Nike Mercurial Vapor 12 Academy Review

8.4 score
[Editors rating (8.2) + Users rating (8.6)] / 2 = (WalkJogRun) score (8.4)/10

Editor rating: 8.2 / 10
User's rating: based on 3 user ratings
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Some call it football. Some call it soccer. Some even call it association football. But we the fans, like to call it „the beautiful game“. Because it is. It’s the most democratic sport of them all. Meaning you don’t have to be built in a certain way to play it or to be good at it. The sport is very forgiving and basically, everyone can play a game of football.

Tall, short, skinny, muscular, fit people can play football at any time, at any place. And you don’t even need fancy equipment. A soccer ball, some sneakers and lots of love for the beautiful game.

And speaking of sneakers, Nike has a special shoe that will allow you to excel in this game. A shoe (a cleat technically ) that will help you to bring out your best moves on the pitch. The Nike Mercurial Vapor 12 Academy sneaker is the subject of this review. And we hope you’ll like it.

It’s a great sneaker (cleat) but for the specifics, details, and everything else, look in the post below.

Editor's Pros & Cons

Anchored tongue

Micro-textured upper

Podular system on the plate

Circular studs located on the outsole

Outsole wrap on the toe area


Too narrow fit


The multigrain speed system is just Nike’s fancy way of saying that the outsole of the Mercurial Vapor 12 Academy shoe is capable of functioning on any type of ground. Soft, firm, turf ground, on indoor terrain and on the outside, on artificial grass, on natural grass, on grass that’s high and everything in between.

You name it, and the Mercurial Vapor 12 Academy will be able to handle it. The chevron and conical studs found on the surface of the outsole are also there to help with the multi-functionality, with the traction properties and to provide you with a better grip on the surface that you’re on. Once those studs sink their spikes into the surface you’re in good hands. Pardon in good shoes.

But what are the studs so important here? Well, because a high amount of pressure occurs when you’re running on artificial surfaces. Yes, that’s way more pressure even when you’re running on oh, let’s say on natural surfaces. So, the studs on the micro ground speed system (or MG for short) are specially designed and strategically placed to distribute this running pressure equally around the soleplate and studs on that particular soleplate.

The outsole is designed specifically to help you with your acceleration while on the surface. Oh, and at the same time, it allows you to change your direction in a much easier way regardless of the type of terrain that you’re on. Oh, and last but not least, the high wrap on the toe area enhances the durability of the outsole and to the entire cleat. Yes, this is one hell of an outsole.


The midsole of the Mercurial Vapor 12 Academy has a slightly cushioned footbed that allows you to reduce the pressure all over your foot. Pa padding also relieves some of the pain caused by the constant running and jumping on the multi-ground system, while the sculpted arch support helps you get better arch support. Because this is a soccer type of a shoe, the midsole doesn’t offer that big of a bouncy feeling, that big of a springy feel to the feet.

That’s all due to the lack of enhanced cushioning in the midsole, but the padding tries to cover some of the comforts and allow you a better experience while wearing these cleats. That light cushioning can really come in handy especially if you are on much harder surfaces. Artificial grass also poses a great challenge, and since this is a multi-ground system type of a shoe, you’ll need all the help you can get. And in the midsole, that help isn’t that exceptional, but it’s always to have some cushioning than none at all.


A synthetic upper is the best option for Mercurial Vapor 12 Academy cleat. Why? Well, because the cleat is a type of shoe that’s used in high energy activities. The feet tend to sweat a lot and what you’ll need is an upper with moisture wicking properties like this one. The synthetic construction also offers plenty of comfort and support, and let’s not forget about textile lining underneath the upper’s surface. The textile lining lends a helping hand in the breathability of the shoe and with the smooth to the touch feel when wearing it.

Think about it. Every single thing counts, and every aspect of the upper’s aeration properties helps. But if you take a good look at the upper’s surface you’ll notice vertical ridges that grace the surface. Well, there’s a reason for the ridges being there, and it has nothing to do with the aeration. The ridges are in fact there to help your performance on the pitch. How? Well, the ridges offer optimal control of the ball, and control is essential in this game. The ridges are located at the forefront of the upper, where most of the ball contact occurs. That’s right the ball gets controlled better with the front of the cleat, and the ridges are strategically placed in that particular area. Think about that next time you’re going for a great pass on the pitch.

Oh, and last but certainly not least, the lacing system is amazing as well. The laces of the Nike Mercurial Vapor 12 Academy cleat offer full face adjustability. Meaning you can tie them very tight or very loose because there are two separate lacing perforation sets on the surface. One is for the tight lacing option, while the other is for the more loose lacing option. It’s up to you to find out the best, and the one that’s more suited for your feet. You’re going to love this lacing system, especially because most of the customer review comments have expressed concern over the tight fit on the toe area. That way you can ease the pain, and make more room for the feet to move in the cavity of the shoe.


