Creative Soccer Culture

Laced Up: Nike Hypervenom Phantom II

It’s never easy to replace a beloved boot. The original Hypervenom achieved success despite veering so far from the T90. So, could the second generation continue in such a fantastic mold and continue Nike’s unparalleled success? Snagging its own dynamic fit collar and looking very little like its predecessor, it's an intriguing one.

The goal for Nike with the Hypervenom is to create a dynamic boot, a boot that offers the tools required to perform, and to do so with the highest level of comfort, traction and fit possible. Taking cues from the original Phantom while still crafting a boot that is certainly an original, the newest Phantom offers a massive striking surface, a redesigned Dynamic Fit Collar, and all of Nike’s recent tech advances rolled into one complete boot. How does it perform? Strap yourself in...

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The first thing that strikes you with the Hypervenom II is the stark contrast from the top of the boot to the jagged colours that run from halfway down the boot to the soleplate. Despite being launched in a "Wolf Grey", the boot is still LOUD. The bright orange with black speckles on the bottom half is the only homage to the original Phantom that you can really see from the boot, but it's certainly a very bright homage.

Moving beyond how the boot looks and down to the important aspects of the boot, the first thing everyone will notice is the new Dynamic Fit Collar. Unlike all the other boots with Nike’s “shiny toy” tech, the Phantom II is only FlyKnit for the collar and the tongue. Taking a few notes from complaints that Nike saw with the Obra and SuperFly, the rubber strip has been removed down the middle of the collar to prevent chafing/blistering. Out of all the boots with a collar up to this point, the Phantom II’s collar is the most comfortable.

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The rest of the boot’s build is crafted from a mix of mesh and NikeSkin with a mishmash of FlyWire and creases running all over the boot. For comfort, the boot comes out of the box in a very stiff manner. Where the original Phantom’s NikeSkin was very soft, the Phantom II takes some work before it softens into the final product. Once the upper does loosen up, it blends with the FlyWire to be soft while still providing a great one-to-one fit. The creases in the boot never truly jump out as having a massive contribution to the way the boot functions, but they certainly don’t hurt anything. The massive strike-zone is unobstructed with FlyWire running across it, and we’ll talk about how great it is to address the ball a bit later.

A few run-outs after taking the Phantom II out of the box, the comfort that Nike pride themselves on starts to shine. The FlyKnit around the tongue gives you another boot in Nike’s line-up that fits great without having to tie the laces. The laces merely allow you to choose how tight each portion of the boot fits. If this is your first experience with Nike’s FlyKnit, it will certainly be an enjoyable one.

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With the FlyWire, any fan of Nike knows that the cables are to keep the boot wrapped around your foot and to prevent any rollover when you plant and push off from the ground. In comparison to the Obra and Superfly, the Phantom II really stands above in this department. Quick cuts and turns seem to blend together into a smooth and seamless ride, combining with an extremely dependable conical soleplate to give you as few worries as possible.

The soleplate on the latest Hypervenom shares all the visual similarities from the original Phantom, but with some slight alterations. With one of the biggest complaints from the original being that the soleplate was too stiff (even after break-in), Nike made the material a bit thinner on this model... and, it shows. Dependability from a very high quality conical set-up and the thinner material contributing to a higher level of comfort is a win-win. There was also no durability complaints after weeks of wear, despite the material being thinner, and it adds to a fairly impressive level of comfort for a boot that raised so many eyebrows when we saw the connected FlyKnit and NikeSkin upper.

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Once we got the boot broken in it provided an unhindered feel on the ball because of the NikeSkin’s thin nature, and each strike launches off the foot cleanly and clinically thanks to the massive strike zone allowing a larger area extending around to the outside of the boot. Dribbling wise the Hypervenom II is typical of a boot with a thinner upper.

For those looking for something dangerously similar to the original Phantom with the mere addition of the collar, there will be a fair degree of disappointment. For anyone looking for a big step towards what Nike marketed the Phantom as from day one, the Phantom II will be exactly what players are looking for. The Phantom II landed with a wealth of questions riding on its success, and the boot has stood tall throughout questioning. The break-in of the upper took a little longer than we expected, but the boot certainly impresses in the comfort department after a few wears.

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Despite a lot of durability problems from the original Phantom and the ultra-soft nature of the NikeSkin on those boots, the new HyperVenom II feels like it may be the most durable of all of Nike’s collared efforts and should last players using the boots on the designated surfaces (FG/SG/AG) for at least a full season. Fitting wise? True to size for us and actually fairly accommodating to most foot types.

The Nike Hypervenom Phantom II is available from select stockists including Pro-Direct Soccer. Got a pair? Drop your thoughts below.


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