Nike Boot Guide | Comparing Mercurial, Tiempo, Phantom

Are you a midfield playmaker or a fleet-footed forward? Here's your guide to which Nike football boot is best for you!

nike boot guide

There’s a truly stunning collection of Nike football boots out there right now. The latest models boast the most innovative tech and materials money can buy, built to enhance your game and worn by some of the best players on the planet. In all honesty, the Swoosh has never been stronger. 

Nike initially burst onto the football scene back in 1971, launching a boot which was simply known as “The Nike”. From those early days of plain black leather, Nike have continued to evolve, researching and testing ways to improve and ultimately help players raise their game to a whole new level. 

They’ve produced a countless number of awesome boots over the years, with different models, colourways and surface types forming an absolutely massive collection. This means it’s often quite difficult to figure out which Nike boots are best for you, especially if you don’t know the difference between a classic Tiempo and a modern Mercurial. 

This guide tells you everything you need to know about the current family of Nike football boots. After reading this, you’ll know exactly what to spend your money on.

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What Boots Do Nike Make?

Despite recently ditching the Hypervenom and Magista silos, there are still four Nike boot models for you to choose from. These are the Nike Mercurial, Tiempo, Phantom Vision and Phantom Venom, with each one engineered to enhance a certain aspect of your game. 

The Mercurial is undoubtedly the headline act, a speed boot which is usually worn by the fastest, deadliest and most flamboyant players on the pitch, while the Tiempo is more of a classic all-rounder which is suitable for just about anyone. The new Phantom Vision focuses on control, touch and dictating the play, whereas the Phantom Venom is all about deadly finishing and pinpoint accuracy - just as the Hypervenom was before it. 

There are also four different versions of these boots available: Elite, Pro, Academy and Club. Nike are determined to offer new boots for players of all budgets, and the quality of materials and technology will vary between these tiers. 

The Elite model is what’s worn by professionals such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe, while the Club model is the cheapest “takedown” version you can get. Your choice here will completely come down to your budget and the level you’re playing at, but you can check out our guide to learn more about the differences between each tier

Right, so let’s find out which of these awesome Nike boots is right for you.

Nike Mercurial 

Image from Nike.

What is Nike Mercurial?

The Nike Mercurial is currently one of the most popular football boots on the planet, and has been for well over 20 years now. Built for the world’s fastest, most adventurous players, the Mercurial debuted in 1998 on the feet of Ronaldo Nazario, 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 which get fans off their seats and bring defenders to their knees, usually packing an outrageous trick or two up their sleeve. Basically, they’re a lot of fun. 

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

Aside from the use of a Dynamic Fit Collar, the Vapor and Superfly make use of exactly the same innovative technology. The latest generations are the Mercurial Vapor 13 and Superfly 7, with each one featuring Flyknit technology which wraps seamlessly around the shape of your foot and eliminates gaps to the soleplate.

Inspired by cheetahs, traction is provided by studs precisely placed in the forefoot and heel allowing for explosive acceleration in any direction to keep your opponent firmly on their toes, while advancements in the All Conditions Control technology gives 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’.

Weighing in at around 188g, the latest Mercurial is one of the lightest football boots money can buy, while the Phantom Vision, Tiempo and other Nike boots don’t place such a strong focus on speed. It’s also worth noting that the Mercurial recently came top in our recent ranking of the best football boots in 2020, which is pretty clear indication of just how good it is.

Who Wears Nike Mercurial?

Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Eden Hazard, Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho, Vinicius Junior, Marcus Rashford, Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng, Bruno Fernandes, Nicolas Pepe, Philippe Coutinho. 

Models Available Now

The most recent models are the Mercurial Vapor 13 and the Superfly 7, with Elite, Pro, Academy and Club versions available for both. If you want to save a little money, there are now some great discounts on the Vapor 12, Superfly 6 and other older models - just make sure to compare prices at FOOTY.COM to bag the best deal possible. 

Shop Nike Mercurial

Nike Tiempo

Image from Nike.

What is Nike Tiempo?

Featuring a retro style and premium 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. 

Whereas the Mercurial, Vision and Venom are all suited to a particular type of player, the Tiempo can be worn by just about anyone. The soft leather provides incredible comfort, durability and touch on the ball, while the introduction of Flyknit materials makes them suitable for any quicker players out there. 

This sheer level of reliability makes the Tiempo incredibly popular amongst central 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 standard football boot - instead of something built specifically for speed, control or shooting.

Nike Tiempo Technology

To label the Tiempo as “old-fashioned” would be a terrible error of judgement, as the latest generation is more than ready for 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 8, and it really is a work of art. The Tiempo’s classic k-leather upper is still there in all its glory, but now it comes alongside Nike’s ACC system, textured forefoot and all kinds of other awesome boot tech. Not to mention, that unique quilted effect is almost as soft and plush as it looks. 

Just like the Mercurial and Phantom Vision, the new Tiempo makes use of Nike’s fantastic Flyknit material. This comes in the form of a Flyknit Fit Tunnel, which complements the use of Quadfit mesh in the forefoot to create perhaps the most comfortable Tiempo ever made. It maintains everything we love about this silo, but doesn’t shy away from bringing it into the future.

