The science of speed

Advertising Feature


Nike Mercurial Superfly

The difference between success and failure is speed – whoever thinks the fastest, reacts the fastest, moves the fastest, wins. Speed is the weapon that conquers all.

To ensure you have the pace to burst past tackles or reach that through-ball you need every advantage, starting with your footwear. Nike have designed a new cutting-edge Mercurial that can push you ahead of that last defender to bear down on goal. Working with experts from track and field, Nike have merged science with design to build the fastest boot in football. Every component was created to work together with the singular goal of making you quicker.

Here we break down the boot’s total speed system. Hold on tight...


Speed is nothing without grip. To maximise the transfer of energy from your legs to the pitch, Nike’s design team tested different variations of blades, studs and other shapes in a variety of traction patterns to identify which one works best.

Armed with their scientific data, the boot bods developed a better braking system for the Mercurial Superfly V, helping speed-focused players accelerate and decelerate in a flash. Studs are the same shape but positioned in different directions — straight on with the heel for braking, angled in the forefoot for propulsion. The new claw-like stud configuration was tested on-pitch by elite Nike players to ensure the formula worked. The verdict? A big thumbs up – good news for you, bad news for the opposition.


Where previous soleplates were flat and rigid, leaving a gap between your foot and the boot, Nike have found a solution, creating a soleplate that aligns itself with the natural contours of the foot – giving you a true one-to-one fit.

The new Mercurial now works with the foot instead of against it, reducing any unwanted movement inside the boot. Flywire cables are knitted seamlessly into the Flyknit upper for a lockdown fit wrapping the foot.

Additionally, the boot's soleplate is 40% lighter than the carbon fiber plate it replaces, yet it is stronger and more responsive. Lightening the load will make you faster on your feet, without leaving you exposed to the hatchet man’s flying studs. Phew.



The faster you move, the harder it is to keep the ball under control – unless you’re wearing the Nike Mercurial Superfly V. Kitted out with “speed rib” 3D texture, the raised surfaces increase friction between the upper and ball so you can perform your elasticos and rabonas at top speed.

Don’t worry, style hasn’t been compromised to accommodate this innovation – in fact, it’s been enhanced. In motion, the speed ribs also provide a bit of a colour shift. Defenders will have the added pleasure of watching your feet shimmer with colour as turn on the afterburners and leave them for dead. See-ya.