We open the SoccerBible Boot Vault for a Mercurial Vapor R9 special, as the great man hangs up his boots we thought we'd take a retrospective look at Ronaldo's iconic Mercurial Vapor II and Vapor III football boots...
Long before Cristiano turned out in boots featuring Flywire technology and carbon fiber sole-plates, Nike had already combined the world's greatest player to the world's fastest football boots! For almost a decade, Brazilian superstar Ronaldo was the main man when it came to Nike's Mercurial range, and the boots created for the speedster helped to shape the football boots world as we know it today.
In his prime 'El Fenómeno' was an awe-inspiring, lightning quick player, and his exploits led to Nike creating his very own R9 football boots range. Signified by the R9 shield on the tongue, the innovative technology and bright colourways of Ronaldo's boots became the benchmark for speed footwear.
It's not unusual to still see players turning out wearing either the Nike Mercurial Vapor II or Vapor III football boots, and there are very good reasons for this. These synthetic speed football boots offer lightweight speed performance with great ball touch and feel.
The Nike Mercurial Vapor II football boots arrived on pitches in 2004 and were worn predominantly by Ronaldo and Thierry Henry, players setting new standards for speed, goalscoring and close ball control. Featuring a NikeSkin super lightweight upper, the Mercurial Vapor II retailed for around £140 GBP / $200 USD / ¥18500 JPY when first introduced to the market. They incorporated a contoured glass-filled nylon structural sole-plate, with a Speedtract configuration for unrivalled speed and acceleration characteristics.
The Nike Mercurial Vapor III was the first of the range to feature the revolutionary new Teijin synthetic upper, which conformed and adjusted to the shape of the wearer's foot for a 'second skin' fit. The Vapor III also introduced carbon fiber to the Vapor range, in the form of a lightweight heel wrap to distribute impact during heel strike. Both materials have since gone on to become integral materials for the Mercurial Vapor series. Interestingly, the Vapor III was released for a reduced price of £120 GBP / $185 USD / ¥15500 JPY.
We love delving into the SoccerBible Boot Vault, and both of these football boots and colourways must conjure up some great footballing memories of Ronaldo, the catalyst for one of the greatest ranges of football boots!
Stay tuned to the SoccerBible as we reveal even more soccer cleats from the Boot Vault, showcasing the best retro, classic and once forgotten boots and bringing them back to life!