Creating the lightest football boot in the world is an impressive acheivement by adidas, so we couldn't wait to put the F50 adiZero football boots through a rigorous play test. We wanted to know whether adidas have been forced to sacrifice comfort and performance, to create a lightweight product.
Our initial reaction to the adiZero football boots was of genuine amazement, the boots are incredibly light. Quite often with a new boot launch various facts and figures will be touted around, but we can assure anyone who picks up an adiZero boot they will be stunned at how little it weighs.
Once on, our play testers were like excited school child sprinting up and down the pitch, such was the anticipation the adiZero had built up. But we soon had them reigned in as we needed to conduct a thorough boot test to find out how this innovative and unique boot would perform.
Putting the adidas adiZero football boots on, and they do feel surprisingly snug and secure. We had our doubts due to the single layer upper, but these were allayed as the boot hugs the foot. Many boots will claim a glove-like fit, but the adiZero seems to genuinely deliver, aided through internal support bands.
The support bands manage to leave enough flexibility, so you don't feel constrained and have midfoot pain. Unlike some other speed boots we've tested (that shall remain nameless!), the adiZero's didn't need to be broken in. One observation we did make regarding fit, was that these adidas boots run slightly larger to size. For example, one of our play testers wears size 8 adiPure III's, but would be tempted to get size 7.5 UK in the synthetic adiZero.
After a brief warm-up session it was time for some running drills, but to be honest by this point we were blissfully unaware of the boots. Their fit and extreme lightweight nature makes you feel fast and agile, and through the cones and slalom poles the boots were responsive. Whilst turning and changing directtion is helped by the wider sole-plate, which meant the studs could be closer to the outside.
The single-piece Sprintframe outsole is constructed to assist movement by flexing at the forefoot, but being rigid at the midsole. This was noticeable during our sprint sessions, as from a standing start the thin outsole makes you feel like your toes are on the pitch surface!
We were a little unsure on the stud configuration of the adiZero football boots. Ok, we fully understand the concept from adidas - with the triangular shape providing multi-directional traction - but maybe it was because the ground was particularly hard that the studs felt like they could move on the playing surface as they aren't tapered and have a flat surface.
As our play test session progressed the boots were becoming comfier and more fitting, and by the time we'd got to the ball activities the boots felt like they were moulded to our feet. The upper is so incredibly thin that ball feel and touch are simply excellent. Dribbling at speed is improved as the boot allows you the slightest of touches for close control and skill execution.
Of course, the downside of the thin upper is the lack of protection in a game scenario. You feel as though you will always come out second best in a clash of boots, and may therefore pull out of a challenge. Unfortunately, as various members of our play test team still had the odd league or cup game left in the season, we didn't have any volunteers keen on going into a crunching challenge, so let's just say we doubt any powerful defenders will opt for the adiZero.
Next up was shooting practice, which sparked an interesting debate. Because it doesn't seem that long ago, that adidas were adding metallic powder to their boots to increase the weight for additional shot power!
The F50 adiZero's may not have added tech to improve shot power and accuracy, but they certainly have a construction that enables a true connection with the ball. It can be argued that shooting is 99.9% down to the player, and in this department you don't get a much cleaner shot than from the adiZero.
In summary, adidas have created the lightest ever boot by using a very simple design brief, incorporate the football boot essentials; a sole-plate, upper and laces. In essence there isn't much more to the construction of an F50 adiZero, but as far as performance is concerned the F50 adiZero is a ground-breaking boot. The adiZero delivers comfort, gives an unrivalled touch and feel of the ball, with the added bonus that it happens to be the lightest football boot ever created!