Since there are so many players playing on artificial surfaces these days, it seems only appropriate that I branch into reviews of shoes designed specifically for turf surfaces. First up, I have been testing the Lemon Peel/Fairway version of the Adidas adi5 X turf shoe over the past 4 weeks. There are several benefits to wearing turf shoes – specifically that they are specific to a surface – but my experiences in the past have led me away from wearing them. Then again, I don’t think I ever really gave a pair an extended period of wear to really get a good feel for them. For testing, I wore a size 9US. Also, I got a little “artsy” with the images for this review!
One of the first things you notice is how these shoes are so similar to everyday running shoes, and just like running shoes they break in very easily. Overall, I found that they broke in from the very first wear and it only took a training session to realize how smooth the transition would be to a full game. They are well padded, so there is little fear of getting any blisters as long as you are wearing your right size. I got to wear them in 4 games and also on an older and a newer version turf surface – both of which turned out to be positive experiences.
Whats with the Design?
Basically, the front design of the shoe is a rubber covering that layers along the top of a mesh underlay. The green area is the mesh fabric, while the yellow cris-cross design is the rubber. This is the touch compound that allows for better touch and control on the ball. The rest of the boot is actually a synthetic upper.
Is the Touch Compound effective?
The answer is yes, it does serve its purpose. The rubber offers a slightly sticky feeling when the ball hits your foot, allowing for a little extra grip and control. I found it was noticeable on the ball and entirely in a good way. So, I like this added technology a lot and hope to see it developed on future releases. Adidas do have some work to do on it though, as I found the rubber wore off over time in areas where I was controlling the ball often.
What about the Mesh Underlay?
One of the things I don’t personally like about these boots is the mesh underlay as it really doesn’t offer much protection to the top of your foot. And on striking the ball, I can’t say I ever felt like I was getting full power behind the ball. There could be a large psychological effect behind this, as you are aware striking the ball that you will feel more impact.
Sizing and Fit compared to Cleats
In terms of sizing, think “sneaker” as that is exactly how these fit. In fact, I have found myself actually wearing these around as they are super comfortable and look good as an everyday shoe! They have plenty of padding and support, so in general they work quiet well as a running shoe. I found them to be a little wider than regular size soccer cleats as the joining of the upper to sole is less dramatic.
Plain and simple, I found these to be one of the more comfortable all around shoes I have worn on a pitch. They are specifically designed for turf surfaces so that is where they are going to be most effective. I not encountered any problems in terms of comfort throughout testing and on the turf surface I encountered no slipping or sliding. That really is the biggest bonus to wearing a specific shoe for the surface. To be honest, it was one thing I was skeptical about going into the review, but in games when I needed to turn quick and accelerate, the turf sole was very effective in offering grip and comfort.
First off is the mesh underlay, as I feel you need more protection on the upper foot area – especially with other players choosing to wear FG blades on artificial surfaces. The second problem was with the rubber touch compound that seemed to wear off over time, exposing the mesh area to the surface.
One area where I feel these boots will really appeal is to coaches. They are a perfect match for coaches who need something they feel comfortable in and can demo on the ball with total confidence. Add to that the fact that you are getting absolute value for money (around $60 a pair) and they are an excellent purchase. Personally, I feel they lack a little added protection/padding on the front of the ball when striking but other than that I found them to be extremely effective. In hindsight, it turns out wearing turf specific shoes is not as bad as I first thought and I am now looking forward to testing out some other turf specific shoes. Finally, if the Lemon Peel/Fairway color is not for you, there is also a Black/Infrared version available.
(Boots supplied for review by soccer.com)