Take one of the stars of your new revolution and craft it with your biggest and brightest innovation in upper materials, and the victory is all but assured. For adidas, it is as simple as taking the well-received ACE and blending it together with the tech that is PrimeKnit. Is this new beast prepared to “control everything?”

What is the end-game for the three stripes and their newest toy?

The standard adidas ACE 15.1 brought comfort and quality to the new-look adidas lineup, but there have been some slight changes brought on via the change in upper on the PrimeKnit version. The idea seems like a fairly easy move from the adidas R&D department as both items that are being combined have been very well received, but does the combination still receive the same level of praise as the two items received on their own?

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Visually, this boot looks like a completely different boot than the standard ACE...is that accurate?

The PrimeKnit ACE shares only a select few similarities, visually, with its standard counterpart. The heel looks identical, the ACE symbol still resides at the top of the tongue, and the three stripes still adorn both sides of the boot. Outside of that, the boot departs strongly from the base model of the ACE (the ACE of base?). The forefoot looks exactly like the last iteration of the PrimeKnit boot, but with the new version being this incredibly vibrant orange (solar orange). The black tongue and heel provide a stark contrast that, amazingly, is able to save such a brightly coloured boot and keep the look sharp instead of feeling over the top.

While the price tag will be justified by adidas and others simply from the shift to PrimeKnit, we would have loved for a more exclusive feel on this release than just a standard adidas box and a slightly altered boot bag. How about some goodies adidas? Maybe just some extra black laces?

Has the boot retained its comfort from the standard version?

The PrimeKnit ACE actually provides a BETTER level of comfort from the standard version, but it gets to that status in a completely different way. Unlike the regular ACE, the PrimeKnit isn’t ready to be thrown directly into the fray. The PrimeKnit has a slight rigidity to it out of the box, but we found that it quickly gave way to being very soft and supple after only one or two full sessions. Add in the very soft feel from the PrimeKnit tongue and you get a totally satisfying fit and feel from the entirety of this boot.

We also found that the PrimeKnit build helps fix the extreme contrast that we found in the standard version’s build. Where we weren’t overly fond of how different the heel felt from the rest of the boot, somehow the PrimeKnit makes the ACE feel as if the flow of the boot is much improved. This is a definite connection to the PrimeKnit, because the heel hasn’t been altered enough from the standard ACE to make the change on its own.

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One change in the ACE PrimeKnit from the PrimeKnit 2.0 that surprised us,and really changed the fit and comfort, is not having the uncovered PrimeKnit material creating a sleeve connected to the tongue that squeezed the mid-foot from inside the boot. Instead, the uncovered PrimeKnit ends with the tongue, creating a more accommodating fit for wider feet but sacrificing the really tight one-to-one fit that the 2.0 provided from right out of the box in the mid-foot area (you almost didn’t even need to lace the 2.0 for a great fit). For some, this will be a positive...but, for others, the change might be seen as a move in the wrong direction.

The soleplate adds straight into the comfort of this boot via its being incredibly flexible and the high-number of studs directly preventing stud pressure.

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How does the PrimeKnit work once you finally walk out under the floodlights?

Despite the complete shelving of the Control Web in favour of letting the PrimeKnit work on its own, this boot is still the perfect tool for anyone that loves to feel the ball at their feet. The soft upper, once broken-in, sees the innovative material from adidas finally displaying its full potential. While the PrimeKnit 2.0 offered a great fit, the layer of synthetic covering the PrimeKnit always felt a bit too thick to ever be our perfect boot. The ACE feels like the covering has been reduced to allow more natural flex to the PrimeKnit, while a small strip of the thicker synthetic covering exists along the area where the upper connects to the soleplate so that the touch is improved, but the durability remains.

While adidas has placed a version of their NSG (Non-Slip Grip) on the upper, the bumps feel too reduced to have any impact in any type of weather. Where the standard ACE relied on a Control Web and other features to impact control of the ball, the ACE+ allows users to command control by letting the PrimeKnit act as the main tool. The material is thin enough (even with the light synthetic coating) to be enjoyed by players that want to execute intricate movements with the ball, but cushioned enough to make bringing balls out of the air or controlling long passes a dream. You also will find that you get that reassuring warmth across the top of your foot that a firm drive provides as you rip through a vicious volley or searing shot. We rarely get this enamoured with an upper material, but it is nearly impossible to not wish that PrimeKnit could get tossed on every current adidas release (Messi PrimeKnit...Gloro PrimeKnit...Copa PrimeKnit).

The soleplate on the ACE is still one of our favourite innovations of 2015, and rightfully took a front seat with the standard version. The AG/FG compatibility is completely legitimate, and should help any player that finds themselves competing on various surfaces. We still don’t quite see the reason why adidas initially claimed that all the studs and nubs were meant to be a method of better ball control underfoot (we suppose this could be true), because the AG/FG functionality is an innovation that has been a long time coming...shouldn’t that have been the main focus? Eh...we’re over it…

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So...is there a catch? Or should I be running out to grab my pair immediately?

The adidas ACE15+ PrimeKnit, while only a limited focus and release from adidas, is going to end 2015 as one of our favourite boots for this year. The PrimeKnit boot that we have wanted since the initial blending of football boots and the adidas knitted material has finally arrived. The comfort is there, the fit is still great, and the feel on the ball finally feels like something we would typically demand from a top-end football boot. It is certainly great to see adidas really swinging for the fences and absolutely nailing this creation so early into their renewed and reworked existence in the gear world (Viva la revolucion!). The biggest negative, and possible catch, is the increased price tag caused by the shift to the PrimeKnit. It will make it harder to justify, but adidas isn’t putting anything beyond where Nike currently has their best creations sitting...and this is definitely one of the best creations from the Swoosh’s main rival.

A big-time winner from adidas as we get ready to shift into 2016 and the second year of the revolution. We are big fans, and can guarantee that these boots will be in our boot bag for a long time to come...would it be weird if we wore them into the office tomorrow? Maybe we’ll just wear them to bed instead...

The adidas Primeknit ACE 15.1 is ready to be slipped in from Pro-Direct Soccer, here.