5 reasons the Nike Mercurial Dragonfly is a major upgrade
You’ve probably laid eyes on the Mercurial Dragonfly already. But how does it stack up against previous models?
Following greatness is never an easy task. You only need to look at the Jaws films to see how bad sequels can really get.
The Nike Mercurial has genuinely blown our minds with its last two generations, introducing a 360 Flyknit upper which became an instant game-changer. This insane barefoot feel went down a treat with pros, amateurs, reviewers and presumably everyone else who laid eyes (or feet) on them.
Yeah, this is a tough act to follow. We even named it the best football boot on the planet. Gulp.
However, it’s been almost two years since the last generation was released, so expectations were high for whatever Nike cooked up next. Well, the timer’s just beeped on the oven, because the Mercurial ‘Dragonfly’ has finally been served up, alongside a helping of hype, curiosity and eye-popping adverts.
But how does it stack up against the previous generations and is it worth the extra cash? That’s the £250 question.
What is Nike Mercurial Dragonfly?
The Nike Mercurial ‘Dragonfly’ is the latest addition to the Mercurial silo. It’s essentially a snappier, more memorable name for both the Vapor 14 and Superfly 8 - which is probably how they’ll be listed by most retailers (unless they use Roman numerals and confuse things even further).
Unlike the previous generation, this is much more than a simple paint job. While the Vapor 13 and Superfly 7 offered tweaks to the 2018 Mercurial, the ‘Dragonfly’ is looking to completely rewrite the script and offer something incredibly different to other Nike boots.
Since the last two Mercs have been so darn popular, this is a bold, even risky, move from Nike. Before we sharpen any pitchforks, though, I should probably point out one very important thing: the changes have made the Mercurial even better than it was before.
Nike Mercurial Dragonfly - 5 Ways It’s Better Than Last-Gen
I’ll hold my hands up, I absolutely love the Mercurial Vapor 13. It’s up there with the best boots I’ve ever slipped onto my feet, and it was always gonna take something special to take it down from that pedestal. You might feel the same way.
Make no mistake, the Mercurial ‘Dragonfly’ is a special football boot. Yeah, there are some similarities to the 2019 Mercs, but there are exactly 5 reasons why it offers such a huge improvement.
1. Dragonflies > Cheetahs
While previous models have been inspired by ferocious cheetahs, the new Mercurial draws inspiration from a very different kind of animal. I had no idea dragonflies were so awesome, but Nike’s design is based on the speed, strength and agility of their wings.
That’s right, I’m just as surprised at this theme as you are, but you’ve got to give Nike an A+ for originality here. I could fill my wardrobe with all the boots based on predatory animals out there, so this new twist on the Mercurial is definitely refreshing to see.
More importantly, it still offers all the qualities we’d expect from a Mercurial. Your eye might be drawn to the “Speed Wing” icons near the heel, but this dragonfly theme really makes sense once you put them on your feet and start playing. They’re even faster and more agile than their fantastic predecessor.
2. An Incredible New Upper
Getting rid of the 360 Flyknit is a very brave move, but that’s exactly what Nike have done. Despite the huge success of the previous two Mercurials, the ‘Dragonfly’ combines the popular knitted upper with good old-fashioned synthetics. It feels much more like the Mercs of old.
This new upper is known as Vaporposite, which definitely sounds like something you’d find on the periodic table. It’s made up of exactly four different layers, which also don’t exactly roll off the tongue: Titan Synthetic, Engineered Mesh, Duragon Wet Traction and Avail Q Lining.
Basically, a bunch of stuff designed to improve comfort and control. It might sound like an incredibly heavy, layered cake, but Nike have stripped everything back to keep their toppings to a minimum. No matter how much I love the 360 Flyknit, I’ve gotta be honest and say the ‘Dragonfly’ feels more stable, comfortable and faster than before.
3. The Tech Is Jaw-Dropping
This is where the dragonfly theme really comes into play. Honestly, the technology involved here is absolutely astounding - it’s the kinda innovation I’d expect to see from the headline act at an Apple conference.
You’ve probably noticed that the upper is rather scantily-dressed, giving you a decent look at the goods under the hood. Any unnecessary layers (and weight) have been completely stripped away, with Nike laying their technological creations bare for all to see.
The ‘Dragonfly’ is made up of just 7 different components, and you can check it all out in our handy little graphics. Nike haven’t just colour coded all their awesome new tech, either, but also numbered them on the upper like a Swoosh-branded paint-by-numbers.
In fact, there’s even a little guide to it all on the insole. Whether you prefer the older gen or not, there’s no doubt you can see exactly what you’re getting for your money here.
4. You Can’t Take Your Eyes Off It
Alright, so now you know the colours are used to highlight different parts of the boot. The purple bit is the Speed Banding, red marks the Toe Reinforcer, and so on.
This isn’t just a case of Nike showing off all their gadgets and goodies, though, because the design also happens to look fantastic. You’ve gotta be a special kind of player to get away with multi-coloured boots, but it’s the techie nature of the ‘Dragonfly’ which really sets it apart for me.
It’s a gift for the genuine boot nerds out there - and it’s even more visually striking than the beautiful Flyknit Mercs. I honestly don’t say that lightly, but here you're essentially getting a colourful, deconstructed view of how the boots were actually made.
Obviously, all those bright colours instantly grab the attention, and Nike claim they’re inspired by iconic Mercurials from the past 23 years. Man, time really does fly when you’re trying to be the next Ronaldo. Even when you're failing.
5. The Soleplate is Even Speedier
Yes, even the soleplate is based on speedy, winged insects.
Apparently, dragonflies can move quickly in any direction, so Nike have made a few small tweaks to help you emulate their unpredictable movement. The biggest change is the introduction of a solid spine, which moves away from the older split soleplate and is ultimately designed to propel you forwards. Very snappy indeed.
However, that’s not strictly true, because the slightly angled studs mean you could also be propelled sideways, backwards or anywhere else you might be going. That’s right, this is a more aggressive soleplate than before, helping you to float like a dragonfly and sting like a, um, dragonfly.
So, Should You Buy the Dragonfly?
In a word: yes. I’m no salesman, so that’s probably the best pitch you’re gonna get.
Although the essence of the previous Mercurials is still very much there, the ‘Dragonfly’ definitely offers an upgrade worth opening your wallet for. There’s gonna be all kinds of tiers and surface types to wrap your head around, so stay tuned for our complete guide on choosing the right Merc model for you.
Of course, the introduction of a new generation will always lead to tasty discounts on older models. The Vapor 13 and Superfly 7 remain absolutely sensational football boots, so I recommend keeping your eyes peeled for awesome deals over the coming weeks (you can even make things really easy and set up a price alert with us).
But for those wanting to restart their football season with the most dangerous weapon imaginable, the Mercurial ‘Dragonfly’ should be right at the top of your hitlist.