At the start of the season, SportLocker brought you the review of one of the most highly- anticipated and revolutionary football boots in recent history. Not since the release of the original adidas Predator in 1994 has the football boot world shook at witnessing such a creation. Pro footballers across the globe flocked to wear adidas’ lightest boot ever, with Lionel Messi their chief ambassador.
The adidas adiZero had landed! And now, over six months on and the football season nearly over (depressing ay!), Sam Van Gelder has got his hands on what some * are describing as the best boot ever made – the leather versions of the speedy bad boys! *by some, we mean he himself.
The Boot: Adidas F50 adiZero Leather
Colour Tested: Cyan/White/Pink
Category: Speed Boot Price (RRP): £125 (although much less than that now)
Weight: 175 grams
Who wears them (the newer leather versions, not exactly these): Lionel Messi, David Villa, Nani, Antonio Valencia and plenty more!
We normally jump into the technology talk first. But I’m not going to bore you with repetition, (click on the hyperlink in the intro and read the original adiZero review if you want to see the technology), as I want to focus on how a leather upper impacts the performance of the boot.
That said, the below has been removed for the leather versions: Thermo Polyurethane (TPU) bands are weaved throughout the top of the boot to aid stability when travelling at speed. Before I look into how the boot performs on the green stuff, I have a confession to make. Fellow boot lovers will immediately realise that these are not the newest edition to the adiZero family. However, our pals at adidas have assured us that the latest versions are only updated paint jobs, with no new technology. What’s more, there are still pros that wear these boots, including Chelsea pair Nicolas Anelka and Salomon Kalou.
What’s instantly apparent is just how light these boots are. It’s amazing, and hard to put into words. There is no noticeable difference in weight to the synthetic versions; despite the fact the leather adds a further 10g to the boot. But at a mere 175g, the leather adiZeros are by far and away the lightest adidas leather boot in history – which only heightened my excitement to try them on.
Another observation worth mentioning is the quality of the leather. It’s not a K-Leather upper, but instead adidas use full grain Galeo cow leather. This is slightly less soft and supple, but it’s still astounding how a leather boots can be this light. Although the upper is one piece, not all of the boot is leather.
It is evident that the leather starts half-way down the boot – but then this is the part of the boot that you will use to kick the ball, so no problems there. Enough build-up, it was now time to put these stunning boots on. The leather version fit much more snug, that’s for sure.
But this makes for a more comfortable fit. Instead of creasing (a problem I found with the synthetic adiZeros) these mould to your feet. Despite the internal TPU support bands being removed, the nature of the leather material means they are not missed – you still feel supported. This could also be down to the heel of the boot.
It is like no other I’ve seen before. It is only a thumb’s width wide and it sits higher on your Achilles than normal, which keeps the boot close to your foot, making for a really snug and comfortable fit. Running/Warming Up
The boots come with two innersoles – one for speed and one for comfort. I opted for the latter for the playtest, as I wanted to see if these leather boots could rival the adiPURE or CTR 360 Maestri II. I knew they were going to be light and speedy, but I really wanted to test whether these could be worn by midfield generals or by players who like to take lots of touches of the ball during a match.
And they honestly felt like the complete boot. They’re not quite as comfortable as the adiPURE or CTR II but I had never felt so comfy in a speed boot before – they felt incredible. The fact that they are so light, yet you are still in a leather boot is a joy to behold! I also noticed a wider yet flatter footbed, meaning that the studs are closer to the outside of the sole.
This meant that I felt incredibly stable when running and changing direction. This is also down to the studs, which offer superb traction. Then it was time to get the balls involved – the part of the playtest I had been looking forward to the most. It was the reason I wanted to get my hands on a pair in the first place, to see if the leather really did make a difference to the already superb adiZero.
I loved the synthetic adiZeros, but having worn leather boots throughout my career, I wanted to see if they could possibly get any better. And the lovely leathers didn’t disappoint! There was an wonderful sense of touch and feel with them, and it really is hard to believe you are actually wearing a leather boot because they are so light.
You can distribute passes like you’re in a pair of CTRs but in the same breath feel quick and nimble enough to dribble with the ball and take on players at will. Also, as the session was progressing, the nature of the leather material meant that the boots began to mould to my feet – making for an even better boot.
The stitching that runs across the leather creates cushioning in pockets which heightens the feel for the ball. Basically, you are fully in control of your football destiny in these! Like the synthetic adiZeros, I can report back good things about the shooting capabilities of the leather versions. The asymmetric parallel lacing structure is slightly off-centre which creates a greater, cleaner kicking area. Also, the new “Taperlace” system – laces which are thinner and flatter than normal – reduce any unnecessary material between the boot and the ball. So this makes for a great, clean strike.
But unlike the synthetic versions, the ball doesn’t stay hit as much on impact. There’s a lot more room for manoeuvring shots in the leather versions, which can work as both a positive and a negative. It’s easy to see why so many pros like Leo Messi, David Villa, David Silva, Antonio Valencia and Asamoah Gyan don the leather versions – they are so much more than just a speed boot.
The leather adiZero really can be worn by a whole host of different types of footballers as proved above. Granted, a central defender is hardly going to be attracted to the boot. However, from attacking full –back, to midfield maestro, to creative forward, to speedy winger, the leather version really can appeal to almost all footballers. When I posted the original adiZero review on 9 September 2010, I honestly thought this was the best boot I had seen in a long time – something very much unexpected. But today, having reviewed some of the best boots including the CTR360 II, Nike Mercurial Vapor SuperFly, Puma King Finale and Umbro Speciali Elite I can sincerely say these top them all.
Everything you could possibly want in a boot. Incredibly lightweight yet comfortable, and in leather! And with the new adiPUREs and Predators rumoured to be on the horizon, with both potentially using similar soleplates to the adiZero, adidas could soon be dominating the football boot market once again. Certainly the most revolutionary football boot since the Predator. And that is now a fact!