Absolion’s have always been top notch boots. I’ve been a fan of the mid tier predators since I got my first pair in high school. They manage to keep a lot of the performance properties and technology of their top tier versions without breaking bank which makes them great options for people on a budget. So, I was expecting the latest LZ Absolion to be of similar quality to Absolions of the past. Unfortunately I was let down a bit, but still they are a decent mid tier boot loaded with tech.
Initially I was a bit surprised that they didn’t tone down the zones. The only real difference between the zones on the top tier Preds and the Absolion is the material that they are made out of. This makes the Absolion LZ the most tech heavy mid tier boot on the market. But is that a good thing? My main concern is whether or not they would measure up to past Absolion which are known to be reliable. For testing I got a pair of Bright Blue/Running White/Infrared Absolion LZ and had the opportunity to wear them for about 10-15 games.
You can currently find a full line-up of Absolion LZ at soccer.com.
Break in and Comfort
Break in time was a bit uncomfortable and left me with a blood blister on my left foot at the base of my big toe. Break in only took half a game however and after the break in they gave me no more issues with blisters. Comfort wise I was going to rate them pretty low but I figured out the issue. I like my boots really tight in the mid foot so I usually batten down the hatches. I did it with these boots and the synthetic was very unforgiving in the forefoot. I had to make it so that tightening the laces near the ankle wouldn’t tighten up the forefoot area. After I figured that out they were pretty comfortable. However, they weren’t nearly as comfortable as past Absolion but I think this was due to the fact that the synthetic leather they use isn’t the best (more on this throughout the review). The upper was a bit uncomfortable near the Sweetspot where it creases but once it broke in the discomfort in that area went away.
How they fit
Fit wise the are pretty much identical to the adiPower predator except for the stretching that comes with a leather upper. They are true to size and can fit medium and narrow width feet. I hesitate to say that they can fit wider because the upper doesn’t stretch at all. The synthetic leather is pretty unforgiving, I am a size 9 US as far as predators go but because of the synthetic upper I really should have gone for a size 9.5 US because the upper felt a bit too snug around my toes. I got used to the feeling pretty quickly and it didn’t really effect overall comfort except for feeling a little too snug. I still recommend going up half a size though just in case you would like to has.ve a little wiggle room with your toes.
Zones and Performance
Like their top tier brothers they have Five Zones which all serve a different purpose. I found that some are more effective and easier to use than others. I’ll go over what I experience with each zone and what their intended purpose is. I found that each zone was multipurpose and can be easily adapted to your style of play but it all goes back to better ball manipulation. I found that at the end of testing the zones had lost a bit of their rubber feel but the zones perform just the same now as they did when they were brand new.
1. First touch: This is the large zone that covers the front of the boot near the toe, it is designed to cushion the ball with a vacuum effect. I found that this area was my favorite. It did its job effectively and is really a great addition to the boot. I found that it helped a lot with my juggling skills. If you are big into freestyle you will like these boots. It gave good touch taking the ball out of the air and controlling it on the ground. I did find that the Control/Pass zone works just as well.
2. Drive Zone: This area is located where the Predator zones have been located in the past, next to the laces and along the strike zone. It is designed to drive the ball better. Once again the zone does its job. It was good for long balls and driven shots. I found that it also gave the ball extra spin like past predator elements. I also found that it teamed up well with the First touch zone.
3. Dribble zone: This ball is designed for quick, close control and is located along the outside of the boot. I definitely use the area that this zone is located on for dribbling and I found that it gave me a little more control, it wasn’t an incredible difference but it still works well. It definitely gave me a slight advantage when I had to find my way out of tight spaces. I found that it did enhance my outside foot banana kick, in that way it doubles as a Sweet Spot.
4. Control/Pass: This area is located along the instep and consists of memory foam. There is also a slight sticky coating over it but it is barely noticeable. The area is designed to give consistent and accurate passes. This is the zone that I used the most which is probably true for most players. It did what it is supposed to and it also cushioned the ball when receiving. I found that it did make my passes a bit more consistent which is always a good thing.
5. Sweet Spot: Located on the inside toe of the boot. It is designed to generate speed and spin for free kicks. In other words it bends the ball. I found no use for this area. I took at least 30 minutes of trying to properly utilize and it is basically useless. I bet if I focused time trying to get it to work I would eventually succeed but I already bend it in my own idiom so it would be a waste of time. When I do bend the ball I use the strike zone or the outside of the foot (Dribble zone). The inclusion of this zone is pretty useless for me but to players who do bend the ball with that part of their foot it could serve its purpose, but for me it does diddly squat. What it did do was make the boot fold strangely which gave me discomfort and caused a blood blister on my left foot during the break in portion of testing. It did go away but the crease in the boot might turn from a break in issue to a durability issue.
One little thing about the boot that irked me was how the zones interplay with each other. The upper by itself would flex and crease normally but the zones interferes with it. Also sometimes ball feel suffered too, feel along the drive zone and sweet spot was poor. Ball feel along the first touch, pass/control and dribble zones was fine though.
