Nike return to their T90 roots with the PhantomVNM
The world worst kept secret in the football boot industry is out. After months of leaks, Nike has finally revealed the Nike PhantomVNM, replacing three generations of the Hypervenom.
The PhantomVNM is touted to be the ultimate goalscorer’s boot, building on top of the popular T90 series and the Hypervenom Phantom 3 Elite with strike zones that aid with precision when striking.
More Flyknit, Less Collar
The PhantomVNM is made up of a full Flyknit upper that wraps the foot for comfort and for those aggressive lateral movements in the final third. Flywire makes a return after its last appearance on the Nike Tiempo Legend 7, ensuring a secure lockdown and responsive feedback when sprinting and dribbling.
It’s good to see Nike fully investing in Flyknit though I’m a bit apprehensive about the use of Flywire as they caused massive discomfort in the Tiempo Legend 7 due to a fit that was too tight.
The Dynamic Fit Collar (aka the sock) is also gone and thank god for that. I always felt that it was a gimmick and I’m glad to see one of the premier Nike boots do away with the collar. Nike has been doing away with the collar, the Superfly’s collar is shortened and the PhantomVNM removes it completely, and it will be interesting if they slowly pull out this feature over the next few years.
I Love A Good Strike Zone
It feels like we’ve gone back in time to the days of the T90 and classic Predators where key areas of the boots would be enhanced with a rubberised component to aid in curling the ball or with “shot accuracy”. While the dynamic fit collars were a gimmick I didn’t embrace, the strike zone is one that I truly missed.
The Hypervenom Phantom 3 teased these zones with their pods across the instep but it’s nowhere near the level of detail that is being developed into the PhantomVNM. The shape of the ribs are inspired by golf clubs to help improve the consistency of each strike’s accuracy.
While not wholly covering the laces like the PhantomVSN, this boot has their laces partially obscured to increase the strike zone area for a cleaning contact zone.
Overall, I am sold on the concept of the whole upper. Fans have been crying out for a “power boot” with aggressive traction on the upper and this is a welcome return to form.
Could The Studs Be Too Aggressive?
It’s a cool looking soleplate configuration that features angular studs. They’re meant to provide copious amounts of traction, especially when changing direction. It has the ability to challenge the Mercurial Superfly 360 for the mantle of the most aggressive soleplate in the market based on its looks.
My biggest worry though is its compatibility with AG pitches as well as FG. I hope these work well on AG but I doubt so. adidas has been successful in launching soleplates that work equally well on both platforms and I hope that the new soleplate can take a leaf out of the three stripes’ book.
A Welcome Return for “Power Boots”
I love a power boot and I am glad to see what is essentially a modern Nike T90 Laser. Even the upper looks a bit plasticky despite it being made from Flyknit.
This is old school made new and might even force competitors like adidas to relook into the design of their Predator to reintroduce the swerve elements. If so, I can’t wait for a the “Power Boot Wars” to resume after a long hiatus.
Photos from Unisport and Prodirect Soccer