When Adidas announced the end of production of their four popular boot lines, the Nitrocharge, the 11pro, the F50, and most devastatingly of all, the Predator, we were absolutely gutted.
Adidas wanted a revolution, they wanted to completely abandon what we had come to expect from Adidas football boots, and they recruited the help of some very important people in the football world to do so.
The result was the Adidas Ace, and the Adidas X, two modern football boots for the modern football player, or so say the guys at Adidas. Our first reaction to seeing the X boot was that of horror, it's a very bold design. The Ace is more conservative in it's visuals, but still has the bright yellow that instantly draws eyes to the boot. Some players don't like this, some do, that's life.
But we couldn't get our head around why they would get rid of the F50 and the Predator, two immensly popular football boots, that is, until they told us why at an Adidas boot showcase in UCD this week.
Adidas has always been at the forefront of player performance, and football has changed. When we spoke to our assets, our key players and managers, Pep Guardiola being one of them, we asked him "How many types of players are do you see on the pitch?", and his answer was two. He explained that their's two types of personalities, you've got your control player, which is why we've designed the Ace boot, and you've got the chaos player, which is why we designed the X boot.
As someone who has owned many pairs of Predators in the past, but recently have been all about the F50s, I asked them which is the closest to what I was familiar with. The answer is simple enough, if you loved the Predators, and like good close control, long passing, and time on the ball, then the Ace boots are suited to your style. If you loved the F50, and value a speed boot with great feel for the ball, then you are X. But that is just a rough guide, you really need to try them out.
While both boots are not direct replacements for their predecessors, you can see that elements of their design have been implemented, in sort of a best of both Worlds scenario.
From holding the boots in your hand, you can feel that they are different. Good different. The boots are ridiculously detailed in terms of the material designed to improve the touch on the ball, and the comfort of the fit on your foot.
I was then asked to try both boots on and see which one I liked more. From what I had heard, both before the showcase and during it, I was absolutely sure I was going to be in favour of the Ace. I didn't like the looks of the X and the Ace ticked all the right boxes.
As soon as I put the X boots on, I immediately fell in love. These things are fantastic. I tried the Ace as well, and it was extremely comfortable and seemed like a fantastic boot, but the X just has something about it.
The way it feels on your foot is like no other boot I've tried before. The "Techfit collar" and the "X-Cage" support frame hug your foot and it feels really, really good.
Understand that we are under no obligation to say that these boots are great, we even slated them when we first saw them, but they truly are unique pairs of football boots, and while we will miss the Predators, maybe it's time to embrace the future.
You can hear me talk in detail on my immediate feelings about the boots here if you would like to know more:
The look of the boot had actually begin to grow on me, but trying them on convinced me immediately that I needed to own a pair of them. If you are apprehensive about the look, do yourself a favour and try them on. By the way, I am aware that I am weirdly fascinated by boots.
A big thanks to Adidas for having us out to the showcase, and be sure to keep an eye out for our video review of the 'X' boot around the boot's official release, which is July 1st.