With all the new boots that get released on such a regular basis, it is fair enough if you start thinking ‘come on, a new boot? But I just got the latest colourway of the old boot!’. Oh and then there is the stock standard ‘what is so different about this new release anyway?’. Well here at The Instep, we know a lot about soccer boots, and we were pretty excited when we laid our eyes on the new F50 adiZero the other day. Today, we will take an in-depth look into the new F50 adiZero so you know exactly what is going on with the new F50 compared to it’s predecessor. Check it all out below.
While there are a lot of things adidas have updated on the adiZero, the upper is always a safe place to start. Adidas are renowned for creating the ultra thin and ultra light Sprintskin material that we have seen on the past three generations of the F50 adiZero. While the feel for the ball was absolutely sublime, the Sprintskin upper also meant that you could also feel the brunt of any full blooded challenges or stamps. Protection was not the only let down for Sprintskin, with professional feedback on Sprintskin centered around the material not being very supple or durable.
Adidas acted on that and have ditched Sprintskin for the first time on the F50 adiZero. Instead, they have gone for an extra thin version of Hybridtouch, the very same upper adidas use on the Predator LZ and Nitrocharge 1.0. While all the Lethal Zones meant we could not get a true taste of what Hybridtouch is like, the Nitrocharge 1.0 exposed the Hybridtouch for what it really is, a terrific synthetic material that allowed combined the benefits of synthetic and leather into one upper.
So what does that mean for the F50 adiZero? Well Hybridtouch is a lot more supple than Sprintskin, and while it is still a synthetic material, the upper elopes the foot whilst also reducing water uptake. Considering how thin the Hybridtouch upper is, do not expect a real leather-like or padded feel for the ball, but expect a more natural feel for the ball, especially with the Hybridtouch upper that wraps itself around the toes and outside of your foot better than Sprintskin.
There are also two more notable things I have not mentioned yet. Hybridtouch has another benefit in the sense that it is more resistant than Sprintskin, which means adidas can safely take away the Sprintweb, which was vital for keeping the upper together on the old F50 adiZero. Adidas have also included grippy 3D print texture called Dribbletex. The texture is intended to allow for high speed dribbling in wet and dry conditions, and it is meant to work the same way as the dribble ‘lethal zone’ on the Predator LZ. In a game decided by millimeters, the extra friction created by the Dribbletex could make the difference in getting past your defender.
But there is one little point about Dribbletex that should be pointed out. The print is found on the front of the boot, but it covers the middle of the upper and stretches towards the instep of the foot, yet it does not cover the outside of the foot (or the area around your little toe). But on the Predator LZ, the ‘dribble’ zone is exactly where the Dribbletex is not found on the F50 adiZero. Having a little extra grip on the outside would be handy for players who like to dribble using that section of the foot (ie Robben), but having it on the toe and the inside of the foot would mean little flicks may become that little bit easier to pull off.
The first thing that probably hit our eye with the new adiZero is the all new Speedfoil material that wraps itself around the midfoot and heel before meeting up with the Hybridtouch upper just before the last shoelace hole. This is the first time adidas have used Speedfoil on their boots, with the third generation F50 having a 100% Sprintskin upper instead of the 50/50 split adidas have gone for with the updated F50.
There are actually two different types of materials involved here. A very thin mesh material is the first material laid down, before an extremely thin foil is put over the top. The Speedfoil upper intends to lock down the heel whilst also adding stability to the boot. The Speedfoil upper also has a massive role in bringing down the weight of the boot, with the new material being one of the main reasons why adidas has been able to bring the weight of the boot down to a jaw dropping 150 grams.
The logic behind the placement of Speedfoil is very clever on adidas’ behalf. Bar passing the ball with your instep, you are not really going to have too much contact with the ball through the midfoot and heel, so what is the point in using heavy materials that makes the boot heavier than it needs to be? In other words, adidas have designed the adiZero such that you get a good feel for the ball where you need it (i.e. the upper) but there is lightweight materials where you do not need a good feel for the ball (i.e. the midfoot and heel). The heel is also locked in with a lining around the heel that also adds a little bit of comfort where you need it.
Before we get to the new stud configuration, adidas have also made a slight alteration to the heel design on the adiZero. Adidas have acted on professional feedback regarding the heel of the boot, with some of the professionals complaining on comfort issues due to the heel being too high, which may cause irritation. It has seen the heel made 9mm shorter, which ensures a solid fit is still provided without intruding too far up the achilles tendon.
The fourth generation F50 adiZero does feature the same old Sprintframe outsole construction. It is certainly a case of ‘if it isn’t broken, why fix it?’ when it comes to the Sprintframe outsole. With the outsole being as little as 1mm thick in some sections, it means the Sprintframe is lightweight, yet responsive enough to movement.
Now, the soleplate. So we have seen the Traxion stud configuration make an appearance on the F50 adiZero for the past 3 and a half years. That is a long time in the boot world considering we have gone from Flywire, Sprintskin and Predator Pulse technology to Nikeskin, Hybridtouch and now, Speedtraxion studs.
Granted, the Speedtraxion studs do have a triangular shape to them like it’s predecessor, but the studs are now more bladed. Because they are more bladed, it means that you will gain more traction as you change direction as the bladed edges to the studs gives you a little more surface area to push off as you put pressure against it.
I know I get my fair share of new boots, but I can honestly say that very few releases have made me more excited than the new F50 adiZero. I think it is because, in hindsight, there has been more change between the third and fourth generation F50 than there was in the first three generations of the boot. While bringing the weight down to 150 grams is very clever on adidas’ behalf, the Hybridtouch upper, Dribbletex technology, Speedfoil construction and new soleplate certainly gives us a lot to be excited about. But of course, we will cover it all in our review of the F50 adiZero, which we hope to have sometime in the near future.
Are you getting your hands on the new F50 adiZero? Is there anything we should change with these comparison posts? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.