Breaking Down the Nike Mercurial

In 1998, Nike launched their most iconic cleat, the Mercurial. Since then, these cleats have been among the best in the game.

The Mercurial is the lightest Nike cleat, built for quick, agile players like forwards and wingers. 

Some of the best players, specifically forwards, in the world, like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe and Sam Kerr can be seen wearing Mercurials.

In 2022 Nike reintroduced Air Zoom to an FG soccer shoe. Through the late 90’s and into the 2000’s this tech was featured on some of Nike’s most iconic boots: The Air Rio Zoom, Total 90, and Air Tiempo Legend just to name a few.  A three-quarter Air Zoom unit is built into the soleplate, allowing the fibers inside the air pocket to compress and cushion the player’s foot and then snap back  to shape as the player takes off with extra explosiveness. 

The Vaporsite upper is an evolution from the Superfly 8 and Vapor 14. Its features an engineered mesh base with a grippy texture and ACC coating for excellent touch and control at high speed. An inner speed cage is made with super thin, but strong material that secures the foot to the outsole without adding additional weight. Nike also added additional ventilation holes to help the foot stay cool during the game and give the foot more ability to breathe. 

This cleat fits like a sock, designed to keep your feet cool and dry. 

When looking to buy Mercurials, there are a few different choices to take into consideration. Do you want a Mercurial Vapor or a Mercurial Superfly and which level would you like it to be: Elite, Pro, or Academy?

The Mercurial Vapor and Mercurial Superfly have the same construction but look a little different. The Superfly has a Dynamic Fit Collar around the ankle, while the Vapor has a traditional low-cut silhouette.  A common misconception around Nike’s Dynamic Fit Collar is that it provides extra ankle support. In reality its main purpose is to provide a sock-like fit and feel, creating a seamless transition from foot to boot.                                        


 The big difference in Mercurials is what level you are looking to purchase. 

Elite Level

The Elite level of Mercurials is the best and highest quality of the three choices. This type of cleat is made for highly competitive playing. 

This cleat comes with Flyknit construction, giving it the lightweight feel players need. The Mercurial is built on a narrower last, everything about its design is tuned for speed. This level of cleat is made to hug your foot, giving you more support. 

Vaporposite, a new synthetic upper textile, provides the cleat with a grippy grid mesh to help control the ball at high speeds. This is very thin and lightweight. All Conditions Control Technology can also be found on the cleat, allowing the player to be able to play and control the ball in both wet and dry conditions.

The outsole on the Mercurial elite is made from Pebax, a superlight, very responsive material that works with the Air Zoom unit for maximum explosiveness in every stride.


Some other differences found in the Elite Level cleats are the weight, 7.2 oz, and the price, which is typically over $250 depending on if you purchase the Vapor or Superfly.


Pro Level  

The Pro level is made for competitive play, having the second best quality out of the three options. 

There are many similarities between the Elite level and Pro level. The Pro level also features Flyknit construction and Vaporposite, although the Vaporposite is thicker on the Pro level. Similar to the Elite level, the Pro level has a narrow foot shape with a high arch. 

In recent years Nike have put a lot of effort into this level of footwear, and the Mercurial Pro is no exception. The upper is almost a one-to-one copy of the Elite, so there is a lot of value packed into this shoe. The biggest difference is in the outsole, where a slightly less responsive TPU is used, and the zoom unit is limited to just the heel.  

Although the Elite level and the Pro level are made almost the exact same way, there is a very slight difference in the weight. Although it is not noticeable when holding and wearing it. The cleat weighs 7.3 oz, a 0.1 difference. 

The price difference is what stands out the most. Although the cleats are almost the same, these Pro levels only cost around $140.

Academy Level

The Academy level is designed for learning the game or playing socially. The upper features a mesh-based material called NIKESKIN. It’s lightweight, durable, and textured for improved ball feel. These are more affordable and reliable, costing about $85.


Mercurials are and have been one of the best cleats in the game for more than 25 years. A reliable, quality cleat that is perfect for speed and power.