Nike certainly know how to sell and get everyone talking about a new boot. But as the boot community reacts to the launch of the new Mercurial Vapor VIII's, we thought we'd address one of the most important issues - how does the Vapor 8 compare to it's predecessor the Vapor 7...
Unless you have both boots in your possession, it's not going to be easy to see a direct comparison. Which is why we grabbed both of our pairs and headed to the photography studio, to show the boot world just how these two innovative football boots face up to each other. And as the Superfly has ceased to be, we grabbed a soft-ground pair of the Vapor VII's for a direct comparison.
In terms of boot shape, their profile and structure, the two generations of Vapor are quite surprisingly similar. Our initial thoughts were of how remarkably different the Vapor 8 is to the Vapor 7, but you can definitely see the family resemblance. The aesthetics of these boots are very different though, with the huge 'Be Seen' graphic removed along with the two-tone colour scheme, instead we have one all-over colour complimented with a large traditional Swoosh on the instep.
But it's when we get to upper materials the boots are hugely different, and have a different fit and feel. The new Vapor features a thinner, stronger and lighter Teijin Microfiber with a suede-like finish. The boot has a softer less-rigid feel to improve comfort and ball feel, which makes it easier to break the boots-in, but does reduce protection. In-hand the Vapor 8 is a boot you can crush down, but the Vapor 7 puts up more resistance as the upper offers less flex.
Obviously with all the technology and innovation at their disposal, Nike have it in their capabilities to construct a sub 150 gram football boot, but as has always been the case, traction, speed and acceleration are key. The lightweight glass fiber outsole returns, although with a slightly different structure to offer midfoot support. The toe-off grip is still present, but the stud shape and configuration has been re-engineered. Inspired by lead athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo, the sole-plate probably caused the most controversy on the old boots, and so Nike have listened to the players and fans alike to make some quite significant changes.
As with every Vapor boot to have been released, a lot of reaction is down to taste, personal choice and how you think the boots look. It will be interesting to see what future colours the Vapor VIII is released in because it is definitely less visually striking than it's predecessor. But as comfort, feel, weight and traction have all been improved, we'll be keen to see if this boot becomes a hit and a classic boot with the Vapor fan base.
What do you think of the new Vapor VIII in comparison to the Vapor VII, both football boots make a bold statement on-pitch, but which do the Vapor fans prefer? Share your thoughts and opinions online, on Twitter and on Facebook.