Creative: Pro:Direct / Photography: Pro:Direct / Words: Pro:Direct
Nike Zoom Air Mercurial Superfly IX Review
We've laced up the new generation boot to deliver our verdict
Nike’s 9th generation of Mercurial Superfly speed is revving its engine on the 22/23 start line and you’ve no doubt read all the hype about it using Zoom Air technology. But what does that mean? And more importantly what does that feel like? When boots reach a 9th generation you’d be forgiven for wondering how they can possibly keep making them better. So, have they? We’ve been test driving them for a couple of weeks to deliver our verdict.
It’s a boot that’ll be worn in the Women’s EURO 22, all domestic competitions throughout 22/23 and of course the 2022 World Cup. It’s Nike’s headline product in one of the biggest footballing years this millennium. No pressure then. Let’s get to it.
Fresh out the box
Flip that lid open and straight away it feels like you’ve bought one of the best (and most expensive) boots on the market. Everything about it looks and feels elite. From that shimmering soleplate to the textures in your fingertips – this feels every bit like a boot curated for speed. They truly are stunning to the point where we’d advise buying them a week before your first session just to admire them in their brand new form for a bit. Is that weird? Probably.
Naturally the new ‘AIR’ branding is going to hit you, and do you know what? We’re into it. It looks statement, it looks daring, and it matches the mentality of the players tasked with unleashing it on the elite stage. But, that ‘AIR’ branding will only feature on this release, expect it to be subbed out for Swooshes when later colourways roll out.
Putting them on
Wiggle your way in and you’ll experience one of our favourite sensations about this boot. That moment your heel hits the bottom of the boot and the Dynamic Fit Collar wraps around the ankle while all air is pushed out of the boot to create most satisfying and harnessed airtight feel. You’re locked in and the boot genuinely feels like an extension of the foot, rather then something the foot just sits inside. You can feel (and hear) it kind of shrink-wrap around your foot.
There’s still something about the Superfly collar that makes you feel even faster. That air tight suction when your foot goes in, psychologically you feel faster.
Laced up, let’s go…
The Superfly IX is a few grams lighter than the previous generation. Will you feel that when you’re moving around the pitch? No, you won’t. And to be honest, that’s probably a good thing; the previous generation was light enough, if this new generation felt lighter it would probably feel flimsy and too light, so it’s credit to Nike that they’ve shaved a bit of weight off without compromising the comfort and fell.. if anything they’ve enhanced it, we’ll explain more later.
The obsession with weight is one we probably left in the last decade. All boots are light now, and the Superfly IX feels it, it’s the other assets we need to concentrate on now – the responsiveness, flexibility, durability etc
The new Speed Cage eliminates empty space inside the boot but still allows the material to be flexible. Nike have focused on the parts of the foot where you exert the most force – so the toes, mid-foot and heel, places where you push down to change direction at top speed – this has allowed them to keep weight at a minimum by streamlining with cut outs in the places where you don’t need extra support.