Boot manufacturers are constantly striving for a lighter and faster model and with their new F50 adiZero offering, adidas have unquestionably achieved that brief.
When I first collected my brand spanking pair of F50 adiZero's, I barely noticed that they had graced my palm. It had nothing to do with their appearance - the fact that they're bright white with pink laces made missing them impossible - they were just ridiculously light. At just 165g (5.8 oz), they barely weigh anything and I've definitely felt slippers that were heavier.
While the weight is the most prominent feature of the boots, it is of course the colour that immediately springs out at you upon seeing the adiZero's. Like the football stadiums they will be gracing the world over, these are loud boots. Colourful footwear is often criticised by the traditionalists but I reckon the F50 adiZero's should be better received than the dazzling pink Nike boots that Nicklas Bendtner was slated for wearing a couple of years ago. The pink laces and tongue made a statement, but coupled with the white and black of the main body of the boots, the whole package is more stylish than in-your-face.
When I put the boots on there were predictably no issues with comfort at all and they were a perfect fit. Adidas have worked long and hard towards helping the boot feel like a second skin and though it is to the despair of metatarsal surgeons the world over, the innovation on this latest offering is impressive. Like the previous F50i model, the F50 adiZero's are made with the SprintSkin single-layer synthetic, though an improved version includes internal support bands, which are responsible for ensuring an even comfier fit.
The leather was quite giving and allowed my feet to easily move within the boots and in their first matchday outing, it was really noticeable how much they helped with changes of direction. The lighter-than-air feel of them aided me in terms of sprinting and general movement and while I was playing I forgot that I was wearing a new pair of boots, which has not always been the case in the past. Avoiding a breaking-in period is something that players dream of and I certainly had no soreness or blisters after the game.
Ball-striking was helped by the slightly off-centre laces, which provided a larger and cleaner surface to make contact and adidas have tried to reduce the thickness of the material between the foot and the ball with a "Taperlace" system that also creates a more favourable striking surface. Even the positioning of the studs have been well thought out in a bid to improve pressure distribution and grip.
Overall I would say that the F50 adiZero boots are of a very high quality and adidas should be applauded for a revolutionary model which is their lightest and fastest to date. The weight and comfort of the boots are conducive to ultimate performance, improving speed, change of direction and striking of the ball. The style of the boots is a real eye-catcher and suits flair players (like your humble reviewer) very well, making a real statement. In my first match in them I had no issues before, during or after the game and I envisage this will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future. All that's left is for you to go out and get yourself a pair...