Cleat Showdown: Nike Mercurial vs. Tiempo vs. Premier

4 Mins read

Nike has controlled the football (or soccer) gear scene for years, delivering various models for any player archetype. However, three silhouettes consistently stand out: the Mercurial, Tiempo, and Premier. Each cleat is catered for a different playing style, so choosing the right pair is a game-changer. Let’s dive into the specifics of each model.

Nike Mercurial: Built for Takeoff

The Nike Mercurial – one of Nike’s most tech-ed out models, not to mention one of the most popular worldwide. It comes in 2 versions: the low-cut Vapor for mobility and high-cut Superfly for extra ankle support. 

It features a sleek, synthetic upper engineered with Vaporposite, a lightweight material that provides a minimal feel for close ball control. A thin layer of Nike’s proprietary NikeSkin coats the upper, ensuring consistent touch in any weather condition. 
The thin construction keeps weight to a minimum, giving you explosive acceleration and allows you to make sharp directional changes.
Ballers like Erling Haaland, Vinicius Jr., and Jadon Sancho demolish defensive backlines with the Mercurials on their feet, leaving opponents falling flat on the pitch.

Nike Tiempo: Where Comfort Meets Precision

The Nike Tiempo is a cleat derived from tradition, known for prioritising ball control and comfort. As it is Nike’s oldest silhouette, its evolution throughout the years has been significant. 

Originally crafted from kangaroo leather, the Tiempo has since switched to incorporating FlyKnit technology into its upper. 
The latest Tiempo Legend X incorporates a synthetic leather called FlyTouch Plus into the upper, along with Nike’s proprietary All Conditions Control (ACC) system and a reduced soleplate to reduce weight.
While the Mercurial model is catered to pacey forwards, the Tiempo can be worn by anyone – Virgil van Dijk and Sandro Tonali love it for the comfortably soft upper, durability and lightness it offers.
Overall, the Tiempo offers a combination of tradition, comfort, and innovative technology, making it a great choice if you prefer comfort and durability over agility.

Nike Premier: Built to Last, Built to Play

One of the most slept on silos in Nike’s boot range, the Nike Premier is also one of their longest running models to date.

Made from pure kangaroo leather, you’re getting a piece of vintage aesthetics that retains class, comfort and performance at a budget.
Nike’s Anti-Clog studs which is incorporated into the Soft Ground (SG) version, paired with the folded down tongue, is a throwback for ballers preferring vintage Tiempos.
Despite not being Premier League level quality compared to the other two, the Premier is a brilliant choice for Sunday league players, or if you’re planning a friendly session with the boys.

Detailed Comparison: Nike Mercurial vs Tiempo vs Premier

Features Nike Mercurial Nike Tiempo Nike Premier
Speed & Agility
Touch & Control
Comfort & Durability
Upper Material
Vaporposite (Synthetic)
FlyTouch (Synthetic)
Vapor & Superfly
One version
One version
Key Technology
Vaporposite, NikeSkin
FlyTouch Plus, ACC
Playing Level
Elite, Competitive
All levels
Modern, Sleek
Classic, Traditional

Pick Your Playstyle: A Look at Each Nike Cleat

  • Nike Mercurial: Built for speed and directional changes. Perfect for attackers who prioritise speed and agility.
  • Nike Tiempo: Offers exceptional touch and control for all-weather performance. Favoured by defenders and midfielders preferring passing and control.
  • Nike Premier: A classic choice prioritising comfort and durability. Ideal for recreational players.

Level up your game by finding the perfect cleats for your playing style. Explore Nike’s soccer cleats on Novelship and control the pitch in comfort and style.


Is the Mercurial good for all positions?

While attackers benefit most from its speed, some midfielders might also prefer it for mobility.

What is the difference between the Mercurial Vapor and Superfly?

The difference lies in the ankle cut:

    • Vapor: Low-cut for maximum mobility.
    • Superfly: High-cut for added ankle support.

Which boot offers the best value for money?

The Premier is the most affordable option. However, the best value depends on your priorities. If you prefer high-performance features, the Mercurial or Tiempo might be worth the investment.

Are Tiempos good for wide feet?

Tiempos can be a good option for wide feet due to their comfortable, premium upper that can conform to your foot shape over time. They might be a better choice for wider players compared to the Mercurial’s Vapor design, which has a lower-cut profile.

Who are some famous players who wear Tiempos?

Liverpool’s centre back Virgil van Dijk, and Newcastle United’s holding midfielder Sandro Tonali currently wear the Tiempo Legend Elite and Tiempo Legend 10 respectively. Legendary boots fit for future legends.

Which professional footballers wear Mercurials?

Superstars like Kylian Mbappé, Vinicius Jr. and of course, Cristiano Ronaldo currently wear the Mercurials. All of them are feared for their pace and dribbling, making Mercurials a perfect fit for each one.

How do these boots handle wet conditions?

Mercurial: NikeSkin provides a layer of water resistance, but for extended play in wet weather, additional treatment might be beneficial.

Tiempo: FlyTouch Plus offers some water resistance, similar to NikeSkin. However, kangaroo leather in the Premier absorbs water more readily. Proper care with waterproofing sprays is recommended for all boots in wet conditions.

Premier: Kangaroo leather is naturally more susceptible to water absorption. Regular waterproofing maintenance is crucial to maintain performance and durability.

I have wide feet. Will Mercurials work for me?

The low-cut Vapor design might feel snug on wider feet. Consider trying them on in-store or looking for wider fit options offered by some retailers.

Is kangaroo leather always used in Tiempos?

No, in recent years, Nike transitioned from traditional kangaroo leather to a synthetic material called FlyTouch Plus. This change aimed to offer similar touch and control while providing increased durability and water resistance.

When did the first Nike Mercurial boots come out?

The Mercurial made its debut in 1998, on the feet of Brazilian legend Ronaldo Nazario at the France World Cup.

Are Mercurial boots good for strikers?

Absolutely. Strikers relying on pace and explosiveness to get past defenders benefit greatly from the Mercurial’s lightweight build.

Is the Nike Premier suitable for all types of pitches?

While the Premier offers decent versatility, it’s designed for soft ground conditions. The SG (Soft Ground) studs provide good grip and prevent sinking on softer pitches.

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