Nike Mercurial Vapor 10 Review
We’re now 10 models deep with Nike’s flagship Vapor line, and for the tenth edition, Nike has given us a complete redesign compared to the Vapor 8 and 9. In comparison to the last couple of Vapor releases, the Nike Mercurial Vapor 10 did not see nearly as much attention, mainly because it was released alongside the long anticipated Superfly 4.
While the Superfly 4 has seen much of the attention for this year’s Mercurial line up, the MVX is still a fantastic boot, and in my opinion, a good improvement over all past models. Just keep in mind that while the Superfly 4 is widely considered to be the “top-end” boot in the current Mercurial line, the Vapor 10 is not a takedown, and does not compare to the Superfly 4. They’re two stand alone, high-end Mercurials, both with something unique to offer, depending on your preferences of course.
From Vapor 1 to 9, the general shape of the upper hasn’t really changed much. It’s always been pretty straight forward, with the tongue and laces positioned right down the middle of the boot. The big change with the MVX is partly the lacing system, but mainly the one-piece upper, with Nike eliminating the standalone tongue. Obviously the Superfly 4 and Magista Obra share a similar one-piece upper design, but instead of being made from FlyKnit, the Vapor 10 is made from Teijin Synthetic, a material that has been used in the Mercurial line since the Vapor 3.
When I first saw that the upper was one-piece, it worried me a little, an initial impression that many still have. One-piece uppers haven’t been done too many times, especially not with laces, so I had my doubts. I had imagined something like Lotto’s Zhero Gravity lace-less models, which didn’t fit many people very well, and were somewhat difficult to put on. With all of that being said, once I actually had the opportunity to slip the shoes on my feet for the first time, all of my doubts and concerns were gone. Not only does the MVX fit great, it’s also the most comfortable Mercurial Vapor that I have ever worn.
Nike has done a couple of different things in order to make this new one-piece design work. The first difference coming from the MV9 is the thickness of the Teijin synthetic upper. While the MV9 was quite thin, the MVX is even thinner, and also a little softer. In order to compensate for the thinner upper, Nike has implemented an internal support cage fused to the inside of the shoe. The support cage runs from the base of the sole, up the lateral and medial sides of the boot and into the lacing system. This allows the Teijin synthetic upper to be extremely soft and flexible and maintain a quality barefoot touch on the ball, while still allowing for the same responsive feel that you expect from a pair of Mercurial Vapors.
Another reason why the one-piece design works so well is the slightly stretchy Teijin synthetic material where the tongue would normally be. The stretchy synthetic allows you to put the shoes on and take them off pretty easily, and also gives the one-piece design a tighter fit and more natural feel. You’ll also notice that the top of the “tongue” is not directly attached to the sides of the shoe at the top two lace holes, again making for a more natural fit and feel.
Another misconception, similar to what I’ve heard a lot with the Superfly 4 and Obra, is that the one-piece upper doesn’t really require laces, but that couldn’t further from the truth. When you slip the shoes on your feet, they fit great and surprisingly snug, but it isn’t until you pull the laces tight that you get that locked in fit. The one-piece design, internal support cage and lacing system all work together to make for the most seamless, comfortable Mercurial Vapor experience that I have ever had. For those that are skeptical of the one-piece design, don’t be, because it really is that good.
The soleplate and stud pattern is also all-new with the MVX, and despite its “cheaper” look, as I’ve heard many describe it, I actually prefer it over the Glass Fiber soleplate featured on the MV8 and MV9. Instead of being Glass Fiber, the new soleplate is made from Compressed Nylon, essentially a more flexible and thinner variation of the Glass Nylon soleplate found on the Hypervenom Phantom. As opposed to being Carbon Fiber like the Superfly 4, the compressed nylon soleplate on the MVX may not look as nice, but actually feels nearly identical to the soleplate found on the Superfly.
The compressed nylon soleplate is fairly thin, but still stiff enough to not allow for any kind of stud pressure. In comparison to the MV9, the soleplate is much more flexible, making for a much more natural feel when running. It lacks the same responsive feedback that you might get from a more rigid soleplate, but because of the more flexible feel, the MVX is just so much more comfortable. The more flexible feel is also makes for a much less severe break-in period, and better “out of the box” comfort overall.
The new stud pattern sees Nike go back to a more “traditional” Mercurial layout. The firm ground variation now features four studs under the heel, getting away from only two studs found on the MV9, which makes for a much more stable feel, but at the expense of less aggressive traction. The layout in the forefoot also features a slightly modified layout, with the major difference being that there are a few extra studs, and the studs themselves are also a little wider in comparison to the MV9. Again, the trade off is better stability, for slightly less grip, but if you’ve worn Mercurials prior to the MV8, the MVX will provide a similar level of stability.
Other notable elements include the heel liner and insole. The heel liner is nicely padded, and features a smooth, synthetic leather material, not too far off from the previous model. The insole is also fully removable, being made from a single piece of perforated foam, lined with a smooth mesh material, again, very similar to that of the MV9.
