Now that the weather is finally starting to become a bit more consistent and footy-friendly, the testing has been back in full swing for all of us here at The Instep. With that, I was able to slip back into the newest leather F50 and wrap up testing of a very intriguing release. After releasing the most impressive F50 of all time (as we mentioned in our review of the synthetic version), I was super excited to test the leather version. Considering that I had personally felt that the last leather F50 was the best to date, would the newest version be an improvement?
With the first non-Samba leather F50 release, adidas chose an absolutely fantastic set of colorways with the white/vole and black/blue releases. The three stripes have been moved a bit farther back on the boot, but you can definitely tell that this is a new F50. Considering how speed boots tend to look, the leather F50 actually looks rather plain and the build of the boot and leather/synthetic leather feel like the rest of the future colorways will probably be fairly ordinary. A gorgeous looking boot, but let’s look at what is under the hood…
The leather F50 has a leather that is thin enough to still provide a fantastic touch while giving that slight leather cushion in the toe-box. The mid-foot synthetic leather, after hearing horrible things about the leather version with the SprintFoil upper, has a great feel and would actually make an interesting product if it was the only material used. It feels great when receiving balls into your instep while perfectly walking the line between the leather padding of a leather boot and the barefoot feel necessary with a speed boot. The leather F50 is also one of my favorite lightweight models to strike a ball with as it provides just enough padding to make powered drives feel as if you made complete contact with the ball without having the strike hurt or cause undue pressure on your foot. Certainly a great option for players looking for that blend of leather and speed…or maybe that first foray into the speed boot arena…the leather F50 is worth a look.
While the break-in is absolutely non-existent with the leather F50, this area is (sadly) where other options stand above this release. While I consider myself to have a slightly wider foot, the toe-box felt a little loose right out of the box. While the fit in terms of length was perfect, I expected the toe-box to possibly form a little better to my foot after a few hours in the boot. Sadly, despite being very comfortable and the feel not truly being affected a lot, it makes for a bit of an odd set-up. There is an evident lack of your forefoot being locked down and the loose nature of the leather makes me think that even truly wide feet might cause the leather to stretch to a point where the fit would still be slightly odd-fitting. The beauty of a speed boot OR leather boot is always that glove-like fit in the toe-box accompanying the great feel on the ball…sadly, you only get half of that deal here. In terms of the traction, the improved set-up with the F50 is a great soleplate. The soleplate set-up definitely helps you maintain your footing while allowing quick turns and cuts…not a huge difference to the old F50, but it is an improvement.
While I actually enjoyed my time in the leather F50 and while I would have probably been satisfied with this as a boot that I would need to use for a season, there are some issues present in this release. A step forward in terms of the soleplate and build of the boot are lost in an odd fitting toe-box. While the feel on the ball is great, it seems that it could have actually been even better with a tight fitting toe-box! It truly feels like the leather F50 would have shot to the top of my “game-day list” and I would see it as one of my new favorites if it was not severely lacking in this one area. So close for adidas…but there are improvements still to be made for this model to battle for the top spot in the leather speed boot race…
SIZING: While the length of this boot is definitely true-to-size, it feels like it would have been better if I could have ordered a half or even full size down. But, my toes would have been creeping over the edge of the soleplate if I had risked that. Because of that, I can only suggest to order your normal size when snagging a pair.