In November of 2008 Nike released a bold new colorway of the Nike Mercurial Vapor IV. In limited quantities, they came out with the Berry colorway, often referred to as the 'Rosa' or 'Pink Panther' Mercurial.
Unlike other Mercurial Vapor IV models, this particular color was only released in the standard Nike Mercurial Vapor form. It was unavailable to purchase in the Mercurial Vapor SL with the carbon fiber sole plate.
The only pairs of this model ever made with the SL sole plate were exclusively made for professional players. Some players to sport the very rare SL sole plate included Nicklas Bendtner, Andrey Arshavin, Franck Ribery, and a handful more.
The pair I own was worn by Edison Cavani in his time playing at Palermo.
Above is a picture of some of the customization on Cavani's boots. Stitched on is "Edi" and his number, "7". For player worn boots it is very common for them to have personalization stitched on to the sides of the boots. Often times they include their first or last name, their children's names, or even short quotes. The more the player personalizes their boots, the easier it can be to tell that it was actually worn by them and they did in fact come from the player.
As I mentioned before, the main difference of these boots from the normal Mercurial Vapor IV Berry model is the carbon fiber SL sole plate.
The Mercurial Vapor IV was the first of the Mercurial series to use carbon fiber as the main material in the sole plate. Nike called it the SL model, standing for Super Light. It increased the price of the boots by about $100 with the SL model retailing for $300 at the time.
In addition to the SL sole plate being used, Cavani also had different aluminum studs put onto his boots.
The aluminum studs are usually shaped slightly different than the ones used on these boots. As you can see around the top of the studs is a hexagonal shape, whereas the normal pairs did not feature this. In addition, the studs in the back are the same size as the studs used in the front of the boots. Typically the back studs are longer.
This modification is just another preference Cavani had with his boots. Whether or not it actually makes a difference is debatable, but it is always fascinating to me to see what preferences players have on their boots.
Another interesting thing about player boots, and this pair in particular is there are no size tags on the boots. It's very common to see player worn boots not having any size tags. This is because they are "Made to measure" meaning they are custom made to fit exact to the players foot.
Often times, the pairs can be custom sizing because of this. So instead of being a size 9, they might be a 9.25 to custom fit the players foot.
With this pair, it is tough to say exactly what the size is, but after measuring them I would say they are somewhere around a size 10us.
The Mercurial Vapor IV Berry is such an iconic pair of boots and is getting more and more difficult to find. Nike made a bold statement with this all pink colorway, and at the time it was a bit unusual. However, this isn't the first time Nike have done this. In 2002 with the shock orange vapor I, Nike turned a lot of heads with that vibrant color as well.
Whether you like the bold, crazy colorways or not, it has proven to be very effective by Nike over the years. It has also proven to be very effective in terms of the future value of the boots. Often times these vibrant colorways in the older pairs fetch the highest resale prices. They are so difficult to find, and really stand out in any collection.
During my years of collecting, I had only ever seen a handful of this Mercurial Vapor Berry SL, and I had seen fewer pairs for sale. When I was offered a pair for sale by a fellow collector, I couldn't refuse adding this pair to my collection. A lot of match worn collectors collect boots for the player associated with it. But for me it was more about the rarity of the boots themselves. I have very few pairs of player boots in my collection, since it can be very costly. The pairs I do have I primarily buy for the model itself, instead of the player it was worn by.
However, this pair being worn by PSG's all time leading goal scorer is pretty cool too.
Edison Cavani at Palermo wearing their pink jerseys with his pink berry SL.