Adidas has formally launched what it calls the lightest, fastest soccer cleats ever, the adizero 99g. And there’s a reason these red and gold cleats look like they’re molten from atmospheric re-entry: their exceptional lightness was inspired by NASA technology.
A “concept car” shoe from Adidas’s Innovation Lab, the adizero 99g has been in the works for the past two years, and has an almost numerological fetish with the number ‘9’, which is what strikers are referred to in the soccer world, positionally. It’s only available in 299 limited edition pairs, each of which is a men’s size 9. Why only a size 9? Probably because it’s the only size that would come in at an eponymous 99 grams. “It’s not a mainstream cleat for everyone,” notes Adidas representative Caitlin Albaugh.
The adizero 99g first started development four years ago, during which time Adidas became interested in a space-age material used by NASA. Ultimately, it was rejected for use in a soccer cleat. Over the next four years, Adidas tested hundreds of materials for something similar, eventually settling upon a polyester mesh, covered in a 1mm polyamide nylon protective layer, and reinforced by a semi-rigid skeleton. The result is a cleat that weighs roughly half of what a normal soccer shoe does.
Adidas says that the adizero 99g has been rigorously tested for tear strength and abrasions by world famous soccer players like Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and Bayern Munich defender David Alaba.
“Player feedback is at the heart of everything we do in soccer, and the reduction of weight is important to players as weight is a powerful driver for speed,” say Adidas product manager Hazim Kulak in the adizero 99g press release. “This reduction in weight assists players in performing to the highest level and continues Adidas’s commitment to being on the cutting edge of technology in soccer.”
299 pairs of the limited edition Adidas adizero 99g will go on sale on April 15 at Soccer.com. They will cost $300 a pair, although again, they only come in a size 9, so the mighty and puny footed need not apply.