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Nike boot range guide | comparing Mercurial, Phantom & Tiempo

Love Nike football boots but don’t know which model is best for your game? You’ll find all the answers you need in our handy guide.
Author Image of Kevan Thorpe

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10 months ago

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complete nike football boot range guide comparing mercurial phantom and tiempo

The quality that lurks within Nike’s current boot range is unbelievable. And if you’re already a fan of Nike football boots, you’re in for a real treat.

We understand that having so much choice can be confusing, and picking the perfect pair for your game becomes a tricky task.

Nike have been knocking out high quality boots since way back in 1971, when they released their first silo, aptly-named “The Nike”.

Their more recent models boast a ton of technology and material advances, including designs and colourways to please every imaginable type of player.

Many of the finest ‘ballers on this planet are wearing their ideal choice of Nike boots right now, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be too.

That’s precisely why we’re here, to clear up what each model is all about, how they can improve your game and where you can buy them for less.

Alright then, let’s all go a little Nike crazy…

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What boots do Nike make?

full nike football boot range

Images from Nike.

Being a major manufacturer, Nike offers a healthy choice of six main models in their current range.

These include the Mercurial Vapor, the Mercurial Superfly, the Phantom GX, the Phantom Luna, the Tiempo and the lesser-known Premier.

Nike has seen a fair few of its leading models come and go over recent years, with the popular Hypervenom, Magista, Phantom VNM, VSN and GT silos all being discontinued.

There are still some pairs of those boots floating around, but you won’t find them fresh off the factory line anymore.

As with most boot brands, Nike offers a number of takedown options for each model too. As you’d imagine, their Elite level boots include every single bell and whistle.

With Pro, Academy and Club options, you’ll get less tech but it’ll suit you if your budget is lower.

If you want to know more about takedown levels, we’ve already pulled together a detailed guide on what to expect from cheap vs. expensive boots.

Each of Nike’s models also comes with the usual choice of different boot surface types which means… *calculating*... erm, a shed load of combinations for you to choose from.

All this is without throwing colourways in the mix either. Phew, now we know why you could do with our help.

Right, let’s find out which of the Nike range is the one for you.

What is Nike Mercurial?

nike mercurial vapor and superfly football boot in black and white

Images from Nike.

The Nike Mercurial is currently one of the most popular football boots on the planet, and has been for well over 20 years.

Built for the world’s fastest, most adventurous players, the Mercurial debuted in 1998 on the feet of Ronaldo (R9/OG), with the likes of Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Didier Drogba soon following suit.

It’s now a completely different Ronaldo who leads the star-studded cast, and there’s even a collection of signature CR7 boots for you to get your hands on.

These boots are for the players who get fans off their seats and bring defenders to their knees, usually packing an outrageous trick or two up their sleeve.

For the last few years, two different versions of the Mercurial have been available: the Mercurial Vapor and the Mercurial Superfly.

The main difference here is the use of a sock collar on the Superfly, with the Vapor being the ideal choice for fans of low-cut boots.

Nike Mercurial technology

nike mercurial vapor football boot birds eye view in white

Image from Nike.

Aside from the sock-like Dynamic Fit collar, the Vapor and Superfly make use of exactly the same innovative technology.

The latest generations are the Mercurial Vapor 15 and Superfly 9, with each one featuring Nike’s Vaporposite+ technology which wraps seamlessly around the foot and eliminates gaps to the soleplate.

Originally inspired by the cheetah, the fastest land animal on the planet, traction is provided by studs precisely placed in the forefoot and heel allowing for explosive acceleration in any direction. These models are the first to use a specialised 3/4 Nike Air unit in the sole too.

Advances in the Vaporposite+ technology gives the boot a matte finish on a texturised upper that is softer to the touch, but can still stand up to a ‘cold Tuesday night in Stoke’.

The FG Vapor 15 Elite comes in at just over 200g, making it one of the lightest football boots money can buy.

It’s also worth noting that the Mercurial recently came top in our recent ranking of the best football boots of the year, which is a clear indication of just how good it is.

Who wears Nike Mercurial?

It’s a strong list with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappé, Ada Hegerberg, Robert Lewandowski, Jadon Sancho, Beth Mead, Vinícius Júnior, Warren Zaïre-Emery, Marcus Rashford, Lieke Martens and Nicolas Jackson.

