Adidas F50 adiZero 2014 Leather Review
For the most part, the adidas F50 adizero 2014, in both leather and synthetic upper variations, has improved with every new release, but for 2014, I must say that I’m a little let down by the leather F50. While the new leather F50 is by no means a bad shoe, I just feel like it’s a step backwards for the very popular model.
Perhaps one of my biggest complaints with the leather F50 is that there just isn’t very much leather. Looking back at the previous model, we finally got a full leather upper, while the latest model has significantly less. The forefoot and toe box area is made from the same Goleo calfskin leather that has been featured on the last couple adizero models. The quality is okay, and it’s definitely soft, but honestly isn’t up to par with other leather boots in the same, as well as lower price ranges.
From the forefoot back, the boot is 100% synthetic, with the specific material being different depending on the colorway. One variation features Adidas’ all-new SpeedFoil synthetic, which in all honesty, isn’t very good in this area of the boot. SpeedFoil is also featured on the synthetic variation of the F50, but in a much different way. Adidas describes it as a material that is lightweight, yet stable, and not necessarily something designed around touch.
With that being said, the problem that I have with the use of SpeedFoil has less to do with touch, although it isn’t great, and more to do with how it impacts the overall feel and comfort level of the boot. SpeedFoil is very thin, but at the same time very stiff and just isn’t flexible at all. This is not something that changes after break-in either, as the SpeedFoil synthetic remains plastic-like in how it feels against your foot. It makes for strange creases and bumps in the upper, mainly due to its lack of flexibility, and it really does have a negative impact on the fit. I also found that the stiffness of the synthetic did lead to issues with foot cramping.
The other variation of the leather adizero features a perforated synthetic leather material. While it is by no means what I would consider to be premium, it’s definitely better and by far my preference over the SpeedFoil version. The synthetic is slightly padded and very flexible, allowing the boot to wrap your foot comfortably through the mid-foot, maintaining somewhat of a leather-like feel.
Other comfort elements include a synthetic suede heel-liner, with a surprising amount of padding considering the lightweight construction of the boot. Unlike the synthetic model, the leather version of the F50 only comes with one set of insoles. The new comfort insoles are fully removable, feature a soft synthetic suede liner, on what feels like a high-quality foam base. The soleplate is also very flexible in the forefoot, giving the boot a very natural feel when running.
The fit of the leather F50 is very similar to that of the previous model. The forefoot and toe box area of the boot is slightly on the wider side of things, while the mid-foot fits a little more snug, especially if you get the SpeedFoil version. From right out of the box, the leather feels pretty soft, and softens up significantly more after only a couple hours of wear-time. You’ll also get a decent amount of stretch out of the leather portion of the boot, while the synthetic mid-foot will maintain its original shape. This is one of those boots that will fit most people, as long as you don’t have excessively wide feet.
Sizing hasn’t really changed either with the 2014 leather F50. I wore my usual size 9US for review in both variations of the F50 adizero, and the fit was absolutely perfect. So, if you’re looking to order a pair for yourself, I would strongly recommend going true to size.
My pair of F50 adizeros in a size 9US weighed in at 6.5oz, which is very light, as you would expect from the adizero line. In comparison to the synthetic model, which weighs in at 5.8oz, there isn’t that big of a difference in what I would call “noticeable” weight, but with that being said, the majority of the boot is still synthetic even though it’s the “leather” version. While the leather F50 is light, its somewhat difficult to be impressed by the weight, simply because the amount of leather is very minimal and the quality isn’t necessarily premium either. If you’re looking for a lightweight leather boot, the F50 certainly meets those requirements, but is it the best lightweight leather boot? I personally don’t think so.
Finally, some variation! It took five models, but we finally have a stud pattern that isn’t made up of just triangles, sort of. Under the heel, you’ll find the same four triangular studs, but under the forefoot, everything has changed. Instead of perfect triangles, the studs are still triangular in shape, but more bladed with longer edges. There are three bladed studs running along both the lateral and medial sides of the forefoot, one support stud in the middle and one small bump right at the tip of the toe.
