It’s one of the hottest releases of the year so far, and one of the biggest talking points, too. Just why has adidas’s signature boot for Leo Messi caused so much interest?
Well, in addition to being one of the best-looking F50’s in a long while (and that’s saying something) many boots fanatics were left intrigued by adidas’ decision as to why the new Messi F50 adiZero is made with a synthetic upper.
The Argentine ace has been a long-time wearer of the leather F50, even going back to the TUNiT era, so when adidas gave their star man his own signature model of the F50, most fans expected it to be made of Messi’s preferred Goleo calf leather.
However, their reveal at the end of last month showed that adidas had opted for the same SprintSkin synthetic that has helped the adiZero become a runaway success was in use – with a leather-like finish for more grip on the ball.
Fans, then,' assumed' that the Three Stripes had made the perfect marriage of a low-weight synthetic and leather grip, so Leo would be taking to the pitch in the same model fans can buy from later on this month.
The Barcelona No. 10, though, clearly has a pair made up to his own specification, as the above photograph shows. The distinctive stitching on the forefoot indicates these are leather, as does the ‘divide’ between the midfoot and heel, where the leather ends and synthetic begins.
As to why adidas have a difference between the retail model and Messi’s own version, we can’t say for sure. Some sales data has proven that the synthetic adiZero is more popular than the leather model, and – as this is the adiZero – we can see why adidas would want to put the lighter synthetic version of the boot on store shelves.
On the logistical side of things, it could well be the case that the graphic and ‘split colour’ design is expensive to replicate on a leather boot in mass production – so, to avoid a price hike adidas have decided to solely retail a synthetic model.
If this is the case, adidas would not be alone in this move. Puma’s PowerCat and evoSPEED ‘Graphic’ models are both available in synthetic versions at retail, whilst professionals like Cesc Fabregas and Radamel Falcao have access to a leather version.
Either way, Leo is clearly enjoying his new boot, coming off the bench to slot home a record-breaking 17th consecutive league goal – a perfect debut if ever there was one.