Creative Soccer Culture

The Future of the Speed Race

On the one year anniversary of the adidas F50 Crazylight, we question the future of the speed race and the impending release of the adidas 99g boot.

In every industry there's a benchmark that, once reached, becomes the standard for every future release. In terms of boots that attempt to delve into the hotly contested “speed boot” side of the market, weight has become an obsessive factor for brands looking to hold the title of the "world's lightest football boot".

One year ago, adidas released the lightest ever commercial football boot - the adidas f50 Crazylight - and this year could smash their own record with their outrageously light 99g boot, a boot that was first previewed in 2013. So, will the anticipated release of the adidas 99g boot reignite the lightweight battle, or are we gradually moving back above the six-ounce line instead of further under it?

While Nike have never really put out a standard release that found itself on the adizero laden side of six ounces, it always felt like the Mercurial line was attempting to work itself down to a boot that weighed less than 170g. However, the Swoosh now has several boots that all sit closer to seven ounces with no hint that the brand is unhappy with their boots weight.

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For adidas, the newest adizero has actually shimmied its way back above six ounces for the first time since the adizero took over from the TUNiT. Despite the newest f50 still being built for speed and the barefoot feel, the only thing with three stripes plastered on an upper that weighs less than 170 grams is the f50 CrazyLight. Much like Nike, adidas find most of their boots being described as lightweight without having to shave off the materials that previous boots have lacked in order to satisfy the lightweight craze.

On the current market, the only brands that now find themselves with products that weigh less than six ounces are outside the big three. In fact, Umbro recently impressed with their 5.8oz entry in the Velocita that shows that lightweight construction doesn't have to mean a loss of quality. Still, as the unquestioned big three have now ceded the rarest air in terms of boot weight, does it mean that the speed race is done?

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The biggest reason to ask this question is because of where the market seemed to be heading only a couple of years ago. Adidas had shown off a 99 gram prototype and it felt like the conquest to create the most ridiculously lightweight boot would be undertaken with gusto from all of the major companies. Three months into 2015 and there's no word on when we'll see the adidas 99g boot, but when it does arrive, will it signal an end to the speed race - a box ticked, we've done it, now move on - or will it be the start of a new chapter of super-lightweight boots?

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We now have to wonder if brands are starting to believe that players have decided that weight is not quite as an important factor in their boot choice as it once was. In the entirety of the modern boots available, nothing is really exceedingly heavy and some boots that seem to be absolutely loaded with modern technology can still exist around the lightweight threshold.

The next few months will signal where brands think their priorities should be and 2015 may be seen as the year when the speed race ended or started all over again. Time will tell.

What's your take on the future of the speed race? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below.


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