The PhantomVSN replaces the departing Magista series as Nike shake up their control game for the 2018/19 season. After a four year stint as Nike's master of midfield the Magista bows out to a new generation of playmaking. Ghost laces and Quadfit socks. Yeah, they'll begin to make sense by the bottom of the page.

We've laced up in the PhantomVSN throughout pre-season, and this is the bit where we let you know what we think of it, and more importantly to help you make a decision on whether it's your go-to for the new campaign. So, where shall we start? Let's go with first impressions...

Out of the box

We'll be totally honest, when we first saw the PhantomVSN a few months before it was released we immediately thought "American Football" cleats. The seemingly laceless silhouette, the split coloured aesthetic, the is-it-isn't-it mid-collar, it was all a bit different. But different is what these leading brands do well, and when different not just works, but improves current innovation, then different quickly becomes the norm.

To touch, the upper is incredibly grippy with a rough-styled texture. Thousands of tiny triangles (the PhantomVSN's logo) cover the entire area of the upper, apart from the "Ghost Laces" which we'll explain pretty quickly. The meshy area on top of the foot covers a lace system underneath as Nike strike a balance between laces and laceless design. In short, the PhantomVSN looks a bit odd, for about a week, then it grows on you, it grows quickly.


On feet

As with most mid-collared, or sock-tech football boots, they are a bit tricky to get on. Once you have wriggled your way into them and folded over the little "Ghost Laces" tab you'll find the laces. The laces are attached to a separate sock inside the boot, unlike the one piece construction of the Mercurial, Magista and Hypervenom. You're pulling the laces to tighten the Quadfit sock around your foot, the rest of the upper remains in its original shape. In short you don't see the tightness happening, but you certainly feel it and it is ultra-snug.

Nike's feedback from their professional players is telling them that they still prefer the option to lace their boots and find the right tightness, rather than a slip-on laceless boot. The Quadfit achieves this perfectly without the upper creasing when the laces are pulled extra tight. Elsewhere, the heel sinks and locks into the place, and the whole foot feels caressed by the Quadfit tech, pushing against the Flyknit upper to eliminate any gaps.

The PhantomVSN feels more streamlined than the Magista and erases the bulkiness associated with the previous series. Nike have positioned this boot towards their more attacking midfielders rather than the deep lying, pass masters. Hence, the lightweight feel and more agile construction.


Balls out

Once you start having a jog and knocking a few balls about it becomes apparent quite quickly that you're wearing a control focused boot. The mesh "Ghost Laces" cover provides the maximum striking area and a softness which means the laces can't be felt. The overall comfort is a far more bespoke feel than the comfort of a laceless boot.

The Quadfit sock that extends up the ankle is far more of a sock than a collar found on the Magista, Mercurial or Hypevenom. It's very soft and literally serves as the interior, rather than providing an enhanced feeling around the ankle areas like the aforementioned trio. You can't feel it, meaning the PhantomVSN wears like a lo-cut boot, rather than a collared one.

As previously mentioned, the upper features a rough texture which does add a decent amount of friction to the ball when you strike across it for some spin, far more so than any other recent Nike silos. 


Simple here, go true to size. What we would say though, is that the PhantomVSN is slightly narrower than the Magista Obra II. The Quadfit sock is very soft & flexible and will smooth out any knobbly areas on top of the foot so that striking the ball is clean.


Down under

The soleplate of the Nike PhantomVSN is sharp and far more aggressive that the conical studs of the Magista. The studs cut through the turf for sharp turns in a way that feels far more like the Hypervenom than the Magista. Again, more proof that Nike are focusing the PhantomVSN on more attack-minded midfielders. With that aggressive soleplate in mind, we wouldn't recommend wear the PhantomVSN on artificial pitches. The studs are designed to cut through turf rather than sink into an AG surface.


Unlike the Mercurial and Hypervenom series, the PhantomVSN isn't available in a lo-cut option, and that's probably because it already feels like one. The sock doesn't offer that harnessed feel that some players liked and some didn't. In reality, it's a nice balance for both parties whilst allowing the Quadfit sock to go to work on offering up a snug, adaptable fit.

The verdict

Is this a replacement of the Magista? Well yes, and no. That's not helpful is it. We'll try to explain... The PhantomVSN has definitely been given a license to get forward, put it that way. Kevin De Bruyne and Philippe Coutinho are both wearing the silo leaving the Tiempo to fill the gap left in that holding midfield role if you like. The PhantomVSN falls somewhere in-between the Magista and Hypervenom in terms of Nike positioning as the Swoosh evolve with the game.

Performance wise, the Quadfit tech and Ghost Laces are a big yes from us. The tech dissolves the straight up argument between laces and laceless in a way which delivers exquisite comfort, a large striking area and an adjustable fit. Throw in the lightweight and control elements and the PhantomVSN is a faultless all rounder. In fact that's doing it a disservice, it's a sublime Nike addition that once again pushes the boundaries of football boot technology in the name of improving performance.


Pick up the Nike PhantomVSN football boots at