Tiny updates with large implications for the X19.1
I loved the adidas X18.1. I’m not a fan of speed boots but the X18.1 blew my mind. It was the best of both worlds with its comfortable fit and lightweight feel. In fact, it is easily one of the best boots in the market.
While the lifecycle of a football boot is usually 2 years, adidas has made it a point to make minor updates to the boot midway through that cycle. The X19.1 is that very update for the current generation of the X line. Can an already great boot be improved? That depends….
Giving it the X-factor
Despite all my plaudits for the X18.1, its one big flaw is the rigid one-piece tongue. Putting on the boot for the first time was a battle with the boot itself. The tongue didn’t stretch and slipping your feet into the boot was torture.
adidas worked on revising the build of the tongue for the X19.1 and made slipping on the boot much easier this time around. The tongue also allows for more stretch laterally, which helps accommodate an even wider range of feet – quite amazing considering that the previous X could already accommodate moderately wide footed players.
The other significant update was the upper. I absolutely loved the Speedmesh on the previous X. It was super soft and broken in within 10 minutes of play time. The texture also felt premium with its matte finish and the exposed knitted texture. The X19.1 sees adidas cover up the beloved Speedmesh upper with a plastic coating with a new ribbed pattern across the surface.
What you get is a glossy, plasticky finish with that little bit more grip to the touch. The ribbed pattern also gives you a more aerodynamic look for those ardent speed boot enthusiasts.
Lastly, the fit also felt a wee bit different with more room in the toebox and heel area as compared to the X18.1.
On the pitch, the X19.1 performs just as well as its predecessor. The fit of the boot is close and tight without suffocating your feet. Its lightweight feel makes you want to dribble and sprint past every opponent. The off-centre lacing leaves extra space on the outer part of the foot to allow a wider surface area for subtle touches on the ball during those high speed slaloms through the defence.
Those who love lightweight boots can rest easy knowing that the X19.1 weighs at a mere 210g in a US9.5.
How adidas managed to keep the weight down is astonishing considering how much more padded this boot feels over the previous generation X. The padded sensation makes trapping the ball feel elegant and it takes away the sting of a hard strike. However, die hard “speed boot” fans may not like how this feels as it moves away from the traditional barefoot feet a speed boot is supposed to give you.
The comfort factor is still off the charts for a speed boot, especially with the 2 thick pods that nestle around your Achilles heel. The Speedframe soleplate continues to be one of the best in the business with its compatibility on FG and AG surfaces. The triangular blades do give you that extra bite when taking off and provide top notch traction when making swift changes in direction.
So why is it that I still prefer donning the X18.1 for my games?
X-cellent but not x-quisite
The X19.1 is still a top performer and an absolute beast. adidas have also made positive changes the X, such as the troublesome tongue which now makes putting on the boots easier. Design wise, the cool circuitry artwork imprinted on the three stripes (unique to the 302 Redirect pack colourway) and the matte finish on the soleplate adds to the boot’s already sleek appeal.
However, the boot has slowly moved away from elements that make it special as a “speed boot”. The padded upper would feel at home in a leather or control boot but it’s missing the close, barefoot touch on the ball. The X19.1 also doesn’t wrap your entire foot as tightly due to the roomier toebox and heel.
I’m also not a big fan of the thicker plastic coating across the boot. The Speedmesh on the X18.1 was unlike anything I have worn with its “exposed” knit and buttery soft texture. Has the coating helped with grip on the ball? Hardly. But it has made the X19.1 feel cheaper in hand. It feels like a plasticky takedown model instead of a top grade variant.
This sentiment is, of course, subjective. The adidas X19.1 is still a good boot for someone who wants even more comfort and roomier fit in their speed boot. However, I would don the X18.1 any day over the X19.1 thanks to its barefoot feel and the look and feel of that exquisite upper.