To say there is a lot going on with the X-Blades Wild Thing Sprint is an understatement – WOW. Everything about this release is wild and they are definitely one of the most intriguing boots I have ever had the opportunity to test. First, you need to get to grips with the actual naming convention. Then, you need about an hour to study and comprehend what is going on with the absolutely crazy design. Finally, there is so much technology included in these boots that they seem to have been pieced together by a Nueroscientist!
Time to put your seat belt on, sit back in your chair and get ready to have your brain flushed with some funky details on a pretty audacious boot!
Everything about this boot is intended to provide a comfortable ride through wear. From the insole to the padded tongue and spacious interior, X-Blades look to cater to players who need something to creates an easy in-game performance. But they haven’t got it entirely right. The problem with these lies in the fit around the ankle, and through the first few wears I encountered extreme discomfort. The ankle lining is cut too high and sits right under the ankle bone, creating an area that puts pressure as you look to cut or change direction. What makes it worse is the fact that two areas of the upper merge right in the region, creating an extra resistant area. Trying to pad the region won’t work, instead you need to put them through several wears before it breaks down. This is important to note as you will need to give these extended time before breaking them into a game. Everything else about the boots comfort is top notch – but that ankle lining needs to be trimmed if the boot is to create an impact on the market.
Lets Talk About Design
Obviously like most of you, my initial reaction was “what the heck are these things?” The design is extremely abstract and not one that will appeal to conservative players…or players that place importance on less intrusive looking footwear. It almost looks like a crocodile has eaten a circuit board and mated with a zebra. It results in the WOW factor that easily grabs the attention of every player on the field and if you wear them, get used to the “what the heck are these things?” question.
The blue streaks across the upper remind me of painters tape that has been glued on. Around the front of the boot it has a sandpaper type texture and its purpose is to aid first touch on the ball. From the midfoot through to the heel, it is just there for design with a much lighter layer almost embedded into the upper.
This version of the boot comes with the “Bionic” sole system, which is extremely detailed. Taken directly from X-Blades, here is what Bionic and the boot has to offer:
- External Heel Counter – superior fit and comfort around the heel
- EVA Airflow Innersole – provides cushioning for extra comfort
- PORON Cushioing Pads – ultimate cushioning high memory pads
- Dual Density Sole System – high density rear increases stability, reduces risk of ankle roll – Low density forefoot increases comfort & performance
- XRS Patented Blade System – reduces risk of lower limb injury and muscle fatigue
- GRD Blade Lengths – graduated blade lengths place the body in the correct anatomical position, reducing pressure and incidence of injury
That is a lot of technology and the end result is a boot that actually has a lot of positives about it. The soleplate and insole, in particular, are pretty awesome. There is a definite feel of security when you are wearing them, with the stud configuration keeping you stable on your feet. The insole acts in the same fashion as one of the memory foam beds, the ones where you jump on one side and the wine glass stays upright on the other side. Your foot is able to melt in as you place force in certain areas without the fear of losing grip. Just to note, the insole is actually glued into the boot so you can’t take it out.
Then there is the texture of the upper. To the touch, it has a sort of inverted bubble wrap feel with what seems like circuit board wiring threaded though in a consistent pattern. The wiring acts as the high point and creates a lightly padded feel. It is great on the ball and you definitely benefit on the ball.
Surprisingly, they weigh in at only 10oz. They actually have the appearance of a boot that is heavier but in actuality they lie just outside of the average control boot weight. If you pick them up, a lot of the weight seems to be in the heel counter and down through the soleplate.
How do they Fit?
You get a nice, spacious fit in these boots and they are the ideal match for players who require a wide fit or more room across the forefoot. Overall, I would say they are ever so slightly larger than a true to size fit, not enough for me to go up a half size but just enough for players on the fence to make a switch.
The primary issue with these boots is that they are shaped in a fashion that doesn’t correlate with expectations for current day soccer shoes. Across the forefoot, up along the tongue and into the ankle lining, they sit much higher and offer what is almost a “Rolls Royce Phantom” shape in a world where the “Ferrari Spider” reigns supreme. Everything needs to be trimmed down and the ankle lining needs to be lower to reduce discomfort.
Popularity in Australia
Just to note, these boot have found a mass following in Aussie Rules and Rugby, and there are a lot of players currently endorsing the boots. Maybe there lies the problem (ie. these boots are more specific to another sport) – if any of our Aussie fans are reading, let us know if players in these sports normally wear soccer footwear or others specific to the sport.
Getting Your Hands on a Pair
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: An extremely full-flavored, colorful boot that features a ton of impressive technology, great traction and a nice wide fit.
Category: They are named “Sprint” but these fall more into the Control category in my opinion.
Weight: 10oz, which seems about right even though they visually look heavier (probably because of the spacious fit)
Would I Buy Them: It all starts with the colorway and it is a no for me. I’d highly recommend them to players who struggle to get a wide fitting boot or a boot that provides a spacious fit throughout.
Player Position: I see these as an ideal option for defensive style players who like to get on the ball and play passes right across the pitch. Goalkeepers might also want to explore what they have to offer.