The Hypervenom Phantom 3, DF or Low, which one should you buy, and more importantly should you buy either of them? The Hypervenom line had it’s ups and downs over it’s 3, or 3.5, generations, from a boot hailed as one of the greatest boots of the decade, to one that was, let’s say, less well received, to these, the final iterations of the line before they were replaced with the Phantom Venom line, a decision that in itself seems to make people long for the Hypervenom Phantom 3 that bit more. So if you’re in the market for some VNM, and you like your vowels intact, lets take a look at what could be your best option, especially when we consider price and durability.
I am going to cover both the low and dynamic fit (DF) versions of the boot all at once here, because for large parts of the boot they are identical. As is now expected from Nike, these come with a one piece flyknit upper. However, unlike the current generations of Nike flyknit boots they weren’t designed around a super barefoot touch. The most striking feature (pun intended) of the boots is those raised pods that cover most of the upper and almost all the ball contact areas. ese pods are filled with foam, but not just any foam, this foam is smart. The foam responds to coming into contact with the ball and adjusts depending on the force with which it is hit, light, soft, dribbly Ronaldinho touches will result in a softer more cushioned sensation. Balls smashed hard and with meaning, think Harry Kane hitting top bins from the penalty spot, then the foam goes hard to give you that solid base you want to generate all the power you can. A nice combination, and the added texture in the flyknt and through the toe box of the boot is also welcome. Do be aware you are going to get a more padded touch on the ball here as well, so you’re not quite as close to the ball.
Something else that is welcome is the changes from the Hypervenom Phantom 2 (HV2). The flyknit is super flexible in comparison to the older models mesh upper, and that is a huge plus. However, the boot did retain the flyknit cables from the Hypervenom 2 to try and replicate some of that fantastic lockdown the 2 had. It certainly isn’t as locked in or responsive as the HV2 but it is a trade off I’m willing to make, with the new longer, knitted and mobile flyknit cables giving you some lockdown and responsiveness without sacrificing the softness of the upper, I mean this boot is SOFT once you break it in just a little bit! All this meant the boot was generally a better fit, for more people.
In terms of the differences from the DF and low models they are minimal but worth mentioning. Almost all of the differences take place in the rear third of the boot. The obvious one being, there is a big flyknit collar on one of the boots, obviously. The DF collar is also compressive enough on this boot for it to be something you can feel, and therefore makes the 2 boots feel different on feet, even though the performance is fundamentally the same. The liner in the heel also runs to a slightly different point between the boots, the Nike skin covers slightly different areas in the back third, there are slightly fewer striking pods in the low cut version and the whole striking pod, flyknit system is shifted slightly further forwards on the low model as well, all simply as a result of DF vs non DF. None of this makes a critical change to the boots and it’s mainly a choice that you will make based on looks and price. Personally I always preferred the feeling of the low.
Here we have an area where the boots truly are identical. The Hyperreactive soleplate. One that I personally like a lot, it gives you really nice stability in the heel and through the mid foot and then really nice flexibility in the forefoot. If you’re looking for mercurial esc straight line traction and an on your toes feeling, this might not be for you. But, as an overall set up with a balance of aggressiveness and natural freedom I think it’s pretty good. It is also set up in a way to really try and enhance the flexibility in the push off areas around the big toe area of the boot, as that’s where you do most of your twisting. Then the stiffer materials from the midfoot run up onto the lateral side of the forefoot area to try and give you more stability there. Not a bad idea and the combination of hexagon shaped studs in the flexible area and short sharp bladed studs in the stiffer zones for more responsiveness isn’t a bad idea either.
The weight here is between 190 and 200 grams depending on the model and the size, of course the DF version being a bit heavier. It is lighter than both the generations that came before it and in this case I might have actually wanted the boot to be a little heavier as strange as that may sound. This boot can certainly compete with the best in the weight category though and if you want lightweight then you are still sorted here.
FIT AND COMFORT:
You like the fit of the Hypervenom Phantom 1? Awesome, because these are built on the same last, so buy the same size. Easy. If you don’t happen to have a pair of HV1/2 (or even Phantom VNM elite) to throw on and check, then true to size is the advice from me.
The fit here is good and I don’t have any complaints. The softer the flyknit gets the better the boot will mould around your feet, but the pods and the flyknit cables do mean it never gets truly personal like maybe you would have found with the HV1. Mid foot width is reasonable so as long as you don’t have a mammoth wide foot you should be okay. There is a once piece upper to contend with if you do have those wide yeti feet, but once you get them on the fit is beautifully seamless.
This is a truly comfortable boot that gets better and better over time, to the point where you could certainly wear this to the point of absolute failure, looking at you Jack Grealish.
A boot that I think is good looking, especially if you get it in the right colours! The darker reds and Navys look great and the colour ways sporting a minimal amount of accenting colours always did it for me. It could be because I always associate these with Harry Kane but they always looked like a real strikers boot to me in the low cut. The DF collar on these isn’t for me, but if mid cut boots are your jam, then you’re all set.
VS PHANTOM VNM ELITE:
I will also touch quickly on the boot that replaces the HV3 the Phantom Venom Elite as these boots share a lot of similarities, seriously, put them side by side. The Phantom Venom is absolutely a Hypervenom Phantom 4. The upsides of the new VNM Elite are that it is more stable and responsive over a longer period of time, as the HV3 softens up it does lose some of that stable feeling. The soleplate is also more aggressive and responsive than the HV3 and finally a new heel counter construction and liner material means that the VNM also has better heel lockdown. With all of that the VNM also offers a tighter feel, despite the sizing being identical in almost every way and a much closer to the ball and barefoot feeling. It may sound like I am saying the VNM is a better boot with those new attributes, but that is absolutely not my intention. If you read back through those benefits, doesn’t it start to sound just a little bit mercurial, and that is the VNM issue, is it a mercurial with a strike zone? The HV3 truly offers something different and the more seamless comfortable feel with the slightly more flexible toe box, softer upper and slightly more padded touch on the ball is my preference of the 2 boots, partly because it’s a sensation I enjoy and also because if I wanted a mercurial … I’d go and buy a mercurial.
For me if we include the VNM as an unofficial Hypervenom 4 then this is the second best Hypervenom of the bunch, which is a pretty high bar when you’re trying to compete with the HV1. However this has tonnes of advantages compared to the HV1 such as the fact it will last more than 5 minutes before the upper overstretches! If you’re looking for a boot with a truly soft comfortable feel, with a slightly dampened touch, but still enough aggressiveness to have you feeling like you can bang in the goals and beat the defender to the ball, then this is a great option and a boot I would happily wear to game day. I keep talking about strikers with this boot, and I’m a goalkeeper … Boots by position is a lie!!!!
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