Who Wears Nike Tiempo?

Virgil van Dijk, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Gerard Pique, Alisson Becker, Jerome Boateng, Nicolas Otamendi, Antonio Rudiger, Ruben Neves. 

Models Available Now

The Nike Tiempo Legend 8 has Elite, Pro, Academy and Club versions available right now. The same is true of its predecessor, the Legend 7, which is the only other Tiempo to feature Flyknit materials and is now available for much less. 

Shop Nike Tiempo

Nike Phantom Venom 

Image from Nike.

What is Nike Phantom Venom?

The Phantom Venom is Nike’s current shooting silo. Recently replacing the popular Hypervenom, the Venom (or VNM) is engineered for deadly finishing, pinpoint accuracy and the kind of power which makes goalkeeper’s a little weak at the knees. Basically, if you’re a striker, these boots should be near the top of your wish-list. 

Unlike the Phantom Vision, there is only a low-cut version of the Venom currently available, which isn’t great news if you’re partial to a sock collar. However, these boots are packed with the kind of technology strikers have been dreaming of for years, built to increase spin and control when you’re shooting. Time to shoot on sight, then. 

The faster, more agile attacker might be better off going for the Mercurial, but the Venom is certainly the ideal choice for the more traditional centre-forward. If anyone tells you to “put your shooting boots on”, then there’s a pretty decent chance they’re talking about the Nike Phantom Venom.

Nike Phantom Venom Technology

As one of Nike newest creations, the Phantom Venom features some of the most advanced boot tech on the market. It picks up exactly where the Hypervenom left off, except now it’s much more streamlined, lighter and deadlier than it’s ever been before, increasing the size of the strikezone by covering part of the laces. 

The Venom features similar materials to the Mercurial, with a Flyknit upper wrapping around the shape of your foot and covered in a thin layer of Nike Skin. Flywire cables provide plenty of support and stability, while a HyperReactive soleplate delivers excellent traction when you’re bearing down on goal or trying to make space for a shot. 

What really sets the PhantomVNM apart is the Precision PWR strike zone. This is, believe it or not, inspired by the grooves on Nike’s golf clubs, providing the kind of shot power and velocity which gives defenders sleepless nights. This involves 13 moulded ridges set out at strategic points on the upper, bringing a bit of sharpness to your shooting and enhancing accuracy.

Who Wears Nike Phantom Venom?

Robert Lewandowski, Harry Kane, Lautaro Martinez, Raheem Sterling, Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani, Jack Grealish. 

Models Available Now

The Phantom Venom is still in its first generation, but you can still shop Elite, Pro, Academy and Club models to find something for your level. You can also get hold of leather versions, if you want something a little more traditional. 

Shop Nike Phantom Venom

Nike Phantom Vision

Image from Nike.

What is Nike Phantom Vision?

The Nike Phantom Vision is all about control and touch. Coming in as a replacement for the Nike Magista, the Vision (or VSN) is the ideal boot for playmakers who just love dictating the play. If the football pitch was an orchestra, then the Phantom Vision is what you’d find on the feet of the conductor. 

Much like the adidas Predator, the Vision is all about offering the best touch possible, while also providing enough swerve and accuracy to have you spraying the ball about at will. This is achieved largely thanks to the texturised Flyknit upper, which is split into four quadrants to help enhance different aspects of your game. Not too shabby at all.

These are comfortable, premium football boots which come packed with all kinds of technological goodies. If you’re after one of the most advanced boots on the market, it doesn’t really get any better than this. 

Nike Phantom Vision Technology

The Phantom Vision brings together all of Nike’s most innovative technologies. As previously mentioned, the textured upper is split into quadrants, with each section specifically engineered to improve your touch in various situations. You’ll find a strike zone, dribble zone, knuckle zone and medial trap zone all here. 

While it might look like a laceless football boot, the VSN actually makes use of Nike’s ground-breaking Ghost Lacing System, which is an incredibly fancy way of saying that the laces are hidden from view. Unlike the Venom, it features a Dynamic Fit Collar alongside the comfortable Quadfit mesh lining and standard All Conditions Control Technology. 

Thanks to such incredible technology, the Vision requires no wear-in time whatsoever, serving up an incredible barefoot feet which truly rivals that of the Mercurial. They might be ideal for attacking centre mids, but the Vision can be worn by just about anyone - after all, everyone wants to improve their touch on the football.

Who Wears Nike Phantom Vision?

Kevin De Bruyne, Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Marco Verratti, Aaron Ramsey, Federico Bernadeschi, Casemiro, Dani Carvajal. 

Models Available Now

The Nike Phantom Vision 2 is the latest addition to the silo. As the name suggests, this is only the boot’s second generation, and Elite, Pro, Academy and Club models are all available. 

Shop Nike Phantom Vision


So there you have it, now you know the main differences between all of Nike’s boots, and hopefully you’ve figured out whether you’re a Mercurial, Tiempo, Vision or Venom kind of player. If you still aren’t sure, then make sure to check out our guide on the best Nike boots of 2020 before making a purchase!

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