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  • Nostalgia Series: Just Do It Edition! Which is your all-time favorite Nike boot? 👟🤔

Nostalgia Series: Just Do It Edition! Which is your all-time favorite Nike boot? 👟🤔


They are sport’s biggest gear manufacturer for a reason. ✔️

Nike boots were worn by legends like Ronaldinho, Rooney, Figo and Roberto Carlos, and more recent superstars like Van Dijk, De Jong and Lewandowski. 🌟

Did you own any Nike boots growing up? If your memory doesn’t serve you right, keep reading as we take a look at some of their most successful releases over the years. 👇

Football boots: most of them come and go, but some of them live on to reach icon status.

If you grew up watching the beautiful game, you more than likely recall the boots that your childhood idols wore. You might remember them for different reasons.

Maybe they scored a hattrick in them.

Perhaps they put on a defensive masterclass, diving in with crunching slide tackles the entire 90 minutes.

You might even associate a pair of boots with a bad memory; maybe your favorite player lost a final in them and from that day on you can’t stand seeing those boots because of the unpleasant flashbacks that they give you.

Regardless of how we remember them, what’s clear is that boots are a fundamental piece of football culture. Most pro footballers remember their very first pair, and you probably do too.

It might have been a birthday gift, or maybe it was passed down from a parent or an older sibling. You might vividly remember going to the store and picking out the pair that stood out to you the most, a design that lives rent-free in your mind to this day.

Football boot culture lives on today, but for those that grew up with a never-ending fever for getting their hands on the latest releases and boots worn by the legends of the game, you’d probably agree that nostalgia is always the way to go.

In our last Nostalgia Series issue, we dove into the most iconic Adidas boots. If you’re Team Checks Over Stripes, you’re in luck. In today's issue, we’ll be looking at Nike’s most legendary boot releases.

In this special 35th edition of the Plei newsletter, I take you on a trip down memory lane, highlighting some of the most memorable football boots of all time by Nike. 👇

👟1️⃣ Hypervenom

I don’t know about you, but Neymar will always be a Nike athlete in my heart.

It’s something about the Hypervenoms that just caught my attention and made me briefly betray Adidas back when I was a freshman in high school. Maybe it was the unique snake scale pattern, or maybe it was just because the Brazilian was in his prime years at Barcelona when he donned these beauties.

Either way, he was and still is one of my favorite players, so of course I had to buy whatever he was wearing while he was absolutely embarrassing defenders in La Liga.

The original Hypervenom, launched in 2013, was an instant hit in the market. It was the immediate successor of the Total 90 boot line, which was discontinued after 13 years. The Total 90 was worn by many big names, including Francesco Totti, Edgar Davids, Lilian Thuram, Roberto Carlos, Luis Figo and Wayne Rooney.

That’s a whole lineup of world class talent that wore the Total 90, so Nike absolutely needed to come strong in order to impress the next generation of ballers.

And they did that with the Hypervenom. The release of this absolute gem of a boot was very much calculated, as it was officially announced on May 28, 2013, just three days after poster boy Neymar publicly announced his decision to move to Barcelona from Santos.

What’s more is that the first edition of the Hypervenom debuted at the professional level during a friendly between Brazil and England. The boot was worn in that match by one player on each team: Neymar & Wayne Rooney, who both repped their country’s number 10 kit.

Insane marketing by Nike.

The Hypervenom I dropped in two different colorways: in Black Citrus (worn by Neymar, Mario Gomez and others), and in Flash Lime (worn by Ibrahimovic, Cavani and others).

Even more colorways would drop throughout the course of the year. There was the Stealth Pack, which featured Dark Charcoal boots that boasted a black upper and orange branding. After that came the Hi-Vis Pack, which came with eye-catching neon colorways, and the Flash Pack, which had a white upper paired with silver elements, a yellow sole and black branding.

The final colorway release of 2013 was the Energy Pack. This particular boot introduced a green upper in the Hypervenom, paired with black branding and a metallic chrome tongue.

We’d be here all day if we talked about every single colorway and release of the Hypervenom, so we’re not going to do that. What we will do is highlight a few more of the more iconic releases, as well as the players that wore them.

Hypervenom Liquid Diamond (2015): Specifically designed for Neymar, this eye-catching, reflective silver paint job came from the Brazilian’s habit of spray painting his boots when he was a youngster.

Hypervenom Silver Storm (2015): The first colorway of the Hypervenom II, worn by Wayne Rooney and others. This boot boasted a light gray upper with an orange sole and black details on Nike’s boldest and creative design yet. The Phantom version of this boot also debuted the controversial, yet unique Dynamic Fit collar.

Hypervenom Electro Flare (2015): The boot I was referring to earlier in this section that made me temporarily betray Adidas. Featured a purple base on the upper and neon green & black details splattered on. I don’t know if it was the eye-catching nature of the shoe, but I was in love. Worn by Neymar as the downgraded versions without the collar (he wasn’t a big fan of Dynamic Fit).

Hypervenom Ousadia Alegria (2016): My personal favorite even though I never managed to get my hands on them. Portuguese for “audacity and joy”, the phrase is Neymar’s life motto, and of course he had to get a boot designed to match. Released in 2016, these boots featured a black, white and red design; the left boot has a hand on the inside, the right one has a heart. A masterpiece.

