Nike Vapor Speed Irons Review

Nike Vapor Speed Irons (2)

50 Words or Less

The Nike Vapor Speed irons capture the advanced engineering profile that’s often synonymous with the brand in other arenas.  The performance of these irons is indicative of the great strides Nike has made in the golf equipment world.

Nike Vapor Speed Irons (14)

Introduction

Admittedly, like many others, I have been somewhat cautious when it has come to accepting Nike Golf equipment and thinking it belongs in the same conversation as a lot of the other top brands.  After last year’s Covert 2.0 range, I was truly convinced that Nike has brought their forward-thinking and progressive mindset from other sports over to the golf world and firmly planted themselves at the top of the game.  With the new Vapor line, Nike not only continues to crank out great clubs, but they’re showing that there is no ceiling when it comes to developing new ways to improve golf equipment.  The Nike Vapor Speed irons are one of the best game improvement irons I have ever seen.

Nike Vapor Speed Irons (16)

Looks

Thick soles, fat top lines, maximum offset, and large heads are words often used for game improvement clubs.  No joke, I had to look up if the new Nike Vapor Speeds were actually supposed to be Game Improvement irons.  Yes, at address, they are a bit longer from heel to toe, but they don’t scream “oversized shovel” at all.  The top line is thicker than a blade, but isn’t offensively large.  The soles of the club are definitely forgiving in size, but again, are not massive and are an appropriate size for a comfortable and confidence-inducing golf club.

The Vapor Speeds are a brilliant combination of structured lines, bright colors, and simplicity.  While there is a minimum amount of wording, the neon yellow swoosh on a black background provides a nice to-the-point statement.  Paired with simple lines and an almost diamond plate finish in the cavity, the Vapor Speed irons scream business and performance.

Nike Vapor Speed Irons (5)

Sound & Feel

Honestly, in this modern era of golf, I feel like I never know what to expect for sound and feel from a new game improvement iron.  They have come such a long way in forgiveness and distance with new materials and designs that the feel is often so neutral and the sounds may end up more like a hybrid.  Once I settled into the Nike Vapor Speed irons, I once again was shocked that this was GI iron.  Aside from being easy to hit, the club face had much more response than I would expect out of game improvement iron, and it sounded like…well…a golf club hitting a golf ball.  I’m not going to sit here and tell you it sounded like a Japanese cold forged iron striking a ball dead in the sweet spot, but it sounded like a good ole normal golf club.  It was fantastic and refreshing.

Going back to the feel of the club, the Vapor Speed really has a nice blend of responsiveness and forgiveness.  It’s hard to dial in a club to do both.  What I mean here is that the mishits are not painful at all, but the club let’s you know where you hit it.

Nike Vapor Speed Irons (11)

Performance

When we tested the Vapor Speed irons against the Vapor Pro Combo irons, we found some expected differences and some surprising similarities.  Most notable to me was the Nike Vapor Speed was easier to get in the air than the Pro Combo, which is often one of the biggest challenges for amateur golfers looking for more ideal ball flights.  With the short irons, we saw the Vapor Speed peak in the air at about the same height as the Pro Combos, and the longer irons launched a little higher with the Vapor Speeds.

I think if I paired this iron with a different shaft, I may actually find more distance than I had with the Pro Combo.  I occasionally found myself getting the ball a little higher than normal and it cost me a bit of distance.  That said, on mishits, I had much higher ball speed with the Speeds than I did with the Pro Combos so I managed to lose a lot less distance than I normally would.  This is exactly what I’m looking for out of a game improvement golf club.  This can be attributed to the FlyBeam which Nike used to reinforce the hollow-cavity in the long irons.  According to Nike, this helps drastically in maximizing stability of the club on off-center hits.

Nike Vapor Speed Irons (17)

Conclusion

The world of Game Improvement golf clubs is probably one of the most tricky compromises in the golf equipment industry.  There are plenty of golfers that don’t play enough to really dive into an advanced skill club, but are ready to graduate from their massively oversized heads and offset.  The Nike Vapor Speed irons might be one of the best sets I’ve ever seen for this player.  My buddy, Bob, comes to mind.  He’s a really good golfer, gets around the course nicely, but doesn’t play blade irons.  He’s used to Game Improvement clubs, has had success with them, and doesn’t need that to change.  The Vapor Speed would offer the same forgiving performance, while at the same time providing similar benefits of a player’s club like a cleaner, smoother look and better responsiveness across the face of the golf club.

If you look back on our reviews, you’ll find a common theme: you better pay attention to Nike golf clubs.  Nike keeps cranking out better and better equipment with each new generation.  It’s important to remember that Nike is a global leader in athletic research and design, and success follows them pretty much wherever they go.  Even if you’re late to the Nike Golf party, I can promise you that it’s only going to keep getting better.

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Bill Bush

Co-Founder
Bill is a true golf gear nerd by definition who loves making custom club creations in his garage with tools like sledge hammers, blow torches, and his bare hands. By day, Bill is a technology manager living in the Chicago suburbs with his wife and kids. Bill plays Scott Readman Concepts putters and accessories.

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27 Comments

  1. Thanks for the great review on the Nike Speed irons. I was considering the Nike Vapor Speed and the Mizuno JPX-850 Cast or Forged. I will now be getting fit for the Nike Speed irons. I currently play Ping G15’s (nice clubs but it’s time to move on). – Chuck

  2. Great review; thanks, Bill.

  3. Great review; thanks! How would you compare the Nike Vapor Speed and the Ping G30 in terms of forgiveness and ease of play? Thanks in advance!

