It's that time of the season again where brands begin to test drive their upcoming innovations for the next campaign. Nike have broken their cover by supplying Neymar with a mystery blackout boot to get to grips with in training this week.
Next-generation Mercurial? You'd think so. The streamlined design certainly suggests that. With Cristiano Ronaldo pushing the wrong side of thirty, albeit still in pristine condition, the Swoosh may well see 2018 as the year that Neymar inevitably replaces CR7 as Nike's top dog. The Barcelona man is currently serving a suspension that forced him to miss an epic El Clásico but he's used the time to switch into Nike's twelfth generation Vapor series, disguised in an all black cover to hide any early technology and aesthetic details.
Speculation would indicate that the boot Neymar is wearing would headline Nike's on-pitch collection leading up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, a tournament Brazil have already qualified for. All we know right now is that the silhouette possesses Vapor stylings and a previous unseen mid-cut collar, smaller than the Superfly V but distinctively larger than the current lo-cut Vapor XI. A resemblance nearer to the adidas X 16.1 collar.
The overall silhouette looks like it packs one of the most dramatic changes in design that the Vapor series has seen in recent seasons. There's no sign of the speed-ribs found on the Vapor XI and the material of the upper is currently hidden by that all black wrap. We've seen Nike incorporate the Hypervenom 3 with a Flyknit upper on both the collared and lo-cut designs and this could be a concept that Nike will transfer onto the upcoming Mercurial Vapor. For now though, Nike are keeping their lips sealed.