The Nike Mercurial Superfly 8 is undoubtedly one of the premier boots on the market right now. When looking for a pair of the best football boots around, using some of the world’s top footballers as a rough guide won’t often steer you far wrong.
On that measure, the Superfly 8s are tough to beat: Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Romelu Lukaku, Riyad Mahrez and the much-sought after Darwin Nunez all sport the latest Superfly range.
We’ve taken these out for a few training sessions of a couple of hours each, including focus on ball control and fitness activity, as well as your usual football-in-the-park set-up.
We’ve only tested the Superfly 8s on grass so far, and put them through the mill with some less-than-spirit-level straight surfaces: no pristine Premier League pitches to bump up the scores, here.
We tested a pair of the Nike Mercurial Superfly 8 Elite Firm Ground with a Dynamic Fit collar in a UK size 10.5 (US 11.5/EUR 45.5/BR 43.5/CM 29.5 – Women’s: UK 10.5/US 13/EUR 45.5/BR 43.5/ CM 30).
Comfort and fit
The first thing you notice about the Nike Mercurial Superfly 8 is how light they are: if Sir Alex Ferguson had pinged one of these at David Beckham’s eyebrow, you’d be hard pushed to imagine they’d leave so much as a scratch. These are designed for speed and close-ball control, and that’s obvious the moment you take them out of the box.
The pair FourFourTwo Tested came with Nike’s ‘Dynamic Fit collar’ – the sock-like bit that hugs the ankle – and we feel it really does make a difference in the comfort stakes. It makes it slightly tricky to get on, but we enjoy the feeling akin to pulling on a comfy jumper.
It’s not for everyone, though, and some people report that the collar can rub and produce chafing on the heel after repeated wears.
While that hasn’t been a problem for us, we did find the fit a little bit loose – this FFT reviewer normally wears a UK size 10.5, but found these were about half a size too big, even with thick football socks on, and get small blisters on the heel after an hour or so of wear. We’d recommend going for half a size smaller than what you’d normally wear.
They’re also not quite as breathable as we thought they would be – we stuck a phone camera inside to check out the holes that allow for airflow, but still suffered from pretty sweaty trotters by the end. Perhaps that’s too much to expect from a football boot, though.
On the pitch
• RRP: £244.95
• Gender specification: No difference in gender specs
• Sizes available: 3.5 -12
• Colors: Five standard colors available, pluss full customization
• Recommended for: Speedy players
When delving a little deeper into your pocket for a pair of new boots – and with an RRP of £244.95, the Nike Mercurial Superfly 8 football boots don’t come cheap – the big question is what it makes to your actual footballing ability.
We certainly think favorably of them in that regard.
Their lightness makes close-ball control heaps easier – we were picking long passes out of the sky like Marcelo at times (Please try and keep these truthful reviews – Ed.) And the way it almost molds itself to your foot gives you more options in control, too. Long gone are the days of angular leather stompers that look like they were designed on a Nintendo 64; The only thing more difficult in a pair of these is an old-fashioned schoolyard toe-poke. That would hurt.
The lightness of the boots also does lend itself to speed. Your intrepid reviewer is sadly not naturally blessed in that regard, but it was certainly shaving a couple of seconds (Come on, now – Ed.)alright, miliseconds, off those short sprints to chase a loose ball.
We found the firm ground option we tested fine for what we needed it to do on a UK grass pitch in spring (by which we mean: not exactly the firmest surface you’ll find), and would imagine you lose some of those marginal gains in the speed department if you opted for the more expensive soft ground option.
The latter do, however, boast ‘Anti-Clog Traction’ technology, according to Nike. So if your Sunday league pitches are susceptible to heavy rainfall and poor drainage, that might be a better option for you – but that’s not something we’ve tested.
While the material is thin – you wouldn’t want Stefan Savic trodding on your toes in a pair of these – they don’t feel delicate, and we’d be surprised if they succumb to wear-and-tear quickly. The sole is also surprisingly sturdy, but with enough flex in the toe to let you spring into a quick run, and the design of the firm ground blades makes swivelling on the spot and changing direction a breeze.
As for style, the Superfly 8s feel like they could make a lasting impression. The Nike swoosh on the ones we tested is pleasingly sized down the sides – though we’re less keen on other versions with a larger swoosh that reaches the toe.
We’re particularly fond of the ‘Chlorine Blue, Marina and Laser Orange’ colors with our pair (that’s blue, blue and orange, if you’re wondering), but the firm ground ones are also available in predominantly black or predominantly white, While soft ground and artificial ground pairs boast a wealth of more options.
Best of all, there is an option to make it fully customisable. For £269.95 – around £25 extra than a standard pair, such as the ones we tested – you can choose colors for 10 different areas of the boot, as well as adding a country flag and bit of text. It’s not for us, really, but if we you have an eye for design it would be worth it for owning a truly unique pair.
Nike has long been one of the juggernaut brands of football footwear market, and the Nike Mercurial Superfly 8 football boots are some of the best money can buy. They’re light, they’re comfy, and they improved our game. Just be wary of the size guide.
These are top-end boots, and priced accordingly. While they really don’t come cheap, they are not out of kilter with their competitors, and you can sometimes find good deals on them.