Designed for football wide receivers and running backs, the Nike Vapor Jet is incredibly light and very fast. With eight fore-foot stud traction and sidewall cleats on the TD outsole, the Vapor Jet are excellent for cutting and fast stops and are undoubtedly one of the more popular cleats in the sport right now.
Out of the box, the cleat leaves a bit of comfort to be desired. The built-in insole has a very high, stiff arch that takes about week to work in. Once they’re worn in, the cleats ride like lightning and feel very light, but also incredibly stable.
Like most Nike products, the Vapor Jet runs relatively thin and somewhat small. The inside mesh acts as a nice pillow for your lower ankle, and overall the cleat fits snugly from the heel to the toe. The cleat feels like a natural extension of the foot and, in the right conditions, works exactly how the wearer wants it to.
The heel support on the Vapor Jet is not great, and the toe-box also provides minimal comfort. While this lack of cushioning is a trade-off for a lighter cleat, it may lead to occasional bruised heels and some blackened toenails.
Those looking for a cleat with ankle support may want to glance elsewhere. With a low cut foot-hole, the Vapor Jet nixes ankle support in favor of heightened mobility. Weighing in at 9.6oz, it’s one of the lightest cleats around. It’s relative, the Speed TD, is about an ounce heavier at 10.5oz.
The Vapor Jet has two outsole options – the TD, which is designed for dry, firm surfaces and the D, which is designed for thicker, wetter grass. The TD molding features a eight-studded grip, with four rectangular studs on the heel, two rounded toe-studs, and four triangular middle-foot studs, along with side flaps that aid with balance on heavy or rain-soaked grass. Alternately, the D outsole has seven wider, removable studs, with a dedicated toe stud and two mid-heel. Though the two are not markedly different, the wider studded D stud set does provide slightly better grip in soggy grass, but is significantly slower on dry/firm ground, making the TD set a better overall option.
From a molding standpoint, the Vapor Jet is one of the few cleats that offer a toe stud of any sort, which is a huge aid in the first few steps of a big deep cut. The four heavy studs (TD outsole) on the heel provide great stopping balance when changing direction. In wet conditions, both stud sets are not as effective, as loose grass starts to clump up quickly. But on turf or in dry conditions, the outsole works perfectly.
The Vapor Jet also features a low-ankle, which allows for a lot more mobility and thus better ability to jump and sky fools on the field. However, the low-ankle support is a double edged sword. Though it allows for more power, the Vapor Jet is no friend to those with injury-prone ankles.
The molding itself is a little stiff, which adds to grip and reduces interior friction (fewer blisters), but also hurts opportunities for the toes to add too much to overall foot movement, something that some even lighter (but thus less stable) cleats offer.
With a ton of cutting, quick stopping and contact, cleats endure some serious impact on the Ultimate field, and while the Vapor Jet is well-built, it’s not immune to destruction.
In the rain, the Vapor Jet’s water resistant, plastic finish keeps feet relatively dry. The foot-hole fits tight enough around the ankle that it prevents water from seeping in. However, it should not be seen as a boot-cleat that will keep socks free of moisture. In serious rain or snow, the Jet can become a bit soggy, but not to the point of pools in the toe-box. On the upside, if it does end up being used in wet conditions, the cleat seems to dry fairly quickly.
A few months after wearing the Vapor Jets, the heel where the molding meets the boot starts to deteriorate, and similarly on the toe-box. Granted, the Vapor Jet doesn’t fall apart faster than any other cleat; in fact, the molding itself is unlikely to completely fall off and the studs won’t break anytime soon. What’s more likely on this cleat is for the boot to start tearing in the toe box. The plastic lace loops at the foot-hole have been reported to break off as well.
Overall, for dry to drizzly conditions, the Vapor Jet goes a long way, but when it gets a bit soggy out, players can count on wet socks and a slip here and there. The Vapor Jet lasts slightly longer than average, over a year for intense use and perhaps longer with light use. They don’t have the same issues of breaking through the toe-box or the molding instability that other cleats are prone to, but they’re not exempt from deterioration.
The nice thing about Nike products these days is they’re highly customizable. With Nike ID, the Vapor Jet can look almost anyway the wearer wants — from a sleek two color theme to a pride day rainbow. The standard set of colors are also pretty varied, usually working off a two-color theme. The design itself is very simplified. It’s basically split into two panels: toe and heel including outsole and then the rest of the foot.
With many possibilities, and if you’re willing to pay a bit more, the Vapor Jet can easily match team uniforms or stand-out personalities. The standard set of color designs are far more simplistic, but with bright enough coloring to stand out.
If you have gigantic feet, the Vapor Jets can be acquired for as low as $50 on Eastbay, but for those in the normal range of sizes, they run about $100 and $140 with a customized Nike ID Design.
At $100, the Nike Vapor Jet falls in a mid price range, making them a decent deal for the quality of the cleat. But with the Nike ID customization, they’re lifted into a higher range.
Nike Vapor Jet 4.2 – $50-$100 [$140 custom] (Red, Blue, Orange, Black, Yellow – Additional Custom Colors)
At a reasonable price for the non-customized model, the Nike Vapor Jet 4.2 D may just be the fastest Ultimate cleat on the market right now. With a unique rounded toe stud, a molding ideal for fast stops and power, a low-rise ankle for better mobility, and a lightweight design, in most weather conditions the Vapor Jet will aid in cutting faster and jumping higher than the competition. When it comes to injury prevention, ankle support and cold/wet weather conditions, the Vapor Jet is not the best bet.
Nike recently came out with an updated version of the Vapor Jet, the Nike Vapor Carbon featuring an enhanced boot and a slightly modified cleat molding.
Comments Policy: At Skyd, we value all legitimate contributions to the discussion of ultimate. However, please ensure your input is respectful. Hateful, slanderous, or disrespectful comments will be deleted. For grammatical, factual, and typographic errors, instead of leaving a comment, please e-mail our editors directly at editors [at] skydmagazine.com.