Nike Mercurial Veloce Firm Ground Review
The major issue that I have with so many synthetic takedown model soccer shoes is the quality of the upper, but the Mercurial Veloce does not have this problem. The upper is made from premium Teijin synthetic, very similar to what you’ll find on the top end Vapor 9. From right out of the box the synthetic is nice and flexible, making for a shoe that requires very little break-in time. You’ll also notice that the inside of the shoe is lined with a thin mesh-like material, which makes for a more comfortable fit, but it does take away a little bit from the barefoot-feel.
The central lacing system allows you to get the tightest, most secure fit possible, where the synthetic leather heel liner has just enough padding to keep your foot locked down inside of the shoe, while still maintaining a comfortable feel. The perforated foam insole features a synthetic top layer, not allowing your foot to slide around, as well as providing some solid cushioning. Its also worth noting that the TPU plastic soleplate is fairly thin, so you may run into some issues with very slight stud pressure on harder playing surfaces.
The Veloce is a very tight fitting boot, but still remains very comfortable. This tight fit is achieved through a slightly narrow cut through the mid-foot, forefoot and toe box areas of the boot. When you slide the shoe on, you’ll feel the upper wrap your entire foot, leaving very little extra space inside of the shoe. In comparison to the top-end Vapor 9, the toe box and forefoot area is just a touch wider, but the overall fit is still very good. The slightly narrow cut of the boot makes it ideal for those who have regular to narrow width feet, where as players with wide feet should probably stay away from the Mercurial line all together.
As far as sizing goes, the Mercurial Veloce fits true to size. I wore my usual size 9US for review and the fit in the length was absolutely perfect. So, if you’re looking to order a pair for yourself, I would strongly recommend ordering your normal size. Keep in mind that the fit of the boot from right out of the box will feel a little bit tight, but after some break-in time, the synthetic upper will soften up and become more comfortable.
The Mercurial Veloce weighs in at a very lightweight 7.8oz, which is about an ounce more in comparison to the top-end Vapor 9. While 7.8oz is not overwhelmingly lightweight in comparison to other shoes currently on the market, it is still lighter than most. If you’re looking for that lightweight feel, than you will definitely be happy with the weight of the Veloce.
The Veloce features a very similar stud pattern to what you’ll find on the top-end Vapor 9, where the layout is the same, but the studs on the Veloce are a little more bulky in comparison. The stud pattern on the Veloce essentially uses a six-stud formation. Starting 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 pretty much every other firm ground stud pattern out there. The blades themselves are slightly wider and thicker than what you’ll find on the MV9, but the idea remains the same. Moving to the forefoot, you will find a single blade positioned right under the ball of your foot, as well as a 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 feel a little weird, but once you set foot on a grass field, the stud pattern on the Veloce begins to make sense.
Obviously with only six studs, excluding the middle support stud, under your feet, you might anticipate some issues with stability on firm ground, but surprisingly there are no issues at all. The stud pattern really feels as if it were designed for pushing off and accelerating, something that the Mercurial stud patterns have always done very well. Since there are only six studs, you really have a good sense of where the traction is under your feet, which allows you to really push off hard, with confidence that you’re not going to slip. The stud pattern really seems to be based around feel, and when you can feel the grip, you can more easily push the limits. You’ll notice that the studs on the Veloce do not appear as sharp and thin as the MV9, so the Veloce studs do not penetrate the ground quite as easily as the Vapor, but the stud pattern still performs really well. As far as what type of playing surface these are best suited for, I would definitely say that softer to firm ground is where they are going to feel the best. This is not a stud pattern that you should be wearing on artificial grass, or turf. The Veloce provides some great traction, but it just isn’t quite the same as the MV9.
