In one of the more unusual moves in recent history, Adidas replaced their entire boot line-up for some next level, revolutionary performing boots. As part of that switch out, the adiZero series was retired. Less of a replacement and more of a focus boot, the Messi 15.1 was then released to market. What makes this boot so unusual is the fact it is specific to one player, Lionel Messi. It provides a dynamic speed feel, while holding a new type of performance for players to check out. But, is that enough to sway players who might not want Messi’s signature logo sprayed across their adidas boots?
We have had them in testing for the past few weeks and there are definitely some key elements to this boot that you are going to want to know about before picking up a pair. Included in that is the sizing – the Messi 15.1 is very specific in that department!
Check out pairs and available colorways at soccer.com.
When you are a player of Lionel Messi’s caliber, you deserve your own specific boot, built to your specifications. But it is unusual to see adidas take a “these or nothing” speed boot stance. In other words, why retire the adiZero series? The design is sleek and the added cage system on the side of the boot offers a fresh locked in fit.
How do they Fit?
One of the most important aspects to consider with these boots is the fit. Adidas has made these very specific to Messi, and it seems like he likes a narrow fit. “Narrow” is the key word here, because they are snug. The toe has an elongated shape that fits tight right along the front of the foot. Flipping the over to the soleplate, it is very evident how thin they run through the forefoot. Basically, if you have a wide fit, these boots are absolutely not for you. I’m a medium/wide fit and I struggled through the first few sessions because of how tight they were across my toes. The upper material also won’t stretch very much, so they are basically suited specifically for a narrow or medium fit.
Breaking In and Comfort
If you have read my comments above about the actual fit, you won’t be surprised to find I had a tough time wearing these boots. I review all boots in a size 9US (it provides a very uniform base to be able to compare) so I braved my way through the process and gave them as much time as I could. My tactic was to wear them for short periods on and off, and that worked to ensure I was able to test them adequately. Positives – yes, there are some. The MessiTOUCH upper material is very soft and if they fit right, it really molds across your foot with delicate creasing. It is a real treat for touch on the ball, so it gets two thumbs up. The tongue offers another positive, as it fits flush across your ankle line and feels comfortable, while the insoles also offers a gripped feel with nice padding.
messiFRAME Locked-In Fit
Then there is that unique external cage system that sit along the outside of the boot. It feels like a plastic type material that is adjoined to the upper for both support and a secure fit. The only exception is the loose connection around the top lace, as seen in the above image. Looking at the side of the boot, you will notice it wraps around 4 lace holes and also runs around the heel to create a locked in feel. As you tighten the laces, the cage system wraps in around your foot and creates an as one cradled connection. Another nice thing is the fact it adds support to the lace holes, so you know they won’t tear through the life of the boot. I would, however, strongly recommend you keep them out of the sun so the material doesn’t breakdown due to heat exposure.
Performance of messiTOUCH
First thing to note here is that the upper is a synthetic material that takes on a leather like feel. We have regularly seen Messi chose a leather upper in favor of the standard synthetic that is heavily promoted through the release of boots he wears. This time around (and we had this confirmed by adidas) he wears the exact material found on the retail boot. His input was key in the construction of the material and that says a lot for what it has to offer. There is an unusually natural feel about how it feels to the touch, and it does gently mold across the top of the forefoot as you wear them. In order to emphasis control, the material has been fitted with a light texture. You can imagine it like a structured underlay that has a synthetic lining stretched across it.
That defined texture along with a mildly leather like feel produces a material that offers clean control on the ball. You get a little extra grip without reduces actual feel as you dribble. Striking shots, you don’t get a whole lot of protection but again you get clean connection and a definite attacking feel.
messiGAMBETRAX Stud Design
You might have caught on to the fact that the naming convention for this boot is pretty wild, very much against adidas norms! The stud configuration is definitely and its name is fresh, taking on a new approach to traction. There are 11 off-shaped studs (or blades) that run across the surface, with 6 toward the front of the boot and 4 sitting on the heel. In between all of those studs, a black support frame adds a dynamic appearance and a lot of definition. Out of the box, it has a very sturdy feel and it needs a wear or two to loosen up and offer a natural spring back as you sprint.
As far as traction goes, everything runs smoothly. The nice thing is that they easily transition from FG to AG surfaces, so they are an option for players that play on both. The rounded edges allow for perfect torque and release across the surface as you look to accelerate away. One unique Messi touch is the center forefoot stud, which features an angled Messi logo. You won’t notice it unless you look closely at it!
Without a doubt, this a completely attack natured boot. Whether you are a pacey winger, creative force through the middle or a goal scoring machine, these were designed to suit your game. The key element is ensuring you have the right foot shape to be able to slip into them comfortably.
As per above, one issue I have with this release is the fact that they are designed for Messi, and as a result you are not likely to see a wide variety of professional players wearing them. From a marketing perspective, it fits the bill for Adidas as they have a name on the boot everyone recognizes (and strives to be as good as.) But there is also a wide selection of players in need of a speed boot that will, or already have, jumped ship to the likes of the Nike Vapor and Puma evoSPEED. That is a real shame!
But, in the past week we have spotted some top MLS players (Gyasi Zardes and Diego Valeri) sport a blackout pair, giving us all hope! Is this something that is going to catch on or is just a passing trend?
The one other critic I have circles the fit – these are not an accommodating boot and need to be avoided if you have a wide fit.
Messi 15.1 or adiZero F50
Can’t finish the review without adding my personal preference. It goes to the adiZero, and I’m very sorry to see the top performing speed boot take a backseat. Adidas had it made with the adiZero, so why the need to retire the silo? I preferred the fit and the general “basic” level of performance provided. In saying that, I do have an appreciation for the Messi 15.1 and what they can provide the right player.
Again, for everything Messi 15.1 (including new colorways in the series) head to soccer.com.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: Designed to the specifics of Lionel Messi, with plenty of innovation and a classy synthetic upper with a very natural feel.
Would I Buy Them: They have plenty to offer the right player, but the I found the general fit was not suitable for my foot shape.
Player Position: Anyone that likes to get involved in the attacking half of the pitch will benefit. They are designed for quick feet, agility and dynamic acceleration.