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THE MOST ICONIC BOOT EVER MADE?

P.O. ID 97 - 12 - 02

The boot that forever changed the game for Nike.  Released in 1998, the new Mercurial silo made groundbreaking strides in the boot world.  

At the time I was 1 and a half years old, so I have no memories of this boot.  This post is purely written on my thoughts I have gathered from owning and researching these beauties.  Hopefully everything I say is accurate, but if anything is wrong please be sure to tell me!  I am by no means an expert on this, I’m just trying to share some of my own knowledge and have some fun!

Back to the boots now!  This stunning colorway was made as an R9 signature edition, the first Mercurial player signature boots made from Nike at the time.  

They featured a revolutionary upper and an updated colorway.  In the 90’s, Kangaroo Leather was the primary upper material in most boots.  It was believed to be the ideal material for comfort, fit, and quality.  While it is an amazing material that is still used today, Nike decided to try something new out.

They introduced a new, lightweight synthetic material.  This new material was shiney, sticky, lightweight, and unique.  The KNG-100 was Nike’s new material, and it worked wonders on the boots.  In terms of aesthetics, the Mercurial outshined all the other boots.  The KNG-100 had a sticky feel to it which helped provide control on the ball.  Not only that, but it was also lighter than Kangaroo Leather, which is why the 1998 Mercurial was considered the first “Speed” boot produced.  

The original Mercruial released in a classic black and white colorway.  This Mercurial R9 got a totally new makeover.  Since they were made for Ronaldo to wear at the 1998 World Cup, they featured a Silver/ Varsity Maize - Varsity Royal color scheme.  This color combo blended in with the Brasil kits, making them really look alive on the pitch. 

The tongues were also a thing of beauty.  The R9 symbol was put on both sides of the tongue, and stitched along the perimiter, making them stand out even more.  As for the performance aspect of the tongue, I don’t think it offered much value.  However, it did add a nice aesthetic touch onto the boots.  

As far as innovation goes, Nike did not miss a single chance to revolutionize these boots.  The upper proved to be a unique design that was unlike anything on the market.  However, the sole plate could be argued as the key innovator from these boots.

The thickness of the sole plate was reduced significantly which contributed to making these boots super lightweight.  As far as performance, I have been told they provided superior traction with the newly designed studs as well.  Different from the traditional round studs, Nike introduced a new shape that provided better traction.  

From a collecting standpoint, this newly designed soleplate was not great for withstanding the test of time.  As you can see above, my pair has a crack in it.  This is a very common occurrence for these boots.  They are very fragile and very delicate, so they are definitely not recommended for wearing purposes, as most of them will most likely break instantly. 

With Ronaldo bagging 4 goals, and reaching the finals of the World Cup, these boots can be considered the start of a tremendous partnership between Ronaldo and the legendary Mercurial.  Nike and R9 would go on to release over a dozen signature R9 exclusive models.  From the 1998 Mercurial to the 2007 Mercurial Vapor III, there were some groundbreaking new models and stunning colorways.  

Even after Ronaldo retired, his legacy with the Mercurial continued.  For the 15th year anniversary, Nike remade this vapor IX using this colorway and design.  There were only 1998 pairs made, and an exclusive chrome edition with only 15 pairs made.  Not only that, but Neymar had a signature Mercurial Vapor XI with a remake of this color design.  

The history and heritage of these boots is only rivaled by the Adidas Predator, Puma King, and Tiempo Legend models.  However, these boots were the first of their kind using the synthetic materials, and they have continuously added innovation to later models.  After over 21 years, in 2019, the Mercurial silo is still going strong, and still making a major impact.  

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