The Veloce offers a great touch on the ball, but in all honesty, it could have been a lot better. The upper is made from a slightly thicker Teijin synthetic than what you’ll find on the top-end MV9, but unlike the MV9, the Veloce also features a relatively stiff mesh liner on the inside of the boot. The liner feels very cheap, just like it did on the Miracle III, and takes away from some of the natural softness of the synthetic. You still have a very close touch on the ball, but the liner makes the upper feel a lot bulkier than it actually is.
The Veloce also features Nike’s new “Speed Control” system, giving the upper a golf ball-like texturing. The idea behind the dimpling on the upper is not aerodynamics, like it would be for on a ball, but instead has to do with surface area. If you think of a flat surface versus a dimpled surface, the amount of friction that each surface will produce is different. In the case of the upper on the Veloce the upper has a slightly grippy finish to it, and when you combine that with a slightly cushioned dimpled surface, you’ll have more or less grip depending on how hard or soft your touch on the ball is. For example, when your dribbling, making very soft touches on the ball, you’re only making contact with half of the surface area of the upper (the part around the dimples). This means that you have less grip on the ball, but just the right amount to allow the ball to slide freely against the upper when dribbling. When you’re striking the ball, the impact between the ball and the upper is much harder, so the slight cushion of the upper compresses, making the dimpled surface flatten out, giving you the extra grip of the other half of the uppers surface area (the inside of the dimples). Its a little bit difficult to understand, but if you give these shoes a try, than you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. To summarize, softer touches on the ball will have less grip and harder touches on the ball will have more grip.
As a whole, the system works really well, and like the idea of having more grip on the ball when I need it and less when I don’t. It’s a concept that we’ve never seen before, acting as somewhat of an adaptive touch system. Overall, you’ll get that barefoot feel from the Veloce, but its tough to compare it to the quality of the touch on MV9.
Striking the ball in the Veloce feels great. The thin upper allows you to feel most of the impact when striking the ball, giving you a sense of precision. The tight fit gives the boot a very solid feel, but the shoe is not nearly as rigid as the MV9 when striking the ball. The TPU plastic soleplate, as I mentioned earlier, is on the thinner side, so there is some minor flex in the soleplate when striking the ball. You’ll notice that the soleplate features what appears to be a carbon fiber stiffener running through the mid-foot, but just know that it is only decoration and is not actually carbon fiber. The Speed Control system also helps in adding a little bit of extra grip when striking the ball, without any bulky striking elements in the way. If you’re looking for that barefoot feel when striking the ball, you’ll get it from the Veloce.
Anytime you build a lightweight soccer shoe with a thin synthetic upper, protection is one of the things that you always give up. The thin upper in combination with the tight fit, makes for a shoe that fits like a sock, and provides just about the same amount of protection. Should you get stepped on, you will feel every bit of the impact. The only bit of protection that you’ll get from the Veloce is the small internal plastic heel counter that will provide some minor protection should you take a kick to the heels. If protection is something that is important for you, then you should probably stay away from the Mercurial series all together.
The overall build quality of the Veloce is very solid. Nothing on the boot jumps out at me as a potential weak spot, and I had no issues at all with the pair that I wore for testing. For a lightweight soccer shoe, you shouldn’t have any issues getting at least a full season’s worth of play, if not more, out of the Veloce. Just keep in mind that the firm ground version of the Veloce, or any shoe for that matter, is designed for use on firm, natural grass playing surfaces, and not artificial grass. Using any FG shoe on artificial grass will have a major impact on the durability of the boot. If you are going to be playing on artificial grass, the Veloce is available with an AG stud pattern.
The Nike Mercurial Veloce is a solid lightweight soccer shoe. It offers a premium fit, a high quality Teijin synthetic upper and a fantastic stud pattern. In comparison to the top-end MV9, the Veloce is definitely not as high quality of a boot, but for half the price of the Vapor, its definitely not a bad option. If you’re looking for that Mercurial feel, but don’t have the budget for the Vapor, than the Veloce is definitely something to take a look at.
|Comfort/Fit||9 out of 10|
|Weight||7 out of 10|
|Traction||9 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||56 out of 70 or 80%|