What happened to the Nike Hypervenom?
The Hypervenom was one of the deadliest boots on the planet, we’re taking a detailed look back at what made it so special.
Forgotten Boots: Nike Hypervenom
After simple designs and monochromatic boots seemed to reign supreme in the 2000s (think Tiempos, F50s and Predators), outlandish colours and designs took centre-stage at the turn of the decade, allowing boots such as the Magista to explode in popularity thanks to their innovative use of technology, unique designs and often radiant colour schemes. Here though, in a continuation of our ‘Forgotten Boots’ series, we take a deeper look at the Nike Hypervenom.
A Brief History of the Hypervenoms
With the iconic T90s seemingly coming to the end of their creative lifespan, Nike needed a new flagship pair of boots dedicated to the most lethal strikers of the game. In stepped the Hypervenom, instantly recognisable by the two large Swooshes and the skull & crossbones that adorns the heel.
Nike secured the services of budding superstar Neymar back in 2013 for a lengthy advertising campaign to promote the boots, releasing them in May of that year. The Brazilian would continue to endorse the boots, donning them at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil - he even scored the tournament's 100th goal in them, for which Nike created a special golden pair in his honour.
In creating the Hypervenoms, Nike took their most anatomical and scientific approach to date in an attempt to give strikers the edge over the modern, more agile defender. Nike design director Denis Dekovic noted that ‘It used to be that speed was the focus of the attacking side of the game, but now everybody has pace. The Nike Hypervenom is a response to the way the game is changing. Players want to be quicker, not just in a foot race, but quicker with the ball at their feet’.
What happened to the Nike Hypervenoms?
When you Google search ‘Nike Hypervenom’ the very first result is a link to the Nike page, a page that simply, and rather sadly, reads ‘THE PRODUCT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE’. From a look at all the typical stockists, and even players themselves, there would be very little trace that these widely-worn boots ever existed.
Three versions of the Hypervenom were released, but after dwindling popularity (which included even Neymar himself swapping over to the Mercurials) and failure to recapture the hype of the first iteration, they were discontinued in 2018 as part of Nike’s streamlining operations, and along with the aforementioned Magista were replaced by the Phantom Venom.
Technology of the Nike Hypervenom
As already mentioned, the Hypervenom was designed with the striker in mind, meaning that optimising them for attacking play was paramount when creating the silo. Traction, fit and touch were the principles at the forefront of Nike’s philosophy when creating the Hypervenom and as a result, focus was given to innovation that provided agility in tight spaces, a clean and consistent strike of the ball, and close-control in any circumstance.
One way this was achieved was by employing the use of NIKESKIN to the upper of the boots. NIKESKIN is Nike’s own technology, which uses a razor-thin sheet of mesh bound in polyurethane film paired with All-Conditions-Control technology, which keeps the foot bone dry come rain or shine. This material meant that the ball would feel closer than ever to the player's feet, allowing unprecedented levels of dexterity and agility whilst maintaining an immaculate touch.
‘The athletes asked us to deliver a boot that gets as close as possible to the feeling of playing barefoot, Mesh takes us a step closer to doing that and the All Conditions Control finish keeps the mesh dry.’ Denis Dekovic, Nike Design Director.
Another technological tweak that was instigated was the positioning of the eye stay. Situated at the side of the boot, the aim was to create an entirely smooth surface on the front of the shoe, allowing for a much more predictable strike of the ball every time. Whilst the Hypervenoms certainly weren't the first boots to have this feature, it was much less common back in 2013 than it is now, and shows the understanding that Nike has for its athletes and their needs when designing and innovating new equipment.
Further innovations came in the form of a brand new last (the portion of the shoe that hugs your foot) which meant that the foot was even closer to both the ball and the ground, without compromising support or comfort, and an altered sole unit. Nike worked with podiatrists to enhance the sole, leading to a groove being placed at the forefoot to ‘quickly activate the first metatarsal, the bone that defines reaction time of the foot’s first movement’.
What types of Hypervenoms were there?
Nike released three generations of the Hypervenom. The first was notable for its use of the double swoosh, featuring a reversed swoosh to the rear of the shoe. The second generation saw the introduction of the zig-zag pattern along the lower portion of the boot, whilst the third generation introduced a more classic and reserved design, opting to focus on technological and performance-based innovation instead.
Similar to other Nike silos released in the past decade, there were a number of different variants of the Hypervenom available for purchase. In the second generation, the ‘Dynamic Fit Collar’ (sock collar) that had now become commonplace amongst boots was introduced to the Hypervenom line.
