Adidas has created something unique with their new F50 adizero range. If you had a chance to read the Synthetic review last week, you will be familiar with the fact that these are the lightest soccer cleats on the market. But there are several rather large differences between the Synthetic and Leather version that will leave you with a decision to make about which one is more suitable for you. Luckily, I had the opportunity to interchange between both versions while testing, allowing the best opportunity to feel what differences that exist in performance. I have used the Leather versions in 3 games and multiple trainings over the past few weeks testing a size 9US in the Chameleon Purple/White/Electricity version.
Does the adizero actually feel lighter?
Without having to think about it the answer is “YES.” When I took these out of the box for the first time they blew my mind! It is absolutely astounding how light these feel. I have to admit that I am normally skeptical of lightweight boots, and have stated that I never really notice a difference in terms of weight, but the adizero completely changed my opinion. They are light in your hands and light on your feet!
The leather version was a lot easier to break in than I anticipated. As with the Synthetic version, I used the comfort insert for the first few wears instead of the ultralight version. This helps a lot, and you can feel the extra comfort you get from the thicker insole. Because these have a leather front, they do take time to really mold to your front. From day 1 they have a tighter, more snug fit than the synthetic version, which is designed to be a little bigger. It takes plenty of dribbling and crossing to help them mold to your feet. Comfort wise, I have to admit that the heel bothered me a little more than it did in the synthetic version. Again this is due to the fact that the leather version fit a little more snug. But overall, I preferred how these fit and it didn’t take long until I had them moving in unison with my feet! My advice it to wear these in one or two trainings before putting them into action on the field!
A lot of you have been asking how much of the boot is actually leather. Adidas use a full grain Galeo cow leather upper that is soft, but not quiet the quality of K-leather. You can tell where it starts by looking for the first line of stitching on either side of the boot. To be more specific, on the left boot it runs from the top lace on the inside of the cleat to the third lace on the outside of the cleat. I would say approximately 50% of the upper is leather, focused on the front of the boot, where you are going to need it most. Adidas also use stitching that runs right across the leather to create a pocketed cushioning. This aids in giving a controlled feel on the ball.
In terms of size, you are going to want to order true to size with the leather version. I have stated a few times that there is a little more space in the synthetic version, which accompanies many comments about the F50 adizero running a half size to big. But the leather version has a snug fit that you will need to work with to really mold to your foot.
I am a huge fan of how Adidas has designed the Leather version. The Chameleon version, as worn by Lionel Messi, has an extremely unique look that really can’t be explained in a post. You have to actually see them to understand the color patterns. The bright yellow (electricity) color that Adidas use in the detailing compliments the full look of the boot. One area that it is particularly evident is in the stitching used around the lip of the boot, about an inch above where the upper and soleplate meet. Adidas also use their signature 3 stripe logo in white on the outside of the boot to create a classic look. Flip the boot over, and you will find one of the most minimal soles ever! On the Chameleon version, the sole is entirely white except for the yellow tipped studs that makes them pop when you see them from behind.
One of the more unique aspects of the cleat lies on the heal, where Adidas have replaced the regular wide grooved heel with a much smaller, yet extremely comfortable, thumb heel design. By thumb heel design I mean it literally is a thumb width in size and it extends slightly higher on your heel than it normally would. I like this part of the design as it gives that extra bit of material to keep the boot close to your foot, without adding any extra pressure in the region.
Again, as with the synthetic version I have to admit that it is difficult to come up with any negatives for these. For once I am stumped! Adidas have created a very elegant looking, superlight boot that somehow manages to maintain comfort. Enough said!
You are going to ask , so I will give you an answer now: My preferred choice is the leather version. This is primarily due to the nature of the fit, and the fact that when these mold to your fit they are a terrific boot. But one thing you are giving up is the full superlight package, as these weigh in at 6oz, 0.2oz heavier than the synthetic. To be honest, the weight difference only equates to a “title” more than anything else. You will not notice a weight difference! In terms of position, just like with the synthetic version, if you feel like you need a lightweight boot then these are probably the best option out there! To be honest, they might not be suitable for defenders who like to get stuck in as they really don’t offer a great deal of protection. This also goes for hard-hitting midfielders. Wingers and strikers will get the most out of them. Lionel Messi, who the Chameleon Leather version was specifically created for, has already worn them at this summers World Cup in South Africa (image to the right.)
*Boots supplied for review by soccer.com