28 Jun Nike R9 Mercurial Vapors
Nike has been hands down one of my favorite sportswear company that has ever touched football. When researching about the R9 Vapors I came across important information such as their release dates and people who wore them during the 2004 world cup.
The first glimpse anyone outside of Nike had of the boots was in the Nike cage advert starring Eric Cantona, Thierry Henry and Roberto Carlos, in which a close-up shot of the boots is taken near the end of the advert. The boot was first released in three color formats: cinder/white/maize; University Blue/white/obsidian; and medium grey/ red. These three color formats were distinctive as they had limited heel cushioning and dimples on the inner heel cup for foot grip. This was upgraded for the remainder of the Vapor I line. A chrome/lime variation (worn exclusively by Ronaldo in the semi-finals and final) was released to the public in limited numbers (just 4,600, across FG, HG and SG variants; quantity split unknown) in the period after the tournament. Other colors included white/ice/black; chrome/black; black/chili red; dark charcoal/surf blue/white; and shock orange/white. In addition to the NikeSkin Vapors, Nike released its first kangaroo leather version of the shoe in black/grey. The Vapors also continued with the R9 designation on boots that was featured originally in the previous Mercurial lines. Both chrome color formats featured the “R9” brand.
At the time of release, the Vapor was the lightest boot on the market with several key innovations. The upper was made of an extremely thin, lightweight synthetic known as Nike Skin. It was claimed to be thinner and stronger than any kangaroo leather. The Vapor also featured an external heel counter which was very uncommon at that time as well as a “glass” filled outsole called NikeFrame, inspired by track sprint spikes and designed to spring back into shape after push-off. According to the booklets inserted into the box with each pair, the shoe showed a 3% decrease in the time to cover a 20-meter sprint compared to other boots.