When the Nike Mercurial ‘Future DNA’ launched last week there was an obvious feel of familiarity about it. An iconic boot with a colourway taken from the first ever Mercurial Superfly, but there was something more significant about this drop, and one that tells an infamous story for the Swoosh.

The Mercurial Superfly series is one of Nike’s proudest footballing legacies, a staple of the brand’s most advanced technologies worn by the world’s greats footballers. The Superfly is widely recognised as one of the most elite boots on the market, and what we've got now is a stunning remake of the Superfly on the Vapor XIII, but the OG had a bit of an embarrassing birth for Nike.


In 2009, this “Max Orange/Metallic Silver” colourway launched the first ever Mercurial Superfly as a boot that landed as an upgraded, elite level version of the Vapor series. In short it was Nike’s most technologically advanced and most expensive football boot of all time, BUT this debut colourway never managed to go to retail. It was supposed to, but at the last minute Nike had no choice but to pull it.

Why? Well, the plan was for Nike’s leading players to wear the design for a few games to build hype ahead of the big retail launch, but in that period the boot kept tearing. Didier Drogba, Andrey Arshavin and Luis Fabiano all saw the boots rip and tear in televised games, which was embarrassing for Nike, but makes this re-release all that more collectable. The boot that never was, finally is.


Why did they keep breaking? Nike wanted the Superfly to be their lightest, fastest ever boot, and with that comes a fine balance of reducing weight while maintaining durability, and in short they got that balance wrong. The Superfly introduced Flywire technology, which was those thin cables you could see through the upper of the boot – these were added to support the foot while allowing Nike to use a thinner upper material – but because the boots kept ripping Nike were forced to go back to the drawing board to make them tougher. This ultimately led to the “Max Orange/Metallic Silver” colourway being canned from retail, with the boot finally launching a few months later with a more durable design in black and yellow colourways.

In short, it was Nike’s biggest ever boot launch, and nobody could buy it. For Nike to re-shine the spotlight on one of their most embarrassing moments as a football brand is surprising. But, in the eleven years that have passed, it’s not as if the Swoosh have seen the Mercurial line damaged, it’s still one of the best in the game and this stain only adds to the story. The first ever Mercurial Superfly will always be significant but looking back it effectively served as a prototype that wasn’t ready.


But that’s the old one. What we’ve got here is an iconic colourway on a much better, much more advanced boot. A boot that this colourway finally deserves, and a boot you can actually own. It feels a level above the PhantomVSN and better defines the ‘Future DNA’ series in that it’s actually an old Mercurial colourway on a new Mercurial silhouette and helps with that link back to the OG.

While none of us peasants could wear it, the colourway will forever be remembered as a beacon of Cristiano Ronaldo’s rise to world dominance. The stance. The white socks. The kit. The boots. Ronaldo wore the colourway to clinch his third Premier League title at Manchester United, as well as lacing it up in the 2009 Champions League Final defeat to Barcelona in Rome.


Pick up the Nike Mercurial 'Future DNA' football boots at prodirectsoccer.com