adidas X vs Nike Mercurial: Which is the better boot for you?
adidas and Nike are perennial rivals, so naturally when it comes to each of their leading boot silos it's almost impossible to separate them.
In the football world allegiance is everything.
You are either City or United, you are either FIFA or PES, and when it comes to boots you are usually either Nike or adidas. This article will explore the pros and cons of two of the biggest boots on the market today, and the results will likely either cement your allegiance to your favourite manufacturer or perhaps sway you to cross the brand divide.
In the battle of adidas X vs Nike Mercurial, who comes out on top? Let’s find out.
An introduction to the adidas X
The adidas X (which debuted in 2015) is one of adidas’ leading boot silos. The boot is available with or without laces depending on what the player prefers, but the emphasis on the boot is very much one thing: speed.
Liverpool and Egypt superstar Mohammed Salah in the poster boy for the adidas X, a fitting figure given his penchant for explosive and powerful runs. In fact, the slogan for the boot is ‘leave your opponents for dust’, something which adidas have been trying to do to their competitors over the past few years.
An introduction to the Nike Mercurial
Often when it comes to boots, a prospective wearer is primarily interested in looking good on the pitch. And since its release in 1998, the Nike Mercurial has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity thanks largely to its aesthetic qualities and the varied set of colourways that have attracted the eyes of football players worldwide at all levels of the game.
The latest sock version of Nike Mercurial is called the Superfly 7 and it has been constructed to the exact specifications made by none other than Cristiano Ronaldo. Alongside one of the best to ever do it, prospective heir to the throne Kylian Mbappe and Australian footballing hero Sam Kerr are two other notable professional footballers currently championing the Mercurial. Like Salah, all three players possess superhuman levels of speed; something which the Nike Mercurial is designed to help maximise.
Alongside the Superfly, the boot silo is also available in a sockless range known as the Mercurial Vapor. The Vapor still utilises the same trademark tongue-less construction, meaning the entire upper is one piece of fabric.
Which boot has the best colour options?
From a colour perspective, the adidas X is incredible. Recent colourways include green/orange/white, black/gold/blue, silver/red/white, cyan/black/pink and a blackout edition. All five of these wouldn’t look out of place on the catwalk, they are sleek, clean and have a certain swagger about them.
My pick of the different versions is the Hard Wired Bright Cyan adidas X 19+. Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus wears the boots, a sensible choice given City’s colours, and the blue looks incredibly clean with just the right amount of flair in the pink stud tips.
As mentioned previously, the Mercurial has a history of exciting and vibrant colours. This doesn’t mean every version of the boot is a shocking experiment though. You tend to see Nike going down two routes at different times of the year, with more minimal looks one season and daring, disruptive designs the next. Most recently we’ve seen a range of looks which feature relatively understated base colours in tandem with more intricate, iridescent details best appreciated up close. Palettes include blue/white/black/silver, blue/obsidian/white and, you guessed it, a blackout edition.
For a wider range of Nike Mercurial colourways you’d need to go back into the archives, looking at designs like the Nike Mercurial Superfly 360 Elite LVL UP. The variety of colours evoke classic Mercurial designs of the past 20 years, making this the perfect pair for Nike fans and boot enthusiasts to pick up.
In summary, the adidas X has the better range of current colour options, whilst the Mercurial can match its competitor if you’re willing to take a step or two back.
Which boot is more comfortable?
The adidas X boots is available with our without laces and, unlike some boots, both versions feature the same level of quality and attention to detail. Both the laceless and laced options come with “CLAW COLLAR” construction, which locks your foot into the boot providing more stability on the pitch. In terms of differences between laces or no laces though, the laced adidas X promotes a tighter fit whilst the laceless X is all about the purest contact on the ball.
On the other side of the ring, the Mercurial boasts just as much comfortability. Nike’s offering utilises 360-degree Flyknit technology to wrap around your feet for extra comfort. On top of that, the boot features a 1-piece lining to make it feel like you have direct contact with the football. As if that wasn’t enough, Nike have also planned for all weather conditions adding it’s All Conditions Control technology to the Mercurial, giving the player reliable touch in both wet and dry weather.
When it comes to comfort, this one goes to the Nike Mercurial.
Which boot performs best on the pitch?
In terms of durability, the adidas X doesn't stand out. The boot is very thin by design (thanks to the “SKELETAL WEAVE”) in order to maximise speed efficiency, but the reduced focus on other factors leaves something to be desired across other areas on the pitch.
The Flyknit material used in the Mercurial on the other hand has seen an increasing focus on durability in recent years. Another significant feature is the improved responsive soleplate, which claims to provide a higher energy return to the player. The soleplate is particularly effective for firm ground surfaces though soft ground variants don’t suffer significantly either.
Once again I’m going to have to give this one to the Mercurial.
Which boot offers the best value for money?
To get your hands on either of these boots you might be thinking you’ll need to break the bank. The truth is however that options are available to suit all budgets.
Yes, if you want the top of the line Mercurial or adidas X that Ronaldo or Salah wears then you are looking at over £200 for either boot soon after the release of any given boot pack. However both adidas and Nike offer cheaper versions of their boots that utilise much of the same technology. Sometimes either of these boot silos can drop as low as £30, and though the X and Mercurial are not typically seen as cheap football boots they do occasionally dip into that category.
If you’re hunting for a bargain, it’s helpful to understand the lingo. For adidas, laceless boots will come in a “+” version (i.e. adidas X 19+), whilst laced versions range in quality from “.1” (i.e. adidas X 19.1) to the “.2”, and “.3” with the “.1” being the highest quality and “.3” being the lowest. In terms of the prices you can expect for these various tiers, the latest adidas X 19+ will set you back in the region of £230, whilst the adidas X 19.1 is around the £180 mark. The X 19.2 and X 19.3 however are both much lower at ~£110 and ~£70 respectively.
Nike use different tier names to distinguish the quality of their boots. At the top end of the market you have the “Elite” tier, with prices as high as £250 for the Mercurial Superfly 7 and £240 for the Mercurial Vapor 13. Below those boots you then have the “Pro” range with boots coming in lower at £130, followed by the “Academy” tier at ~£85 and finally the “Club” tier with new boots as cheap as £48.
Whilst adidas have the edge if you’re looking for professional quality footwear, Nike cater to more levels of football with their additional tier and greater price range. Once again this round goes to the Swoosh.
Though both the adidas X and Nike Mercurial are hard to separate in almost every way, I would lean towards the Mercurial if I had choose between the two.
Both boots have a similar emphasis on speed, but in terms of overall performance the Nike Mercurial has more going for it. From the technological standpoint Nike’s offering has a little more in its locker too, and whilst adidas edge things in terms of colour options, Nike pull back thanks to their greater range of cheap boots.