Models available now

The most recent models are the Mercurial Vapor 15 and the Superfly 9, with Elite, Pro, Academy and Club versions available in every colour and surface type you’ll ever need.

If you want to save a little money, there are now some great discounts on the older Vapor 14, Superfly 8 and other older models. Just make sure to compare prices at FOOTY.COM to bag the best deal possible.

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Nike Mercurial Dream Speed

nike mercurial dream speed 006 football boot in purple

Image from Nike.

What is Nike Mercurial Dream Speed?

Remember those CR7 boot models we talked about earlier? Well this has the leading role in it.

The Nike Mercurial Dream Speed is a boot which is always designed to specs requested by the man himself. Now on the model 006, this one is said to be inspired by ‘flowers’.

The Dream Speed uses all of the same technology of the Superfly and Vapor ranges, but the aesthetic changes tend to be a little more outlandish on this model with added MDS branding.

Who wears Nike Mercurial Dream Speed?

Well, Cristiano Ronaldo obviously. But this boot is usually reserved for a select bunch of elite players in world football, such as Kylian Mbappé, Sam Kerr and Vinícius Júnior to name a few.

Models available now

The latest model is the Nike Mercurial Dream Speed 006, which is available in both Nike Mercurial Vapor 15 and Nike Mercurial Superfly 9 silhouettes.

But if you’re lucky enough, you can still grab a bargain deal on the previous Dream Speed 005 model too.

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Nike Phantom GX

nike phantom gx football boots in red and black and yellow and white

Images from Nike.

What is Nike Phantom GX?

The Phantom GX is the child of Nike’s original Phantom GT silos. Which in turn, makes it the grandchild of the even earlier Nike Phantom VSN and VNM designs from back in 2019.

The Phantom VSN and Phantom VNM were highly popular, and ultimately that’s why back in 2020, Nike moulded them together to create the ideal all-rounder in the form of the Phantom GT and later, the GT2.

The Phantom GX has taken everything good about the GT and GT2 models, and quite simply revolutionised it.

Nike Phantom GX technology

nike phantom gx football boots in red and black and yellow and white birds eye view

Images from Nike.

On the Elite models, you can expect to see Nike’s lightweight Flyknit material mixed with other premium specs like Gripknit uppers and a more lightweight chassis vs. the earlier GT.

As with the Mercurial, you have the option of including a ‘DF’ or Dynamic Fit sock collar on the Nike Phantom GX, though it’s purely an aesthetic and feel decision for the player.

Off-centre lacing is a feature which has been passed down from the uber-successful generation of T90 boots that took the early and mid-‘00s by storm.

Who wears Nike Phantom GX?

Elite football has certainly taken to the Phantom GX, with leading players like Erling Haaland, Ella Toone, Gavi, Alex Morgan, Phil Foden, Rodri, Pernille Harder, Jack Grealish, Rodrygo and Lautaro Martínez donning them.

Models available now

If you’re keeping right up-to-date, the Phantom GX is the newest model available on the market, with the original Phantom GT2 silo still readily available for much less.

You can snag both designs in Elite, Pro, Academy and Club options with the usual range of soleplate and a wide mix of colourway selections too.

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Nike Phantom Luna

nike phantom luna football boots in white and red

Images from Nike.

What is Nike Phantom Luna?

The latest edition to Nike’s catalogue, released in 2023. Nike Phantom Luna are the brand’s ‘female-first’ invention.

As a true unisex model, the boot aims to improve support for the feet of female players in particular, whilst also giving male players the option for a different feel and fit.

It’s a step forward in football boot manufacturing and it’s something we’ll see catching on across all of the major brands.

Nike Phantom Luna technology

nike phantom luna football boots in white birds eye view

Image from Nike.

Much like the Phantom GX, the Luna uses an upper mix of Flyknit and Gripknit technologies, the Flyknit coming in the form of an asymmetrical cuff.

The same asymmetrical lacing is used too, along with several ridges across the upper to improve ball control and swerve.

Its high-collar finish is combined with new Cyclone 360 traction plate to provide top-to-bottom comfort and support.

Who wears Nike Phantom Luna?