The new bladed studs are all positioned at different angles, designed to provide grip when accelerating, pushing off, cutting, as well as slowing down. The longer, more narrow profile of the bladed studs allows for much better ground penetration than the old layout, and is a huge improvement when it comes to pure grip in almost every situation. I also found that the new stud pattern is much better suited for a wider variety of natural grass playing surfaces, mainly because the studs are slightly lower to the ground, providing a more stable feel. Considering the new layout is made up of all blades, it still offers decent maneuverability once the foot is planted, allowing you to maintain the ability to pivot. I also like the small bump positioned at the tip of the toe. While it doesn’t make any significant difference in the feel of the stud pattern, it’s a small feature that doesn’t get in the way of anything and just might prevent a slip here and there.
Overall, the new stud pattern is great, and is in my opinion a major improvement over the original, which I personally wasn’t a huge fan of. You get some great multidirectional traction, on a flexible yet supportive SprintFrame base.
I’ve complained about past adizero models not having enough leather, and the latest model is no different. If we look back at the previous leather F50 adizero, the toe, forefoot and mid-foot area is made entirely from calfskin leather, while the current F50 features leather that span from the toes, barely into the forefoot, with the entire mid-foot being synthetic. For this reason alone, I wouldn’t call the latest F50 adizero a true leather soccer cleat, but instead a soccer cleat with some leather.
What makes a leather boot great is the consistently soft touch on the ball across the entire foot. At the very front of the boot, you’ll get that soft touch provided by the calfskin leather, which is great, but unfortunately the rest of the boot doesn’t match that feel. This is very noticeable with the SpeedFoil version of the F50, as you transition from soft leather to ultra-thin synthetic. This inconsistency in feel is something that I personally wasn’t a fan of, and if you’re buying a leather F50 for the leather feel, you’ll probably be disappointed. If I wanted an ultra-thin upper with more of a barefoot feel, I would have bought the synthetic version of the F50!
With all of that being said, if you’ve worn older version of the leather F50 and enjoyed them, you’ll be very comfortable and probably very happy with the latest model. At the same time, I just can’t personally classify this as a true leather boot.
Striking the ball in the leather F50 is nothing special, as you might expect. If you make contact with the ball in the forefoot/toe box area, you’ll get the slight padding of the leather upper, while the laces area of the boot is made from a significantly thinner material, providing more of a barefoot feel. It’s a striking experience that you might expect from an ultra-lightweight soccer cleat. No striking elements, no gimmicks, no extra grip.
In comparison to the synthetic model, the leather F50 adizero is ever so slightly more protective. The extra protection is mainly in the toe box area, simply because of the padded leather of the upper. Other than that, the only other protective element of the boot is the external plastic heel counter of the SprintFrame, which provides some minor protection against kicks to the back of the heel. Should you get stepped on anywhere in the mid-foot area, the thin synthetic material will not provide any protection whatsoever, and you’ll feel every bit of the blow. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, if protection is important to you, don’t buy lightweight shoes.
When it comes to durability, the last couple of leather F50s have been pretty good, and I would expect no different from the current model. One improvement that Adidas has made is the addition of a slightly larger plastic lip at the toe, allowing for a slightly stronger bond between the soleplate and the upper. I had no issues whatsoever throughout testing with either version of the leather F50, and nothing on the boot really concerns me regarding the longevity of the boot. Given that you take good care of them, I see no reason why this boot wouldn’t get you through at least an entire season’s worth of play.
Keep in mind that this boot is made from natural leather, so some maintenance is required in order to keep the boots in optimal condition. Also consider that the firm ground version of the F50 adizero, or any boot for that matter, is designed for use on firm, natural grass playing surfaces, and nothing else. Using any FG boot on artificial grass/turf will have a major impact on the lifespan of the boot.
I’m a little confused by this particular release from Adidas. If you look at the synthetic version of the F50, it is clear that Adidas spent a lot of time and effort in truly improving upon all past designs, and it shows. With the leather version, you have to wonder what happened. It almost looks as if Adidas has recycled a past F50 design and implemented their new SpeedFoil synthetic in a way that I wasn’t a huge fan of. Like I mentioned earlier, this isn’t a bad shoe, but it certainly isn’t my first choice for a lightweight, leather soccer cleat. If you must have a leather adizero, you’ll be just fine with this boot, but trust me when I say that there are better options out there.
|Comfort/Fit||6 out of 10|
|Weight||9 out of 10|
|Traction||9 out of 10|
|Touch||7 out of 10|
|Shooting||7 out of 10|
|Protection||6 out of 10|
|Durability||8 out of 10|
|Final Score||52 out of 70 or 74%|