By Brian Jennings – There’s a battle within the Colorado Rapids and it’s not against another MLS opponent.
And many of the players have already picked a side, whether it be the new adidas Ace or X silo of cleats from by adidas, but both groups are passionate in their fondness of their selection.
Team X 15.1 features the likes of Dillon Powers, Marlon Hairston, Drew Moor, Juan Ramirez, Luis Solignac, Charles Eloundou, and Gabriel Torres sporting the Solar Yellow devoid of the trademark 3 stripes.
X boots feature reinforced X-Cage layers which wrap the foot in lightweight support during high agility moves. X-skin synthetic upper offers softness, fit, and non-stop-grip for unmatched ball control in all weather conditions.
The players agree that one of the deciding factors for them was the comfort of the boot from the minute they put them on and began to train.
“These are actually my favorite boots all-time,” Powers, the former MLS Rookie of the Year, boldly told World Soccer Shop about the new cleat from adidas. “They’re snug to my foot with the little insole sock. More than any other boot from the first time I put them on they’re just tight to my foot. It feels like I’m not wearing anything out there-feels like socks.”
That fit is achieved with the X’s Techfit collar for a compression fit around the ankle for dynamic support and a snug feel.
“I like the sock fit,” Hairston added. “It makes it a lot more comfortable, it kind of molds to your feet a bit more.”
Another selling point players like Hairston, who aim to be light on their feet, enjoy is the fact that the X 15.1 boots weigh in at just 7.5 oz.
“I don’t have anything bad to say about them. I prefer them over the Ace. Those are a little bit heavier than these.”
The uppers are utilizing two new technologies to provide a snug fit while also offering excellent feel for the touch as well. eXoskin is an engineered material offering premium softness and fit, plus non-stop-grip (NSG), a treatment that provides unmatched ball control in all weather conditions.
Powers likes the combination and feels he can enjoy unprecedented control with the new X series. “I’ve worn these every practice, every game since we got them. I think the touch is great. It just sticks to my foot.”
The other portion of a boot that players can usually feel a difference in is the outsole, specifically the stud patterns. The X series features X-Claw shaped studs in a pattern that Hairston finds more supportive in the heel.
“Others had the 3 studs that felt weird in the back of the heel, but to go back to 4 in the back made it a lot more comfortable in the back. I prefer these. I bring them down a half size and once they loosen up they’re perfect.”
But Hairston and Powers are only telling half the story.
On the other side of the Rocky Mountain debate, Rapids players who choose adidas Ace cleats.
The Ace have a more traditional look but are equipped with upgraded features like Totalskin synthetic upper for flawless feel with first touch cushioning, Totalcontrol’s groundbreaking stud configuration lowers stud height for control, and Totalcontrol’s groundbreaking stud configuration puts more studs on the ball during foot over moves for complete ball control.
On Team Ace 15.1 skilled players Kevin Doyle, Vicente Sanchez, Lucas Pittinari and Jared Watts have made their choice going with the new model for the precise touch they get as well as the stability underfoot.
Watts has experienced issues with his Achilles area with other brands he has tried. Now that his beloved 11 Pro series is gone, the now-center back has found a perfect replacement in the Ace boot.
“It’s not too stiff but it’s also enough support. Once getting into these my feet feel great.”
A unique feature of the Ace boots is that there is basically two different versions of the same boot players can choose from. Watts likes the leather toe and forefoot area.
“These are good leather which really helps once I do break them in they really conform to your foot just to have that control. I like to wear them really tight with the leather it gives them a bit of stretch and comfort/feel on the ball. I like that with the leather. I think it’s a bit more to stretch and conforms to your feet.”
Doyle, on the other hand, prefers the Ace version with a 3D Control Web surface for perfect ball handling, and NSG for control in every condition.
“I’ve had every type of boot over the years,” admits the Irish International, who has worn Nike and Puma cleats in the past while playing in England. “I just wear whatever’s more comfortable personally.”
Currently, that just happens to be the new Ace 15.1 FG/AG.
“I love leather boots but they deform too quickly. So, these take longer to break in and get comfortable but when you do get comfortable they retain their shape,” explains the newest Rapids striker. “They don’t feel (stretched) after one session. I’ve got a wide foot, so it will stretch out the leather.”
Another innovation is that Totalcontrol stud configuration, which places smaller but more of the studs under the front foot area.
“I wasn’t sure what to think at first,” admits Watts. “The studs are a bit lower and smaller which makes it look more like a turf shoe. But, it’s been awesome-definitely been able to get a good feel for it and get a good release on the turf.”
“I thought there might be too much going on with the touch on the ball are you going to be able to feel it? I’ve found I like it a lot better with the grip just feeling the ball. With all the little studs you have more time to control just kind of feel the ball.”
As far as how the Ace compare to others he’s worn in different conditions, Doyle openly says, “These are the best. I’m not (kidding) about that one, especially here because it’s so dry all the time. In England, maybe not so much because you’d get a lot of dirt stuck, but where we’ve played so far even if it’s wet they don’t seem to mud up.”
One change Doyle would like to see made, adidas if you’re reading this, is the material around the middle foot to heel area of the Ace. On his version, it is wrapped completely in the same almost tacky material that encloses the heel area. Whereas in Watts’ version, that area is more of a fabric material which is less tacky.
“The ball sticks to it, your foot gets stuck on the ball,” says Doyle who relies on his touch to the ball. “It’s a glossy sort of (surface) and the ball sticks to it. If you catch it there it gets stuck on your foot and you stumble a bit on that. If I was talking to adidas about it I’d get them to change that.”
The first edition of the Ace boots only arrived in Solar Yellow/black, a combination that wouldn’t be Doyle’s first choice he says. “Not sure about the color to be honest with you. I’m looking forward to a different choice. I usually like one color-whether it’s red, white, black-I don’t like half black half color.”
He certainly will be glad to hear that the Ace boots are now being released in more neutral, one-color looks that are mostly blue and black.