This meant that for a more traditional fit and appearance, the low-cut Hypervenom Phinish were available, whereas the Hypervenom Phantom featured the sock collar for a much more contemporary look and feel. Both could be found with either Firm Ground, Soft Ground or Artificial Ground soles.
When it came to the third generation, the ‘Phinish’ title was dropped and both the mid-cut and low-cut variants were known as the ‘Phantom’, with the mid-cut variant now having ‘DF’ attached to the end of its title to indicate the presence of a Dynamic Fit collar. The low-cut variant of this boot was also notable for being the first low-cut pair of boots ever released by Nike to be available with their signature FlyKnit material.
Also released was the HypervenomX ‘Proximo’ and ‘Finale’, for Indoor and Turf surfaces. The Proximo closely resembled the Hypervenom Phantom III and featured the added sock but instead had a different midsole, optimised for flatter surfaces. The Finale, which featured an upper more similar to the Hypervenom Phantom I, was the low-cut, high-end iteration designed for similar purposes.
Who wore the Hypervenoms?
As already mentioned Neymar was the poster boy of the Hypervenoms, but many other top forwards donned them at some stage too. Robert Lewandowski, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe all wore the boots, as did Marcus Rashford. Gonzalo Higuain famously missed a gilt-edged chance in three separate international finals whilst wearing the Hypervenoms, which in hindsight probably wasn’t the best advertisement for them.
As recently as 2018 though, Croatian marksman Mario Mandzukic wore a version of the Hypervenom Phantom III when he scored *that* goal against England in the World Cup semi-final, before donning them again in the final against France.
Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney were two strikers known to be huge fans of the Hypervenoms too, with both receiving their own special colourways in honour of their achievements. Kane received his after scoring 100 Premier League goals, whereas Rooney received his gorgeous pair after netting 250 in a United shirt.
5 Best Nike Hypervenom Colourways
5. Nike Hypervenom - ‘Radiant Reveal’ Pack
Nike released this pack in March of 2016 which saw a number of its silos released with neon-based tones and patterns. The Hypervenom II, in particular, saw their iconic jagged pattern get the rainbow treatment whilst the upper remained a classic white.
The contrast made for a classy and striking design, and for a short time they were the boots of choice for Leicester forward Jamie Vardy, with the England international even going as far to have an image of the Premier League trophy added to the inside in honour of his team’s historic campaign.
4. Nike Hypervenom Phantom - ‘Hi-Vis’ Pack
One of the most instantly recognisable colourways of the Hypervenom was the Hi-Vis pair from the very first generation. Featuring a volt green base with purple panelling and a contrasting volt swoosh, football boots don't get much louder than this.
It’s no surprise then that they were dropped just in time for the winter months, and were a popular choice amongst players in the winter of 2013/14; Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck were just some of the names to sport these during that time.
3. Nike Hypervenom Phantom II - ‘Silver Storm’ Pack
Midway through 2015 Nike released the Hypervenom II, which saw the unique zigzag pattern brought into the public domain for the very first time. The launch colourway for this generation of the Hypervenoms was arguably one of the best, with the zigzag being adorned in an orange colour matched with a ‘wolf grey’ upper, as part of Nike’s Silver Storm pack.
Neymar debuted these in the Copa Del Rey final, scored a goal, then repeated the feat a week later by scoring in the Champions League final. What better possible start for the new boots?
2. Nike Hypervenom III - ‘Revolution Pack’
Four boots, each one inspired by a different iconic trainer, this was a crossover event for the ages. Released as part of the Air Max Day celebrations back in March 2017, the Hypervenoms in this pack were inspired by the Air Max 95s - and their most famous colourway at that too.
Featuring the three-tiered grey fade on the outside, with a volt swoosh and detailing, Nike did a truly brilliant job of honouring the famous silhouette.
1. Nike Hypervenom Phantom - "Citrus Orange/Black"
The fact Nike recently re-released the very first Hypervenom in the iconic black & orange colourway tells you everything you need to know about how popular that colourway was. This time called the Nike Phantom Vision 2 ‘Future DNA Hypervenom’, they pay homage to the classic silo by mashing them up with the Phantom Vision.
The re-released pair looked as beautiful as they sound, and were initially worn by Bundesliga wonderkid Kai Havertz, as well as PFA Young Player of the Year winner Georgia Stanway.
The original black and orange Hypervenoms though, featured orange panelling with a contrasting black swoosh, as well as an orange swoosh and skull and crossbones to the rear. They were an instant hit with professionals, youth players and grass-roots ballers alike.
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