Released date - 2002
The original 1998 Nike Mercurial given to R9 was inspired by an Italian motorcycle and included colours specific to the superstar player to whom they were issued. The newer Nike Mercurial Vapor improved on this by shifting to ideate from supercars.
The initial concept was to create a running track spike (from athletics) for the football field, with the new Mercurial Vapor having to sustain a 90-minute sprinting duration - delivering the perfect foot-to-ground feel for players who liked speed.
Nike examined each component of the Mercurial Vapor during development. To remove excess weight, everything from glue to stitching thread was weighed.
Maintaining speed for the duration of the match, on the other hand, necessitated comfort. A new anatomical last designed around the natural shape of the foot brought the player closer to the boot's plate for less pressure. The innovative fit reduced weight, increased comfort, and increased speed, a testament to the Mercurial's DNA.
Nike created a boot unlike any other: it appeared to be made of fiber-glass rather than leather. It was more comfortable, but it still had the lightness and speed of previous versions.
This one came in a variety of colours including grey /red, orange / white, white / silver, chrome (worn by R9 and CR7), cinder / black, chilli / black and surf blue.
They even created a limited edition chome and lime colorway just before the 2002 World Cup. Brazil's #9, Ronaldo, wore the Vapors during the semi-finals and finals of a tournament in which he scored 8 goals and helped Brazil win the World Cup.
Only 4600 pairs were made in the world.
The Nike Mercurial Vapor I was technologically advanced, making it ideal for a player like R9.
It was the first boot to break the infamous 200 gram barrier and with an upper completely free of stitches, you were equipped with a boot brimming with speed and goals.
Nowadays it’s very difficult to get your hands on a brand new pair that is in perfect condition – the materials are prone to degenerate which usually manifest in peeling around the heel liner.
If you can get a pair (especially with the original box and bag) then you really are on to a winner!