In terms of overall comfort, I was really impressed with the MVX. The Vapor models have always been pretty comfortable despite their lightweight and ultra-thin design, but the MVX takes it to the next level. The seamless, one-piece design, perfect wrap around your foot and ultra-soft Teijin synthetic upper just makes for an extremely comfortable fit. There is almost no break-in time required, as they fit and feel great from right out of the box, and I have had no issues with discomfort or blistering at all.
When it comes to fit, as you might expect, the Vapor 10 has a tight, slightly narrow fit. At this point, I think it’s pretty well known that the Mercurial line is not well suited for wider foot types, and the same statement remains true for the MVX. When you put the shoes on, especially due to the one-piece design, the upper has tight, but still comfortable fit. I have average width feet and am slightly flat footed, and fit quite comfortably in the Vapor 10, but with very little room to spare. In comparison to the MV9, the MVX fits very similarly, but I would say is a touch wider through the mid-foot.
One complaint that I have heard a couple of times with the new Vapor 10 design is that the top part of the upper, where the tongue would normally be, can fold over itself if your foot is too narrow. I did not have that issue at all, and for 99% of people, this will not be an issue. As long as you’re wearing the proper size, and not a pair that is too big for you, the narrow cut of the shoe, the center portion of the upper will be under a good amount of tension, and stretched out flat. Again, its entirely possible that your feet are just extremely narrow, and if that is the case, than you may experience the center part of the upper folding over itself, but again, this is extremely unlikely.
As far as sizing goes, I wore my usual size 9US in the Vapor 10, just as I did on the MV9, and the fit in the length was perfect. So, just like pretty much all past Mercurials, the MVX runs true to size.
One of the more significant changes coming from the MV9 to the MVX is the decrease in weight. In a size 9US, the MV9 weighs in at 6.9oz, where the MVX weighs only 6.3oz, which isn’t what you might call significantly lighter, but when you’re talking about shaving weight off of an already lightweight shoe, it’s pretty impressive. This pushes the Vapor 10 that much closer to the 5.8oz Adidas F50 adizero, pretty much to the point where they feel very similar weight-wise on feet. The MVX is even lighter than the Superfly 4, which weighs in at about 7oz, so the MVX is currently the lightest Mercurial experience Nike has to offer. The MVX is ultra-light, very comfortable and feels really solid, what more could you ask for?
As mentioned earlier, the new Mercurial stud pattern is much more stable, at the expense of being slightly less aggressive.
For me, the biggest change is the heel studs. As opposed to having two studs, we’re back to four, maintaining the standard bladed shape. The two-stud layout was very aggressive and performed great when it came to digging into the ground, but weren’t the best when it came to stability. If you were playing on very well kept natural grass, firm ground playing surfaces, the stud pattern performed great, but if the ground is a little harder, which it often is for the average Joe, two studs in the heel doesn’t work so great. Going back to four studs allows for a little less grip, but significantly better stability, a change that I believe is better for most people and playing conditions.
In the forefoot, the changes are more of a tweak as opposed to a complete redesign. The FG layout is still very similar, with the major change being one extra stud. You’ll find two bladed studs on both the lateral and medial side of the forefoot, with one arrow shape bladed stud in the middle, one stud at the tip of the big toe and one additional stud just behind the one at the toe.
In terms of how the new layout impacts the overall performance, like I mentioned, the major difference is stability. The studs themselves seem to be a little less sharp and narrow this time around, so they don’t dig into the ground quite as easily. With that said, on most natural grass playing surfaces, even ones that are slightly softer, the overall performance is up to the usual Mercurial standards. You get solid grip when accelerating into a sprint, and rarely slip when making hard, quick cuts at high speeds. It keeps you on your toes, and just feels great.
To put it simply, if you’ve been a long time fan of the Mercurial series, you’ll enjoy Nike’s latest stud pattern.
Just like its predecessor, the MVX features a Teijin synthetic upper, but with its own new twist of course. In comparison to the MV9, the upper feels just a little thinner, and because of that, a little softer as well. The Mercurial line is all about providing a high quality barefoot feel, and that’s exactly what you get with the MVX. There is no extra padding to the upper whatsoever, so you feel every bit of the ball.
The seamless one-piece upper also makes a huge impact on the overall touch of the MVX. Since there is no overlapping material, especially across the top of the foot, you get a much more pure barefoot playing experience when wearing the Vapor 10. Since there’s no tongue, nothing on the upper can move around or slide out of place, so what you’re left with is an upper that wraps your foot like a second, single layer of skin. It’s a great sensation and easily one of my favorite features of the new Vapor 10.
