By Hunter York – The adidas signature 3-stripes are ubiquitous when watching soccer and the adiZero F50 has become one of the most worn silos among professional and amateur players since it was first introduced in 2004.

The F50 was developed to compete with the Nike Mercurial line up but the cleat is 2nd to none when it comes to performance.  The F50 was the most lethal cleat at the 2014 FIFA World Cup putting 54 balls in the back of the net.

The 1st generation of the F50 were part of the Tunit line-up and launched in 2004 ahead of Euro04.  The abbreviated name stands for Football 50 and was inspired by the West German national team that won the 1954 FIFA World Cup in a cleat, the adidas World Cup, that was revolutionary for the time and included exchangeable studs.

The cleat took design elements from the Mclaren F1, the world’s fastest production car at the time, so speed was a major consideration but the cleat was not the lightest cleat and the larger strike area with the laces hid became the calling card of the cleat.

In 2006, Adidas tried to top the F50 with the release of the F50.6 TUNiT. The boot allowed players to adjust their boots to any field or condition they may come across. Essentially the player could change the entire boot. Anything from the extremely breathable ClimaCool to a leather or synthetic uppers along with the studs making it so the cleat fit your exact specifications. There was even an option on the insole to insert in the cleat.

The cleat was extremely comfortable (if you made it that way) and players like the Netherlands Arjen Robben at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.

The next version of the boot, the F50.7 TUNiT, featured all of the same aspects as the first Tunit boot except this time, was a huge hit among players. The Tunit features stayed the same and gave players lots of options on how to wear the same boot. The kit came with green/yellow/black, orange, and blue upper options The boot still had the lace cover on them to give a larger and cleaner striking area.  adidas refined and made the Tunit system a huge hit in 2007.

In 2008, adidas introduced the F50.8. The boot featured an AdiDot upper option along with leather and the breathable and light ClimaCool options. It had the option of the standard or competition chassis options. This boot gained a lot of popularity from its “Alles Kalr” (All Clear) element in the heel. This boot shaved off weight and added more flexibility to the speed boot. As always, this boot featured the lace cover that was extremely popular at the time.

Similar to the 2009 release, the F50.9 introduced new insoles to help shed more weight off your cleats. This is also the first time the great Leo Messi wore a pair of signature boots called the Messi F50.9 which were a metallic silver base with blue accents. Another big release from adidas and the F50 had truly established itself in the boot market.

The final installment of the F50 Tunit line up came in 2010 with the launch of the F50i. The new boot gave you all the same customizable features that were found on the previous Tunit model from adidas except this time the boot was considerably slimmer. This is one of the first F50’s that really started to look like the modern F50’s we see now. Messi was of course the headliner for this boot as well. The boot featured a few different upper designs that mainly featured one of either black, blue, or white bases.

The biggest change for the F50 in the speed boot game came when Adidas launched the F50 Adizero with a young Leo Messi as the headline athlete in 2010. The revolutionary boot featured a one-piece, synthetic Sprintskin upper and weighed an astonishingly light 5.8 ounces. The boot was a huge hit and set the tone for one of the most popular boots around today.

The launch purple colorway was a big hit and has turned out to be pretty durable as a lot of people who first owned the boot, still have their pair today. The boot did not feature a lace cover and it was the first real speed focused boot.

Messi wore a specially colored purple boot during the FIFA 2010 World Cup. The boot was also available in a popular leather version. This was the first F50 to feature the adidas MiCoach Speed Cell cavity. This featured changed the way we looked at how football boots preform and the performance we have during a match.

In 2011, Adidas launched the newest design of the AdiZero which featured new colorways and the same features only lighter and has a bit higher of a tongue and higher heel area. Overall the boot had the same tech specs and also came in a leather variation as well.

Also in 2011, Adidas launched the AdiZero Prime, which weighed an astonishingly low 145 grams. It was available in extremely bright color ways to grab attention to the boot. The boot featured a one-piece sprint skin synthetic. It was really the first step for the Sprintframe, which we saw up until the current F50 AdiZero, which is credited to making the boot so light. The traxion studs allowed players to accelerate better than in other boots. The only thing that made this boot difficult for buyers, was the extremely high price tag it carried with it.

Late in 2012, Adidas released the third F50 AdiZero and it made waves in soccer. This boot featured the same Sprint skin upper as found on the other boots but this time, it featured 3D printed texturing to add more grip and control on the ball. This helped the boots stay dry and offer great control even in wet conditions. A sprintweb stability frame was found on the inside to offer more strength to the thin upper. The soleplate was the same revolutionary sprint frame that the AdiZero line has. This particular releases saw many color way releases as the era of signature boots was in full swing. Messi had some particularly awesome colorways with this boot. Adidas even released a premium F50 AdiZero that was lighter and was limited edition.

In 2013, Adidas released their new F50 AdiZero in the Samba pack color ways. This boot was made to be light and be one of the best boots on the market. The new Hybrid Touch synthetic was textured with DribbleTex over the front of the boot to offer more grip on the ball no matter the weather. The boot was slimmer and thinner than the previous F50 AdiZero and was really the first boot with the new redesigned and lighter Sprintframe.

Near the heel of the boot, SpeedFoil helps lock in your foot while also keeping the weight down. Messi had his own variations of the boot which were all Hybrid Touch instead of featuring some speed foil. Messi himself however still wore a Leather version of the boot in games. This boot was and is still worn by many professionals but headlined by Luis Suarez, Messi, and Gareth Bale. Some of the coolest releases in my opinion came from the adidas collaboration with Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto and gave us the Yamamoto boots that featured some stunning designs on them.

This year, adidas releases their latest F50 AdiZero boot and it featured many changes from the last boot. The DribbleTex is now all over the boot giving it an almost snake like pattern to it. The upper is completely made of Hybrid Touch and is actually a little bit thicker and heavier than the last F50 to add more durability to the boot.

The newly redesigned sole plate has an extra level of Traxion studs while only featuring 3 studs in the heel. There has already been 5 different color ways released with this boot and there are more to come.  Messi has his own line of Adizero’s called the “Mirosar 10 and the Pibe de Barr10”. His boots have the same features except have no Dribbletex on the boot. Messi now wears Hybrid touch on his boots, just like the ones that are released to the public.

Announced 2 years ago, adidas finally released the lightest cleats ever weighing only 99 grams! The upper is entirely made out of Woven polyester with polyurethane to seal the boot to the sole. The sole plate is an extremely thin polyamide material. The triangular studs in the forefoot are to add traction and the ability for instant acceleration. The heel only features 2 studs to keep down on the weight.

Players that wear the AdiZero include Lionel Messi, Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez, James Rodriguez, and Karim Benzema. The boots are the main choice for the athletes for the great feel for the ball and how light weight they are while remaining comfortable.  These boots are such a go to cleat for any player of any age because of all the technology involved. The marketing efforts of Adidas do not hurt either. The AdiZero line has grown into one of the most popular boots in the world in a very quick manner. The style alone attracts many players and the possibility to wear the same cleat as Messi or Bale is always a plus.

What is your favorite F50 AdiZero releases to date? Let me know in the comments down below.

Buy your adidas soccer cleats at World Soccer Shop.