    • I can’t accurately compare the two as I’ve never hit the G30 irons. I can only speak to the Nikes being quite forgiving and easy to hit. The Speeds are definitely one of the top players in the GI market.

  4. Appreciate your prompt response, Bill.

  5. tim caton

    Bill, nice review. I said I would never play NIKE. I should stop using the word never. Ive been using the x2hot pro irons, nice, but my friend showed up with these. he begged me to try ’em and me being a really good friend did, just to shut him up. i now own a set of these irons and absolutely love love ’em. i am a 60 year old 7 handicap and like going home after a round untired! NIKE convert? tim

  6. bill hardy

    Great description of irons. I was fitted tried pings callaway and Taylor . never considered Nike but ended up buying after demo .. It felt great
    Thank you. You’re review convinced me I made the right decision

  7. Great review! But, I have noticed the overall club length of these irons are at least 3/4 to 1″ longer then any other club on the market. How would this affect playability and performance?

    • Generally, it doesn’t affect playability or performance, but like any other club and player in relation to length, it’s important to make sure the clubs fit properly. If they are too long, you will be able to easily work with a fitter to have necessary adjustments made.

  8. Hi Bill,

    Thanks for your review, always enjoy reading them.

    I am looking for a mid-high handicap set, and am looking at both the Nike Vapor Speed Irons and the TaylorMade Aeroburner set.

    They are both similar in price at around £300, which would you recommend??

    Thanks in advance!

  9. Tom Green

    Found your review of the Nike Vapor Speed irons helpful. But I have a question: Did you try the irons with the graphite shaft? If so, what’s your evaluation? I’m thinking of making the switch to graphite shafts in my irons, and the Vapor Speed with its standard graphite shaft looks like a good candidate. Thanks.

  10. Very helpful review. I’m a younger guy (late 20s) so distance isn’t a huge issue for me… accuracy however can be an problem. I’m considering both the nike vapor speed and the Calloway h2 hot irons…which do you recommend?

  11. Question…. head to head which would you recommend… the Vapor Speed or Vapor Fly irons?? I’m a high handicap golfer currently using Rocketbladez HL’s. The Fly’s felt a bit lighter, but they both felt awesome. My numbers indoors on Golfsmith’s monitors were comparable, but outdoors could be different. (I’m in NY). Just not sure, and my fitter at Golfsmith is biased and hates Nike lol. So he’s no help… so please give me some advice!!!

    • Matt Saternus

      TJ,

      If they’re really both the same, I guess I’d opt to save money, assuming I could still get the custom options I wanted in the older set.

      Best,

      Matt

      • Matt,

        Thanks so much! I was thinking the same thing. I’m a standard shaft length, lie and loft guy usually, just need +4 wraps or midsize grips which shouldn’t be too difficult I’d assume. Like I said the numbers were comparable… what I lost in length/ball speed in one (Speed seemed to go a few yards shorter but I used those first, so I may not have been as loose), I gained in accuracy and dispersion. Spin rates were close, trajectory was close… nothing too different. BUT I do LOVE the blue Z grips, and I’m not a fan of the tour velvet grips at ALL. I feel just as confident looking down with both irons that I’m going to crush the ball, so this is a tough one. You’ve already swayed me away from the M2’s… just have to decide between Old vs. New…. tough tough choice. (I do notice that ALL tour players use a version of the old ones, not the new ones… hmmm)

        • Don’t make a decision based on the grips, that’s an easy/fix replacement. Get the club that gives you the best optimal results and work from there.

          • Thanks Bill!

            Agreed…. key word being OPTIMAL. I get pretty good distance for a high handicapper as is, so the loss of a little distance isn’t a huge concern, especially when the tradeoff will mean more GIR’s and FIR’s. So… I think I will head to the PGA Superstore near me and give them both one more try on different monitors just in case, but I think the Vapor Speeds will be the winner. Thanks a ton guys, you’re both a HUGE help, and I LOVE your reviews!! I’m sure I will be back for advice on drivers also, so be ready lol. (love the M2 driver, but never hit any of the Vapors at all, so we shall see)

  12. Chris LeClair

    Bill, thanks for the great review….I am considering the Vapor Speed, but was wondering about its replacement the Vapor Fly…I have not found any reviews that compare these two nike products.

    How would you describe the difference between these two Nike products?

    thanks again

  13. Kevin Neely

    Hi, I am 53 years of age and looking to get a set of new clubs, I really like the looks of Nike vapor fly and speed irons…but my problem is my hands are weak, my neck on my left side hurts at times. I have Wilson d 100 irons indoors and I love it that the vibration control or feel at impact is incredible, it is so soft, and so good for my back. I can’t find any place that still has the Nike speed irons so that I can hot and get a feel on vibration control. In your opinion, which Nike iron is best for absorbing vibration so that it will be easy on me and the feel

    • Matt Saternus

      Kevin,

      I couldn’t give you an educated opinion on that. What I will suggest is that the shaft you choose can have a huge impact. I would suggest working with a club fitter like True Spec or Club Champion to find a shaft that is soft enough and absorbs shock so you can pick the head that you want.

      Best,

      Matt

  14. Kevin Neely

    Thanks Matt, when it comes to the top line of the club when looking down at it, I’ve seen the Nike vapor, how does Nike speed irons compare in topline look. I like the thickness or width of top line on vapor

    • Matt Saternus

      Kevin,

      It’s been a while since I’ve had these in hand. I recall the Speed being a little thicker.

      -Matt

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