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Football Boots We Have Loved: Nike Mercurial R9

By Chris Wright

This ‘ere be ‘Football Boots We Have Loved’, in which we have a look back at some of the football boots which have tugged on our heartstrings down through the years.

In a sport which only really requires you to supply a minimal amount of gear, your boots take on an added sentimental significance. You find a good pair and you stick with them; through thick and thin, from dog turd-strewn park to dog turd-strewn park. It’s a special bond.

This week: Ronaldo’s ground-breaking and eye-molestering Mercurial R9s…

With Ronaldo going into the 1998 World Cup as the biggest footballing draw in the world, it seemed only right that he be plied with a cutting edge new boot to swathe his mercurial feet – that boot being the Nike… err, Mercurial R9.

Several colourways were available but Ronaldo’s signature pair were of the striking silver, blue and yellow persuasion; the blue licks coated in a sticky resin to supposedly help aid ball control – not that the Brazilian demigod needed any assistance in that department.

Nike’s R9s set many-a-precedent in elite football boot design, being the first boots ever to be manufactured from 100% synthetic materials and with the emphasis firmly placed on them being as lightweight as possible.

Since then, as well as being rendered in every colour under the sun (from electric citron, right the way through to bashful mango) almost all top-line boots have followed the R9’s core philosophy; shaving off those crucial grams in the name of speed and agility, gleefully putting fifth metatarsals on the line the world over as a result.

More in Pies’ ‘Football Boots We Have Loved’ Series…

Original Nike Tiempo
Puma King
Valsport Era 

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By Chris on January 7th, 2013 in Featured, Kits & fashion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to “Football Boots We Have Loved: Nike Mercurial R9”

  1. xavi6 says:

    I still own two pairs of these bad boys.
    The first pair of “elite” boots I ever bought, from Intersport no less.

    Back when the best boots cost £100 MAXIMUM, the way it should be.

    Felt like a rockstar wearing them :-)

  2. FatRonaldo says:

    If you still have them i’ll buy them

  3. bodacious says:

    Oof, loved these boots. Spent all day looking for a pair with the fancy new ‘blades’, found out they cost a hundred quid then bought a pair with studs for about £30. Mine were more like this link

  4. DearPerfection says:

    Looked amazing but poor build quality and split after one game.
    Returned for Predators: best football boot ever!

  5. Duranos says:


    Completely agree. I had the black and silver version. The sole plate was pretty shoddy, and the boots seemed to fall apart within months. Maybe I’m just unlucky, but Nike boots just haven’t lasted with me. Looked fantastic though. Adidas last forever.

  6. […] of 1,998 individually-numbered pairs of new, re-engineered Mercurial Vapor R9s in an homage to the original boots worn by ’El Fenomeno’ himself at France […]

  7. […] To mark the 15th anniversary of their revolutionary 1998 design, N produced a special limited edition run of 1,998 individually-numbered pairs of new, re-engineered Mercurial Vapor R9s in an homage to the original boots worn by ’El Fenomeno’ himself. […]

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