Dressed in an electrifying Rick and Morty “Portal Fluid Green” colorway, adidas dropped the X Speedportal in stunning fashion last Summer. It was a high profile release that emphasized the fact they are designed to be one of the fastest silos ever. Big words and high expectations to live up to….which seems appropriate considering their introductory connection to the fast-paced, animated tv show.
Building on the popularity of the Speedflow series, adidas made some key upgrades that were needed. We are talking about elements specifically related to break-in time and overall comfort. When it comes to a challenge, adidas don’t shy away. Instead, they take pride in tackling key performance areas that need improving, while looking for ways to enhance the design.
I must admit, this review is long overdue and had actually been in draft for several weeks. But, that has actually given me extra time to wear them and provide even more detail for those that are on the fence, wondering if they should invest in a pair. An added bonus is that fact that pairs are now on sale, adding to the overall value should you invest in a pair!
Find the entire current line-up of X Speedportal colorways at SOCCER.com.
Initial reaction out of the box is a sharp WOW. There are several important updates on this silo that you can only get a proper feel for by seeing them in hand. For example, the added texture right across the forefoot and down through the instep. There is a lot more going on than I expected. And there is also the raised ridge the runs through the strikzone, it adds a completely unexpected element.
Breaking In and Comfort
For anyone that has worn laceless cleats before, you’ll know that there is a natural break-in period that you need to go through. The fact that there are no laces means that you have to allow the shape to naturally stretch and mold to your foot as you wear them. The same is true with these, but the time it takes to adjust is far less. Meaning you can get them into a game much quicker with the potential of comfort issues dramatically reduced. I wore them in an initial practice session, where they felt a little tight across the midfoot. But that quickly subsided and I to break them into a game for their next wear. It worked out incredibly well!
Things that help with comfort. First, adidas use a very responsive Primeknit material through the upper. It keeps you locked in but also offers plenty of mobility inside the boots, allowing you to toes to move more naturally inside. Looking at the ankle cut, it is very defined across the ankle, contouring just underneath your ankle socket. Coupled with an extraordinary layer of heel padding, your foot stays in place without an overly restricted feel. In other words, you are locked down but the stretch and movement in the materials removes the fear of being trapped. It completely envelopes your heel inside the boot, adding support through play.
Do They Overstretch?
What a common question this is with a laceless release. And the answer to this one is pretty simple.
I’m at the point now where these have become a favorite coaching shoe, just because of the ease of putting them on. I’ve had them several months and love the fact that they slip on and off so easily, where I can show up to practice and slip into them in seconds. No tying laces or time checking if they are tight enough. And they stay on with no issues, I continue to wear them as a game boot in the leagues where I play. So, no they won’t overstretch!
Just to note in this area, since it ties in pretty well, the overall durability of the boots has been highly impressive. I’ve probably worn them 20-30 times and they are still in really good condition, minus some scuffing from playing on turf. The upper to sole joining is fully locked in place with no seperation. In reality, if I was to give them a proper wash, they would probably look close to new again!
One of the most common questions I’ll get from adidas fans is whether to go laces or laceless in their silos. I’ll personally go laces all the time, I just prefer having the ability to dictate my own fit and tighten/loosen them up as needed. But there are plenty of players who will find the laceless line to be a better option. Compared to all other options on the market, these are the best laceless cleats available thanks to the enhanced design that balances snug feel with relaxed support throughout the upper.
If you look at the material, adidas has actually created two zones of knit that work in unison to create a balanced feel across your foot’s upper. On the outer side and around the ankle, the knit is much tighter. It stretches, but has a more structured feel. Towards the inner area, top of where the lacing would be, it is far more elastic, and this is the area that really stretches across your foot. If you put your finger just inside and press against the material, it almost shapes perfectly along.
Upper Material – Touch and Control
Primeknit is the primary material used in the Speedskin upper, and across its surface is a super-thin tactile top layer. Honestly, I was surprised by the amount of definition and texture there is across the upper, especially in key contact areas. Because that top layer is sort of melted on, it dips through the individual layers of Raiment, creating indentations and creases that add to the amount of controlled surface area available. On the ball is plays out extremely well, giving you a little extra grip as you come in contact. It is not overall obtrusive, and the Primeknit upper material is soft, so you get a nicely balanced level of natural feel while also experiencing added sensation as the surface of your foot meets the ball.
Where the Predator Accuracy is designed for shooting and striking long passes, the Speedportal is geared toward players who value close control and a feel as you dribble or move the ball through tight spaces.
One other note with touch and control. There are also mini raised ridges through the midfoot, or instep area, that provide a little extra cushion to control fast passes. Think of it as a toned down CTR360 control zone.
Are they going to turn you into prime Messi? Yes and No. Not many of us are near the levels of the GOAT. But given the overall performance and natural feel on the ball, you have the potential to turn into a mini Messi on any occasion. A confident, wannabe Messi that is ready to turn it up during the given game situation you are playing in.
Underfoot – Traction and Stability
One of the most important updates is the inclusion of a Carbon Fiber Speedframe. adidas has changed to an ultra lightweight construction with revolutionary carbon fiber insert in the forefoot. This is intended to allow for more efficient power transmission when accelerating and sprinting, providing a truer level of performance. You also get a new stud configuration that is optimized for pure acceleration. The outsole and stud configuration are designed for use on firm ground.
I’ve had the opportunity to wear these on the both FG and AG with no problems. The configuration feels very well balanced, with no drag across the surface. You can cut, chop and turn without any unnecessary distractions.
adidas has also added stability wings around the ankle, with the intent to provide added stability through the area by contouring your ankle. It essentially allows you to lock into the heel area without any movement in the material. Again, the internal heel padding with the support wings work together to minimize movement and maximize comfort around the heel area.
How do they Fit?
When it comes to laceless, you really have to ensure they are the correct size for you. Personally, I found them to be a very competent medium-wide fit option. And I’ve got confidence that they would fit certain players with a wider foot. I’m not going to say ALL wide fitting players, because I know there are some of you that can’t find wide enough fitting cleats. But, for those who normally don’t wear laceless because they are slightly too tight, you will need to check these out! The forefoot provides a nice wide base for the sole of your foot to rest on, while the upper does provide a natural stretch over time, that will adjust to your foot shape.
I’m blanking in this area!
I’ve been more than pleasantly surprised with the X Speedportal since I started wearing them. They are not only the best X release we have seen in recent years, but they are more importantly the best laceless boot ever released. And I say that with confidence. Everything they have on offer makes them the best lace free boot we’ve had the opportunity to wear. adidas has done a terrific job balancing the overall focus and performance, evolving the upper to be more responsive in comparison to prior generations.
There are plenty of options currently available in the series, including the World Cup colorway and the latest stealth white colorway. Hitting the market, you will need a cool $280 to own a pair. But, for those on a budget, there are also several versions on sale that drop below the $200 mark and are well worth checking out!
Find the entire line-up at SOCCER.com.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: The latest in lightweight speed from adidas, without laces but with an influence from Rick and Morty.
Category: Built for Speed!
Weight: They drop in at 7oz.
Would I Buy Them: Yep – as far as laceless go, these are fantastic! They are like a pair of slippers, with a very comfortable fit and balanced performance.
Player Position: Think play makers with speed, whether that is wingers, attacking minds or just a defender that likes to get involved in the attack.