Having recently written a review for the Magista Opus, a boot that I was not excited about upon launch and ended up loving, here I’m going to take a look at a boot that I had quite the opposite experience with. The Hypervenom Phinish, after being delighted with the Hypervenom Phantom 1, I was excited to see if Nike could fix the over stretching issue it had and deliver an even better boot in the Hypervenom Phantom II and Hypervenom Phinish lines. My excitement however was short lived. Here I’ll break down all the elements so you can decide if a Hypervenom Phinish is for you when it might not have been for me.
At this time most of Nike’s line up featured 2 top end boots, one sporting a dynamic fit collar and a low cut option; The Magista Obra and Opus, the Vapor X and Superfly 4 for example. With those boots the low and high cut models were also fairly different, sporting different upper materials and different feelings on the ball. This is basically not the case with the Hypervenom Phantom II and the Hypervenom Phinish, they both feature an almost identical upper, the only difference being the flyknit collar and central area of the boot on the Phantom II, the Phinish not featuring any flyknit at all. So Phantom or Phinish, 2 sides of the same coin and really it is down to your preference visually.
The upper itself was still marketed as ‘Nike Skin’ and still used a mesh base with a synthetic top layer and liner, in theory a similar concept to the Hypervenom 1 (HV1) it replaced. In practice a very different matter. In order to combat the over stretching issue that I mentioned earlier Nike redesigned the upper to give the boot far more structure, they achieved their goal, however in doing so they had to use a far denser mesh and add much thicker top layer compared to the HV1. This does mean the boot is more durable and far more responsive than the HV1, in fact if you prize responsiveness and lockdown in your boots very highly then this is certainly one to consider, for me it is the primary selling point of this boot.
However, this came at a cost, the super soft flexible textured Nike Skin we got on the HV1 was gone and it was replaced by a much firmer, much stiffer material also reinforced with flywire cables. Nike added flex grooves, which is the patterning you can see all over the boot, to aid with the flexibility, but in my view they didn’t do a great deal. This also leads to a touch on the ball that is much firmer and more solid.
In the end what you are left with in the upper is a boot that no longer had that buttery soft upper that moulded to your foot and had a great texture to the ball, but a boot that was far more aggressive, incredibly responsive, more locked in but also much stiffer and requires break in time.
Again comparing the Phinish to the HV1 the soleplate and stud pattern is basically unchanged, there is an argument to be made that the Phinish soleplate is slightly more flexible through the forefoot, but not something I ever really noticed, especially once broken in.
There isn’t much to complain about here, it’s a good layout, with studs that are low enough profile to give you good grip in firm natural grass, and all the studs are conical so you get great rotational movement. Not the most aggressive but certainly not anything to complain about, with some excellent support through the mid foot that adds to the overall responsive nature of the boot.
I really like the look of the Phinish and for me it is much better looking than the Phantom II with the dynamic fit collar. I think this is a good looking boot in basically every colour way, the purple volt is probably my personal favourite, I do also enjoy the women’s world cup colourway and the launch wolf grey orange is also a great looking boot. The triangular design around the base of the boots with the splatter or shatter effect I think is great. A really nice looking boot for me.
The Phinish is not a heavy boot at all and not something you should worry about, weighing around 210g. This makes the boot lighter than the Phantom 2 but slightly heavier than the HV1. Either way nothing to complain about at all.
FIT AND COMFORT:
Starting with the basic stuff, the Phinish runs true to size, if you ever wore a HV1 or a Phantom II then stick with the same size, there aren't really any odd sizing quirks here at all. In the width it isn’t a crazy narrow boot, but if you do have a wider foot I possibly wouldn’t recommend this boot, also be aware it does have a one piece upper making it slightly more difficult to get on and the upper will not stretch much at all, this isn’t going to mould and shape to your foot shape. so if you do have a very wide foot I would steer clear.
The boot itself doesn’t really have any comfort issues but the nature of that stiffer upper does mean that it is not exactly a boot that gives you slipper-like comfort, I never experienced any issues with heel slippage or blisters in these boots and they are comfortable enough and give you a more aggressive feel.
If you are looking for a boot where your primary concern is lockdown and responsiveness then this is absolutely something you should consider, it delivers on those 2 aspects better than most boots you can buy. If like me you’re looking for a soft upper that is going to wrap around your foot and feel more like the HV1, then there are probably better options for you out there.