When Nike debuted its Mercurial cleat in 1998, the shoe gained notice thanks to its track spike-inspired designs.
Eighteen years later, the athletic company will update the style with several aesthetic touches. The cleat, worn over the years by soccer stars such as Brazil’s Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima and Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior and others, is expected to pay homage to the shoe’s history with a mash up of four past Mercurial logos on the heels, while the left and right versions will each be striped with iconic Mercurial colorways.
In 1996 Nike aimed to create a cleat for the Brazilian National Team’s standout player, Ronaldo. The goal at the time was to develop cleats that reflected his explosive style of play. According to the company, the early prototypes included a dissembled track spike cobbled together with a Nike Tiempo upper.
In a statement released today, Nike said the new cleat “echoes the ever-changing nature [of playing the sport], upending aesthetic expectations. At the same time, it nods to the boot’s rich style heritage by showcasing 16 of the most memorable Mercurial colorways on one bold shoe.”
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Nike will release 3,000 pairs of the cleats on May 5.
The company said it plans to offer the style under its “What the” design theme. The clever tag line began in 2007 when the Beaverton, Ore.-based company’s skateboarding division launched the Nike SB “What the Dunk” shoe. The moniker has since rolled out to other shoes such as the “What the Kobe” in 2012.
The athletic firm said “18 colors from previous Mercurial iterations meld together into one Superfly boot.”
The limited run Nike Mercurials will be available in a “What the Box,” with special color combinations featured on the inside.