Nike Mercurial Miracle III Soft Ground Pro Review
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 Teijin 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 an exceptionally 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.
The Miracle III with the SG-Pro stud variation weighs in at 8.9oz, 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 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.
The new SG-Pro stud pattern got people excited, mainly because it is a stud pattern that was exclusive to the professionals, but now Nike have released it to the public. What makes the SG-Pro stud pattern so attractive is that it isn’t a particularly aggressive soft ground stud pattern. If you look at the metal studs, they do not extend much past the plastic, or firm ground, studs making this a stud pattern that you can get away with should the ground that you are playing be consistently soft-ish. If you are playing regularly on firm ground or hard ground, the standard firm ground stud pattern is what you want. Another misconception with the SG-Pro stud pattern is that you can use it on turf or artificial surfaces. I strongly suggest not doing so. As the name suggests, the stud pattern is for “soft ground”, which is more or less the exact opposite of a shallow artificial surface. As far as the performance of the stud pattern is concerned, the plastic studs scattered around the metal ones do make for a different feel than you would normally get from your standard six stud, soft ground stud pattern. There are some additional grip points on the shoe, but what I am a big fan of is the extra stud right at the toe. This stud just gives that little bit of extra grip when pushing off, which could be the difference between slipping and staying on your feet in soft field conditions. What is unique to the Vapor VIII and Miracle III SG-Pro variations, are the plastic studs being blades, rather than conical shaped studs. These bladed studs are significantly more aggressive in terms of how much they grip, and are surprisingly sharp, just like the firm ground version. Other than that, I would say that the plastic studs give the stud pattern a feel more like a firm ground stud pattern on the ball. If you have ever used a pair of six studs before, you know that feel of somewhat of an awkwardness if you ever use the bottom of your foot to control the ball, and that just doesn’t happen with the SG-Pro stud pattern. It is easy to see why the pros are choosing to use the mixed sole stud patterns, but just keep in mind that they are still intended and should be used on soft ground.
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. Depending on what colorway that you get, the finish will vary a little bit, but I wouldn’t say that one is better than the rest. None of the takedown models from Nike feature the new ACC uppers, so that isn’t a topic to discuss either. While the quality of feel is not at the same standard as the Vapor VIII, the overall feel is still very good, and is easily one of the nicest synthetic used on any takedown model shoe.
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 a very tight feel and the soleplate offers a solid amount of stiffness, which is great. I don’t think that the Miracle III is going surprise anybody as to how they feel when striking the ball.
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. The shoe 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 harder playing surfaces, 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.
Anytime that you choose a lightweight, thin synthetic, soccer shoe, protection is always the first thing you lose. 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.
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 one of your best options, but if you are open to other styles, there are better options for the price.
|Comfort/Fit||9 out of 10|
|Weight||7 out of 10|
|Traction||10 out of 10|
|Touch||8 out of 10|
|Shooting||8 out of 10|
|Protection||7 out of 10|
|Durability||8 out of 10|
|FINAL SCORE||57 out of 70 or 81%|