For Adidas soccer, light equals fast.
First announced as a concept in 2013, Adidas will now make the sub-100-gram soccer cleat a reality with the launch of the adizero 99g as part of its Soccer Limited Collection on April 15.
At 99 grams, the cleat comes in at less than 3.5 ounces, plenty lighter than an iPhone and almost twice as light as the current lightest product out there, also an Adidas model.
To get to the lightweight feeling the German-based company had to change the way it constructed the boot. The cleat has a 1 mm-thick polyamide outsole that cuts extraneous heft, but retains rigidity. The single-layer upper comes from a woven polyester mesh and the new stud layout aims for quick movements in multiple directions.
Adidas will sell 299 pairs after what the company calls “extensive player testing”—including with pros Karim Benzema and David Alaba—to ensure the new materials held up under playing conditions.
At half the weight of a traditional cleat, Adidas says that using the polyamide ensures the weight stays low, even in wet weather, as synthetic or leather cleats retain moisture to increase weight. The new adizero 99g sheds the weather. It has to in order to stay light.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.