As seen in action at this summer’s FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 or any professional league in play right now and you’ll notice the stunning adidas X 18+ soccer boot being worn by players gifted with speed. Our team at Football Fashion has been trying out adidas’ latest lightweight boot offering over the past month or natural and artificial grass surfaces. This is our World Exclusive review of it.
Where to Buy It
The entire adidas X 18 boot range is now on sale at World Soccer Shop, Lovell Soccer, Pro:Direct Soccer and Kitbag. The collection includes the professional grade X 18+ along with second tier (X 18.1), third tier ( X 18.2), fourth tier (X 18.3), artificial turf and indoor versions of the shoe.
Who’s Wearing the adidas X 18+ Soccer Boot?
The players donning the adidas X 18+ boot reads likes a who’s who of world soccer stars. They include English Premier League Player of the Year Mohamed Salah (Liverpool and Egypt), Luis Suarez (FC Barcelona and Uruguay), Marcelo (Real Madrid and Brazil), David de Gea (Manchester United and Spain), KarimBenzema (Real Madrid) and Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur and South Korea). A number of professionals including N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea and France) and Thomas Müller (FC Bayern and Germany) have also opted for the X 18.1.
The adidas X 18+ has a soccer boot design unlike anything ever seen before. This starts with its laceless upper built for fit, speed and touch. The fit is enhanced by an innovative, low dipping claw collar that is high at only the front and back of the ankle area.
The relatively thin upper is surrounded by an ultra-modern skeletal weave that is made up of a thin woven grid that looks like something of out a science fiction flick. The end product is a lightweight mesh that has a surprisingly natural touch.
The soleplate of the adidas X 18+ has a mixed configuration of four rounded studs in the heel area and seven triangular and trapezoid-shaped studs in the forefoot. They’re packaged in a classy, shiny, reflective golden yellow and blue combination that adds a brilliant aesthetic to this essential part of the soccer boot.
The first colorway of the adidas X 18+ is the stunning bright blue and yellow one that you see in our pictures. It is still being worn by several adidas-sponsored athletes include Mo Salah in the early days of the 2018/19 European soccer season. A nice finishing touch is the use of a metallic effect for the iconic adidas three stripes at the forefoot of the X 18+.
Put all of the above together and you’ve got a combination of brilliant engineering and aesthetics for a soccer boot that was aptly placed in a glass presentation case at its official unveiling.
The fit of the adidas X 18+ is essential to its performance since it is a laceless speed boot. As such any extra space between the foot and upper will be detrimental in every way to its user’s experience.
As is usually the case with adidas soccer boots, the X 18+ fits true to size. We recommend getting them in your usual cleat size. We were fine doing so and wearing some average grade soccer socks under them.
The top areas of the claw collar on the adidas X 18+ double as pull tabs for sliding them on. They’re pretty much used equally to get your feet into the boot. This takes a little getting used to if you’re like most of use and have never worn high-end laceless soccer boots before. After one or two times it becomes second nature and you can get both boots on your feet in thirty seconds. No more adjusting a tongue and laces for the right fit.
We’ve ran into issues with collared boots in the past because of the inside heel area rubbing on the feet and causing blisters. Perhaps to ensure a good fit, adidas has a pair of inverted triangular-shaped pads on the inside heel area of the X 18+. These ensure comfort and a sound fit at the back of the feet and help to avoid blistering.
Once on the foot the adidas X 18+ feels like a second layer of skin. The fit of this boot is second to none! There are no gaps to speak of nor are there any areas creating an unnatural feel or hotspots. The insole if comfortable with absolutely no stud pressure felt on the bottom of the feet. If we didn’t know any better we would think that we were wearing lightweight running shoes.
Our main test of the X 18+ was so comfortable in the boots upons trying them on that he forego the usual break-in session for new cleats and went straight into a pickup game with them.
At a light weight of 6.6 oz, the adidas X 18+ is primarily a speed soccer boot. Its ride feels like what you’d expect in a boot designed for fleet-footed players from wingbacks to wingers to forwards.
Slip the X 18+ on your foot and the first thing that you’ll notice is how effortless it is to move in the boot. Without going through extensive motions in the boot our tester all felt ready to play in them within ten minutes of first putting them on their feet.
Movement in the adidas X 18+ is near effortless for a fit player. Its amazing upper provides a lockdown that lets you forget you’re even wearing soccer boot. The stud configuration give a nice pushoff for acceleration and sprint while supporting cutting and rapid changes in direction well. We have never slipped in these boot on either dry natural or artificial grass.
The closest cousin to the adidas X 18+ may be lightweight sprinters shoes designed for unadulterated speed and comfort at the same time. Putting the X 18+ on makes you want to run in them and not stop from warmup to the last kick of the game. Indeed, if adidas were to change the sole of these shoes to one more conducive to rubberized tracks, asphalt and concrete they would have a great running shoe on their hands.
Touch with lightweight synthetic soccer boots can be mixed bags. Often upper padding,stitching and ridged features are sacrificed in the interest of reducing weight. As such we we were not sure what to expect for ball control with the adidas X 18+. Our concerns were alleviated upon striking a ball for the first time in the boot. Here’s summary of what we experienced:
Short Passes – The adidas X 18+ has an excellent feel at both the instep region and the top of the foot. Extremely accurate, well-weighted passes are effortlessly made with the boot. We think that the shoe’s skeletal weave replaces traditional padding in terms of feel on the ball. Creative midfielders will do well in the X 18+.
Long Passes – Longer passes with the instep and those chipped with the inside front of the front of the foot require a bit of practice to ensure accuracy but become easy to execute for an experienced soccer player within a hour with the X 18+. Long distance passes in the air made with the top of the feet require extensive practice however. We spent a couple of training sessions working on them. Even after wear the boot for a few weeks we still haven’t completely got them down and well as we would with leather or synthetic leather boots.
Shooting – Shooting in the adidas X 18+ is similar to passing in the boots. Accuracy is good for anything within close range but distance shots require practice. You go get an unexpected power out of them on all shot though so some ball work (even if just with a rebounder) is recommended before trying to get your Mo Salah on in a match.
Trapping – Simply fantastic! The instep cradles the ball like a worn in classic leather boot while the outside of the foot area kills momentum quite well. Again this may be the skeletal weave at work. The benefit is that can trap and adjust quickly given the light weight of the X 18+.
The upper of the adidas X 18+ is on the thinner side. There is not much protection offered by either the the skin-like synthetic or skeletal weave that combine to form it. One of our tester was stepped upon at the top of his left foot by a teammate during a match when wearing the X 18+. Half of his foot was in some degree of pain for week. Protective socks are recommended when wearing this boot or just about any other speed boot weighing less than 7 oz.
Our picture below shows our pair of the adidas X 18+ after over a month of heavy use. As you can see there is little creasing in the upper. The soleplate and inside of the boot also look as good as they did when we unboxed the shoe. However, the color on the right boot has faded a bit. We attribute this to use since all of our testers use right footed. It seem that the striking of the ball with X 18+ somehow caused it to lose its dye. A note to this effect appears on the boot’s accompanying carrying case so it is not totally unexpected.
An excellent boot for strikers, attacking midfielders and wingbacks, the adidas X 18+ is a laceless game changer favored by professional players today. It has an impressive fit, one of the best rides around today and is a great passing and shooting boot. Its pricepoint online currently ranges from $225 to $280 making it a bit expensive. They’re worth the money if you’re an advanced player at the high school level and above.
Design – 9.5/10
Fit – 9.5/10
Ride – 9.5/10
Touch – 9.5/10
Protection – 8.0/10