When you have been doing a weekly boot spotting article for a number of years and go through hundreds of football photos to find that perfect boot spot, you tend to pick up every single detail when it comes to a player’s boots. Whether it be watching a game with your mates and annoying them by noting the team’s star striker is wearing the new F50 adiZero or finding a player wearing some pretty awesome customised boots, you tend to always look at a player’s boots before anything else! Which is why when I was going through the photos of Lionel Messi’s first training session back with Barcelona that I noticed something a little different about Messi’s F50 adiZeros…
Let me fill you in with the backstory. I originally picked a photo of Lionel Messi and Adriano Correia for my weekly boot spotting as Correia was wearing the unreleased Black/Blue/Yellow Nike Hypervenom Phantom. Awesome I thought, so I saved the picture. Then I looked at the photo a second time to check out Messi’s boots, something did not seem quite right about them. Most notably, the stitching on Messi’s boots seem to differ from the stitching on the normal F50.
A closer look at Messi’s F50 confirms my thought. While the normal F50 has only two sets of stitch lines that run across the upper, Messi’s F50 has more of a diamond stitch pattern about it, with more stitches towards the toe of the boot than the normal release F50. If anything, Messi’s boots seem to feature a stitching pattern similar to that of the old third generation F50 adiZero. A look at Messi’s boots and the third generation leather adiZero does seem to show similarities between the boots.
What does this suggest? Well the new 4th generation adiZero saw adidas give the boot Goleo calf leather in favour for Taurus leather, and the stitching does seem to suggest that Messi has had his boots custom made such that the upper is made from Goleo leather instead of Taurus leather. And it seems that the Goleo leather runs right around the front of the boot to the point where it meets the Speedfoil construction on the sides of the boot, like it would on the normal F50 adiZero.
However, I know some of our readers will ask: Taurus leather is made from calf leather, so what is the difference between Messi picking the Goleo calf leather over Taurus? A good question! While Goleo calf leather is all natural and treated for a solid fit, calf leather is fused with synthetic fibers to create Taurus leather. This means that while it is lighter and more durable, it does have synthetic properties about it.
Messi has always been known to be a fan of leather over synthetic uppers, so it seems Messi would prefer a 100% natural Goleo leather upper over the normal F50 with the Taurus leather upper that has been slightly altered. Some may say that Messi may be a little too fussy, but let us not forget that Cristiano Ronaldo always has his Vapor IXs customised with the Teijin synthetic upper with the leather-like finish to it, so Messi is not alone on demanding a boot to his exact specifications!
However, there is something else we have noticed that is different about Messi’s boots. One of the visual differences between the 4th generation synthetic and leather F50 adiZeros is that the three stripes are placed lower down towards the wearer’s toes on the synthetic model, but they are up towards the heel of the boot. Strangely, the three stripes on Messi leather adiZeros are where they would be if it was a synthetic boot, so much so that they overlap the stitching of the boot.
It is a rather strange customisation, and one that would make no difference to the performance of the boot. Adidas have always been known to want to market the synthetic F50 adiZero over the leather one, and perhaps adidas want to make Messi’s boots look more like the synthetic adiZero to the untrained eye so people are more likely to pick up the synthetic F50 over the leather one. After all, if adidas are promoting the F50 as the boots used by Messi, it would not be very good if everyone knew Messi was not wearing the boot adidas says he does. It is a hard concept to understand, but it is probably something only adidas know the answer to!
What do you think of Messi rocking an F50 adiZero with a Goleo leather upper instead of Taurus leather? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.