In order to really define and celebrate the new “Haters Pack“, adidas introduced an all new version of the adiZero F50, and as you would expect they are built for all out speed. Featuring some new technology on the upper and through the soleplate, there is a higher level of expectation placed on this boot that high-profile players like Suarez, Rodriguez, Robben, David Silva and more are set to wear. Visually, they have a vastly unusual patterned look that requires a double take, and there is no signature 3-stripe on the side to brand them as an adidas boot. It is all change!
But how does this latest attempt at the ultimate acceleration machine perform against the competition? We’ve had them in testing, running them across different playing surfaces, and here is how it all went down!
For those that want a pair, find them at soccer.com.
We covered these before release and the immediate focus was on the snakeskin style design, whether it would provide elevated control on the ball, giving players a little extra grip. In hand, it is more to do with that extremely unusual soleplate and mixed blade configuration. How is it going to perform on different playing surface types?
Break In and Comfort
Out of the box, this is a very flexible boot in both the upper and soleplate. They have plenty of natural movement throughout, so players shouldn’t have too many issues breaking them in. During testing, I took them straight into a game and the overall feel was enjoyable, with no hot spots to report.
What is a bit of an issue is the inner lining of the boot, right around the heel. The material is a smooth synthetic that doesn’t grab your heel and keep it firmly in place. Another impact on this is the removal of the SprintFrame heel counter that added a more locked down feel on previous models. It creates that nasty squelch noise you don’t want to hear from your boots as you run, where your heel is moving up and down in the boot. There is an easy resolution – some light sandpaper. After roughing it up, it becomes less of an issue.
Three-Stripe Moves Back
In an unusual twist, adidas has removed their signature three-stripe from the side of the boot, moving it instead to the heel. What a bold move! This is not something we have seen from adidas in the past, as they have continually looked for ways to prominently display their signature mark. This time around, they have provided a shock factor, allowing players the opportunity to brand their own game! The side of the boot is now highlighted by a ghost underlay design, with a sort of metallic cloud effect adding a unique visual effect. You will find a three stripe on the upper, but it now sits on the heel and also along the tongue.
In Game Performance
There are obviously two main talking points with this boot; the DribbleTex upper texture and the soleplate configuration. Both get their own section down below, so we are reserving this space for other performance characteristics and what you can expect.
First is striking shots. There isn’t a great deal of padding through the forefoot, so it is a boot that won’t necessarily soak in impact. When it comes to heavy tackles, this is also particularly true – so I don’t see them as a suitable option for defenders. The textured upper does offer a little extra grip as you shoot, a positive when you are looking to get some extra spin behind the ball.
Adidas has also dramatic altered the heel design of the boot. Gone is the SprintFrame and protected heel counter. This time around, they use the structure of the boot to protect the region, by manipulating the materials and hardening the lower positioned area. As you would expect, this provides a different feel around your ankle and heel through play. Rather than the boot hugging the lower portions, it now envelopes your ankle a little more.
3D DribbleTex Upper
At this point, it has become clear that adidas love the performance of their ultra premium synthetic upper, called Hybridtouch. With its very natural faux leather feel, it has become a favorite of the German brand. It is durable, provides a weather proof barrier with little to no water intake and it plays a key role in the boots lightweight construction. This version checks in at 7.2oz, which isn’t the lightest we have seen in the series, but it is still light enough to be a speed boot.
On top of the Hybridtouch upper, adidas has added a 3D DribbleTex print. It has texture and actually gives the upper material some additional strength. Note here that in turn, this makes them slightly more rigid to the touch. Scratch that and let me restate, the upper is still very, very soft and flexible but it doesn’t match the feel of the previous adiZero F50 release. For example, the Battle Pack version released during last summers World Cup had a more pliable feel.
There is tremendous benefit to its addition on the boot and I for one am very impressed that adidas has added it. We have seen DribbleTex used before, but not the extent that it is found on these. By creating a pattern effect right across the upper, you get a very uniform feel on the ball. The almost dragon or snake skin style design is very sporadic in nature, with a light sandpaper type feel created. For players that like to get on the ball and move in an attacking nature, this is very beneficial as you get a more controlled feel across your foot. That little extra texture helps maintain the ball close to your feet without making it stick too close. See it as an added piece of technology included to improve your performance – all you have to do is play your game and make the most of it!
