Ever since Damien Duff graced Asian soils in 2002 with his famous Predators and showed the world how the sport is played , the Irish public have had a somewhat of a love affair with Adidas. From the heroic and much adored Predator range to the new Evo and Ace ranges that have replaced the iconic boot, the fine folks of Adidas really know what it takes to make a football boot.
Now we know, Goos3D is a tech site so why are we waxing lyrical over a pair of shoes? The answer is simple, technology can not only be found in handheld devices like tablets, or phones. Nor is it limited to 3D printing or wearables. Adidas are not afraid to push the boundaries when it comes to implementing technology in their products, from 3D printed running shoes, integrated technology with the miCoach or football boots that look more like socks. The German giants have spent many years and millions of Euros to redefine the footy boot, by adding and removing particular elements to give players more control on the pitch and this time they have outdone themselves.
In creating the Ace 16+ PureControl, they have ditched the simplest element of any shoe – the lace, and have created something which is partly crafted from the same material used in smartphone cases. Yes you heard us correctly boots without laces, inspired by phone cases….genius! Lotto were originally the first manufacturer’s to attempt a lace-less boot and we think it’s safe to say here that they made a balls of it, but Adidas have managed to create a boot which is not just smart but is also sexy.
The Ace 16+ PureControl, the newest set of wheels, have ditched the conventional laces by using something called thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU to you and me) to secure the middle part of the foot, while an interlocking system across the upper section is created from a combination of open and loose knit structures in a feature called Primeknit, something which Adidas have been featuring in an all-in-one boot/sock hybrid as well as their 3D printed shoe range since 2014. TPU is an amazing substance that has already been used in cushioned soles for running shoes, but its main use to date has actually been in the humble smartphone case, due to its energy absorbency and elastic properties. Who would have thought the piece of rubber around your phone could have so many uses?
The reason for this material selection, according to Adidas, was to create a football boot that fits like a glove and offers closer control to the players thanks to the larger surface area on the platform of the foot due to the absence of laces which in turn will allow the player to “generate more power and accuracy”. Basically from that chap at your six a side to the likes of Christian Benteke, who keeps blaming his laces for his poor touch. Or Wayne Rooney looking down at his boots after an erratic shot has nowhere to hide.
If that’s not enough the makers promise the boots require no time to wear the boots in, meaning no more annoying blisters. This boot essentially fits like a sock, with a layer of thin raised dots on the Primeknit section of the boot for closer control no matter what type of pass you’re making or receiving. On the flipside, the PureControls are using something called the Sprintframe outsole, which allows for better grip on the playing surface thus aiding the player reach their full speed faster (not a problem for any of the Goos3D team I can assure you), while for added protection an oversized heel cup providing stability which is essential in the modern day football boot. Expected to release in the near future with a RRP of €250 these won’t come cheap, however players such as Mesut Ozil and Ivan Rakitic will be wearing these from next weekend onwards (as if they need the help).
“My whole career I have tried to minimise the impact of laces on my strike and ball control,” says Ozil.
“I revealed to Adidas in 2014 that in the changing room I knot the laces over and over again and then tuck in the ends – that way they do not interfere with my touch.” Well Mesut, Adidas listened and once again they delivered, but just what are you doing in that pictures at the top of the page?
Anyway, the next time your Sunday League gaffer tells you to “Put your laces through it”, just simply remind him that you really can’t.