Nike Mercurial Miracle III Firm Ground Review

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The Nike Mercurial Miracle III is the first takedown in the very popular Mercurial line, and is surprisingly good quality for a take down model. Generally when you go into a take down model, the fit and most of the time, the comfort level of the shoe is simply not as good. While this still remains true if you compare the Miracle III to its big brother, the Vapor VIII, I can’t say that the overall fit and feel of the Miracle III is at a low standard. The synthetic upper is fairly soft from right out of the box, allowing for little to no break-in time.

The overall fit of the shoe is very similar to the Vapor as well, but the mid foot, toe box and heel seem to be a little wider. Not wide enough to where the instep is not going to hug your foot tightly, but the Miracle just doesn’t have that premium, zero space between your foot and the upper feel that the Vapor provides. One thing to note is that the soleplate is a little bit stiff from right out of the box, especially through the mid foot. While this is not a big deal, it can lead to getting blisters if you’re not careful. The soleplate will eventually soften up and the issue disappears. As far as how the Miracle fits in the width, I would say that it will fit a regular to slightly wide foot. The toe box is also fairly narrow, so if you do have a wide foot, you may want to look elsewhere. Sizing seems to be pretty true, as I wore my usual size 9US for review and the fit was perfect in the length. The thicker insole, the thicker upper and tongue, all make for a very soft, comfortable synthetic, but the fit does suffer ever so slightly, if you compare it to the Vapor VIII.

Weight

The Miracle III weighs in at 8.2oz, which is fairly light, especially for a takedown model. Generally when you look at a takedown model in a line of speed boots, they always seem to weigh significantly more than the top end model, and while that is still the case here, a shoe that weighs in at that 8oz mark, which is still what I would consider a lightweight shoe. The Miracle III is certainly not going to weigh you down and if a cheaper lightweight shoe is what you’re looking for, the Miracle will deliver.

Traction

The Miracle III uses the closest variation to the all new Mercurial stud pattern used on the Vapor VIII. The stud pattern on the Miracle III essentially uses a six stud, firm ground stud pattern. If you start from the back, you will immediately notice that there are only two bladed studs, as opposed to the usual four studs that you would get from past Mercurials, or pretty much every other firm ground stud pattern.

The bladed studs themselves are not particularly large, but they are well supported, with clear plastic strips running off of each side of the stud. Moving to the forefoot, you will find a single blade positioned right under the ball of your foot, as well as a parallel single blade on the outside of the foot, with one open “V” shaped stud in the middle. On the inside at the toe, you get you get two blades that are very close to each other, one positioned to push off to the outside and the other to push off going forward. While the last stud is on the outside of the toe, slightly further back, positioned at about a 45 degree angle.

If your were to put these shoes on and stand on a regular floor, it might scare you a little bit as to how they feel, but once you set foot on a grass field, the stud pattern begins to make sense. All of the studs represent “push off” points under your foot, allowing you to push off very hard, with plenty of grip. There is an element of feel that the stud pattern offers that you can’t really get from any other stud pattern on the market. Studs will grip when they need to, but grab next to nothing when they are not in use, allowing for that always on your toes feeling. The studs themselves are not as narrow or as sharp as the studs on the Vapor, which detracts from the overall feel a little bit, but not much. The plastic soleplate also changes the feel of the stud pattern, simply because the soleplate is just not as stiff ad the glass fiber soleplate of the Vapor VIII, so can feel the studs under your feet just a little more and there seems to be just a little more flex to the sole. The stud pattern is one that can be used no problem in grass, or even soft ground, but for turf, it may not be the best choice, simply because the long studs in small quantities may lead to some stability issues and some issues with stud pressure somewhere down the line.

Touch

The upper on the Miracle III is a little different from that of the Vapor. The synthetic used on the Miracle is still on the thinner side, and the tight fit also makes for a quality feel. Another difference is the mesh liner on the inside of the boot, which I think is partly there for structural reasons. While this internal liner does take away from the overall feel ever so slightly, the shoe still does offer what I would consider to be a very high quality synthetic. The Miracle also features the all new, suede like coating that the Vapor VIII uses, giving the upper a very soft, slightly leather like touch on the ball. What I have to give to the Miracle III, is that it has a feel very reminiscent of the higher end model that is the Vapor VIII. While the quality of feel is not at the same standard, the overall feel is still very good, and is easily the nicest synthetic used on any takedown model shoe.

Shooting

This is a bare bones upper with no shooting elements. The feeling of shooting bare foot, with some minimal padding of course, is the feeling that you get when striking the ball. The tight fit gives the boot somewhat of a barefoot feel and the soleplate offers a solid amount of stiffness, which feels great. I don’t think that the Miracle III is going surprise anybody as to how they feel when striking the ball.

Durability

There is some extra bulk to the Miracle III in comparison to the Vapor VIII, which only means that the overall durability of the shoe should be a little better. The soleplate is plastic, with what appears to be some form of carbon fiber, but upon further inspection, I can confidently say that it is just a sticker, and is nice and stiff through the mid foot, but the forefoot does seem to be a little on the thin side. This is not a major issue, but again, if you do intend on using these boot mainly on turf, I would probably look elsewhere. Given that turf is avoided as a playing surface, I am confident that the Miracle III is a shoe that will easily last a season’s worth of play.

Protection

Anytime that you choose a lightweight, thin synthetic, soccer shoe, protection is always the main sacrifice. While there may just a little extra bulk to the Miracle in comparison to the Vapor, there is still very little material protecting your foot. Should you get stepped on, it is going to hurt, but I feel that if you are going to purchase a boot like this, you accept the risks associated with wearing such a thin shoe.

The Verdict

I am generally one to shy away from takedown models, generally because you can get a better shoe from a smaller company for the same price or less, but the Miracle III truly does offer a solid feel. Speed boot takedowns are usually just not very good, but I applaud the Miracle III for the quality that it does offer and feel that is definitely reminiscent of the Vapor VIII. If you really want that lightweight, synthetic soccer shoe, but don’t have a big budget, the Miracle III is easily your best option, but if you are open to other styles, there are better options.

Comfort/Fit9 out of 10
Weight7 out of 10
Traction9 out of 10
Touch8 out of 10
Shooting8 out of 10
Protection7 out of 10
Durability8 out of 10
FINAL SCORE56 out of 70 or 80%
Joshua Vujovic (1117 Posts)

My goal is to provide the most detailed, in-depth reviews on all the latest soccer gear. Its very easy to get caught up in all of the hype around the latest soccer equipment, but we're here to point you in the right direction. As a product tester, I always give my honest, unbiased opinion on everything that gets tested, ensuring that you're always getting the most accurate information possible


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