With the new football season approaching for many amateur footballers across the country over the coming weekends, SportLocker thought it would be a good idea to get our hands on the latest footy boots, and put them through a rigorous play test.
This week, Sam Van Gelder took a pair of Adidas F50 adiZero football boots to his local pitches and here is what he found:
The Boot: Adidas F50 adiZero
Colour Tested: Sun/Black/Gold
Category: Speed Boot
Price (RRP): £125
Weight: 165 grams
Who wears them: Lionel Messi, David Villa, Thomas Muller, Diego Forlan, Arjen Robben, Ashley Young, Jermain Defoe, Gareth Bale (and plenty more!)
Before jumping into how the boot performed on the pitch, let’s get the science stuff out of the way. A few of Adidas’ key design developments:
- A SprintSkin single layer upper to the boot means its light and ultra comfortable.
- A Sprint Frame outsole takes inspiration from running sprint spikes using bridges to create support throughout the foot.
- Thermo Polyurethane (TPU) bands are weaved throughout the top of the boot to aid stability when travelling at speed.
- A revolutionary triangular stud configuration provides maximum acceleration and optimum support for lateral and medial movements.
Whether you decide to believe all the technology talk that comes with the release of a new boot is up to you but, no matter what way you look at it, football boots are an integral part of the makeup of any footballer. A vast amount of money is pumped into the development of these boots, with the aim to give footballers an edge on the pitch – making us even more eager to try out the adiZeros!
The adiZero is the newest edition from the F50 series. Released just before the World Cup, the boot sent shockwaves around the football boot world (if there was such a thing). Weighing in at a mere 165 grams – that’s roughly the same weight as your average Frisbee – it was sold as the lightest boot in football history.
Puma have since released a lighter boot in the Puma V1.10 SL, which weigh 15 grams less – but ignoring that little fact for now – Adidas finally had a real competitor to Nike’s infamous Mercurial Vapor boot.
And it didn’t take long for the boot to have its impact out in South Africa. Stars such as David Villa, Thomas Muller and Diego Forlan were among the adiZero wearers that scored a total of 43 goals – more than double the amount of goals for any other boot at the tournament.
There has only really been one speed football boot in recent years. Nike’s Mercurial Vapor series has been hands down the lead performer in this department. Yet for the first time since the F50 series was introduced in 2004, Nike should really be quaking in their (football) boots.
Not only are the adiZeros 65 grams lighter, they are also incredibly cheaper. Nike’s latest Mercurial Vapor Superfly boot will set you back a whopping £274.99! And even their cheaper model costs £179.99. So at £125, the adiZero seems an absolute bargain from the start!
With such a big build up, I was more than excited to get my hands on the adiZero. And as I took them out of the box, I was utterly amazed at just how light these boots actually are. It’s frightening, and I’m not even going to try and put it into words!
So after gawping for a few minutes, the next step was to put them on. Initially I was a little worried that they would be flimsy and uncomfortable. However, I was completely wrong. The boot fits snugly right from the outset, and there is very little ‘breaking in’ period. The heel counter also creates a secure feel to the boot.
That said, I did notice that due to the upper being made of synthetic material, when I started running, the boots did crease in the area between the laces and beginning of the toes. However, as the session progressed, the boots definitely seemed to mould to my foot, and became much more comfy.
The ground was a little hard and so firm ground studs (moulded) would have been more suitable. But it’s testament to the boot that I had no blisters despite wearing the soft ground versions during the kickabout.
We then got the ball involved and I was a little apprehensive at how the boots would react. Personally, I have only ever worn leather boots, as I feel you get a better sense of touch and control.
Yet again, however, I was pleasantly surprised at the general feel of the boot with the ball. Because the upper is so thin, you really get a decent feel with the ball at your feet.
Nevertheless, the leather version of the adiZero would definitely be more suitable to those who like to have plenty of touches of the ball during a game.
The best part of any training session/ boot play test! The major observation here was the trueness of the connection. The ball really does stay hit (see photo and imagine it flying into the top corner (which it did!)) The ‘ping’ noise which you get with the synthetic material when striking through the ball also makes for a more enjoyable shooting experience!
The only negative came when trying to curl a shot or long pass. The ball just stays hit every time you kick it, and there appeared to be very little curl on the ball – making it much harder to judge. (I’m aware this may sound ridiculous but try it yourself!)
Another effective way of gauging the impact of a football boot is by looking at the professionals’ reaction to them. The most famous endorser of the boot, Mr Messi, is obviously going to give the perfect answer to promote the boot.
In this case it was: “I am amazed at how light the new F50 is; I can barely feel them on my feet. Speed on the pitch is a really important part of my game and wearing the world’s lightest boot will hopefully make me faster and enhance my performance during the most important games of the year!”
Well said Lionel. However, now that Puma have the right to call themselves the manufacturer of the world’s lightest boot, does that mean Messi will now move to Puma? I think not. Yet it is still interesting to have a look at a few Premier League stars that have jumped on the adiZero bandwagon.
Obviously, footballers get paid extreme amounts of money to wear certain sportswear brands. However, this normally means that they can only wear one boot within the brand. For example, the likes of David Beckham and Steven Gerrard have only ever worn Adidas Predators.
However, some players do move to different brands or even to different boots within the same brand. Perhaps the most significant recent example of the latter is when Chelsea goal machine Frank Lampard moved from Adidas’ Predator boots to the adiPURE boots he wears today.
And the adiZero has had a similar effect since its arrival. Firstly, Puma have lost arguably their two most high profile players in Premier League pair Nicolas Anelka and John Carew to the adiZero. Another player to cross the divide is Stephen Ireland, who has turned to the adiZero after a long spell in Nike’s Mercurial Vapors and Superflys (the really expensive ones).
Newcastle United’s new hero Andy Carroll was wearing Adidas adiPURE boots last season, but now wears the leather version of the adiZeros. But perhaps the most surprising movement comes from Everton’s playmaker Mikel Arteta.
For many years now, speed boots were deemed a striker’s or a pacy winger’s boot. But the adiZero is clearly changing this trend. The creative Spaniard also wore adiPURE boots for the past few seasons but he now wears the leather versions of the adiZero. So the boot is clearly fit for technical players as well as speed merchants.
I think the major reason to the good feedback you get when wearing the adiZero is down to its simplicity. It literally has three elements: a sole plate, upper and laces.
Another important observation that I found was that the boots came up a little big in size. I usually wear a UK 9.5 but I would recommend half a size down from what you normally wear.
Adidas have finally found a speed boot to be proud of! For too many years, the Adidas F50 series have lived in the shadow of their far superior and more successful Nike counterpart, the Mercurial Vapor. But now, Adidas really do appear to have hit the jackpot. A classy yet incredibly light boot, the adiZero pretty much ticks all the boxes. The fact that the boot also comes in a leather version only heightens its appeal. Some would say the most revolutionary football boot since the Predator.