Performance Properties and Durability
Performance wise they met my expectations even if they didn’t meet my break in and comfort expectations. The zones definitely gave me a bit more control over the ball which was excellent. I basically covered all the experiences I had with the zones in the above section. I have to say in game the dribble, drive, pass and first touch zones were the zones used. The sweet spot just takes up space.
The upper kept my feet dry and kept my feet protected when I got caught up in hard challenges. My feet getting hot wasn’t a problem. That is all the good stuff I had to say about the upper.
As far as traction goes I only had one time where I found my self eating grass. This happened on a field with very long grass and the studs didn’t grip the ground. I found it surprising that the gave me good grip on wet grass when it couldn’t handle longer grass. When it came to turf play they were once again decent and I found that playing turf with the Traxion 2.0 configuration was actually pleasurable. However I still suggest using an AG or turf boots on artificial grass.
Durability wise I’m not too concerned about it falling apart on me anytime soon. I estimate it would last a season or a season and a half. The areas that do concern me are the creases where the upper flexes, the zones cause it to flex strangely which makes the creases more problematic but a shoe tree will be an easy solution. I will continue using them when my testing schedule opens up but I don’t expect to run into any issues.
A rant on the upper material: The synthetic is what really held this boot back for me. They may call it a synthetic leather but it leans heavily to the synthetic side. I personally think they would be better off not trying for a knocked down hybrid touch upper and instead just slapping on a synthetic of its own. It really reminds me of something we would see on a low tier boot. Maybe something we would find on a boot sold at a local Walmart.
I know Adidas has it in them to make a good mid-tier synthetic (I absolutely loved the synthetic they used in the f30i) so I don’t understand why they didn’t go for a synthetic with the Absolion. For the mid-tier the step away from the leather they usually use was a huge mistake and it definitely detracted from the quality of the boot. Hybrid touch may be pretty great but this synthetic “leather” doesn’t cut it for me. I wouldn’t let that keep me from picking up a pair though, it is still a great performer and the lack luster upper doesn’t change that fact. The technology makes up for the lack of a quality upper.
How They Compare to Past Absolion
When put up against Absolion of the past these definitely are a step back for Adidas. Every player who has used a pair of Absolion in the past can agree with me that they are one of the best mid-tier boots out there.
Here is what Bryan had to say about the adiPower Absolion:
The Absolion definitely rate amongst the top back-up boots on the market, and in my opinion even sit ahead of several high profile boots at higher price points! For those of you that have worn them, I think you can confirm the fact that they are a top performing boot and make for an ideal game boot.
The overall quality of the Absolion has slipped with the progression of the adiPower to the lethal zones. A lot of it has to do with the synthetic leather upper but I already went over this issue. The upper material really threw me.
In terms of technology these boots surpass every mid-tier boot. But they do seem to have a bit too much tech (the sweetspot doesn’t do any good for me.) I do like how they perform and the zones are pretty great. They may have not quite matched past Absolions in terms of quality but they exceed expectations in performance.
The transition to the Lethal Zones has been a huge change for the predator line. This change is evident in the Absolion, they have gone down hill in terms of quality. The fix is easy though, all they have to do is improve the upper of the Absolion with the next predator installment. The top tier hybrid touch is worthy of being called a synthetic leather upper and has proven to be a quality upper material, the Absolion upper is a joke compared to it. If you can’t pull off a synthetic leather well just scrap it and go with a good synthetic material.
You all picked up on the fact that I’m not a fan of the upper by now I hope. It doesn’t seem to flex at all, it folds and creases poorly because of how the zones interplay with the upper. The sweet spot could be left out the boot and it wouldn’t make a difference it just adds another awkward crease to the boot. There is a lot of tech in the boot but this technology overload was a negative for me at first. I was a bit too concerned with using the tech than just using the boot but that didn’t last long. I suggest just forgetting about all the tech going on with the upper when you are in game. Save fiddling with the zones for your free time. The grip on longer grass isn’t all that stellar but a maintained field won’t have this issue. They don’t quite live up to what I expected from the latest most advanced absolion comfort wise. The break in was short but left me with a blood blister which I wasn’t too happy about. As far as negatives go I have had worse but I’ve had better as well.
It is a great boot that unfortunately has a Achilles heel which is the upper material. Since there is no name for it I have dubbed it “Walmart synthetic leather”. Everything else about the boot is absolutely stellar. The technology is top-notch though some of it may be superfluous. The sweet spot has proven to be useless for me and the miCoach compatibility is a boon but the miCoach chip is a bit too expensive for the players who need it the most. But when it comes to performance they are excellent and I wouldn’t mind picking up a pair in 9.5 Us which would leave me with a better fit. They may have a list of negatives mostly related to the upper but after I figured them out and made them comfortable. In the end I found using them enjoyable. The price tag is worth it. The zones make up for the cheap synthetic they use. For the price it is the most technologically advanced boot you can get.
You can currently find a full line-up of Absolion LZ at soccer.com.
Technology Efficiency: 71%
Total Score: 67%