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.
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 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.
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.