FIT: THE FOUNDATION OF FAST
Fit is the foundation of fast. No matter how innovative a pair of football boots may be, if the fit isn’t right, if the foot slides even 1 mm inside the boot, speed can be compromised. For this reason, fit became the focal point in designing the new Mercurial, leading to its game-changing 360 construction made possible through a new advancement in Nike Flyknit technology.
The Mercurial Superfly 360 and Mercurial Vapor 360 wrap the entire foot in Nike Flyknit. “This new innovation hugs the foot and eliminates the gaps between the foot and the soleplate. In fact, it eliminates the soleplate altogether,” explains Max Blau, VP of Nike Football Footwear.
“This new innovation hugs the foot and eliminates the gaps between the foot and the soleplate.”
– Max Blau, VP of Nike Football Footwear
Without a soleplate, the sockliner interlocks with a new internal chassis that is tuned for maximum responsiveness. The chassis is individually tuned per size via computational programming. “With previous Mercurials, we based everything on a size 9. But with Mercurial 360, we can deliver properly proportioned fit at every size,” explains Jeongwoo Lee, Nike Football Senior Design Director. “Each size has a unique chassis designed to align with the expected bone structure.”
TRACTION: LESS LIKE A HOOF, MORE LIKE A CLAW
Traction is provided by precisely placed studs in the forefoot and heel. Lee drew inspiration from agile cheetahs and focused on traction at speed, leading to the minimalist approach he affectionately refers to as the cheetah paw. “The aggressive forefoot is built for acceleration in any direction while the heel studs help the player stop on a dime,” notes Lee.
The reimagined underfoot of the boot is more than just visually stunning. “This boot is less like a hoof, more like a claw,” explains Blau. “The feedback we get from players is that there is a sensation that the boot just disappears in the way it syncs with the foot.”
Cristiano Ronaldo embraced the Mercurial Superfly 360 right away. “My first reaction when I saw the new Mercurial was…the best boots ever! They fit straight away. The material, the design, the new technology, it’s amazing,” he says.
FEEL: SOFTER TO THE TOUCH, UNCOMPROMISING PERFORMANCE
The plush feel of the Mercurial 360 can also be attributed to advancements in Nike All Conditions Control (ACC). Previously, ACC was applied on top of the finished Flyknit product, creating a thin layer. Now, ACC is embedded into the yarns prior to knitting, eliminating the additional skin without compromising the performance benefit. The result is a matte finish on a texturized upper that is softer to the touch but can still battle the elements.
THE LOOK: ADOPTING A CLEAN AESTHETIC
For its 20th anniversary, the Mercurial adopts a clean aesthetic with a small forefoot Swoosh and a bold “M” on the heel. “Mercurial players tend to be very fast, so that “M” is the last thing defenders will see when a Mercurial player blows by them,” says Lee.
On the Mercurial Superfly 360, the Dynamic Fit Collar takes on a lower cuff, similar to the modified version Ronaldo has preferred in recent seasons. Both the Superfly and Vapor versions of Mercurial 360 feature a soft, one-piece internal lining, part of the effort to reduce the number of boot components. “Mercurial is best when it’s minimal and streamlined,” says Lee. “Design done right doesn’t require excess parts.”
For 20 years, Nike has designed Mercurial boots for the fastest players in the game, featuring experimental and game-changing innovations. Mercurial 360 builds on that proud tradition with a 360 construction that will soon appear in Nike footwear across other sports.
“They fit perfectly. The 360 innovation — it’s perfect. They are comfortable and they look good, so they have everything.”
– Cristiano Ronaldo