The Nike Mercurial Victory III AG is easily one of the most popular low-end soccer shoes on the market. The reason for this is the low price and a look that is reminiscent of the very popular Nike Mercurial Vapor. So, how does the Victory compare to the Vapor? The honest answer is that they really don’t compare much at all. If we start with the fit of the boot, you get a solid fit, but the shoe is on the wider side, to suit nearly all foot types.
Once you pull the laces tight, the shoe does fit well, but it isn’t going to provide that “zero space” inside of your shoe like the Vapor would offer. As far as sizing goes, the Victory does fit true to size. I wore my usual size 9US for review and the overall fit in the length was perfect. The upper is fairly soft from right out of the box and I had no issues with discomfort or blistering. What I did notice is that the upper, because it is layered, tends to fold rather than bend, so you do get some heavy creasing in the upper when bending your foot. While this doesn’t do much to change the overall comfort of the shoe, it is something that I did notice, and is something that is going happen with nearly any low-end synthetic upper.
Being that the Victory III is part of the Mercurial line, one would expect it to be lightweight, and it actually is. The Victory weighs in at 8.35oz, which is right at the maximum weight limit for what most people would consider to be a lightweight soccer shoe. While 8oz is not going to blow anybody away, especially in comparison to some of the high-end lightweight boots on the market, the Victory III is one of very few low-end “speed boots” that is actually lightweight.
This is the very first AG, which stands for Artificial Grass, stud pattern that I have ever used, and all I can say is wow. There is a lot of confusion around AG stud patterns, and what purpose that they actually serve, mainly because everyone was always told that you need a turf soleplate for artificial playing surfaces. The AG stud pattern from Nike is their response to the people who are wearing firm ground stud patterns on Artificial Grass.
If you’re at all like me, than you probably don’t like the feel of wearing an almost flat sole, turf soccer shoe. Turf soleplates don’t have that same feel of grip when you’re playing, and wearing firm ground shoes on artificial grass really hurts the durability of your shoes and is in all honesty, unsafe. The AG stud pattern from Nike allows for the feel of wearing firm ground shoes on natural grass, but on turf.
The studs themselves are about half the length of your average firm ground stud pattern, and are actually hollowed out, giving them the appearance of small rings. The studs themselves are not actually hard plastic either. If you look closely, you will see that the tips of the studs are made from a slightly softer rubber material, very similar to what you would find on a traditional turf soleplate, while the rest of the stud, the part that is attached to the soleplate, is made from hard plastic. The soft rubber tips allow for some extra cushioning when playing on artificial grass, and also allows for the studs themselves to have some extra flexibility to them. Thanks to this unique design, the studs grip the artificial grass surface really well, but don’t have that clingy feeling that you get when wearing a pair of firm ground shoes on artificial grass. If you’re going to be playing on artificial grass regularly, I would strongly recommend going for an AG stud pattern.
This is probably the biggest let down in my opinion. The touch on this shoe isn’t bad, but I was hoping for a more barefoot feel, that I just didn’t get from the Victory. The upper is made of several layers of what appears to be a predominantly mesh upper with the standard Mercurial finish on the outside. Like I said earlier, it looks like the Vapor, but it doesn’t feel like the Vapor. The upper to me felt a little on the cheap side and just didn’t provide the close touch that I always look for in a synthetic shoe. To me, the upper felt a little bulky, and although this may be completely related to the fit and not the upper itself, it does have a major impact on the entire boot. Overall the touch isn’t bad, it just isn’t that premium synthetic that you might be hoping for.
There is not much worth mentioning when it comes to striking the ball in the Victory III. Of course there is some wiggle room in the toe box area of the shoe, so you can feel the upper close in on your foot when you strike the ball. This isn’t a huge issue and it isn’t going to change the trajectory of your shot, but it takes away from the overall solidness of the shoe when striking the ball. The extra wiggle room at the front of the shoe just takes away some of the feel that you would expect from a thin synthetic soccer shoe, and for that reason, I was not a huge fan. The sole offers plenty of rigidity, which is always a plus and your heel always stays locked in place. The Victory III will offer a decent feel when striking the ball, but the overall experience is nothing remarkable.
There is not much protection to be had from the Victory III. The upper is comprised of layers, so it isn’t overly soft, but it is still pretty thin, leaving you with very little protection should you get stepped on. There is not much of an internal heel counter, so you are fairly exposed all the way around. The funny part is that the Victory does not feel like a thin shoe on your feet, and it isn’t until the first time that you take a hit that you realize how little protection that you actually have.
If there is one thing that the Victory does very well, it is their ability to take a beating. The shoe is very well made and there is very little that can go wrong. They require no maintenance at all, and the synthetic used on the upper is actually very rugged. This is a shoe that will definitely last you a season, and is an overall great value.
The Nike Mercurial Victory III is honestly nothing special, if compared to the high-end shoes on the market. But, if you look at the Victory in comparison to other shoes at equal takedown levels from other brands, the Victory III is easily one of the best. It offers a decent fit, a nice stud pattern and one of the better cheap synthetic uppers on the market. As I always say, if you are on a lower budget, always take a look at other higher-end models from smaller companies, mainly because you can generally get a better shoe for a similar price. But if you are really sold on the whole Mercurial line, the Victory III is by no means a bad choice.
|Comfort/Fit||7 out of 10|
|Weight||8 out of 10|
|Traction||8 out of 10|
|Touch||7 out of 10|
|Shooting||7 out of 10|
|Protection||7 out of 10|
|Durability||8 out of 10|
|FINAL SCORE||52 out of 70 or 74%|