Updated: Jun 5
Released date - 2004
When CR7 joined Manchester United the first time back in 2003, it didn't take him long to adopt the newer Nike Mercurial Vapor II. They were created to be a more sturdy upgrade, whilst still retaining the lightness and a more stream line version. With subtle design tweaks to the previous Vaporthey employed similar technologies. Cristiano wore the gold version when he played for Portugal in the EURO 2004 and let’s face it – they looked sick.
The Mercurial Vapor II was officially debuted in January 2004 in two initial colourways: team red and photo blue. The photo blue boots were first worn by Ronaldo in February, in Real Madrid's vs Barcelona El Classico at the Camp Nou. Another of Nike’s flagship players, Thierry Henry, debuted the team red pair whilst playing for Arsenal's in their 5–1 win over Internazionale in Milan - Henry scored two goals wearing them.
Nike Mercurial Vapor II
The upgraded version of the Nike Vapor changed from the previous model in three different aspects: the material, the cushioning and the styling.
The material from of the upper was new, stronger and constructed slightly thicker to give the boot more sturdiness but still being light.
Comfort was another improvement by having a more padded, cushioned area around the ankle with a slightly larger heel plate being added half way through the Mercurial Vapor II production (known as version 2.1).
Lastly, the notorious flowing styling that runs down the sides of the boots were adapted to make the grooves more evident, along with a sharp decorated stripe to contrast the major colour of the boot.
The Vapor II was released in many different colours throughout it’s production, which included cinder / maize; mist blue / navy; gunmetal; orange blaze / black; navy / silver; gold / black; white / red; chrome / photo blue; chili red / silver; and the last limited edition colourway, aluminium / gold - released as a reverence to the colours of Real Madrid and to be worn, of course, by Ronaldo R9.
Nike also released a kangaroo leather version, in a white/ black colourway and the photo blue, orange blaze, gold, aluminium and chrome colourways all sported the 'R9' brand.
For the Nike Mercurial Vapor II speed was a given. The Team Red edition, part of the original release rollout, indicated that bold color was still part of the Mercurial Vapor’s aesthetic, but it was Ronaldo’s signature gold and black for the Mercurial Vapor II R9 that is most remembered. Fittingly, the audacious design stood out on the feet of emerging star Cristiano Ronaldo (who started wearing the Mercurial in his early-teens) in a fluid passing of the torch.
An understated upgrade to the iconic model, this version is definitely a sturdy model and don’t be surprised to see many used models where the studs have been run down to the plastic. This means that they’re a great boot to pick up second hand if you want to use them but don’t count on that comfort upgrade preventing blisters!
Brand new versions have been slower to climb in terms of investment (unless you’re looking for the metallic versions) so it is possible to find these still with the original box and tool (although don’t count on finding any spare studs). Our favourite is the Chrome with Photo Blue but they’re all a great addition and a back bone for more collections.
PS. Watch out for peeling on the sock liner as with most older mercurial models.
Nike didn’t create a Vapor II specific advert but take a look at a Nike Video with Thierry Henry wearing a pair of the infamous Nike Vapor II: