It’s always an exciting time when a new pair of boots arrives at my house. The arrival of the X-Blades Legend Elite was no different. The Aussie outfit claim to be the first company to produce boots with bladed studs, as a proponent of classic round studs I should have sent their office a bit of hate mail, but I digress. They also advertise that they cater to the soccer player, rugby player, and AFL player with their boots, curiously all the athletes sporting their boots were representatives of the latter two sports.
The approach appears to be a one size fits all, if it’s good for ruggers and Aussie Rules, it should translate well into soccer. This is one of the things I was curious to address while wearing the Legend’s.
When I first got these boots they hit me, quite literally. The postal service had wedged them between my front and screen doors and they nearly knocked me over as I was on my way to work. The plus note about this incident is that I had an entire day at work to admire what one of the ladies on my co-ed team says is a “really pretty boot”. Aesthetically it’s hard to argue, X-Blades have turned out a classy looking heritage themed release. The white K-Leather (and synthetic portions) and sensible fold over tongue suit a boot called the Legend down to the ground. About the only thing I wasn’t too thrilled about visually was how large and ungainly the actual X-Blades logo seemed to be on the boot, sometimes when it comes to product placement less is more.
Reading the product guide that came along with the Legend’s, I was startled to see that there was a great deal of technology for a heritage themed release. Without getting overly technical here’s a run down of what the Legend Elite has on offer (with help from the good people at X-Blades):
- Bionic Dual Density Sole System (D2) – Keeps the back of the foot stable, while allowing the fore foot more flexibility to increase speed.
- X Release System (XRS) – The design of the studs to release under certain situations, designed to prevent injury.
- Graduated Blade Lengths – The same as Asics 10mmHG, designed to lower muscle strain.
- Compressed and Sealed EVA – Between the upper and the soleplate to minimize shock when running.
- Injury Reduction Platform System (IR System) – Exactly what it says on the tin.
- External Heel Counter – Aids the fit of the boot and provides support (and protection) to the Achilles.
- Poron Innersole Cushioning – By far my favorite feature of the boot. The insole is like a cloud, I actually ended up using them in a pair of dress shoes at a wedding I attended during the review period.
- Spring Injection Cell – Located right by the big toe, designed to increase efficiency and accuracy when striking the ball.
The Break In/Fit
It’s been 10 years since I didn’t make the cut for the Nipissing University soccer team, so what I look for in a boot has evolved. Rec soccer doesn’t have practices and training sessions, so I’m looking for a boot which has minimal break in time. There’s nothing worse than stumping out good money for a new pair of boots to find out that if you try and play a full match right from the get go you’ll be in agony for several days after. I am happy to report that there are no such problems with the Legend Elites, they can go right from the box to the pitch. The boots I received from Bryan were a size 9 US; now I usually wear a 9.5 but I’d say the Legends run about a half size larger than listed and fit medium to wide.
There were a couple spots for me where the X-Blades stood out in a very good way. Comfort wise they were a dream to work with. The cushioned insole gave me the illusion of having a cloud between my foot and the sole plate of the boots, as a victim of hotspots in the current markets drive to see how light they can make a boot weigh I can’t describe enough how much I appreciated what X-Blades had done with their insoles.
The other major area where the X-Blades were brilliant was the layout of the studs. As a matter of personal preference I prefer the classic round studs. I’ve found when wearing bladed studs that when I attempt to turn there was a lot of resistance and I was worried about injury. The blades are definitely designed with Rugby or AFL in mind, where directional changes and cuts happen at a quicker pace due to the ball being in your hands, four of the 7 forefoot blades are turned in a 45 degree angle which I found helped immensely when I had to switch directions or make a cut inside on the quick. It’s a design which other companies could definitely take a look at, as it’d make people like me completely re-evaluate the effectiveness of blades on footy boots.
[Also See: XBlades Wild Thing Review]
Unfortunately, no boot is perfect. The graduated blade length (10mmHG) saw me scuffing the ball more in a month than I have in the last 10 years. While it’s great for reducing muscle strain, it’s requires a complete change in your kicking mechanics and I just wasn’t able to adapt in a manner that made the boot effective on the pitch. It’s a reason why I list the idea as something I hate on football boots.
They could be lighter. X-Blades have put a lot of work into making these boots great in injury reduction, but it does add a fair bit of weight. I’m not a speed boot aficionado by any stretch of the imagination (my go to boot being the Lotto Stadio Primato) but there were some spots where I felt a wee bit of weight could have been shaved off, such as the high cut around the ankles which bothered Bryan on the Wild Thing review. While I wasn’t affected in the same way it’s a cut which is just unnecessary in soccer.
The Spring Injection Cell. It sits right on the side of the big toe and is designed to increase efficiency and accuracy when striking the ball. While I am certain that is the case with our oval ball cousins, who kick the ball our of their hands and have a completely different striking area for free kicks than us soccer players, the cell served no purpose at all on the soccer pitch due to it being located in an ineffectual area.
Is It a Soccer Boot?
I’m not so sure. Rugby, Aussie Rules, Ultimate Frisbee it’s suited ideally for. But it’s designed so much with the our oval ball cousins in mind that my opinion is soccer players and the boots introduction to the game were an after thought. At $180 (Australian Dollars) they’re quite pricey, but if you’re an oval baller looking for a high end pair of boots with quality materials I’d recommend them in a heartbeat.
If you want to find out anymore about the XBlades availability in the US, check out their Facebook page.
XBlades Leged Elite – The Summary
About: A classy looking heritage themed release chalk full of technology
The Good: Supreme comfort. Ingenious stud layout.
The Bad: Graduated Blades. A bit heavy.
The Unnecessary: Spring Injection Cell, no purpose in the soccer world.
Price: $180 AUD
Would I Buy? If I were a Rugby, Aussie Rules or Ultimate player, I’d definitely consider it.
Rating on a Scale of 10: As a soccer boot 6.5/10 as a Rugby, AFL or Ultimate boot an easy 8.5/10