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Nike Phantom Review

Ian Ebbs

What I think you need to know about the 2024 Nike Phantom GX & Luna Elite:

  • I feel the Nike Phantom GX 2 and Luna Elite are among the most comfortable football boots I’ve tried, even straight out of the box.
  • They stand out with a unique identity, distinct from Nike’s Mercurial and Tiempo lines, and feature effective Gripknit technology that enhances grip and ball touch.
  • The bladed Cyclone 360 outsole offers excellent traction and forefoot pivoting, but might not suit everyone’s liking
  • The are ideal for wide feet, they run a quarter size long, which might leave extra space by your toes
  • Overall, the Phantom GX 2 and Luna Elite are strong contenders in the control boot category

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 evolved from the 2023 Phantoms into essentially the same boot.

There is just one obvious difference, the collar; the Luna II features a high-cut sock, dynamic fit collar, which I find is more there for looks than performance, leaving the GX2 as the low-cut option.

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.

The Phantom carries decades worth of Nike football boot evolution with a genealogical connection to past iconic power and control silos like the T90, Hypervenom, CTR Maestri, and the Magista Obra.

2024 Phantom Models

One of the best knitted football boot today; available in Luna II and GX II models; they cost less when you get the takedowns (Pro, Academy, Club) that use cheaper materials, you go down in quality as you reduce the price:

ModelQualityPitches
phantomgx
GX Elite

Gripknit & Flyknit upper
FG AG SGphantomgx>> Get Elite Phantom GX2 at Nike
luna
Luna Elite

Gripknit, Flyknit & sock collar

FG Grass AG Artificial
luna>> Get Phantom Luna at Nike
gxpro
GX Pro

Engineered Mesh upper
FG Turfgxpro>> Get Phantom GX Pro at Nike
gxacademy
GX Academy

NikeSkin Open Mesh
MG TF SGgxacademy>> Get Phantom Academy at Nike
gxclub
GX Club

Textured Synthetic materials
Mixed Grass Artificialgxclub>> Get Phantom GX Club at Nike
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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 a bladed stud configuration that culminates in the Cyclone 360 formation on the forefoot. This is the high version with the sock collar. Simply take out the high-cut collar, and you now have the GX II! It’s the same as with today’s Mercurial variations of the Superfly and the Vapor.

Latest Colours

Your Phantom Luna/GX II Questions Answered:

  • 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 foot shape. That’s why I like providing these kind of reviews, for you to know more about the boots so you can understand yourself better what will suit you. If you want a full breakdown read this article I wrote on them.

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

My 2024 Phantom GX 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:
4.8
✔️ Pros
  • I rank it as one of the most comfortable option out there, even out-of-the-box
  • I like how the it has a distinguishable identity from the Mercurial and Tiempo
  • Gripknit works!
  • Some might be put off by the bladed Cyclone 360, but I actually find them good for forefoot pivots and overall traction
  • For boot enthusiasts such as myself, Gripknit’s more pronounced thumbprint pattern is a nice throwback to the T90; not rigid and even amplifies the Gripknit’s stickiness
  • My heel sits in well because of the boot’s heel depth
  • My favourite wide-fitting football boot!
  • The flexibility of the sole and the promo heel counter I believe enhances the overall comfort
❌ Cons
  • Quarter size long; might be alright to those who prefer some space on the front
  • I don’t think they are the most responsive, most especially for narrow-feet players
  • Luna II’s collar more for looks than added performance benefit, I think
  • Would take a lot of foot volume to totally fill out the space and prevent too much creases
  • Phantom Luna are no longer specifically designed for Women

With its Gripknit technology, the Phantom have been given the final piece needed to make the silo on-par with it’s Nike peers and with other ‘control boots’ like the adidas Predator.

I Think The GX & Luna Are Best For…

How I Conducted The Review Of The Nike Phantom GX 2

I’ve spent plenty of time training & playing in the GX, like my other boot reviews, this Phantom GX 2 review followed some guidelines that the team thinks is necessary for boot testing. Besides the usual running and movement drills, I subjected the Phantom GX 2 to more shooting and passing tests.

This is necessary to see if Gripknit does really make a difference to your ball touch and grip, especially as we have the adidas Predator dominating in this category with its own grip elements.

To eliminate any possible shooting or passing issue due to lack of fit or lockdown (and therefore decreased responsiveness), I was chosen to lead the review since I have a wide-foot shape that is perfect for the build of the GX 2.

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 a 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.

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.

It had the Cyclone 360 outsole that placed some blades in a circular formation on the forefoot for better rotational traction, that was used also on the GX 2. Read more about the Phantom 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

My 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

What I Think You Should Know

  • 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 which is 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

My 2020 & 2021 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.

Key Points:

  • 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
  • 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
  • Structured heel tab another minor update
  • Fit and feel is the same as the first gen; true-to-size for most people, go down half-a-size for narrower feet
  • Some who experienced heel chaffing might experience the same issue again
  • 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. Still a good football boot, but changes does not warrant an generational update to the name

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)

Author

Ian Ebbs

Founder of FootballBoots.co.uk 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.