The Secret Behind Nike Soccer Shoes
More often than not, the company launched as a small-town business that later transformed into the name it is today through research on the field itself. Nike — and its rich history of creating cutting-edge soccer cleat technology — is no different.
Nike released its first soccer cleat in 1971 to little success. The first attempt didn’t have any of the waterproof, durable or stabilizing elements their cleats are known for today. Over the next five decades, Nike cleats moved up the ranks for soccer stars as they tested the new technology on the field. By 1994, just over two decades after their first soccer shoe, the company was the official sponsor for the US Soccer Federation.
Navigating all of Nike’s shoe lines can be a bit daunting. Maybe because its vast list of soccer cleat lines are made with incredible specificity to your position on the field, playing and running style, and type of court. In this guide, we’ll cover some of the top lines today and the most popular indoor and outdoor Nike soccer cleats available.
What are Nike's top soccer lines?
With all of Nike’s new releases, where do you begin your search? Most of today’s shoes will fall within the following top Nike lines:
The first Mercurial made it to the soccer scene back in 1998 when Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo made the shoes a hit at the World Cup. For decades to come, variations of the Mercurial would top lists for the most goals scored and overall performance awards across the industry.
Mercurial shoes use Nike’s signature Flyknit material known for its lightweight durability. A higher plate — or outsole — toward the front of many outdoor Mercurial models makes it easier to gain traction across the field.
Like the other Nike soccer cleats, the Phantom line comes in a range of prices for reflective levels of competition. Nowadays, the most popular Phantom shoe lines are split between Visions (VSN) and Venom (VNM). While Phantom Visions feature ghost laces, Visions have a traditional lace structure with an increased strike zone. Both models have a lightweight, flexible sole with studs ideal for precision and speed.
Tiempos break down into a family of Legends, Legacies and Ligeras. They are typically made of traditional or kangaroo leather, the fabric often used on more high-end soccer cleats. This line also features options for each budget. They are known for their comfort, stability and minute details that keep the shoe from stretching or altering on the field.
What are the best indoor Nike soccer shoes?
Indoor soccer shoes are built with a rubber sole designed for gaining traction on indoor courts or asphalt and concrete outdoor surfaces. Indoor shoes typically carry acronyms like IC or IN and do not have the signature studs of outdoor cleats.
Tiempo Legend 8 Club IC
This budget-friendly option is ideal for both ball control and ultimate traction on indoor and outdoor hard courts. The shoe has a traditional lace-up enclosure surrounded by synthetic leather that is thin enough for ultimate call control.
Nike Kids Jr Superfly 7 Academy IC
If you’re on the hunt for a top-rated Nike line for young players, the Superfly Academy 7 combines boot technology with an indoor soccer shoe. The textured upper sole allows for greater control while molded arch supports keep the player stable while on the move.
Phantom VSN 2 Club
Armed with a streamlined ghost lacing system, this popular Nike model provides flexible ankle and molded arch support for comfortable play on a hard field. The textured outsole is made of rubber while the body of the shoe is built from micro-textured synthetic leather.
What are the best outdoor Nike soccer shoes?
Soft, firm and hard-ground cleats typically feature far more variations than indoor soccer shoes. Such dynamic surfaces require footwear that supports your foot’s unique relationship with the natural field. This welcomes more specific technology for ball control, cleat height and structure, and stability on the field.
Mercurial Vapor 13
The Mercurial Vapor line blew many other models out of the water for its performance. For instance, the Mercurial Vapor 13 Academy FG/MG incorporates greater flexibility with its Aerotek forefoot plate, and its chevron studs are ideal for both artificial turf and traditional firm outdoor ground. Players enjoy the full lacing feature and thin upper that encourages full control of the ball.
Phantom Venom Club FG
This shoe continues to be a go-to pick for players seeking a lightweight, synthetic option on the field. Many believe that the Phantom Venom shines in its details, including an integrated tongue, embossed texture and an asymmetrical lacing system. Higher-density cleats make these shoes ideal for firm ground playing fields.
Nike Superfly 7 Academy FG/MG
Those seeking more ankle support on the field can check out the highly reviewed Superfly 7 Academy shoes for firm ground fields. A textured upper enhances control of the ball while an adjustable lace-up structure and soft collar wrap comfortably around the ankle without throwing off a player’s agility. The MG in the title—which stands for multi-ground—references the flexible outsole plate that crosses these shoes over from soft grass to synthetic turf.
Among the top competitors in the industry, Nike offers an incredibly wide range of options for varying play styles, your level of experience, and, most importantly, the right fit for your foot. Whether you’re on the hunt for an indoor or outdoor soccer cleat, Nike provides undeniable quality and durability.
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