Nike Phantom Rugby Boots

Tries are important, but to pile up as many points as possible, conversions, penalty kicks, and dropkicks cannot be overlooked and must be assigned to someone that strikes with surgical precision. A player of such calibre needs an equally performing rugby boot and surely, he will find the Nike Phantom, a boot made for a player who impacts the game with well-timed kicks on the ball, a perfect match for his ability.

Control is to the Phantom GX what speed is to the Mercurial and heritage and touch are for the Tiempo. The current generation of the Nike Phantom is called the GX, and like the Mercurial it has a DF-collared version and a low-cut one.

Elite Phantom GX Rugby

GX Elite SG-Pro AC

Metal studs are non-removable but maintains the lightweight feel of the entire outsole; also maintains the versatile layout with the retention of the moulded chevrons and donut-hole conicals

Firm Ground ELITE GX

Versatile stud composition comprised of Tristars, chevrons and donut-hole conicals

Whereas the Superfly and the Vapor do not have any difference apart from the collar, the Phantom GX DF and the GX low has another key change between them. Along with the collar, the DF GX also has the Ghost Lacing system-a stretchy mesh material that covers the laces to keep the boot clear of any surface disruption. But it’s worth noting that while the laces on the GX low does not have this cover, the low-end of it is somewhat covered because the lacing layer goes underneath the main upper material.

Phantom GX Low Elite Rugby

Central to the GX’s essence is the Gripknit technology covers the entirety of the forefoot and tapers off towards the sides of the boot. Gripknit is comprised of TPU-coated yarns that, after going through an optimal heating process, become flexible, durable and has a nice sticky sensation. Because the yarns are individually treated, there is no need to add a coating overlay or rubber elements just to get that grip attribute. Another effect of the process is that Gripknit has excellent weatherization benefits, so that the touch remains the same and intake is significantly reduced during wet conditions. Gripknit is soft but has decent structure, and the lacing layer that also makes up the entire quarter greatly assists in maintaining that boot form. The soleplate falls on the flexible side and has the most number of studs and stud shapes involved in the entire Nike lineup. Lastly, the Phantom GX has an internal ‘promo’ heel counter that has a recess in the heel to make it comfortable along the achilles.

The Phantom GX is best for…

The Phantom GX is best for the kickers of the game. Gripknit’s optimal sticky surface is perfect to have that split-second grip on the ball so that they could further increase the accuracy of their ball placement. And that comes in especially handy when they need to get the ball in-between the goal post from a great distance. Drop kicks and drop goals can be a go-to play if you have a kicker on the team that wears the Phantom GX.

Another audience for the GX is the wide-feet player. The Nike Phantom boot is based on the OG Hypervenom last, which is pretty wide by itself. And when you further add the natural stretch of a knitted upper, you have a boot that is totally friendly with a player that has a boulder of a foot. Scrum players may also find the pliability of the upper and outsole, plus the gentleness on the heel because of the recess on the counter, appealing as they find the boot free to move and flex with their feet. This makes the exhausting grinding of a scrum more bearable to say the least.

Lastly, if you just like the overall package of the GX and what it brings to the table, feel free to wear them in your rugby games.

Academy Phantom GX

Academy GX SG-Pro AC

Uses the heavier first-gen anti-clog plate with screw-in inserts for the replaceable metal studs

Academy GX Mixed Ground

Closely resembles the stud layout of the Elite but with a firmer plastic plate

Going to the more affordable Phantom GX Academy, Gripknit gives way to a Nikeskin upper. It’s a mesh-based material that has thin PU overlay melted over the surface. Nikeskin feels great against the feet and has one of the best touch on the ball for a synthetic boot at this price range. It must be said though that the appeal of the GX Elite in giving that sticky grip surface is completely non-existent in Nikeskin. You would have to settle with the natural texture of the mesh material to give you some friction points. Nikeskin is attached to more structured synthetic quarter, which certainly does not look premium but nonetheless serves its purpose in holding the boot’s form.

There’s also some differences between the DF and Low Academy GXs apart from the collar finish. With the low, you have a traditional u-throat and tongue construction for the off-centred lacing. The DF, on the other hand, has the stretch fabric comprising the high-cut collar extends towards the midfoot, kind of acting as a sock. The laces are actually anchored on loops attached to the cheaper iteration of the Ghost Lacing cover. We think that most would prefer the lacing setup of the low due to familiarity, as the DF GX Academy’s lacing mechanism simply adds unnecessary bulk across the top of the boot.

Kids Phantom GX

Nike offers the kid-specific Phantom GX model at the Academy level. One significant change is on the low-cut model. A set of crisscrossing straps replaces the traditional laces, rendering the boot as essentially laceless. Add that up to the fact that the standard tongue has a pull tab that the rugby child player can hold on to in slipping his foot inside the boot.

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