The new year has started, and we’re getting back into the swing of things here at CG. (CES is this week, woo~!) The first big thing I have to share with y’all? Yet another example convergence of tech and sport. Last year saw a number of such convergences, from the Jabulani soccer ball at the World Cup (by the way, where did all those complaints surrounding the Jabulani go? The ball is being used in the German Bundesliga, Portugal’s Primeira Liga, and MLS, and I don’t see too many people in those leagues complaining), Chuck Liddell-approved ZigTech sneakers from Reebok, and Nike’s very own exercise iPhone App. There’s ton of stuff there if you want to sift through the archives.
But for today we have something from Adidas, namely their adiZero 5-Star. As you can tell by the photo it’s a football (as in American football) cleat, but what you can’t tell by the photo is that it’s the lightest football cleat ever created. Allow me to explain.
The cleat will makes its official debut at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in a few days. Right before the holiday mini-but-not-really break I spoke to one of Adidas’s designers, Jeff McGillis, to get the lowdown on the new adiZero 5-Star.
McGillis says that players these days are interested in one thing above all others: speed. Since football is a game of inches, the best way to make a killer play is to be faster than the guy breathing who’s down your neck. If you give players the lightest cleat (but not a flimsy cleat!) on the field then you’ll have helped them immensely.
Again, the cleat weighs in at 6.9 ounces. No idea how light that is? According to McGillis, that’s about 3 ounces lighter than the next lightest cleat on the market today. That’s not insignificant, I think you’ll agree.
Adidas’s previous lightest, the adiZero Scorch, was 8.6 ounces. With the 5-Star, Adidas hopes to have leapfrogged the competition by such a degree that it will put an end to the usual song-and-dance of, “Company A launches light boot in January, Company B launches marginally lighter boot in February,” and so on.
Exactly how did Adidas manage to make the cleat so darn light? They did not, as I had initially asked, discovered a new element in the galaxy.
McGillis credits much of it to their new SprintFrame, which has been in development for more than three years. It makes the cleat’s outsole up to 50 percent lighter than previous footwear. Combine that with the synthetic SprintSkin and Traxion studs—these studs are triangle shaped rather than round in order to be better distribute acceleration forces and limit the rotational movement, thereby limiting the chance of injury—and you’ve got an idea of what makes the adiZero 5-Star stand out.
One thing I really wanted to ask McGillis was how do the various governing bodies view all the technological improvements found in things like the 5-Star. There was a story a few months back about how the NBA didn’t permit a certain brand of shoe to be used because it would give players an unfair advantage over their opponents. There’s nothing of the sort here, as McGillis said the cleat was developed in full compliance with the various rules and regulations out there. Just because the cleat is advanced doesn’t mean it’s “illegal” or whatever.
As far as the NFL goes, the first players to wear the cleat will be CJ Spiller and Eric Berry, so be on the lookout for the 5-Star when you’re watching ‘em. Well, Berry at least.
I think it’s pretty clear that my knowledge of American football is pretty much non-existent, but a light boot is a light boot no matter what sport you play. Speed kills, and so forth.
Meanwhile, here are two videos giving a bit more info on the cleat. The first one actually isn’t bad.