Speedtraxion High-Speed Stud Design
When you consider the style of player these boots are ultimately intended for, improving traction is an important factor to consider. This is especially true when it comes to maximum acceleration through quick turns. You need to be nimble, yet connected to the surface so you can chop and release at ease to get out of tight spots. In the past, adidas has kept it relatively simple with the SprintFrame. This time around, the design has been dramatically warped and now we see an almost two tier tooth system come into play. We are talking sharp teeth designed to really cut the surface, and a lot of them. Toward the front of the boot, you get the primary six blade design, all featured in an almost triangular style. With three on either side of the soleplate, there are half sized teeth in-between. Through the middle of the boot is where it really gets crazy, with an almost spine like system in place. It is hard to describe without the use of images – that is why we have included a whole much to detail how it is all placed together.
Ultimately, it is all about performance and how it functions as an overall system. To my surprise, the results have been very positive across the two primary surfaces; FG and AG. Initially, I was under the impression that placing so many teeth would produce a drag effect, especially on AG. But as it turns out, the design allows for quick cuts and a dynamic push off for clean acceleration. I’ve noticed a substantial difference when it comes to dynamic cuts in tight spaces, where you really get the most out of more traction. They have also proved beneficial on slightly wet FG pitches, where they definitely grip the surface effectively.
Oh, and did I mention the three blade heel design? Yes, there is another interesting twist to this one! We haven’t seen two many FG specific boots drift away from standard heel configurations. In the past, the Pele Trinity and Nike Vapor IX have been on the only major exceptions. Here, adidas choose to add a third blade just in front of both primary nubs that sit right on the heel. Performance wise, I didn’t really notice it in play too much, so it never proved a positive or negative factor. It is obviously intended to increase traction, and maybe it does – it just wasn’t evident.
Are They Better Than Previous Models?
It really depends how you look at both boots. The previous model is lighter and was designed to be all about pure speed. This time around, there is more of a focus on agility. The weight of the boot has been increased and the materials have been bulked up.
Ultimately, I’d have to say yes. Given that they are focused on attacking styled players, offering an upgrade in touch and control is a great move. Adidas has added that 3D DribbleTex textured scale skin covering across the upper, and it provides a little extra grip on the ball for players that like to get quick touches and attack defenders. Added to that, the wildly cut soleplate has the intentions of speeding up player movement as they chop and turn in tight positions. Combined, it is a very different type of boot that offers a more dynamic overall system.
How do they Fit?
These are very much a true to size boot, both in length and width. As a speed focused boot, they are intended to be streamlined, so they are not going to accommodate wide fitting players. But in saying that, they have a little extra space compared to speed boots from other brands like Nike (Vapor) and Puma (evoSPEED). For that reason, they are definitely worth a look before the others if need something with slightly more space.
Definitely not a fan of a boot that comes with a squelch noise as you run, but thankfully there is an easy fix with a little bit of sandpaper. There is obviously repercussions behind removing the SprintFrame heel counter that need to be re-evaluated. I am interested in hearing if other players have a similar experience in this area.
I can see the soleplate scaring some folks away – it is rather wild and completely opposite the clean design we had seen on prior adiZero releases. Gone is the smooth body and in comes a wild, snarling teeth style configuration. I’m not criticizing the performance of the soleplate here, rather it is something that might catch consumers off guard. Other than that, they have everything going for them in a positive way.
Check out the current available adiZero F50 line-up at soccer.com.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: An explosive soleplate coupled with a complete DribbleTex upper take this version of the adiZero to new levels.
Category: Lightweight Speed
Would I Buy Them: There are a lot of positives to these and they definitely suit my personal attacking style of play. So, it would be a definite yes.
Player Position: Take a guess – this one goes with anyone that likes to get forward and involved in the attack. Defenders, not so much since there isn’t a great deal of protection on offer.