Since it is the time of year where the ground is either frozen solid or coated in snow I’ve been forced to play specifically on the turf pitches of the few sports complexes in my area. This has afforded me ample time to test out turf boots. Recently I’ve been going through the Nike Bomba silo, testing out the Nike Bomba Finale and Bomba Pro. The Adidas FreeFootball X-ite is almost like a breath of fresh air. The X-ite have been adidas’ single tier silo and counter part to the Bomba silo for quite some time now. With the latest update, however, Adidas has added two tiers to the current silo where the X-ite is now the middle tier.
I took a trip down to Suleys and picked up a pair in a size 9 in the Tech Onyx/ Running White/ Green Zest colorway and put it through fifteen or more games. Playing in the X-ite reminds me a lot of playing soccer in high school gym class in a pair of running shoes. That is basically how it is designed, Bryan even used it as a running shoe himself when he tested out the original adi5 x. The main selling points of the boot is the mesh upper and touch compound that covers it so my main concern is whether or not they are worth the investment.
I chose to go with the most “in your face” colorway of the ones available, however some may call it the most hideous boot on the market. The overall design isn’t the most pleasing to the eye either. The upper is largely synthetic overlay rather than mesh which makes it look awkward. However the boot appeals to the runner in me. Avid runners who play soccer casually in their spare time would probably feel very at home in the x-ite.
Break in and Comfort
Took them out of the box and into a game with only minimal complications. The upper was pretty stubborn, the synthetic overlay did not want to tighten up to fit my foot when I tightening down the laces. It took a good three games before I was able to freely batten down the hatches. Otherwise that was the only real issue break in wise. Expect them to break in like a stubborn pair of running shoes.
As far as comfort goes, the upper is well padded and the mesh breathes nicely. My feet always heat up faster playing indoors on turf than outside on a hot summer day so the mesh is a welcome addition. Running felt very smooth in them as the mid sole is a nice EVA with an adiPrene insert for comfort with the goal being shock absorption. Just like a running shoe…
How they Fit
You must be sick or hearing this by now but… they fit like running shoes. There I said it! They seem to be pretty good at adapting to foot size so I would say they are a safe option for most foot types. Those with narrow feet might have a longer break in time before they can be tightened up though. That is the issue I ran into. They also fit a bit long compared to traditional soccer cleats, I had to go down a half size. So if you are a 9.5 us go with a size 9.
Performance and Durability
Touch Compound Technology and the upper:
Tech wise the boot has one thing going for it. The touch compound is nice and at times it comes in handy, it has a nice texture to it that does create drag on the ball to help control it, there were times where it got me out of a few tight situations where close ball control was crucial. However this is counteracted by the synthetic overlay which has unique ball feel to say the least. There were more than a few times where I misinterpreted the touch and ended up losing the ball. Tactility is a pretty important part of dribbling and moving the ball because you have to survey the field and not just stare at your feet. The contrast between the touch supplied by the mesh portion compared to the overlay is drastic and the inconsistency took a while to adjust to. It wasn’t quite the kind of touch you get with a synthetic, the difference is very subtle. It took at least half a dozen games before I adjusted to the boots.
As far as traction goes I have no complaints. However it was a little lack luster compared to the set ups of the Bomba and Pele Sports Caldeira. The configuration that adidas uses does the job but doesn’t have any additional benefits other than keeping you upright. It didn’t feel like it helped me accelerate like the aggressive stud configuration we see on the Bomba. The “studs” were really too short or varying in length to supply better under foot control like in the Caldeira. The configuration is rather bland and basically keeps you from eating turf.
My only concern at this point is how long the touch compound will last. So far there has been minor wear on the compound, it isn’t very noticeable now but on very close inspection it is. There are also some problems with washing them. The mesh is pretty much impossible to get clean. As time wears on I will update on how it is holding up but at this point it is too soon to tell what part of the boot will be the first to go.
Their biggest strength is also their greatest weakness. They feel like a running shoe, running feels great in them but handling the ball gets interesting. This boot comes with a bit of a learning curve. The synthetic overlay is the main issue with the boot. It extends break in time and doesn’t supply the best touch. They don’t feel much like a soccer cleat but they do the job.
A turf boot/running shoe hybrid sums it up pretty well. The performance properties didn’t quite wow me but as far as comfort goes they are high on my list. They would suite casual players, runners looking to get into soccer (running shoes!) and competitive players that are looking for a comfortable boot that breathes well for when they are playing in a league where turf cleats are required. I hesitate to say they are worth the money but comfort wise they are. They run at about $64.99 so it isn’t like it will be a major investment. What sets this turf apart from the rest is the comfort and how well they breathe, well worth the money if you get stuck playing on a turf pitch in hot weather.
Technology Efficiency: 60%