The Nike Shadow Pack has dropped to Pro Direct, with black Air Zoom Mercurial boots.
Of course, back in the day, all football boots were black. Sir Alex Ferguson even banned youth players at Manchester United from having anything other than black in the most Model T Ford football philosophy of all time – so these days, a special pair of black football boots is a big deal.
Well, when Nike first released pictures of the stunning Air Zoom Mercurial boots, we knew these boots were spectacular. But the all-black versions? Ohh, boy.
The Nike Shadow Pack takes the original white/red boots – which featured the word "AIR" sprawled across the inside of the boot – and dials them back for something simple, effective and classic.
These are pure black with no other colours except for Nike's trademark Volt shade of green, which can be seen on the soles, rather than the white versions' iridescent sole plates. There are two versions of these Mercurial boots, too, as there are with all Mercurial boots these days – the Superfly (opens in new tab) and the Vapor (opens in new tab).
The difference is in the ankle support. The Vapor is the classic without the wrap around the top of the boot, while the Superfly is the more modern iteration that comes with the added extra. Think of it as a turtleneck for your feet, if that helps.
These Mercurial boots – which dropped just before the Women's Euros – are some of the nicest that Nike has ever released, following on from the Dream Speed Mercurials from a few months back and the blue Nike Mercurial Superfly 8 efforts that we reviewed earlier this year.
There are other Nike products that have been given the Shadow Pack treatment, too. The Nike The Premier III (opens in new tab) boots are available in white and black with flashes of Volt, while a blackout version of the latest Nike Tiempo boots (opens in new tab) might just be the most 1990s thing we've seen from the Swoosh in a hot minute.
With a new three-quarter-length "Zoom Air bag" and newly-designed Vaporposite+ upper – which Nike added a "Speed Cage" design to – these boots aren't just pretty faces, either. This is the most data-driven Mercurial yet, with lockdown support where footballers need it most.
That Tri-Star stud pattern that we were so impressed with is visible, too, enabling players to move laterally as well as downhill, for faster play in all directions – making them perfect for attacking players and speedsters alike. With up to 20% of these boots being made from recycled material as well, they're not just all black but… green.
So… where do these rank among the best football boots of 2022?
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