Texturing is something that Nike played around with quite a bit on the MV9. Through its entire run, the MV9 was made available with either a smooth, leather grain texturing or the golf ball-like, dimpled texturing, called Speed Control. Both offered a slightly different feel, either more or less grip, and it’s was honestly nice to have the option to choose between the two variations. With the MVX, so far at least, there’s only one upper variation available. The MVX features its own unique texturing, that I would describe as the middle ground between the Speed Control texturing and the smooth option available on the MV9.
Described by Nike as a micro-texturing, from a distance, the upper comes across as completely smooth. Up close, it’s easy to see and feel the very subtle texturing across the entire upper, which provides a very slight grip on the ball. It reminds me a lot of the very subtle texturing found on Nike match balls. It’s nothing too crazy, but its just enough to give you some kind of grip on the ball, as opposed to just leaving it completely smooth, and at the same time doesn’t add any bulk to the upper.
Just like all of Nike’s other top-end models, ACC (All Conditions Control) is also included as part of the package. ACC is a secretive process that Nike has, which improves the performance of the boot in wet weather, mainly by providing slightly more grip on the ball. Its tough to determine whether or not its an actual feature or simply the placebo effect in action, since you can’t actually see ACC, but I personally can notice a difference between an ACC and non-ACC boot. With all of that being said, it’s a nice feature that I’m glad Nike includes, but it isn’t something that is going to make or break your overall experience with the Vapor 10.
The Vapor 10 is at this point in time, one of, if not the thinnest boot currently on the market. If you’re looking for a seamless, barefoot feel for the ball, the Vapor 10 is awesome, and in my opinion a nice improvement coming from the Vapor 9.
Shooting the ball in the Vapor 10 is great, but nothing that I wasn’t expecting. The ultra-thin upper provides no extra padding between your foot and the ball, so you feel every part of the ball when shooting. The ultra-thin upper makes for a feeling of precision when curling and chipping the ball. The lack of cushion also creates a very responsive sensation when striking through the ball, something that I’m personally a huge fan of. The texturing also provides some minor grip on the ball, but nothing too crazy.
Another great aspect of the MVX when it comes to striking the ball is the lightweight, yet rigid feel when connecting with power. The upper stays tightly wrapped to your foot and the compressed nylon soleplate provides plenty of stiffness.
Again, while the MVX is technically all new, if you’ve worn Mercurials in the past, or just thin shoes in general, the MVX will provide a similar experience.
In order to achieve a premium barefoot feel for the ball, the upper has to be thin. The thinner the upper, the less protection that you’re going to have, and being that the MVX is one of the thinnest boots around, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they provide very little protection. Aside from an internal plastic heel counter, the Teijin synthetic upper provides next to nothing in the way of impact protection. Should you get stepped on or take any kind of blow to the foot, you will feel every bit of that impact. To put it simply, if you value protection, stay away from the MVX, but if you don’t mind leaving yourself exposed in exchange for a barefoot feel for the ball, then the MVX will do that better than almost any other boot around.
For a shoe as light as the MVX, it feels surprisingly solid, something that can be said about most of the high-end Mercurial models to come out over the years. While the Teijin synthetic upper is thin, it still feels very durable, and strong enough to handle just about whatever is thrown at it. If the soleplate cracking was a concern for you with the MV8 and MV9, it won’t be a worry with the MVX either. Going from 2 studs under the heel to 4 studs should also extend the lifespan of the boot for use on firm, natural grass playing surfaces. After 25 plus hours of wear time, I have had no issues whatsoever when it comes to the structural integrity and general wear of the MVX.
This a boot that should easily get you through an entire season worth of play, if not much longer should you take good care of them.
Please keep in mind that the firm ground version of the Vapor 10, or any FG boot for that matter, is designed for use on firm, natural grass, and nothing else. Using any FG boot on artificial grass/turf will result in premature durability issues with your shoes. For the best durability, stick to using your boots on the playing surface that they are designed to be used on. Also keep in mind that the MVX is also available in soft ground and artificial grass stud variations, so you’re pretty much covered for all types of playing surfaces, its just up to you to buy the right model.
While all of the attention was on the Superfly 4, the Mercurial Vapor 10 is still a very impressive boot. It’s a simplified version of what we got from the MV9, and while it could be argued that it doesn’t look as “premium”, the final product, in my opinion is a great improvement.
They’re thinner, lighter, more comfortable and completely seamless, along with a stud pattern that is better suited for a wider variety of natural grass playing surfaces. Many people are trying to decide between the Superfly 4 and Vapor 10, and the simple truth is that they are completely different boots. If you’re looking for something that is all new and never been done before, the Superfly 4 is the way to go. But, if you’re looking for that classic Mercurial Vapor experience, I would argue that the Vapor 10 is the boot for you. If you’re a fan of the Vapor series, you’ll love the MVX.
|Comfort/Fit||10 out of 10|
|Weight||10 out of 10|
|Traction||10 out of 10|
|Touch||10 out of 10|
|Shooting||9 out of 10|
|Protection||5 out of 10|
|Durability||8 out of 10|
|FINAL SCORE||62 out of 70 or 89%|