Technology may have changed the way soccer (or as the locals call it, football) is officiated, but it also affects how the game is played. Professionals' vitals are constantly monitored to identify areas of improvement and even the choice of footwear can have a significant impact on how a player affects a match. Adidas has spent many years, and likely millions of Euros, redefining the football boot, adding and removing elements to give players more control on the pitch. This time, the German sportswear giant has decided to ditch laces altogether, debuting the Ace 16+ PureControl: a laceless football boot that is partly crafted from the same material used in smartphone cases.
Instead of using laces to tighten the boot across the top of the foot, the new PureControls rely on three areas to keep it in place. A thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) cage locks the middle part of the foot, while its PrimeKnit "internal knitted techfit locking system," which Adidas uses for its 3D-printed shoes, provides additional anchoring. TPU is already used for cushioned soles in running shoes, but its energy absorbency and elastic properties also make it an ideal material for protective phone cases (see the cringeworthy video below).
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The result is a "larger surface area to generate more power and accuracy," according to Adidas. Basically, players who previously blamed their laces for a poor touch or errant shot can no longer hold their footwear accountable (there's always one).
The company says the new Ace 16+ PureControl will be worn by Arsenal's Mesut Ozil and Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic from January 23rd. They'll go head-to-head when Arsenal hosts the Spanish champions in the first leg of the Champions League's Last 16 a month later. You'll be able to pick up the new boots in Adidas' flagship stores in Paris, Marseille, London, Barcelona and Manchester, as well as a number of selected retailers.