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Speed, stability and Rick and Morty: Explaining adidas’ new X Speedportal boots

16:05 BST 20/07/2022
Rick and Morty adidas Speedportal boots GFX

adidas has extended its X line of football boots, introducing the Speedportal silhouette to the series of speed and movement-focused designs. The new boot takes this process in a new direction, quite literally. The key theme throughout the design process was the idea of “multidimensional speed,” a concept that reflects how football has evolved and how the role of speed within it has also shifted.

“You need to understand the game and the way speed is utilized,” explains Franziska Aurnhammer, Senior Product Manager at adidas. “We’re past the time where you talk about top speed linear sprints. Nowadays, in football, multidirectional speed is super important. It’s a high pressing game, attacks are faster, there is less time on the ball. There’s a lot of added pressure on players to perform faster not just physically but also the mental side. You need to react fast, take the right decisions quickly. That’s where the idea of multidimensional speed came from.”

The focus on multidimensional speed comes after a long design process for adidas, beginning over two years ago and building heavily on the brand’s archive as well as insights from players and, for the first time, coaches. “Our goal is bringing a better product to the table every season for our athletes, that’s what we strive for,” says Thomas Macé adidas’ senior design director of football footwear. “We’ve got a great history of speed boots, and we use that as our starting point. We look at what our athletes love and dislike about the product, and then we try and improve it.”

For the latest evolution of the X series, adidas focused its innovation on three main areas: the upper, the outsole and the stability system. Each of these sections of the Speedportal is designed to achieve the brand’s core aim of creating boots that allow players to be as fast as possible in as many different ways as possible.

“We engineered every millimetre of that material,” Macé explains of the PRIMEKNIT upper. “It gives you the very best support in the right areas. Obviously a toe, a midfoot, the arch and the heel don’t have the same needs for the boot to increase speed, comfort and stability.” The upper is finished off with adidas’ signature speed skin, which “helps to create the optimal ball to boot interaction,” according to Aurnhammer.

The second major innovation comes on the outsole, particularly in relation to the studs. “We knew we wanted to create a boot that enables the players to go fast in multiple directions,” Aurnhammer continues. “So that’s how the studs were designed, they were designed to give you grip and help you push off in all different directions.” The outsole is also redesigned with two additional forefoot studs included. “They’ve been proven to bring a great performance benefit in terms of the initial push off to really get you going.”

While both of these elements are important, the third and final section was highlighted as the most important thing for the professional players involved in the design process. “The main thing from a performance point of view is stability,” Aurnhammer explains. “That’s why on both the medial and lateral side there is a 2.7 millimetre TPU foil, a bit of extra reinforcement in the midfoot areas where it is crucial that you have a good lockdown, a tight fit, and really good stability to avoid having sideways movements that would make you feel less stable.”

The stability innovations continue further than just adding some thin foil sections. Another addition is what Aurnhammer calls “stability wings,” helping to hold the wearer’s heel more tightly into the boot. “It ensures that the players have the perfect fit and great lockdown,” she adds. “Therefore they are able to run faster, because they are more stable.”

As well as improving its on-pitch capabilities, adidas has also improved the sustainability credentials of the boot. “Sustainability is very close to our hearts at adidas,” says Aurnhammer. “For the first time ever in football footwear, we aren’t using any virgin polyester. Also, the entire X range will now feature at least 50% recycled materials. In the upper. We’re really proud, it’s the highest sustainability standard that we’ve ever achieved in football footwear.”

Showcasing the technical know-how and experimentation that has gone into the X Speedportal, adidas recruited mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his grandson Morty Smith. The duo appear in an animated film – alongside Mo Salah and Vivianne Miedema – exploring the capabilities of multidimensional speed, and what it can do for Morty’s emerging football career. Continuing the Rick and Morty influence, the X Speedportal arrives in an eye-catching “Portal Fluid Green” colourway. 

adidas X Speedportal boots price & how to buy

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The adidas X Speedportal collection is available to buy right now from the adidas store. Here's a look at some of the items available:

adidas X Speedportal+ firm ground boots

Get them from adidas for £230.00

adidas X Speedportal.2 firm ground boots

Get them from adidas for £120.00

adidas X Speedportal.1 indoor boots

Get them from adidas for £100.00

adidas X Speedportal.3 laceless turf boots

Get them from adidas for £75.00

Shop the entire adidas X Speedportal collection here.