THROWBACK - Nike Mercurial Vapor IV
One of the most infamous football boots of all time.
When 2007 came around, so did the 4th Mercurial Vapor from Nike. It’s predecessor, the Vapor III, was headlined by a certain Ronaldo from Brazil. The IV (4) was headlined by a certain Ronaldo from Portugal.
You think back to Cristiano Ronaldo’s time at Manchester United and will fondly remember these being on feet. In the wide array of all the colourways, this Citron one will probably stand out as the most memorable to all of us. Particularly here in Australia, where this colourway was the most commercially pushed at the time.
Competing against the F50.7/.8 TUNiT series from adidas, the Vapor IV truly began the whole ‘you’ll be faster!’ marketing strategy. Grams began to become the talk of the town, as the boots weight at 230g was touted around a lot. Remember the following advert? Ronaldo was teed up against a Bugatti Veyron, which was at the time the fastest car in the world, and beat it a short race. Believable, right?
You could just wonder how an advert like that would go down these days…
This boot was a piece of aesthetic art. The Mercurial Vapor IV featured a Tejin Microfibre synthetic with a thin lace cover. This was the first Mercurial to implement a lace cover, which was a big selling point in the hearts and minds of footballers around the world. It’s TPU injected heel-wrap with a glass-fibre construction provided some extra strength and stability, but mainly aided in boots aesthetics. These blitzed all other boots on the market at the time in terms of how brilliant they looked. It’s soleplate didn’t stray too far from the Vapor III, still sticking to a split sole and multi-directional bladed studs.
Now if you wore a pair of these, you would have also experienced the horrifying pain of blisters. No, the pink inserts were not ‘blister pods’, but rather ‘foam pods’ to help stabilise you and cradle your foot in place. However, the intended purpose was pointless, as whoever wore these certainly experienced some of the worst blistering any football boot could ever give. It even reached the point were some stores would ensure the customer that these boots they were about to purchase, will give them blisters, and they cannot return them for that reason. But they still sold like snags in bread at your local State League outfit's home match.
No matter how painful the break in period was, people still lapped up the Vapor IV. The boot was well bearable after breaking them in. They offered a fast-feel when playing, and gave the wearer a thin sensation on the ball. They were as good as synthetics could come at that time, and produced a wonderful playing experience. Back then, this was the boot that when wearing them, you HAD to perform. Defenders enjoyed crunching tackles on all who wore these, as it was still predominantly a sea of black boots on the pitch back them. How the times have changed…
The Mercurial Vapor IV paved the way for what the Mercurial is today. This was the boot that truly cemented the Mercurial as the fast, pacey boot, and further played into the silos iconic image. Through the use of their star studded line-up, including the magnificent CR7, the Mercurial very quickly rose to prominence and stayed there.