In Focus: Nike Phantom VNM Elite
Storming into 2019 like a Marcus Rashford rocket, Nike are changing the game once again with the release of the Phantom VNM, a brand new silo designed to strike fear into the hearts of opponents.
Strike is the right word too, because although we’re revealing Nike’s new Phantom VNM, what we’re really here to talk about are goals. And lots of them. This is a boot that’s going to put up serious numbers – read on for five ways the VNM will take your goalscoring potential from good to great.
Laces? What Laces?
The Phantom VNM takes the innovative Ghost Lace system concept of its stablemate, the Phantom VSN, and combines it with an asymmetrical design reminiscent of the T90 and Hypervenom. The result is a strike zone that’s 30 percent bigger than a regular laced boot, producing cleaner contact with the ball and allowing greater accuracy on a wider range of finishes. Pundits often talk about good strikers scoring “different types of goals”, and that’s the aim of the Phantom VNM. Think Harry Kane. Volleys, long shots, tap-ins, free-kicks – Nike’s new boot can do it all.
Wait, what? That’s right, golf. Designed to give strikers greater control over the flight of the ball, the Phantom VNM features polyurethane-injected ridges on the instep, similar in appearance, you might notice, to the grooves on a golf club. A slightly unusual source of inspiration, perhaps, but it’s very effective – if you wrap your foot fully around the ball you can generate huge amounts of spin, and we shudder at the thought of the dip free-kick specialists will produce with the knuckleball technique.
Towards the toe of the boot, the VNM’s spin-generating ridges transition into a honeycomb micro-texture similar to that seen on the Phantom VSN’s midfoot panel. Control’s the main focus here, and while it is good for maintaining close contact with the ball when dribbling, we’ve found it also influences shooting more than you might think. You know those little outside of the boot finishes that sometimes just don’t quite bend back inside the post? They’re all going in now, every single one.
Stability is key
Coaches at the top level always emphasise the importance of your standing foot when you strike the ball. It’s vital: you need to have a stable base to produce powerful, accurate shots. The Phantom VNM features a few innovations to assist on that point. First, the application of Flywire, which is fully integrated with the laces and boasts a combination of static and dynamic cables for intelligent balance. Then, towards the rear of the boot, foam pods wrap your heel to keep it firmly in place, while chevron studs at the back of the soleplate allow you to brake and plant your foot efficiently.
Lethal in low-cut
With all that stability elsewhere, the Phantom VNM has no real need for a Dynamic Fit collar, and so is only available in a low-cut version. There’s a reason most strikers prefer boots without the extra bulk at the ankle – it gives you just that little bit of extra freedom of movement, which can make all the difference for certain types of shots. It’s also a more natural choice for a silo partly inspired by the Total 90, and works especially well with the VNM’s one-piece Flyknit upper in what is a formidable-looking boot.