The adidas X 15.1 was one of the biggest soccer boot launches of 2015. Read on to find out what we thought about it after several weeks of testing. You can pick up a pair of them at Lovell Soccer.
What is the adidas X 15.1?
adidas retired its F50, Predator, 11pro and Nitrocharge silos and replaced them with the X and Ace boots last summer. While the Ace 15 is very much a control boot, one might think that the X 15.1 is a speed boot. adidas did not classify it as such however. Instead they described it as “the ultimate weapon for the game’s most dangerous players…built for the most dynamic and agile players in the world. A fragmented and lightweight design gives ultimate support during the most agile movements…A game changing product for game changing players.”
Coming in at a weight of 7.5 oz., the adidas X is heavier than most speed boots on the market. But given its design (which we shall delve into), it seems to be built for players who are involved in the offensive side of The Beautiful Game such as strikers, attacking midfielders and wingback.
Who’s Wearing the adidas X 15.1?
If you treated yourself to the abundance of Barclays Premier League and Spanish La Liga action on television over the recent Christmas and New Year’s period, you may have noticed the pictured Bold Orange / Black / White colorway on the feet of many a professional. Along with attackers, Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Luis Suárez (FC Barcelona) and Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), defender / midfielder Emre Can (Liverpool), midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United) and defenders Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) and Christoph Kramer (Bayer Leverkusen) are among the professionals currently lacing up the adidas X.
The look of the adidas X15.1 is unlike anything that we’ve ever seen in a boot from the German sportswear giant. Perhaps inspired by the “Destroy Order” theme uses to launch the shoe, the design of the adidas X is loud and in your face. The aesthetics of the X is highlighted by a midsole wrap called the X-CAGE. Intended to provide agility and stability, the X-CAGE has a distressed appearance that creates a camouflage effect. Three gaps in the wrap are the only elements of the X-CAGE that resemble adidas’ famous three stripes.
The upper of the adidas X 15.1 made of a lightweight synthetic that is intended to support quick moves. It is called the X-SKIN. adidas has added texture to the upper to provide a bit of extra grip to the ball in wet conditions. A sock made of adidas’ Techfit fabric sits under the X-SKIN.
The last key element of the adidas X 15.1 design is a groundbreaking sole featuring what adidas calls the X-CLAW stud configuration. The combination of angled blades and small studs make the adidas X both natural and artificial grass friendly.
The adidas X logo is printed at the top of the shoe’s tongue while an oversized adidas logo appears on external heel counter.
All of its technical components are put together quite well on the adidas X 15.1 to result in a very eye-catching boot for soccer players and fans alike.
The sizing of the adidas X 15.1 is spot on. We recommend getting it in whatever your usual soccer shoe size is. Since the upper is synthetic, the boot does not stretch out much at all upon wear. Our tester usually wears size 9.5 for his boots and found the X to be an exact fit for him.
The combination of adidas’ X-SKIN, X-CAGE and Techfit sock produced an amazing feel on the foot from the first time that you put on the adidas X. Our tester said that the fit of the adidas X felt almost customized to his foot the first time he tried it on. There was no tightness on any part of the foot or hotspots.
As with most football boots nowadays, you do have to loosen up the top two rows of laces of the adidas X to get your feet into them. Sliding your foot into the Techfit sock is seamless. Pull the upper at the back of the boot to get your feet in all the way, lace them up and you are ready to break them in.
The soleplate of the adidas X 15.1 is not the most flexible around and does take a little getting used to. Our tester said that he did feel some discomfort on the sole of his foot during the first twenty minutes or some of running in them. This is quite common with newer boots and similar to what we’ve experienced with recent releases from adidas, Nike, New Balance and PUMA.
Getting your feet used to the soleplate and ride of the adidas X is simply a matter of breaking them in via light running, agility drills and ball work. Once your feet are attuned to them, the feel of the shoes on the run ranks among the best in the business. Combined with the secure and snug fit that the combination of the boot’s X-SKIN / Techfit upper provides, the feel when running with X 15.1 boots is akin to doing so with some high grade running shoes.
Traction and Stability
The adidas X 15.1 that we tested is the Firm Ground / Artificial Ground version. It is designed for use on natural grass and artificial grass surfaces. Our tester wore them on a grass field that was on the wet side because of some wet weather in our area and on a dry turf field. In both cases the X provided excellent traction. There was no slipping on the grass field as long as our tester stayed out of a few mud patches that the rain created. The blades on the boot kept him firmly in place with the help of the boot’s heel counter. There was no need to worry about maintaining footing whether on the run, passing, crossing shooting or defending. The same can be said on turf. The adidas X 15.1 seems almost perfect for the increasingly common turf fields in that its X-CLAW stud design provides some of the best traction that we’ve seen in a FG / AG boot.
The touch of the adidas X 15.1 is a result of its X-SKIN upper. The material that it is made of is a synthetic lightweight that features a series of small raised dots from texture. adidas calls this NON STOP GRIP (NSG) technology. The X-SKIN doesn’t take long getting used to for dribbling or short passing. The snug fit of the upper coupled with the lightweight of the X-SKIN provides the high level of intimacy with the ball needed to excel at both.
Crosses and shots take more time to get used since the X-SKIN has not been around before. Our tester was off on both short and long crosses at first and required a couple of one hour practice sessions with them to determine the right amount of weight to put on the ball to ensure that it landed where he wanted it to.
Shooting with the adidas X 15.1 was somewhat easier to figure out but did require some practice as well. This power shots taken with the front of the foot work quite well. We think that the NSG technology definitely helps impart a bit of extra force from the foot to the ball when striking it with the X.
Despite being of uniform thickness all around and seemingly has a focus on being lightweight, the X-SKIN works surprisingly well for trapping the ball. The X-CAGE may help with this for the all-important instep traps by killing some of the momentum of the ball. It’s no control boot with extra padding anywhere on the upper but it does the job better than speed boots.
After over ten hours of use the adidas X 15.1 is holding up well and shows no signs of damage or poor construction whatsoever. Our only long-term concern is that the Techfit collar is attached to the upper by a single bit of stitching below the tongue. This has the potential to loosen up over time. Nevertheless, we estimate that the X should last through at least one year of regular use.
The X-SKIN upper of the adidas X 15.1 is a synthetic that is very much unlike leather in feel. It is also relatively thin. That means that the protection that it provides to the foot is not that great. It is more than what you’d get from an ultrathin speed boot like adidas’ F50 series but certainly less than what you’d get from the likes of the Predator or Nitrocharge. You will certainly feel the pain if another cleated player steps on your foot when you are wearing the X.
The X 15.1 is a certainly unique offering from adidas. While it leans towards the speed boot silo it can be worn just about anywhere on the field because it contains elements of control boots. We think that it will work best for fullbacks, wingers and strikers. It does have a relatively high MSRP of $200 US but can now be had on sale for $150. It is definitely worth looking at if you’re in the market for a solid, all round soccer boot.