Released date - 2004
The Nike Mercurial Vapor II football boots first appeared on the field in 2004 and were primarily worn by Ronaldo and Thierry Henry, players who set new standards for speed, goal scoring, and close ball control.
The revised version of the boot differed from the original Vapors in three ways: first, the material used to make the boot was slightly thicker; second, a cushioned area around the ankle with a slightly larger heel tab was added midway through the MVII run (generally known as v2.1); and finally, the pattern down the sides of the boot was modified to make the indentations more pronounced, along with a thin coloured stripe to complement the colour The upper material, sole plate, and external heel counter remained the same.
The Mercurial Vapor II retailed for around £140 when first introduced to the market.
The Mercurial Vapor II was released in two colorways in January 2004: team red and photo blue. Ronaldo debuted the photo blue boots a month earlier, during Real Madrid's match against Barcelona at the Camp Nou.
At Euro 2004, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Luis Figo wore gold ones, while Thierry Henry debuted the red pair in Arsenal's 5-1 win over Internazionale in Milan, scoring twice. During Arsenal's unbeaten season, he wore red or blue socks depending on whether they were at home or away.
For nearly a decade, Brazilian superstar Ronaldo R9 was the face of Nike's Mercurial line, and the boots designed for the speedster helped to shape the football boot world as we know it today.
'El Fenmeno' was an awe-inspiring, lightning-quick player in his prime, and his exploits led to Nike creating his own R9 football boots range, which was included in the Vapor II range. The innovative technology and bright colorways of Ronaldo's boots, as represented by the R9 shield on the tongue, became the benchmark for speed footwear.
In a fluid passing of the torch, the audacious design stood out on the feet of emerging star Cristiano Ronaldo (who started wearing the Mercurial in his early teens).
The gold Mercurial Vapor II mirrored the gleaming features of CR7's first piece of silverware. His performance earned him the winning header in the FA Cup Final against Millwall.
The boot was also released in a variety of other colorways, including cinder/maize, mist blue/navy, gunmetal, orange blaze/black, navy/silver, gold/black, white/red, chrome/photo blue, chilli red/silver, and the final colorway, aluminium/gold, was released as an homage to the Real Madrid colours, which Ronaldo was to wear. Nike also released a kangaroo leather version in white/black this time. The 'R9' brand was seen on the photo blue, orange blaze, gold, aluminium, and chrome colorways.
Speed was a given for the Nike Mercurial Vapor II—the weight remained unchanged—but refinements to comfort were required to achieve the goal of a perfect foot-to-ground feel.
For once, Ronaldo wore the same shoes for nearly an entire season; did you do the same? Or perhaps you have a pair unused under the bed that you'd like to sell to us?