations through its block design.

Since not much has changed between the two, it’s at least worth seeing some of the colourway releases of the GT 1 if only to determine if you have the first or the second generation when you buy a pair of the Phantom GT.

Phantom GT 1 (2020)

Phantom GT 2 (2021)



Ian Ebbs

Founder of back in 2010, Ian went on to create and host their YouTube channel which now has 1.5million subscribers and over 300 million views, he also hosts their podcast which you can find on Spotify. Taking his over fifteen year experience in the football industry, Ian wrote the book: How To Choose Your Boots (find it on Amazon) where he looks to help footballers of all levels find their perfect pair.