Released date - 2002
Four years after Brazil were defeated in the finals of the 1998 World Cup, the tournament moved to Asia for the very first time. Japan and South Korea hosted the grand event, with Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho combining to become the most feared attacking trios ever.
A unique Vapor I was made especially for the occasion and a selected Nike athlete was to be chosen to represent it. It is rumoured that Nike were considering Ronaldo, Thierry Henry or Francesco Totti to wear these special edition football boots but Ronaldo’s form was so irresistible that the Nike executives decided to give R9 the only privileged player to wear them.
World Cup 2002
Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima stole the show - particularly in the semi-final and final where he showed the world why he is referred to as O Fenômeno ('The Phenomenon'), by scoring 3 goals in in the last two games, whilst wearing his new Nike Mercurial Vapor I Chrome / Lime boots.
Brazil’s relentless number 9 scored 8 goals in total, winning the Golden boot and lead Brazil to their 5th World Cup victory with a two goal win over Germany in the final.
After the tournament, the Chrome/Lime Mercurial Vapor I’s went on sale to the public in limited numbers and sold out from NikeTown London within two hours.
The football boot was inspired by a sprinters shoe, to give the very best acceleration and allow for lightning quick changes of direction. It was made with an upper of NikeSKIN, which was carved in one single piece for an even upper. The Vapor I was also the first boot to break the magic 200 gram mark; with it weighing just 196 grams.
As Nike notes:
When it comes to a boot that set a statement, created an undisputable repuation with a player, and left players wanting to experience them firsthand, the Vapor R9 is the absolute leader.
If there was ever a boot to have in your R9 collection – aside from the original R9’s from 1998 – then this limited edition are them. A stunning colourway and world cup winning story, you’re more likely to own a variant of remake unless you are very lucky. Another piece of history and be prepared to pay some reason cash to get hold of them (especially with the metal tags and box).
Notes: The older they get, the less sustainable the boots can be…look out for peel on the heel liner or any signs of wear as it will be detrimental to the value and desirability.
Nike didn’t create a World Cup advert this time around but take a look at the famous “Cage” commercial filmed in 2002 presenting the elite Nike players of the time.