Until recently if you were looking for a pair of Adidas indoor shoes your choices were very limited. However, it seems with the birth of the X, Ace, and Messi lines, Adidas are giving the indoor game the focus it deserves. Recently, we’ve offered our take on the X 15+ Primeknit Court and Norman Levesque captain of the MASL Sacramento Surge gave us his insights on the Ace 15+ Primeknit Cage. Both of these Primeknit offerings represent the super elite level of Adidas’ indoor boots. Adidas’s numerical system denotes the level of the boot, with the .1 being worn by professionals all the way down to the .4.
With that knowledge in mind I went looking for a pair of Adidas Ace 15.1’s I could sink my teeth into. While the most obvious choice would have been to look into a pair of Ace 15.1 Boost, there’s just something about the silhouette with the Boost foam which put me off them. So imagine my surprise when randomly searching the Adidas Canada website to find a pair of Ace 15.1 Top Sala. For quite some time the Top Sala was the top end futsal specific boot you could get from Adidas, so seeing it teamed with the Ace upper had me sold, and I eagerly parted with $110 (Canadian, so about $80 US) of my own money to have Adidas Canada ship me a pair, with the plan to put them through their paces during the second half of my arena soccer season. So lets dive full steam ahead into my experiences thus far with the Adidas Ace 15.1 Top Sala.
The Adidas Ace 15.1 Top Sala arrived in a rather fetching Core Black/Metallic Midnight/Solar Orange colourway, with some crazy neon camouflage pattern laces. It is aesthetically a very striking indoor release. Feeling the forefoot of the boot however, left me feeling awfully underwhelmed and that’s because the 15.1 designation on the Ace 15.1 Top Sala and the Ace 15.1 Boost is actually a misnomer, as the forefoot of the Ace 15.1 Top Sala and the Boost version don’t actually come from the Ace 15.1 outdoor model at all, they’ve actually taken it from the second tier 15.2 boots; which for me is actually a substantial gripe, for a reason you’re about to read.
If there’s one thing which drives me batty, it’s when a company misrepresents their product. Be it intentional misrepresentation or just lazy website maintenance, it’s an unforgivable sin, especially when it’s the manufacturers webpage you’re dealing with. If you can’t rely on the company who made the boot to be entirely forthcoming about their products, who can you rely on?
Pictured above is the tech sheet for the Ace 15.1 Top Sala and right away there’s a glaring inaccuracy which needs to be addressed the inclusion of CTRL/WEB 3D, now the 3D Control Web is actually the major differentiation between the outdoor Ace 15.1 model and it’s second-tier sibling the Ace 15.2. It’s the raised definition which aids in ball control and striking.
The Totalskin upper of the 15.2 has substantially less definition and provides a somewhat more rigid and plasticky feel to the hand, and that’s the forefoot you get with the Ace 15.1 Top Sala. While I suppose there’s nothing properly wrong in marketing a boot with a second-tier upper as your top level indoor boot, it does seem somewhat disingenuous, and it’s doubly disingenuous when a company is marketing it as having the same upper as the top level outdoor boot. So Adidas get your stuff together and sort out your specs sheets.
Finally, in the interest of full disclosure, while the different upper didn’t put me off purchasing the Top Sala, had I have known the rigidity to the upper on the Top Sala beforehand; I’d have definitely spent the extra bit of money and picked up the redesigned Ace 16.1 CT, instead.
A Brief Note on the Laces
The neon camo laces provided with the Ace 15.1 Top Sala, are to be kind, terrible. They’re the fat flat kind which belong on skateboard shoes not a top tier indoor release. I actually wore them for the first game I played and ended up tying them up a dozen times in 45 minutes. So you’re going to want to make sure you have a spare pair of laces to swap in, thankfully I had a pair of laces from a long deceased pair of Predito indoors to fill the void, and if I’m honest it makes the boot look a lot cleaner.
