Nike's Problem with the Second-Gen Nike Hypervenom

Aubameyang, Jordan Ibe, Isco, Kovacic, Mandzukic and Neymar. The list of players switching from the Nike Hypervenom Phantom 2 Boots to the Nike Mercurial Boots has been getting longer and longer recently. And while there a still plenty high-profile players such as Lewandowski and Rooney wearing the second generation of the Nike Hypervenom, we take a detailed look at Nike's problem with the Nike Hypervenom Phantom II Cleats.

Launched in May 2015, the Nike Hypervenom Phantom II Football Boots introduced the Dynamic Fit collar to the Nike Hypervenom silo. Additionally, the upper design was changed radically for the second generation of the agility boot, whereas the sole plate of the boots remained almost the same (the outsole just uses a softer compound for additional comfort). And as Nike understands that there are players who prefer a low-cut boot design, the US-giant also released a traditional low-cut version without the collar, the all-new Nike Hypervenom Phinish.

Various Nike Hypervenom Players Switch to Nike Mercurial Boots

Kovacic was the first high-profile player to switch from the Nike Hypervenom to the Nike Mercurial.

It was Real Madrid midfielder Kovacic who became the first player player to switch from the Nike Hypervenom Phantom 2 Boots to the Nike Mercurial Vapor 10 Cleats in late August 2015. And while he previously also cut off the Dynamic Fit collar of his Nike Hypervenom Boots, it was no big deal for Nike as various players without superstar status including his teammate Modric are wearing wrong boots for their positions. However, the problem with players switching from the Hypervenom to the Mercurial should become a serious problem for Nike very soon.

In September 2015, FC Barcelona superstar Neymar surprisingly switched to the Squadron Blue Nike Mercurial Vapor 10 Boots in FC Barcelona's training session, while he debuted a pink version of the cleats five days later. As Neymar is the cover star of the entire Nike Hypervenom silo, it was clear that something had to happen.

On October 8, Neymar laced up in a camouflaged version of the Nike Hypervenom Phinish Boots. Featuring the exactly same upper construction as the Nike Mercurial Vapor, Neymar debuted his completely modified boots on October 17. And as the boots look almost identical to the Nike Hypervenom Phinish (at least for the average viewers), Nike successfully solved the problem with Neymar for the time being (even though Neymar's Boots lack the iconic sock-like collar).

But then events came thick and fast. One week ago, Real Madrid midfielder Isco and Mario Mandzukic became the next players to switch from the Nike Hypervenom Boots to the Nike Mercurial Vapor 10 Boots, while they were joined by two further players who made the same move in the past week (Aubameyang and Ibe). What could be the reasons for so many players switching from the Hypervenom to the Mercurial?

Possible Reasons for Players to 'Say Goodbye' to the Nike Hypervenom

Nike Hypervenom Phantom I vs Nike Hypervenom II.

Compared to the first generation of the Nike Hypervenom Phantom Boots, the second generation of the agility silo is anything but similar. While the Nike Hypervenom Phantom I featured a Honeycomb upper structure, the second-gen Nike Hypervenom Phantom Cleats comes with an all-new upper design with Flywire strings and a remarkable stitching pattern in the forefoot area for a soft touch.

Most remarkably, Nike also introduced the Dynamic Fit collar for the next-gen Nike Hypervenom Boots. But as the brand also offers a low-cut version, that can't be the only reason for players ditching the Nike Hypervenom II. So what's the most likely reason for players making the switch?

As the outsole of both generations is almost identical, it must be the all-new upper design that stop players from wearing the boots. What's certain is that the golf-ball like upper structure was extremely popular amongst both professionals and amateur players, and many amateurs have said that they prefer the upper of the first generation over the radically changed upper design of the Nike Hypervenom 2 Boots. However, it's naturally not possible to say what are the exact reasons for a professional player to switch between boots as such things are almost never made public.

What Can Nike Do Prevent Players to Switch From the Nike Hypervenom?

Close-up pictures of Neymar's Camouflaged Nike Hypervenom Boot.

For Nike, the only real chance to prevent players from switching between silos is to create camouflaged versions of the respective boots. And as Nike has already managed to create a Nike Mercurial boot that looks virtually identical to the Nike Hypervenom, the US-brand could do the same for all other players who switched to the Nike Mercurial recently and would have eliminated any doubts about the future of the Nike Hypervenom.

The next weeks will show what Nike will do in order to bring players back to the Nike Hypervenom. So watch out for Aubameyang's, Ibe's, Isco's, Kovacic's and Mandzukic's Boots in the next matches.