The cleats are not known for their comfort since they’re used for about 2 hours, but there’s no need that those two hours to be a horrendous experience. The cushioned footbed helps a lot with the comfort of the Mercurial Vapor 12 shoe, and so does the anchored tongue that not only stays in place but offers a consistent fit and comfort as well. But let’s not forget that the Nike cleats have a micro-textured upper.

The Micro-textured upper composes the entire surface of the upper, and besides being in charge of the moisture wicking prosperities and the aeration, the upper gives away most of the comfort. Bonus points about the micro-textured strong upper are the fact that it provides you with very precise touch at very high speed. So, not only the upper will allow you to have a little more comfort, breathability, it will also help you to improve your precision at high speed Nice.


The cushioned footbed works wonders in the support portion of this review. The cushioning is a nice addition to the shoe, and let’s not forgets the firm yet highly flexible Micro-textured upper of the cleat. Some might say that the design of the entire upper’s body is too tight and narrow, but the anchored tongue and the adjustable full lace up system will allow you to bring the support of the upper to your liking. It all depends on your foot dimensions and on your personal preference.


Say hello to the fantastic outsole wrap. Sitting comfortably at the toe area, the high wrap on the outsole protects not just the outsole but the entire shoe form the external damage. Soccer is a sport that’s played on a different surface, in different weather conditions. Not to mention that the sport involves a lot of ball kicking and a lot of cleat to cleat contact. All of that can severely damage the shoe, especially on the toe area so that wrap fits perfectly in order to expand the longevity of the shoe. The durability of outsole would become very questionable if it wasn’t for that whap.


The flexibility of the Mercurial Vapor 12 Academy is divided into separate areas. The bottom part where the outsole holds the circular studs and the podular plate system is inserted. That’s the stiff area of the cleat that has zero flexibility. The upper on the other hand is a different story. The micro-textured upper allows plenty of flexibility, movement of the feet and a lot of breathabilities. The flexibility is divided in this particular shoe, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not present.


The wonderful multi-ground speed system outsole really knows how to deliver stability. That’s right. It doesn’t matter on which particular ground you are, the type of terrain is beneath you while you’re playing soccer, the stability will always be essential. The chevron and conical studs that are strategically placed on the outsole surface bring out the stability of the cleats and allow you to feel secure, stable and well balanced every time.


You don’t really have to worry about the airflow in the Mercurial Vapor 12 Academy cleat. The synthetic upper allows the airflow to fluctuate in and out of the shoe, and the very same can be same about the synthetic lining underneath that upper. The lining is very breathable and will leave your feet aerated, dry and odor free.


The multi-ground speed system outsole allows you to have a great performance in the cleats while you’re on any type of terrain. Hence the multi-ground system description. The cleats know no limits on the type of terrain, and they’ll work on both natural and artificial terrain. Meaning you can wear them on an artificial and natural grass pitch, and you won’t even feel the difference. It wasn’t always this way. Nike’s cleats in the past didn’t have that option, but the development of new technology allowed the company to produce new and improved versions of the shoes.


Do you remember that podular plate system mentioned earlier in this review? Well, it’s precisely that plate system that creates propulsive traction. The shoe has the best possible traction, also on multiple types of ground and the traction shouldn’t be too big of a concern.


You’re in luck. The Mercurial Vapor 12 Academy comes in several color varieties. Eight to be exact. If you’re more into bright colors you should check out the grey and bright crimson color combo, and if you’re looking for darker tones that won’t get dirty that easily, try the black and orange combo of the shoes.


With a price tag that could reach 200 dollars, these are some of the most expensive shoes in Nike’s long line of offerings. However, the cleats are also shoes that you won’t be wearing every day and you should really think before purchasing them. They’re amazing for your next game of soccer but other than on the pitch you can’t really wear them anywhere else.

Bottom line

The Mercurial Vapor 12 Academy cleats by Nike are really amazing. Made with the best possible technology and high-quality materials, the attention to detail that’s easily found in the shoes is fascinating. Just look at the ridges on the upper’s front. They’re there because Nike is looking for new ways for you to improve your performance on the pitch. And this is one of those ways.

The ridges are designed to give you a better ball control and you’ll love every single one of them. Yes, these cleats are rather expansive, but they’re a great investment to make if you’re looking to improve your skills on the pitch. They come in several color varieties and there are very few flaws about them. One of those flaws being the too narrow fit in the toe area. However, the adjustable lacing system and the anchored tongue are there to lend a helping hand and deliver comfort, stability, and lots of movement.