Adidas are back with their second installment of a boot designed for “the Engine”, and this latest version has the visual appearance of a real winner. There was no need for a complete overhaul on this one, instead Adidas made some slight modifications to improve what was an already solid boot – the Nitrocharge 1.0.
Unusually, adidas has chosen to give this boot the same naming convention as the original release, so we are calling it the “second generation” in order to differentiate both boots. It is a strange move as it is probably going to cause some confusion with fans down the line, but for now we are more focused on giving you a detailed review of what you can expect from this energy charged boot!
You can find the current line-up of Adidas Nitrocharge “Second Generation” at Soccer.com.
Visually, these boots are absolutely striking and I am loving this colorway. It is bold and brash, with a more sophisticated look thanks to the metallic three-stripe on the side of the boot. There are distinct differences in the positioning EnergySling and the design of the forefoot, so going into testing, I’m expecting some new experience in performance.
Breaking In and Comfort
Out of the box, the EnergyPulse system featured in the soleplate is stiff and tight. It serves a purpose, adding rebound and acting as an additional energy component, but it does mean players need to approach them with slight caution. This is not the release you want to take out of the box and straight into a 90 minute game, although for some players that might prove useful. Instead, taking a slower approach and wearing them through a few training sessions will allow them to really mold to your foot shape. During the initial testing phase, I wore them for half a training sessions before switching out. At that point, they felt great but I wanted to be be sure. Knowing that they felt comfortable during training, I took them into a 90 minute game and they held up really well.
It is worth noting that players who are more adjusted to speed might notice that tight feel in the soleplate more. It does serve its purpose, but its purpose is geared toward players like holding midfielders and those that look for energy retention through a grinding game. Pacey wingers and forwards have the opportunity to enjoy the performance of these boots, but they are ultimately intended for a different style of play.
In terms of inner lining, everything is smooth and I encountered no hotspots. The ankle lining is a synthetic material with some light padding sitting between it and the outer mesh material. After a few wears, and this was something I haven’t experienced before, the lining along the forefoot region sort of separated from the actual hybridtouch material. This didn’t prove problematic in my case as it simply feels like a layer of soft material that has overstretched, but if you are wearing a pair that is very tight, it could cause unnecessary friction.
Designed for ‘The Engine”
As with the original release, everything about this boot caters to the Engine, or the busy player who tries to rule the center of the pitch. It comes together nicely and I really do think that Adidas has created a winning formula. In saying that, there is no reason why these won’t suit other players like outside backs and wingers. Don’t become offset by the labeling behind the boot as they are equally adept at suiting other styles on the pitch. Below is the line-up of Nitrocharge boots we have seen released to date – it clearly shows how the EnergySling has evolved.
What Makes Them Second Generation?
Detailing across the boot clearly label these as the “Nitrocharge 1.0” – something that is very odd considering the modifications added. There is a completely different feel about them but it seems that adidas want to stick with a more universal naming convention. What makes them second generation is the list of modifications, such as the re-positioned EnergySling, the more dynamic forefoot design and the addition of some extra padding around the mesh region of the heel. Adidas keep the core fundamentals of this boot in the same light, but the modifications take them to another level, with a new level of performance available for players to take advantage of!
In Game Performance
It is something I mentioned above, but again it is worth noting that these boots have intentionally been directed to a specific type of player. He/She is the engine of the team, the player that hustles and bustles to get involved and when needed, sit as the backbone in the midfield. Does that mean other players should avoid them? Absolutely not. Defenders and attacking players can definitely get a lot out of these boots and even from my experience using them out wide, they have a high pedigree feel about them.
The focal point of the boot is that EnergySling, so it is the area worth discussing first. Adidas has re-positioned the system, choosing a more horizontal line rather than the angled shape we saw on the original. It’s purpose is to provide stability and additional energy through movement, specifically as players move laterally across the pitch. Realistically, it is an additional that is tough to break down without some scientific studies. Yes it provides a more conformed fit thanks to the fact it is made form a rubber material, but if anything it is more useful as an additional power component sitting right along the strikezone! On this version, it is much larger and actually features more definition across the surface. In theory, it acts in similar fashion to a suspension system, rubber actually soaks in energy and reduces the amount of vibration – thus the whole “energy retention” focus behind the release.
Next up is the soleplate and the EnergyPulse component. We touched on this through the break-in section of the review, but it is still important to reiterate its function. As a boot intended for players who like to hustle and bustle, working tirelessly trough a game, adidas added more spring-back via a zig-zag design through the soleplate to enhance energy retention in play. There is a definite snap back that is easy to feel in game. As you turn or cut, the sole adds some slight push-back and it is easier to accelerate off a stopped position. This doesn’t make you faster, instead it enhances your natural movement so it is easier to push off. My one concern with it is the stiff feel it creates through wear – not just the first few wears but every time you wear them. That is why I strongly recommend a training session before a game, so players can experience what they have on offer.
Another unique aspect of this release is the use of a mesh material through the heel and into the midfoot. I love this addition as it allows the boot to envelop around your foot, in a similar fashion to what you would get from a running shoe. When you bend a leather or synthetic boot, there is always another point where the material produces a fold. With a mesh it is completely different as the fibers are much more flexible and independent of each other. Added to that, Adidas has also added some additional padding. For players that like to tackle, this proves useful as it offers more protection through the back portion of the boot.
Hybridtouch “No Stitch” Forefoot
Over the past year or so, we have seen adidas really push on the use of Hybridtouch and again it is the material used on this boot. The synthetic seems to be a winner to date, providing a lightweight feel with the benefits of a pretty natural touch and high quality durability properties. Without using any stitching, adidas has created a ribbed design across the forefoot for more definition and a softer touch on the ball. There is also no stitching, which makes the end design a little more interesting. This is an area of the boot where improvements have been made as the region is cleaner and you do get a secure feel while controlling the ball. Combined with the rubber EnergySling along the instep, the region is perfect for taking long balls out of the air with close control.
If you have a chip, you can slip it into these boots and track your data. With adidas choosing to remove the feature from several of its soccer boot releases, it makes sense to see it stick on the Nitrocharge. Players with energy like to run, so the ability to track stats and modify performance is a definite bonus!
How do they Fit?
Personally, I found these boots to be a fabulous fit in all respects. They offer an ideal medium/wide width through the forefoot and sit perfectly snug across the top of your foot. Length wise, they are an absolute ideal true to size and will provide most players with a comfortable ride right from first wear. The implementation of a re-positioned, straight across -EnergySling will also prove useful for more narrow fitting players, as it creates a very secure fit – only stretching to accommodate those that need a little extra wiggle room.
There is not a whole lot to be critical of here – adidas has taken a solid Nitrocharge boot and added some needed modifications to improve what it had to offer. It is important to note who they are advertised toward, as that is the player that is most likely to take full advantage of whats on offer.
You can find the current line-up of Adidas Nitrocharge “Second Generation” at Soccer.com.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: A quality, no nonsense, durable boot designed to accommodate players with a more defensive mindset and ability to be the focal point of the midfield game. EnergySling across the forefoot adds a unique, futuristic look.
Category: Designed for “the engine”, I see them as a control boot.
Weight: 8.4oz, which is right on track with other releases in the range.
Would I Buy Them: Even though I feel like they don’t suit my style of play as a winger, I’d have no problem investing in a pair. They are a quality boot with top class performance, and that is not something to evade. For central midfielders, these boots are a no brainer choice!
Player Position: Best suited for the engine, or core players on the team. I also like them as an option for keepers and anyone across the backline.