Nike Vapor Elite Lacrosse Head Review

I was not a fan of the Nike Vapor series, but I took the Nike Vapor Elite Lacrosse head to the field, considering the reviews of my fellow players. It has a somewhat narrow profile and a shorter throat for better control during the game. 

The specs sound good but I was looking for an attacking head with better ground-ball pick-up ability. So, let’s see if this one fits the profile.

Nike vapor Elite Lacrosse head
Nike vapor Elite Lacrosse head (

Key Features and Specifications

Position  Attacker, offensive midfielders
Weight  4.7 ounces
Pocket Location  Mid | Mid-Low
Stiffness  Stiff
String Holes  Top holes:4 | Side Holes:16 on each side
Face Shape  Narrow
Ground pick-up  Better
Ball Release  Delayed
Ease of Use  Intermediate | Advanced 
Spread on Shot  Minimal
Level of Play  All
Legality  Conforming with NCAA and NFHS Rules
Colors White | Special Grey and Black
Release Year 2018
  • Exceptional shooting accuracy
  • Durable and strong construction
  • Better ground ball pick-ups than other attack heads
  • Balanced and lightweight
  • Versatile head suitable for offensive middies and attackers
  • Provides good value for money
  • The pocket often requires adjustment
  • Delayed ball release
  • String protection lip is unavailable

Nike Vapor Elite Lacrosse Head Ranking

I rate the Nike Vapor Elite head an 8.1/10 on the Drip Meter.

Accuracy of Shot and Pass 8.5 Passing accuracy is impressive for short ranges. For long ranges, it can be somewhat low speed.
Checking 8 Performs well for snatching up loose balls and checks. Its stiffer build plastic profile makes it durable.
Ball Security 8.5 The rigid and sharp angles along all sidewalls help deflect checks on the head andallow for increased ball security.
Catching 9 It is perfect for catching high-speed passes.
Ground Pickup Performance 8.5 The Nike Vapor Elite is great at picking up ground balls with a pointed stock scoop that funnelsground balls into its secure mid pocket.
Faceoff Performance 5 The head’s face profile is not ideal for faceoffs.
Stringing 8 This head has an average amount of stringing holes allowing for multiple versatile pocket setups.
Durability (Material andThickness) 8.5 Durable design with the right amount of stiffness and thickness.
Drippiness/Aesthetics/BrandIntegrity 8.5 Nike has kept the Vapor Elite simple and modern
Cost  8.5 Great value for the quality.
Total 8.1/10

Who’s This Head Made For?

Released in late 2018, the third generation of the Vapor series Nike Vapor Elite lacrosse head is one of the famous attacking heads for male players.

Although Nike increased the price from its predecessor, it has improved the quality as well. I used it on and off for a year, and it had withstood my aggressive playing style. Surely, the top part of the string was torn out twice, but it was bearable because the head’s body had no damage. 

Besides, the updated stock scoop design with edged side rails in just 4.7 ounces is an amazing upgrade for better ground ball pick-ups. Most attacking heads disappoint in scooping ground balls in tight spots. I was unsure if this one would perform well with its tight face shape and high flare points. 

Did it deliver on both high-pace shooting and easy catching? I have discussed it all in my Nike Vapor Elite head review.

Accuracy of Shot and Pass

The Nike Vapor Elite has amazing shooting accuracy. However, I had some off-center hits initially due to the stiffer pocket and narrow face profile. Also, the ground balls didn’t hit the sweet spot in the pocket, and the shots turned out disrupted. 

Nike Vapor Elite Scoop Top View
Nike Vapor Elite Scoop Top View (

So, I restrung the pocket to improve the shooting power and passing accuracy. Although it was challenging to get tight knots due to the thicker bottom rail, 16 side holes enabled me to create a mid pocket (a mid-low pocket is also an option). 

Moreover, the narrow throat and strong side rails with no tapering provided better ball placement for more accurate throws. I experienced almost perfectly controlled feeding with the Nike Vapor Elite lacrosse head because ground balls fit snugly in the pocket once you break in. 

The shooting speed was also higher than Maverik Optik 2.0 and Nike Lakota 2. However, if you prefer a wider face shape and angled side rails rather than vertical, try the Nike CEO 2 or CEO 3

Catching and Cradling

I found the width of the face of the Nike Vapor Elite lacrosse head perfect for catching and cradling the ball. 

