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Which new Nike Mercurial should you buy?

The next-gen Nike Mercurial is finally here, and we’re just a tad excited. Here’s how to choose the right Merc model for you.

nike mercurial tier guide

That’s right folks, the next generation is finally here. And it’s coming in all shapes and sizes. 

The Nike Mercurial ‘Dragonfly’ had me jumping out of my seat when it was first unveiled, banging my hands together like some kind of Swoosh-loving seal. This is yet another jaw-dropping upgrade to the best football boot on the planet, offering even more speed than its glorious predecessor and enough tech to make Elon Musk blush. 

It’s only slower than one thing: the time it takes us to reach for our wallets. But wait - we should probably let our giddiness subside for a second, because Nike have delivered a new Merc model for every budget and surface out there. Decisions, decisions… 

Before you click that seductive “Add to Basket” button, here’s everything you need to know about all the different versions of the Mercurial Dragonfly. More importantly, we’re making sure you choose the right boots for you. 


In a rush? Skip right to the good stuff: 

Dragonfly vs 2019 Mercurial | Vapor vs Superfly | Mercurial Takedowns | Surface Types


Nike Mercurial Dragonfly vs Last-Gen

infographic showing the nike mercurial vapor 14 tech

It’s been almost two years since the last-gen Mercurial was released, but even this was just a minor upgrade to the 360 Flyknit first introduced in 2018. Basically, we were all expecting big things from the ‘Dragonfly’, so you’ll be relieved to know it offers much more than a simple paint job. 

But how does it compare to previous models and is it worth the extra cash? The answer is a resounding "HELL YES!", and I’ve already picked out 5 reasons the ‘Dragonfly’ offers a major upgrade. You should check that out if you want to really dive into the differences between them. 

For now, though, you need to know that the new Mercs have introduced all kinds of mind-boggling tech. The popular Flyknit upper has made way for the synthetic Vaporposite, while the boot itself is made up of 7 components - which are all exposed under a translucent upper, inspired by dragonfly wings. It’s the techiest boot I’ve seen in a long time. 

In fact, things are so different, you could argue it’s not a replacement for the Vapor 13 at all. Nike are giving you a choice instead: either stick with the knitted upper or go back to good ol’ fashioned synthetics. It depends entirely on the materials you prefer. 

Shop Nike Mercurial Dragonfly >


Nike Mercurial Dragonfly - Vapor 14 vs Superfly 8

graphic showing the differences between the nike mercurial vapor 14 and superfly 8

You probably already know that the Nike Mercurial is split into two different models. As always, the first thing you have to do is choose between them. 

The Mercurial ‘Dragonfly’ is essentially another name for the Vapor 14 and Superfly 8. In fact, I should probably point out that this is how they’ll be listed by most retailers - the numbers may even be in Roman numerals, just to confuse matters even further. 

But what’s the difference between them? In a nutshell, it all comes down to that high sock collar and a few extra pennies. The Superfly features Nike’s famous Dynamic Fit Collar, whereas the Vapor is a low cut boot which I personally find easier to get on my feet. 

If you prefer a high-top collar, go for the Superfly. If not, then go for the Vapor. They’re exactly the same in pretty much every other respect. 

Shop Nike Mercurial Dragonfly >


Nike Mercurial Tiers - Cheap vs Expensive

Okay, so you’ve chosen either the Vapor or Superfly, and now you’re itching to buy a pair. However, you’re still not quite ready to splash the cash. 

Just like every other major release, the Nike Mercurial Dragonfly comes in various tiers. These boot models will vary wildly in price, which could have you scratching your head when the pictures all look incredibly similar. It’s so confusing, we even had to put a full boot tier guide together. 

For now, though, you just need to know that Nike typically release four versions of their boots: Elite, Pro, Academy and Club. The Mercurial Dragonfly is no different, so we’ve taken the time to compare them all and find the best one for you. You’re welcome.

graphic showing the differences between the nike mercurial vapor 14 tiers

Nike Mercurial Dragonfly - Elite

Image from Nike.

Perfect for: top-level, serious footballers. 

Yep, remember all that awesome stuff I was talking about earlier? You get all of that if you opt for the Elite version of the Dragonfly. The Vaporposite upper, Flyknit collar and stabilising Speed Banding will be all yours, along with all the other premium bells and whistles Nike have to offer.  

Obviously, it’s also the most expensive option, and not everyone is willing to pay such a high price. £250 is a lot of money, after all. 

Nike Mercurial Dragonfly - Pro

Image from Nike.

Perfect for: footballers playing at a decent level, but sticking to a more sensible budget. 

Takedown football boots genuinely don’t get any better. The Mercurial ‘Dragonfly’ Pro doesn’t feature the same premium materials as the Elites, but the concept and structure are still pretty identical. I mean, at first glance, it kinda even looks like the real deal. 

The Pro features a more basic circular knit collar and the upper’s mesh lining isn’t quite so tight, so you’ll find the lockdown isn’t as good here. It’s also worth noting that the synthetic upper is also a bit thicker, so you don’t really get the same barefoot feeling, while the outsole isn’t as snappy or responsive. 

Still, the performance is undoubtedly impressive. It’s probably the closest Nike could have got to replicating the top-tier Mercurial at such a cheaper price. This is a genuine achievement, and the best value for money you can get. 

Nike Mercurial Dragonfly - Academy

Image from Nike.

Perfect for: casual players

The Mercurial Academy offers another huge drop in price, but now the differences are starting to become clearer. Sadly, you don’t get the awesome transparent upper used on the Elite or Pro, meaning the design isn’t as strong and you can’t peek at all the cool tech under the hood. Shame. 

Of course, the tech itself is also very different here. Instead of all the fancy mesh, you’ll get a moulded synthetic upper which is obviously a lot more basic. On the flip side, there’s still a nice texture thanks to a smart grid pattern, so casual players should find these nice and grippy, while the fit also feels a lot more relaxed. 

Oh, and you’ll also get to enjoy Nike’s multi-ground soleplate. Great value. 

Nike Mercurial Dragonfly - Club

Image from Nike.

Perfect for: kids

The cheapest option, but you get what you pay for with the Mercurial Club. Let’s be honest, the design doesn’t get close to the higher-tier boots, but that’s really to be expected at such a low price. Huh, otherwise everyone would just go for these instead. 

Okay, so the upper is bulkier, heavier and less textured than all the other options, but it still feels really soft on-foot when compared to other bottom tier boots. There’s really not much to get excited about, but the bulky padding actually offers a decent amount of protection, so I’d recommend this highly to anyone looking for kids football boots


Nike Mercurial Dragonfly - Surface Types

graphic showing all the nike mercurial surface types

Yes, you can wear the Nike Mercurial Dragonfly just about anywhere. There are all kinds of different soleplates for both the Vapor 14 and Superfly 8, so you’ll be able to find something no matter where you play. Phew, panic over. 

There are Mercurials for firm-ground, soft-ground, artificial grass, astro turf and indoor courts. Yeah, that’s basically all the boxes ticked, and some of the takedown models will even come with a multi-ground soleplate, so you can wear them on both firm-ground and artificial surfaces. 

You’re probably familiar with all the different types of football boots, but check our surface type guide if you’re unsure of what to go for. Once you’ve done that, it’s just a case of comparing prices with us and getting the best deal you can. Lovely stuff. 

Shop Nike Mercurial Dragonfly >

Ben Hyde

Rubbish FIFA player with an addiction to buying football shirts which are way too cool for me.