Creative Soccer Culture

Laced Up: Nike Hypervenom Phinish II

Waiting in the wings or peering from the shadows, the Nike Hypervenom Phinish may well be playing second fiddle behind the headline grabbing Phantom II from HyperVenom silo but for us, it's a simple truth: No Collar? No problem. In the same vein as the Vapor/SuperFly, Obra/Opus relationship, the Phinish II is able of standing by itself as a top tier release. An "under-the-radar" giant, could the HyperVenom Phinish II be about to take the stage?

The HyperVenom Phinish differs from the other non-collared second-tier boots in the simple fashion that it is a near exact version of the collared HyperVenom Phantom II. Where the SuperFly and Vapor are almost completely different boots, the Phinish just provides everything Nike wanted to create with their newest HyperVenom Phantom while avoiding the Dynamic Fit collar. A tongueless design, a revamped style of NikeSkin on the upper, an accommodating fit, and a redesign that sees the Venom taking continued steps forward for one of the most intriguing releases of the last decade...the Phinish, despite coming from the king of football boots, will end up being one of the surprises of 2015.

Some description

Despite being a Dynamic Fit collar away from the same boot that you have seen from the mass of HyperVenom press online, the Phinish’s bright orange lower half is quite bright in person. This gives the Wolf Grey a stark contrast and prevents the boot from looking plain or ordinary. Despite the removal of the collar, the cosmetics differ a bit from the Phantom II as there are no black accents on the bottom of the soleplate and the “ACC” designation is moved to the area under the laces (we would say “on the tongue,” but this boot doesn’t have one!). Like any top-tier release from Nike, the Phinish comes with a string back to haul your new boots around in.

Stepping away from how the boots look and putting them through their paces, the first thing we noticed was how different the Phinish and its tongueless design fits in comparison to Nike’s other tongueless low-cut wonder in the Mercurial Vapor X. Where the X is only for narrow feet and took some serious finagling to get our foot into it for the first time, the Phinish II is very accommodating to many foot types on first wear and was very easy to slip on. The purpose of this tongueless design is so that the boot hugs around the entirety of your foot as soon as you slip the boots on. Despite this being the big marketing callsign of all of Nike’s FlyKnit boots, the Phinish and X accomplish the same fit with a synthetic instead of a knitted material. A quick tightening of the laces later, and you have an amazing fit that will only improve as the boot softens up.

Some description

Much in the same vein as what we experienced with the Phantom II (little surprise given how similar the boots are), the Phinish II was rather stiff out of the box. The mish-mash of angled lines mixed with the FlyWire that run around the laces seemed to only add a bit to the stiffness when we first slipped the boots on, which gave us quite a bit of concern considering how soft the original Phantom’s NikeSkin upper had been. However, after a few run-outs, the upper softens up nicely and allows the FlyWire to truly shine in keeping a tight fit around the midfoot despite the softening of the upper. The odd lines running throughout the boot never really seemed to have any great effect on the boot during break-in or even after, and we wonder if the newest HyperVenom was only given this look to differentiate it from the Mercurial series...but it doesn’t change how the boot feels or performs.

For players looking for a massive strike zone and dependability, the Phinish might be exactly what the doctor ordered. The FlyWire and construction of the boot prevent any type of rollover when making sharp cuts or twisting to address the ball, and the upper is still thin enough to provide a great touch on the ball. Anyone new to FlyWire should know that the tech’s purpose is to provide a tight fit after break-in and to do exactly what we stated above, which is to keep your foot from spilling over the side of the boot when you make cuts or plant your foot.

Some description

The Phinish II quickly showed us why a large sect of the HyperVenom wearers were opting for the Phinish II over the Phantom II. In terms of quality on the ball and comfort, Nike really created an interesting animal with the Phinish II. Everything that we found we enjoyed with the newest Phantom was quickly evident with the Phinish, while the boot was also gave a more traditional feel and felt much closer to the true evolution of the original HyperVenom Phantom. The altered NikeSkin is a bit thicker this time around, but we still found it to provide the type of touch on the ball that is reserved for thin, quality uppers. The best benefit of Nike making the newest HyperVenom a little bit thicker and adding a bit of sturdiness means that durability issues should definitely be a HyperVenom aspect that now resides in the past.

While we never buy into the hype of a certain boot being made for certain positions on the pitch, the Phinish II was a joy to shoot in and we can definitely see why Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney have opted for the Venom as their weapon of choice. Shots feel great and seem to ping right off the boot as you drive through the ball. Passing and dribbling both feel fantastic because of the thin upper, and we think that the combo of everything Nike has on offer with the Phinish is what lets it all blend together into a truly great boot. Quick footed players that love to have the ball on their feet and love to try their newest flick will quickly discover that the top-tiered HyperVenoms might be the most dynamic and responsive boots currently on the market.

Some description

In terms of traction, the HyperVenom’s soleplate has only a few slight alterations from the first generation to the second. The super dependable conical set-up that has won over many players is totally unchanged, but Nike has made the soleplate a bit thinner to prevent the extreme stiffness that many players found with the original HyperVenom.

The move from the HyperVenom Phantom to the Phantom II saw a wealth of changes, but we can definitely still see the inspiration from where the series started to what we now see in the Phinish II. It takes a brave company to take such a big step forward when a boot was so extremely successful (look at the EvoPower evolution), but Nike has still provided a boot that does (somehow) seem to meet with their claims of “deadly agility” with the newest HyperVenom definitely being able to provide a player with a boot as dynamic as they need it to be. While we still don’t quite understand all the strange lines running across the upper and wish that the boots weren’t as still out of the box as they had been, all of this issues get swept under the rug once the boot gets broken-in.

Some description

Unlike its predecessor in the original Phantom, the Phinish II feels like it is built to avoid all of the durability problems that plagued its predecessor and should last for well over a season if used on the designated surface. A boot that runs true to size and might be the most universally fitting boot currently in the Nike line-up...whether you have a narrow/wide/normal foot, the Phinish II will provide an outstanding and engineered fit.

The Nike Hypervenom Phinish II is available from select stockists including Pro-Direct Soccer. Got a pair? What's your take? Drop your thoughts below.


The Creative Soccer Culture Brief

Sign up to our newsletter and we'll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the world of Creative Soccer Culture.