Although the pocket needed adjustment to a mid position, the catching and cradling were accurate. The deeper pocket was beneficial for catching loose balls on the ground, providing a secure hold during fast-paced play. 

However, it caused the ball to be released a bit late. Therefore, I had to adjust my throwing technique, focusing on a quicker wrist snap and altering my release point to compensate for the delay. It was necessary for maintaining accuracy and control during fast transitions.

Thus, high-school players who are still developing their skills should go for less stiffer heads with larger sweet spots like STX Stallion 900 or Maverik Kinetik 2.0

Nike Vapor Elite Special Colors
Nike Vapor Elite Special Colors (


The Nike Vapor Elite lacrosse head has a very balanced and durable construction. It’s lightweight yet strong enough to endure opponent checks. However, I missed the flex as the scoop warped, creating a vibration up to the shaft.

The aggressive angle of the scoop also allowed me easier ground ball pick-up and effective checking. Whereas the chunky side rails maintained a snug fit for the ball during checks, keeping the ball secure in the pocket during opponent hits. 

Thus, checking hard, dodging the defenders, and snatching the ball on the run was good. However, I noticed the ball occasionally slipping out of the pocket, especially when midfielders tried to make quick, aggressive movements. It was due to the stiffer pocket that settled after the break-in period, which was quite long. 

Although the Nike Vapor Elite maintained its shape perfectly for the attacking position, it lacked the protection lip on top. As a result, the strings came out more frequently than they should have been. 

Hence, the aggressive players should opt for StringKing Mark 2A and the ECD Mirage 2.0 for better flexibility and power control. 

Ground pick-up and face-off

The strong side rails assisted significantly with easier ground ball pick-ups when dodging defenders and scooping in transition. I easily took hold of the ball without any wobble. 

Nike Vapor Elite Scoop
Nike Vapor Elite Scoop (

The pointed scoop didn’t look ideal for scooping up ground balls, at least not initially. However, to my surprise, the scoop shape and head width of the Nike Vapor Elite lacrosse head performed exceptionally well in directing ground balls right into the pocket.

Although the pointed stock scoop picked up the turf sometimes, it was better than other attacking heads. Besides, its performance in ground pick-ups is also adequate but not exceptional for face-off battles. It’s because the head’s stiff, rating around 5 out of 10 for face-offs. 

I feel that the Nike Vapor Elite is better for offensive players who focus on ball handling and shooting rather than face-offs. I suggest Nike CEO 3 for face-off players, as it’s more flexible. 

People Also Ask

What Makes the Nike Vapor Elite Lacrosse Head Suitable for Attackers?

The Nike Vapor Elite Lacrosse Head’s narrow face shape and shorter throat provide attackers with better control, high shooting accuracy, and improved ground-ball pick-up abilities.

How Does the Nike Vapor Elite Perform in Ground Ball Pick-Ups?

The Nike Vapor Elite features a strong side rail and pointed scoop, enhancing its ground ball pick-up abilities, and making it better than many other attacking heads.

Is the Nike Vapor Elite Lacrosse Head Durable?

Yes, the Nike Vapor Elite Lacrosse Head has a durable and strong construction, making it withstand aggressive playing styles and frequent checks.

What Are the Pros and Cons of the Nike Vapor Elite Lacrosse Head?

Pros are exceptional shooting accuracy, durability, better ground ball pick-ups, balanced, lightweight, versatile, and good value for money. Whereas, cons include pocket adjustment, delayed ball release, and no string protection lip.

Who Should Use the Nike Vapor Elite Lacrosse Head?

The Nike Vapor Elite Lacrosse Head is ideal for offensive midfielders and attackers, especially advanced players looking for a durable, accurate, and control-enhancing lacrosse head.

The Nike Vapor Elite lacrosse head is suitable for offensive middies and attackers. Its lightweight yet stiff construction provides high-level shooting speed and accuracy. Although stringing it would be difficult for new players, the deep pocket will offer a sweet spot for easy cradling. 

Based on my on-field experience, I think its ground ball scooping ability is better than other attacking heads with its tight face and balanced throat. 

Read more of my Nike Lacrosse Head reviews here.

About Author

Picture of Connor Stifel

Connor Stifel

As a lifelong lacrosse enthusiast, I've had the privilege of playing the sport from a young age, honing my skills on the field and developing a deep appreciation for the game's speed, strategy, and camaraderie. With a decade of experience under my belt, from childhood to high school, I've carried that passion with me into adulthood, always eager to share my knowledge and enthusiasm with others.

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