Nike Mercurial Vapor 12 Review
A glove-like and responsive fit, a claw-like traction, an explosive soleplate, and a close to the ball touch; the Mercurial Vapor 12 is unlike anything we've ever seen before.
For the first time ever the Vapor has joined the Flyknit family, while also bringing back memories of the split-soleplate featured on the Vapor 5. Being a Mercurial, the boot must be light, thin, and explosive; and you get exactly that from the new generation.
The Upper: The one-piece construction eliminates any overlapping materials, giving an absolute barefoot feel. The Vapor 12 is essentially a low-cut version of the Superfly, the collar being the only difference between the two boots. The central lacing system on the Vapor 12 features a dual lace hole system, enhancing the secure fit by decreasing lace slippage. The Vapor 12 features an internal heel counter, a synthetic suede heel liner, and a low amount of padding yet a good amount of comfort. The upper has an ACC finish, however, unlike its predecessor the yarns themselves are coated with the ACC texturing, then sewn together. The result is a more compact knit with a better grip and durability. In all, the Vapor 12 has a thin, tight, and glove-like upper without any extra room providing a close to the ball sensation.
The upper on Mercurial Vapor 12 forms to the shape of your foot, truly giving a close to the ball, personal fit. The transitions between the materials flow smoothly, designed to be completely unnoticeable making it hard to point them out. The Flyknit upper will wrap your entire foot to eliminate any gaps between your foot and the soleplate, allowing for maximum responsiveness. Although the upper is stiffer than expected out of the box, after 1-3 hours of break-in time, the upper is very soft.
The Soleplate: The highly aggressive and explosive soleplate on the Vapor 12 features a split-soleplate design, last seen on the Vapor 5. Being made from a single layer of plastic that fits your sole anatomically, you actually feel closer to the ball. The 11 bladed/chevron shaped studs provide a incredible aggressive traction, being the same successful stud shape and pattern seen on the Vapor 11. The Vapor 12 is available in soft ground (SG), firm ground (FG), and artificial grass (AG). This soleplate is still arguably the best soleplate currently on the market.
The bottom of the soleplate has a slight texturing that doesn't provide much grip on the ball but makes the traction better to some degree. The soleplate and stud pattern on the Vapor 12 is exactly the same as the Superfly 6, providing quality traction, flexibility, and feel on the ball.
The soleplate features a chrome color-changing finish that comes with a warning saying the finish will wear-off over time. However as we seen with Nike from the past, their finishes last much longer than expected or can be unaffected. The studs are translucent and with a non-translucent piece at the edge.
Recommended? Yes: On foot, you get a close seamless sensation, fitting your foot tightly, however being suitable for wide feet. After 1-3 hours of break-in time, the Vapor 12 provides a personal fit, being very close to the ball. The grippy one-piece upper and low toe-box allow for a total barefoot feel, while also being quite durable. The anatomical split-soleplate allows for a minimal design and a close to the ball feel while also offering highly aggressive traction. Join the many soccer professionals and enthusiasts who wear the Vapor 12 on a day-to-day basis.
Image Credits to Nike.