Creative Soccer Culture

Nike Launch The Air Zoom Mercurial

Fast is in the air as Nike introduce the revolutionary Air Zoom Mercurial, which sees the next generation Superfly IX and Vapor XV retooled with a raft of technology upgrades, most notably Zoom Air that’s been designed uniquely for footballers.

The Mercurial has always been at the forefront of innovation, and now Nike begin a new chapter for their iconic silo with the Air Zoom Mercurial, which takes inspiration from athletics to make it even faster. It arrives with an all-new design that takes over from the Superfly VIII and Vapor XIV, packed with technology upgrades ready for the 22/23 season. The Air Zoom Mercurial that we’re now looking at now is a natural continuation of the concept that was first revealed at an Innovation Summit two years ago, as well as the special edition Mercurial Air Zoom Ultra that dropped earlier this year. Now, finally, after waiting really patiently, we get our reward.

Of course, this is not the first time the Mercurial line has boasted Zoom Air, with that honour being reserved by the 2001 release, but it does boast a first of another sort.

So what’s new? Well, in the past, there was a lot of focus on cushioning the heel, but Mercurial players don’t play on their heels, do they? So first up and most importantly, the articulated, three-quarter length Zoom airbag – Nike’s first-ever soccer-specific Zoom Air unit – sits directly inside of the plate of the boot bringing the foot closer to the ground for an even greater sense of snappy, propulsive energy return. The new Zoom airbag features flex groves that provide flexibility and natural movement of the foot to better fit the needs of dynamic movement in football.

Being a Mercurial athlete, I’m always thinking about fast. I want to be faster than my opponent,” said Kylian Mbappe, one of the prime players to be fronting the new boot. “What excited me most is that this technology is revolutionary. Air is what’s really going to put the Mercurial athletes in the best conditions to perform.

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Moving on to the upper, and when you're taking about increasing pace then control of the ball, lockdown and fit also needs to be addressed, and for this Nike have introduced a new evolution of Vaporposite, called Vaporposite+. It combines a grip-enhancing chevron mesh with a Flyknit lining that helps with ball control at high speeds, while the upper also features a data-driven Speed Cage design, ensuring a snug fit at all times.

Collin Eder, Senior Director of Global Football Footwear at Nike explained: “While sprinting and cutting at high speeds, it’s important that the footballer feels secure in the boot. The Vaporposite+ upper was further refined to provide a lockdown fit through a data driven designed speed cage providing optimal support of the foot in areas where footballers need it most.” 

Moving to the underside, and the Air Zoom Mercurial also debuts another new feature: a Tri-Star stud pattern. The new stud design helps footballers move laterally for faster play in all directions. The plate also features a clear window in the forefoot to show off that revolutionary "air" section.

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And then there’s that fresh new aesthetic. Incase you weren’t aware what this boot is all about, the iconic Swoosh that usually runs down the side of the boot has made way for big and bold “Air” branding, which dominates the look of this “White/Off Noir/Coconut Milk” launch colourway.

Both the Superfly IX and Vapor XV are lighter than their previous generations, with Nike stripping back the boots without compromising on comfort or durability. So all in all, this is set to be the fastest Mercurial to date, which really is saying something. The Mercurial has always been about speed, but unlike most things, it just keeps getting quicker with age.

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The all new Nike Air Zoom Mercurial Supefly IX and Vapor XV are available now at

Daniel Jones

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