Nike Mercurial Superfly 8 soccer cleat review: Cristiano Ronaldo proves a worthy advocate

The Nike Mercurial Superfly 8 soccer cleats are perfect for those who rely on speed, and help improve your close-ball control

Nike Mercurial Superfly 8 review
(Image: © Future)

FourFourTwo Verdict

Some of the absolute best soccer cleats money can buy – with the star players to prove it. A top pick for players who rely on speed

Pros

  • +

    Extremely light

  • +

    Thin exterior helps with ball control

  • +

    Blades perfect for sprints

Cons

  • -

    Top-end price range

  • -

    Be careful with size guide

  • -

    Less breathable than expected

The Nike Mercurial Superfly 8 is undoubtedly one of the premier cleats on the market right now. When looking for a pair of the best soccer cleats around, using some of the world's top players as a rough guide won't often steer you far wrong.

On that measure, the Superfly 8s are tough to beat: Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Romelu Lukaku, Riyad Mahrez and the much-sought after Darwin Nunez all sport the latest Superfly range.

How we tested the Nike Mercurial Superfly 8 soccer cleats

Nike Mercurial Superfly 8

(Image credit: Future)

We've taken these out for a few training sessions of a couple of hours each, including focus on ball control and fitness activity, as well as your usual soccer-in-the-park set-up.

We've only tested the Superfly 8s on grass so far, and put them through the mill with some less-than-spirit-level straight surfaces: no pristine Premier League pitches to bump up the scores, here.

We tested a pair of the Nike Mercurial Superfly 8 Elite Firm Ground with a Dynamic Fit collar (opens in new tab) in a UK size 10.5 (US 11.5/EUR 45.5/BR 43.5/CM 29.5 - Women's: UK 10.5/US 13/EUR 45.5/BR 43.5/CM 30).

Comfort and fit

The first thing you notice about the Nike Mercurial Superfly 8 is how light they are: if Sir Alex Ferguson had pinged one of these at David Beckham's eyebrow, you'd be hard pushed to imagine they'd leave so much as a scratch. These are designed for speed and close ball control, and that's obvious the moment you take them out of the box.

The pair FourFourTwo tested came with Nike's 'Dynamic Fit collar' – the sock-like bit that hugs the ankle – and we feel it really does make a difference in the comfort stakes. It makes it slightly tricky to get on, but we enjoy the feeling akin to pulling on a comfy jumper.

It's not for everyone, though, and some people report that the collar can rub and produce chafing on the heel after repeated wears.

While that hasn't been a problem for us, we did find the fit a little bit loose – this FFT reviewer normally wears a UK size 10.5, but found these were about half a size too big, even with thick soccer socks on, and got small blisters on the heel after an hour or so of wear. We'd recommend going for half a size smaller than what you'd normally wear.

They're also not quite as breathable as we thought they would be – we stuck a phone camera inside to check out the holes that allow for airflow, but still suffered from pretty sweaty trotters by the end. Perhaps that's too much to expect from a soccer cleat, though.

On the pitch

SPECIFICATIONS

• RRP: £244.95
• Gender specification: No difference in gender specs
• Sizes available: 3.5 -12
• Colours: Five standard colours available, plus full customisation
• Recommended for: Speedy players

When delving a little deeper into your pocket for a pair of new cleats – and with an RRP of £244.95 (opens in new tab), the Nike Mercurial Superfly 8 soccer cleats don't come cheap – the big question is what difference it makes to your actual footballing ability.

We certainly think favourably of them in that regard.

Their lightness makes close-ball control heaps easier – we were picking long passes out of the sky like Marcelo at times (Please try and keep these reviews truthful – Ed.) and the way it almost molds itself to your foot gives you more options in control, too. Long gone are the days of angular leather stompers that look like they were designed on a Nintendo 64; the only thing more difficult in a pair of these is an old-fashioned schoolyard toe-poke. That would hurt.

The lightness of the cleats also does lend itself to speed. Your intrepid reviewer is sadly not naturally blessed in that regard, but it was certainly shaving a couple of seconds (Come on, now – Ed.), alright, milliseconds, off those short sprints to chase a loose ball.

We found the firm ground option we tested fine for what we needed it to do on a UK grass pitch in spring (by which we mean: not exactly the firmest surface you'll find), and would imagine you lose some of those marginal gains in the speed department if you opted for the more expensive soft ground option (opens in new tab)

The latter do, however, boast 'Anti-Clog Traction' technology, according to Nike. So if your Sunday league pitches are susceptible to heavy rainfall and poor drainage, that might be a better option for you – but that's not something we've tested.

Design