A boot that isn’t short of critics, not least for its look, and a boot that could easily be considered to be a failure for Nike. The Nike Phantom Vision line is now considered by many to be another boot that must be replaced by its predecessor, the Nike Magista. For me, this is driven by nostalgia and revisionist history. Yes the Magista Obra I was revolutionary, and yes the Opus I is a genuine favourite of mine, but the Magista was not without missteps, the original release of the Opus 2 anyone? People are clamoring to bring the Magista back while ignoring the innovation in the Phantom Vision, I believe this is a mistake. Here I am going to tell you why I think the Vision is special, and why the Vision 2 Elite is probably my favorite current line Nike boot to wear in a game.
So I normally start with the upper when I am writing a review but let’s get this out of the way. The original Phantom Vision Elite wasn’t a great looking boot due to the DF collar, although I didn’t mind the big triangle. The Vision 2 Elite is probably an improvement, but not by much, the new lowered collar is an improvement and Nike seem to have left themselves with options regarding the colourways and colour blocking here, but it looks to me like they let an NFL player design it while briefly showing them football boots. It’s not bad looking, it is clean enough with the lace cover, but it’s not going to win any beauty contests anytime soon. However, as I said in the intro, I use these all the time, so how bad can I really think they are?
Now to the upper, this is where the magic happens with the Vision and it is basically in three parts, so that’s how we will break it down from the outside in.
The outermost layer is a very thin flykit layer that I would refer to as a shell because it is very thin and as a result very soft and very flexible. Coating the flyknit you get a Nike Skin top layer that is different thickness’ around the boot, the touch is still pretty consistently barefoot around the boot, but because of the Nike skin but you can get a slightly more solid punchy sensation on the ball when contacting those thicker areas when compared to the Vision 1. The difference between the Vision 1 and Vision 2 is fairly minimal, but the 2 does feel more structured, stable and premium, but the magic of the vision 1 was a genuine soft flexible true sock sensation with grip elements, and that is lost here to a degree. The grip elements from the VSN 1 are retained in the form of micro texturing that runs throughout the whole boot, in my opinion, better distributed than the previous model and genuinely does give you a grip and texture on the ball that you don’t experience in most boots, it also does this without distracting from the overall touch and feel on the ball, or overpowering the upper like you would be likely to find on something like the Predator 20 line. Barefoot, Flexible, Soft, Textured, and that’s just the outer layer.
As part of the outer layer and continuing inside the boot you get Nike’s ghost lacing system. The simple bit you can see is the lace cover which is a looser weave more elasticated flynit that covers over the laces, yes this has laces, it is not a laceless boot. That isn’t all the ghost lacing system is though, it is also the laces themselves and the collar which runs down into the sock that runs through the inside of the boot, in reality, this whole system is simply a way to get your foot in the boot and get you connected to the star of the show, the Quadfit mesh. The ghost lacing system itself, soft, comfortable, not in the way, no problems.
Quadfit mesh is one of the most inventive, most brilliant pieces of innovation to be applied to football boots in recent times, there I said it! And nobody seems to care or pay attention to it! Quadfit is a silver mesh-like material on the inside of the boot, connected to the ghost lacing system and internally to the flyknit shell. It is thin, soft, flexible, and moulds around your foot, all the hallmarks of comfort, but usually, with those characteristics, you have to sacrifice lockdown and responsiveness, not here, and that’s why this is so genius. A material that moulds around your foot and then when you tie your laces tight wraps your foot closer, and under pressure in any direction the mesh reacts and holds your foot in place, giving you a fantastic personal fit and lockdown as well as a comfortable fit and decent responsiveness. It’s a fantastic package. I want Nike to do more with this material as I think the possibilities are exciting, they maybe shouldn’t have put it on a Tiempo though.
Traction is something I get less excited about with this boot, but it’s not bad, it has enough flexibility throughout the soleplate to give you a good range of motion, it’s not super aggressive but when paired with the mainly conical style studs through the forefoot it is a good combination, there is a nice bladed push-off area at the toe and 4 bladed studs in the heel that are stable and aggressive. The soleplate and stud pattern continues to add to the overall comfort of the boot without doing anything exceptional, but I don’t have anything to complain about either.
My pair in a UK size 8 weigh 224 grams. Not a particularly light boot, but not one that is going to be detrimentally heavy either. If you want a super lightweight boot this might not be for you, but if weight is not your primary concern, then you have no issues here.
FIT AND COMFORT:
I’ve already used the word comfort many times when writing this and for good reason, this is one of the most comfortable boots that I own, the personal fit is amazing and there is very little to criticise there.
If I do have a criticism it comes in the sizing, these run approximately ¼ of a size long, not quite long enough to go down half a size, but also not quite correct to your true size. So my advice is going true to size but you might have a tiny bit of extra room.
In width terms, these are the Nike boot I recommend for people with wide feet, especially if you have flat feet as the Quadfit does a great job of dealing with that particular foot type and providing all-around comfort and support.
A boot that I admit isn’t the best looking, and it’s not the most aggressive boot either, but in an era where comfort in boots seems to be more and more overlooked this is an amazing option with some really groundbreaking technology that I highly recommend, and a textured upper that does exactly what you want it to, many moving parts that all flow together to make a boot I actually really like. In fact, I’m off to hit some free kicks in mine right now.