It’s early days for the Phantom Luna, but some male and female players have picked up the baton. Leading the way are Grace Geyoro, Kevin De Bruyne, Debinha and Aurélien Tchouaméni.

Models available now

So far, the Nike Phantom Luna only appears to be available in an Elite capacity. It’s possible that if the popularity rises, they may release cheaper options.

Keep an eye out for fresh and new colourways though, as the ones we’ve seen already are excellent.

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Nike Tiempo

nike tiempo football boots in black and white

Images from Nike.

What is Nike Tiempo?

Featuring a retro style and now premium synthetic leather materials, the Nike Tiempo is a more traditional kind of football boot.

After all, this is Nike’s oldest silo by quite some distance, and it’s maintained its classic appearance despite numerous upgrades and changes over the years. It’s come an awful long way since 1994.

Both the Mercurial and Phantom models are more suited to a particular type of player, whereas the Tiempo can be worn by just about anyone.

The soft uppers provide incredible comfort, while the Flyknit mix makes them more lightweight than ever before.

This sheer level of reliability makes the Tiempo incredibly popular amongst defenders, but this is a real all-rounder of a boot which is fantastic all over the pitch.

Not only is it a true icon of the game, but the Tiempo is also the perfect choice of players looking for a more traditional, but still high-quality football boot.

Nike Tiempo technology

nike tiempo football boots in white birds eye view

Image from Nike.

To label the Tiempo as “old-fashioned” would be a terrible error of judgement, as the upgrades to the latest generation have made it more than capable of meeting the demands of the modern game.

Yes, this is Nike’s oldest football boot, but it’s every bit as innovative as their other silos.

The newest release is the Nike Tiempo Legend X, and it really is a work of art. It has an updated synthetic leather upper called ‘FlyTouch Plus’.

Those uppers come alongside Nike’s ACC system, Flyknit material and redesigned soleplate to reduce weight. Micro-dots across the upper will give you unrivalled ball-feel.

Who wears Nike Tiempo?

Amongst many top players wearing this silo, you can find Virgil van Dijk, Jamal Musiala, Leah Williamson, Lucy Bronze, Frankie de Jong, William Saliba, Jessie Fleming, Alisson Becker, Lucas Hernández, Demi Stokes, Sandro Tonali and Jules Koundé.

Models available now

The Nike Tiempo Legend X has Nike’s Elite, Pro, Academy and Club versions available for every budget and playing level.

FG/SG/AG/TF and IC soleplate options will keep you moving on any surface. The same is true of its predecessor, the Tiempo Legend 9, which you can now find available for much less.

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Nike Premier

nike premier football boot in black and white

Image from Nike.

What is Nike Premier?

The Nike Premier is one of the most overlooked, yet longest running silos of the Nike boot range.

It’s a traditional and classic styling made from premium k-leather. And it’s available at a budget price too.

Not quite elite enough to be involved in the weekend’s Premier League fixtures, but it’s certainly good enough for grassroots and even semi-pro levels.

This boot’s durable, comfortable and it performs well. Oh, and the latest Nike Premier 3 looks incredibly sharp too.

Nike Premier technology

nike premier football boot in black and white birds eye view

Image from Nike.

You’re getting premium kangaroo leather here for a smidgen of the price of other premium models on the market.

Nike’s Anti-Clog stud tech is included on the SG version and that fold-down tongue is the stuff of old-school dreams. It’s a design which harkens back to earlier Tiempo silhouettes.

Models available now

The Nike Premier 3 is the latest release, with the previous Premier 2 still available in some sizes from a limited number of retailers.

You can cop your own pair of SG/FG or even TF Premier 3 and you’ll be surprised at how low the cost is.

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Where to buy Nike football boots

So, that’s our full rundown of Nike’s entire football boot range for this year.

We hope it’s helped to give you an idea of which model will propel your performances to the next level on the weekend!

Remember, you can find the best Nike football boots for the cheapest prices here at FOOTY.COM, including deals on Mercurials, Phantom GXs, Phantom Lunas, Tiempos and Premiers.

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Author Image of Kevan Thorpe
Quintessential grassroots journeyman. I've had more "you look like Gareth Barry" comments than I have career goals.
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