Laces or laceless. That's the question adidas keep asking us. With each new iteration adidas are making players ponder whether laces may one day be obsolete. However, the X 18.1 might have the something to say about that. You know, if it could talk and that. We've been wearing them throughout pre-season to see what the deal is.

Fresh off a tournament of the highest order, adidas are looking to head into the domestic league season with dominance. The Predator is back with a vengeance, the Nemeziz offers incredible comfort and feel, and the X is hoping to remind the world that adidas know how to craft fast better than anyone else. Let’s lace up and leave the formalities in the dust.


Out of the box

As we mentioned in the X 18+ review, we’d believe adidas if they said this was the boot that was supposed to follow the deceased F50 line. It’s a tightened coil on the block ready to zip through defensive waters like a knife through butter. We loved the performance of the X 16.1 and 17.1, but we’d always find ourselves retreating to safe pleasantries like, “nice,” or “decent option.”  With the X 18.1, there’s nothing “nice” about this lethal weapon... and calling it “decent,” would be criminally understated.

The X 18.1 doesn’t feature the mesmerising soleplate of the 18+, but it’s still a fun boot to hold before you head out to the pitch. No matter what colourway you opt for, or where adidas head with this boot in the future, it’s never going to be content as anything other than the star of the show, center of the trophy case.


Does the comfort complement the speed?

The X 18.1 line doesn't simply live in the shadow of the X + series. In fact, most professional players chose the laced version over the laceless models. In the past a second tier priced boot wouldn't be as reliable. Not now, it's simply a preference, not a compromise quality.

This is the first X model that goes shoulder to shoulder with its laceless counterpart. As soon as you slip them on, the Claw Collar starts working its magic. Expect the boot to soften up a bit with some sessions under its belt, but that assured squeeze never goes away... it just gets more comfortable. Consider it a Ferrari with a La-Z-Boy recliner behind the wheel. The perfect combination of comfort and speed.


On feet

The upper should never be called labelled as “barefoot feel,” but it makes you feel light on your feet while still giving a perfectly smooth and soft feel on the ball. It’s not a matter of dampening pads or raised zones on your X 18.1 that gives it the superior feel on the pitch, that's all you.

From every spot outside of the flexing tongue, the boot is lined with an incredibly soft, plush, thin layer of material that should be the picture in the dictionary for anyone ever wondering where the line is drawn between “touch,” and, “comfort.” As we said, it’s never barefoot, but, perhaps, better. Whether bearing down on a defence at pace or trying to find extra space to play out of trouble, the feel on the ball is pure and, to be quite frank, a blast.

Don’t expect any alarm bells when trying to beat keepers from outside the box (the boot isn’t going to leave bruises from being too thin), and that warm sensation on the top of your foot when you ping a ball is ever-present. Ever push your feet down into warm sand and feel your worries melt away? We’re telling you that your weekend getaway can be found in a box with three stripes on it.



Best laced X ever?

Yep. Easy. The only differences between the X 18+ and X 18.1 is the slightly different creation to allow either for laces or without. The comfort is something worth writing home about, the feel finds you fighting your inner demon to keep the ball to yourself, and there isn’t a second in this boot where you’re going to question your purchase. All the comfort is on the interior, stick your hand in to see what we're talking about. The exterior is chiselled for speed.

If you’re ever having dreams about those things you loved about the last iterations of the F50, then dream no more? It’s back, and better than ever. Doesn’t matter about laces, no laces, knitted, weaved, this is the best X to date. Simple.


Pick up the adidas X 18.1 football boots from