Since the launch in 1998, the Nike Mercurial has become one of the most iconic and recognizable soccer cleats in the world.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the face of the silo. The Real Madrid and Portugal forwards speed and lethal finishing embody the technical benefits of the silo. And the cleats vivid colorways reflect his style on and off the field.
When Nike partnered with the Brazilian national team in 1996, the idea of a special cleat to celebrate the style of play of the Seleção was proposed with the best footballer of the day, Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, known as the ‘original Ronaldo’ or the Brazilian Ronaldo, the choice to launch the new cleat.
Nike’s original design had a track spike soleplate with a Tiempo upper to create the ultimate lightweight boot. The finished product featured synthetic leather called KNG-100 that was able to behave like leather all while being more water resistant.
The Mercurial Vapor extension of the Mercuial line was launched in 2002. The combination of the NikeSkin vapors and a leather option, which was released later, pushed the Nike Mercurial Vapor to new heights.
The unique and modern design helped the Vapor stand out from the crowd. The likes of Theirry Henry, Eric Cantona, and Roberto Carlos joined Ronaldo as headline athletes to wear or endorse the Vapor.
The Mercurial Vapor 3 introduced Teijin synthetic and carbon fiber in the heel wrap. The Vapor 3 introduced several significant colorways with the Cristiano Ronaldo Cactus Green colorway, Ronaldo Lima’s (Brazilian Ronaldo) own signature colorway that featured a yellow and green upper that was a perfect match for the Brazil home kit.
In 2007, Nike introduce the Mercurial Vapor SL. The cleat was made entirely made out of carbon Fiber and featured a larger heel cup than seen on previous Vapors. As part of the advertising for the SL, Nike had famed Jamiacan Sprinter Asafa Powell run the length of a football pitch in the SL’s in which he recorded a staggering 9.94 seconds.
In 2009, Nike introduced the first ever Superfly alongside the Vapor V. The introduction of FlyWire cables was a significant advancement in boot technology. With the pursuit of making one of the lightest boots, the first Vapor Superfly was born and exemplified speed. The Teijin Synthetic upper had a FlyWire cables underneath the upper, the soleplate was very light and made completely of Carbon Fiber, the studs were redesigned to provide great traction while eliminating unnecessary weight.
On February 24th 2010, the Superfly 2 was released in a Violet Poppy/Obsidian/ Orange colorway. In addition to speed, the Superfly 2 also focused on traction with the new Nike SENSE technology. Nike released the Elite Series pack that included the famous Match Purple/Total Orange colorway as well as CR7’s first exclusive shoe which featured the iconic Safari print upper.
The Vapor VIII introduced a fiber glass soleplate reduced weight and included a 2-design on the heel. The launch colorway was a Mango colorway with a suede finish. A special half White/Solar Red colorway was released for the EUROS in 2012. Another Cristiano colorway had a Black/Blue/Pink upper that was as flashy as the man himself.
The Vapor 9 was released with an extremely limited release for CR7 that was White/Orange with black lettering and included significant statistics from his career.
Nike also released a colorway to celebrate the 15th anniversary of ‘the Brazilian Ronaldo’ debuting the silo.
In 2014, Nike brought back the Superfly with the Superfly 4. The all FlyKNit boot featured FlyWire cables. The Dynamic Fit collar was designed to make the boot feel like an extension of the foot. The boot launched in a Hyper Punch colorway. One standout colorway was the BHM (Black History Month) that was a released in extremely limited quantities. The Nike Tech Craft pack put the best of leather and synthetic together on a Superfly.
The current Mercurial line features the Superfly V and Vapor XI options and with the success of this boot, one can expect Nike to continue the range well into the future.