So griping aside lets get down to business. The Ace 15.1 Top Sala weighs in at 9 ounces on the nose and features a combined synthetic upper. The forefoot of the boot is constructed with the Totalskin synthetic which as noted is borrowed from the outdoor Ace 15.2, also included on the forefoot is a synthetic material over the Totalskin which has almost a ribbon like feel to it. The purpose is to aid the longevity of the upper in the highest impact zones on the court. The heel of the boot is made from a mesh material which combines to keep the weight of the boot down and also provides is comfortable when worn.
The sole of the shoe is where the boot gets the Top Sala name as it is borrowed from Adidas’ long serving (and now retired?) futsal boot. You have a non-marking rubber sole which is teamed with Adidas’ adiPRENE technology in the heel. For those unfamiliar with adiPRENE, it’s Adidas’ patented impact absorption technology which can absorb impact more than 5 times a persons body weight. It’s a technology which is visible in the sole of the shoe as you can see the yellow disk in the cutout of the heel.
Fit and Break In
The Ace 15.1 Top Sala arrived in a size 9 US and while Bryan and I found the fit of the outdoor models of the Ace to be very forgiving width wise, this does not translate over to the top tier indoor variants. As someone who has a medium width foot, this boot is easily the most narrow I’ve ever worn. A quick chat with Bryan confirmed that the Boost version of the Ace 15.1 was also a very narrow fitting boot, it seems the Ace indoor series is intended for the narrow footed player. Where length is concerned the boot runs a smidge small and given the narrowness of the boot, you definitely could consider going up a half size.
Usually with an indoor boot you’ll find that you can dive into play instantly, given the narrowness of the boot and the upper that’s not something I’m going to recommend. You’re definitely going to want to give them a decent breaking in time, to break in the rigid upper.
On the court this incarnation of the Ace is a solid performer. Despite it’s rigid and plasticky feel out of the box; the Totalskin upper on the forefoot of the boot provides a quality touch on the ball, especially while dribbling, which is precisely what you need when you’re playing on the court. The slight definition of the upper didn’t affect performance in any way as it pertained to dribbling or controlling passes.
If there was a drawback of the Totalskin upper it was when full on striking the ball, while shots flew true, the upper was a tad unforgiving when really striking through the ball. Also when you consider this is by design a futsal boot, there’s reasons to be concerned as the futsal ball is heavier than a standard football, so if there was some discomfort when striking a regular football this will only be amplified on the sala court. The addition of the futsal toe guard should be a shot aid for quick toe pokes but it is rendered somewhat impotent by how narrow it on on the already narrow boot.
The adiPRENE system provides a comfortable ride in the heel of the boot, particularly if you aren’t always the most light footed of player, and teamed with the classic Top Sala sole you’re getting superb traction on the court, so stop-starts and quick directional changes will never leave you caught short. While the mesh rear portion of the boot does a great job in keeping your foot at a comfortable temperature.
I had very high hopes when I purchased the Ace 15.1 Top Sala, the Top Sala (prior generations) has a reputation of being a solid performing boot at a very reasonable price (usually around $60). So when you consider it was teamed with technology from Adidas’ new control boot it should have been a home run. However, it was a case of subtraction by addition for me. First, it caused the price to go up. Second, the Totalskin upper despite showing quality when on the ball took away from the comfort that the Top Sala has been known for as it forced the boot to be almost perversely narrow; and when you’re looking for an indoor boot, comfort is job 1, there shouldn’t be a prolonged break in time. Third, there’s the product misrepresentation/descriptive laziness; when you’re buying a boot you want to get what’s advertised and there’s no excuse to not properly edit the description of what comprises the boot.
It’s a combination which leaves me wondering just how properly serious Adidas is with the smallsided game (outside of the Primeknit releases), as this is a boot which should have had a chance to rival some of the top top end futsal boots, like a Joma Top Flex for instance but, for me, it comes up a ways short of doing so, I can only hope that Adidas work out the kinks moving forward.