Hypervenom NJR X JORDAN (2016): The beginning of Neymar’s love story with the Jordan Brand, which would eventually continue once the Brazilian signed for PSG. Nike brought Jumpman to football in spectacular fashion, using inspiration from the Jordan V to create a black upper with gray accents.

There would be many more Hypervenom drops, that is until Nike eventually put an end to the line in 2018 with its final releases. Phantom would take its place and it continues today, headlined (at the time) by the likes of Lewandowski, Cavani, Icardi, Aubameyang & others.

👟2️⃣ Mercurial


Mercurials are synonymous with none other than Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been faithful to the Nike boot line since his league debut for Sporting CP way back in 2002.

Since then, the 5-time UCL champ has been the face of the Mercurial brand, no matter what country he takes the pitch in. Here’s a crazy statistic: Ronaldo has been with Nike for so long that he’s now had 31 unique pairs of Mercurials made for him. He just loves breaking records, doesn’t he?

Mercurial’s long history didn’t start with this Ronaldo, though. It actually began with the other one.

Let’s time travel back to 1998, when Ronaldo O Fenômeno was scoring goals for fun for club and country. The first-ever Mercurial release coincided with his performances with Brazil in that year’s World Cup, which ended on a sour and controversial note.

Nonetheless, Nike’s decision to center the initial cleat and colorway of the Mercurial around the at-the-time young Brazilian striker proved to be wise, and it was most likely the inspiration behind rolling out the Hypervenom with Neymar at the forefront.

Take a look at the first-ever Nike Mercurial above. Screams Brazil and R9, doesn’t it?

The first line of the Mercurial was the Vapor, which saw many colorways and variations released over the course of the next decade. During these years, the boot was famously worn by the likes of a young Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luis Figo and Thierry Henry back when he was guiding that Arsenal team to Invincible glory.

The boot would continue to evolve, catering to world football’s top goalscorers over the years. But the game changer came in 2009 with the introduction of the Superfly line, which featured brand new Nike Flywire tech, a synthetic thread designed to minimize weight while maintaining durability and comfort.

Mercurials have always been known for being among the lightest boots on the market, but the Superfly pushed that to the limit, dropping the weight of the Mercurial to only 185 grams, less than half of a pound.

2010 was the year that Cristiano Ronaldo officially entered the prime of his ongoing career, also coinciding with a legendary World Cup in South Africa. The second edition of the Superfly was created with direct input of CR7, with the boot featuring Nike Sense studs that increased traction performance on the pitch.

The Dynamic Fit collar is probably Nike’s most exciting, yet controversial innovation to their football boots to this day. Before the Hypervenom donned it, the Mercurial Superfly did first. The overall look of the 2014 Nike Mercurial Superfly 4 was reminiscent of an American football cleat, making it an unmistakable product. It was the perfect boot for the modern day number nine.

Although the Mercurial Vapors continued to be produced, it was the Superfly line that had all of us in a chokehold. And for right reason. Nike clearly was putting all their effort into making the Superfly their headlining shoe at the time, despite the early craze of the Hypervenom. After all, both boot lines had their unique purpose: Hypervenoms were for the shifty, speedy wingers that could cut inside and finish or provide a classy assist; meanwhile the Superflys were suited for the strikers that boasted a bit of flair and perhaps some pace to them, but always the main goalscorer in the team.

Of course, both the Superfly and the Vapor continue to be produced today, only this time it’s the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Marcus Rashford that are repping them.

Two guys that idolized Cristiano Ronaldo when they were boys, it just had to be.

👟3️⃣ Tiempo

Adidas has the Copa Mundial, Nike has the Tiempo.

It’s not really a boot that you hear much about when you think of the many of the great forwards of the beautiful game - at least not more than what you can count on one hand - but it has stood the test of time, and for right reason. The Nike Tiempo first debuted back in 1994, and has been a versatile pick for footballers ever since.

There’s a reason why it still exists today. The leather-based Tiempo suits the needs of any player in any position, although it primarily caters to the defensive audience. You may remember the likes of Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Carles Puyol, Paolo Maldini wearing Tiempos.

Beyond the back line, greats like Andrea Pirlo and Cesc Fabregas in midfield also donned the famous Nike silos throughout his career.

Even legendary forwards like Francesco Totti in the tail end of his career, Romario, Aguero and many others repped the Tiempo line.

But who can forget none other than Ronaldinho being the poster boy for all things Tiempo (specifically the Legend line)? The Brazilian magician stayed true to the boot for most of his career, even getting exclusive designs awarded to him on occasion, including the Nike Tiempo Ronaldinho 10R.

This boot also happened to be the first complete signature line that Nike created exclusively for one of their football stars, if that helps you remember how important Ronaldinho was to Tiempo. He even helped make them.

Today, the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Hugo Lloris, Jordan Henderson, Jamal Musiala, Frenkie De Jong, Ronald Araujo and many more rep the latest Tiempo models.

A shoe that can be worn by the world’s most pacey, silky-smooth-on-the-ball forwards but also by center backs and goalkeepers? No wonder it’s been around for so long.

Oh, and we couldn’t forget to mention that Emile Heskey also wore Nike Tiempos.

That’s it for the 35th edition of our newsletter! 😅
How did you like it? Let me know by messaging me via email at [email protected] or by sending us a text. 📲
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