Adidas hasn't been afraid to test the waters when it comes to offbeat footwear. Between 3D printed running shoes, connected soccer cleats and football boots that appear more like socks, the German sports giant has been quite willing to publicly document its penchant for experimentation. In its latest foray, Adidas has done away with a staple of most covered footwear and launched a laceless football boot that's to be worn in-game by some of the world's top players this weekend.
Dubbed the ACE 16+ Purecontrol, Adidas' newest wheels do away with conventional laces and use a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) cage to secure the middle part of the foot. There's also an internal locking system and the upper section is made from a combination of open and loose knitted structures, something called Primeknit which featured in Adidas' all-in-one boot/sock hybrid concept from 2014.
The upshot of all this is, according to Adidas, a football boot that fits like a glove and offers closer ball control thanks to its larger surface area and absence of pesky laces. Beginning this weekend, some of the world's most high-profile footballers will slip into the ACE 16+ Purecontrols and take to the field in professional competition.
"My whole career I have tried to minimise the impact of laces on my strike and ball control," said Arsenal forward Mesut Ozil, who leads the English Premier League for assists this season. "I revealed to adidas in 2014 that in the changing room I knot the laces over and over again and then tuck in the ends, that way they do not interfere with my touch. When they came to me last year with the laceless boots, it was like they have created my dream product. I cannot wait to wear them on the pitch."
We suppose if those floppy strings were such a hindrance for the Arsenal playmaker then he might have enquired with Lotto about the laceless boots it has offered since 2010. But hey, we're sure he has his reasons.
The ACE 16+ Purecontrol will be debuted by Ozil when he takes the field for Arsenal this Sunday, along with Ivan Rakitic for Spanish giants Barcelona. There's no word on pricing, but a limited number will then become available in Adidas' flagship stores in Paris, Marseille, London, Barcelona and Manchester and from selected retail partners.
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