Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly III Review
Nike's lightest boot is the epitome of speed and technical precision. Nike Flywire technology incorporated into the synthetic upper reduces weight, adjusts to the foot, provides support and increases ball feel. Ultra lightweight and exceptionally strong, the carbon composite tuned chassis delivers lightning speed and outstanding support. Unique vapor traction pattern and direct injected dual density heel studs give stability and explosive acceleration. Two Nike sense studs extend in softer ground, delivering extra grip and enhanced agility.
So what’s the biggest difference between the Superfly II and the Superfly III? The answer is fit and comfort. The Superfly III offers a lower toe box and slightly softer upper out of the box, making the break-in time significantly shorter. If you were to put a brand new Superfly II on one foot and a brand new Superfly III on the other, you would notice that the upper of the shoe is not as stiff. And that’s not to say that these shoes are not stiff. These, apart from its predecessor, are the stiffest shoes that you can buy and do require a pretty good amount of break-in time. This is not a shoe that you can wear in a game right out of the box because you will get blisters. I had to wear these around the house for around 5 hours before feeling comfortable enough to wear these shoes out on a field. The material will soften up, but not a lot, as the shoe will remain quite stiff. Once they have been broken in though, they are comfortable shoes. The Flywire allows for the tightest, close to your foot feeling that you can’t get from any other synthetic soccer shoes. The carbon fiber sole-plate is also the best base for any shoe, in my opinion, and eliminated all stud pressure, allowing for a good amount of comfort. These shoes are not super narrow and fit more at a normal width, so as long as your foot is not overly wide, you should have no problem wearing these boots. I wore my normal size 9US in these shoes. They fit true to size, so for a tight fit order your normal size.
These shoes are definitely light, but thanks to the Adizero line of shoes, they do not feel as light as you might like them to be. If you wear the Superfly III on one foot and an Adizero Prime on the other, there is no doubt that the Adizeros are significantly lighter. That’s not to say that they are not light shoes. At 7.8oz, these shoes are light, just not to the same level that the Adizeros are.
One of the reasons to go for the Superfly over the lower priced vapor is due to the special Nike sense studs that come on the Superfly. What seemed like a gimmicky thing on paper actually impressed me. I had gone out in softer field conditions, where I would usually slip while wearing firm ground shoes, and found myself having an incredible amount of traction coming from these two studs. I was able to go full pace and change direction without any slippage whatsoever, giving you a great amount of confidence to cut in while sprinting down the sideline. I even tried to slip and just couldn’t do it. If you want the most versatile firm ground stud pattern available, this is it. The only reason that you don’t see many pros using this stud pattern is because they play on soft ground and do require a soft ground stud pattern.
This is an area that felt a little strange for me. The shoe is not very thin. It’s in the middle of super thin and thick where you would want a leather shoe. It’s hard to explain, but I felt like the shoe was an awkward thickness. The upper is also not very soft, so you touch just feels as if you don’t feel the ball as well as you might think you would. All this is not to say that the touch on the shoe is bad, it’s just different compared to other shoe. It took me some getting used to, but in the end was not for me. On the plus side, the Flywire allows for the shoe to fit very close to your foot, so every touch on the boot is going to be clean and exactly where you want it to be. The upper does feel great while dribbling as the ball just seems to touch off of your foot perfectly while dribbling at speed.
This is pretty good in terms of shooting. There is a decent amount of padding that you don’t get from most boots in the “speed” category. You get the feeling that you can place the ball in the corners at will from free kicks, and it does seem easier to perform a dipping shot. I also feel, as with all vapors, that I can bend the ball slightly further than with other shoes. Although this is probably more mental than anything, it is what I experienced. The only thing that I did struggle with was the finish on the shoe in wet conditions. The upper doesn’t provide much grip when striking the ball in the wet, and I found the ball sliding of my foot in my follow through, making for a shot that would go off target.
The build quality of this shoe is very high, as these are the only vapors still made in Italy. Everything is well constructed and just feels really solidly built. The moving Sense stud is the concern of many, but I found it extremely solid and unlikely to break. The only concern for me would be the carbon fiber sole plate, but Nike seems to have improved it dramatically from when it first came out several years ago. These are shoes that you can safely buy to last you an entire season.
This is another plus to the thicker upper of the Superfly III. Because the upper is quite stiff and a little thicker, you will not be in as much pain as in a normal “speed” boot. That’s not to say that these are protective shoes, but for a “speed” boot, this is the safest one out there.
So are these better than the Superfly II? The answer is yes, a little bit. Nike provided an extra lace hole at the top of the boot, which is the reason for the extra Flywire in the heel, a lower toe box and a shorter break-in period. So would I call this a whole new boot? No, this is more a Superfly 2.5 than a Superfly III. If you liked the Superfly II and are looking for some minor improvements, than it is worth the upgrade. You will get a supportive, tight fitting shoe as well as phenomenal traction. It definitely is better than the Vapors and if you have the extra money, it is worth going for the Superfly.
Comfort/ Fit 7 out of 10
Weight 9 out of 10
Traction 10 out of 10
Touch 8 out of 10
Shooting 8 out of 10
Protection 7 out of 10
Durability 9 out of 10
Total Score 58 out of 70 or 82%