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adidas ACE leather with bag

While the three stripes tout all the latest and greatest of their revolution, some aspects of the past are not so easily left behind.  The Predator and F50 may be dead, but adidas could not let the concept of a well-built leather boot fade into that good night.  With the new leather ACE 15.1, there will be comparisons to boots of old, but we think it merely shows that adidas can still be simplistic within their new boot world.

The revolution may be a new concept for adidas, but the concept of the revolution is quite old.  The concept of a quality leather boot?  Timeless.

The leather ACE is not getting the same amount of press as its synthetic counterpart, but that might not mean that it should be getting any less of the spotlight with boot enthusiasts.  Let’s take a look under the hood and see if this boot can ACE its way through our review.

The Look

ACE 15.1 Leather by adidas

With a few different colorways already in circulation, there are quite a few options out there for you to snag.  In the leather version, there aren’t too many colors that would match well with the “older” style material.  There is going to be some bright color involved no matter which colorway you choose.  The only big difference in the leather ACE is that the leather portion is going to be a solid color (unlike the synthetic ACE).  The laces on the leather ACE are also different from the synthetic version, and it seems like adidas noticed the lack of color in the leather version and tried to use the laces to make up for that.

The front half of the boot does have the look of something that would be rather timeless or could have been released at any point over the last twenty years from adidas, but the heel and ACE logo leave no doubt as to what boot you are rocking on the pitch.

The Touch

Instep of adidas ACE 15.1 LEather

Unlike other adidas boots in the past where a leather option has been provided to contrast a standard synthetic version, the ACE is actually predominantly leather.  From the moment where the bright heel ends, you get a high quality leather covering every part of the boot where you will address the ball.  While the synthetic has the completely gimmicky (and mostly useless) NSG (non-stop grip) dots all over the upper, it is not present on the leather version.  The leather material feels fantastic whenever you are on the ball, and adidas has found a perfect blend of thickness with the upper to give a great touch without dampening your touch during play.  The laces have been moved a bit off-center to increase the size of the strike zone, but driving through the ball is going to give that warm sensation that leather provides (no matter where you strike the ball in reference to your boot). Shooting and passing is going to be exactly what you would expect from a quality leather boot.  The instep of the boot and entirety of the toe-box provide a smooth feel on the ball, while a cannon blast from your dominant foot will still give you that satisfying experience as you feel your foot wrap around the ball. 

The soleplate on the ACE is one of the better tech improvements that the “revolution” has given us.  Studs meant to provide the perfect blend of traction between an firm ground or artificial ground surface are supposedly on every current adidas release, but the ACE is the only boot that has brought their studs together in a perfect AG/FG blend.  Adidas states that the extra studs are for better control when the ball is underfoot, but we find that they also provide an amazing bit of traction on any surface you use the ACE on.  After testing these extensively on artificial and firm ground surfaces, we actually believe the pattern to be one of our favorites currently on the market.

The heel of the boot blends better with the leather version than with the synthetic ACE as the thickness is similar to the leather, so we really enjoyed the total set-up.  Every part of the boot is going to give you some serious protection if you find yourself constantly involved in heavy tackles, meaning this boot will find a home for any player placed anywhere on the pitch.  This also helps aid the durability and ensures that these will last you well over one season, no matter how many times you find yourself on the receiving end of a harsh challenge.

For some reason, adidas did put the odd NSG bumps all over the heel…but, unless you have been working on your heel control to the point of ridiculousness, that seems somewhat odd.  Still, it doesn’t really change anything, but perhaps the move to use your heel as a control/striking element was on a memo that we didn’t get.

The Feel

outsole of adidas ACE 15 Leather

The leather ACE is a boot that feels good from the moment you slip it on.  While the leather does take a few run-outs before it forms to your foot, the comfort is present from day-one.  The only issue is that there are a few spots where the leather does feel a bit loose.  It never feels like the whole boot has overstretched, but the upper now has one or two spots where we wish that the leather was a bit tighter to our foot.  The deep running lacing system allows you to keep 95% of the boot nice and tight, but a bit of looseness after the break-in is always a worry with a predominantly leather boot.  For anybody that has used either ACE, the fit is identical…and both options will be good choices for players with any foot type.

The soleplate has a fair bit of flex to it out of the box and, after break-in, actually can flex both ways.

Bang For Your Buck

Early versions of the ACE are already floating around on sale, but the standard leather version comes in slightly above $200.  While it is always tough to justify such a massive purchase, the leather ACE is definitely going to please any player that gives it the chance.  If you are looking for the best deal available, head on over to Soccermaster.com and check out their deal on the boot.

Who’s Wearing It?

Chelsea's Matic on Leather ACE

Unlike in the past, even the most customization heavy adidas player is still being kept in the synthetic version.  While a plethora of players are rocking the ACE, only a small group are using the leather version.  We think it could be because of the leather version being difficult to differentiate from other brands/boots on major European pitches, but the main reason is probably that promoting a leather boot takes a bit away from the “revolution.”

The Verdict

The leather ACE is not going to get a lot of press and it isn’t going to get a lot of on-field support.  However, that shouldn’t be held against one of the better options currently on the market.  Having tested the entirety of the adidas line-up, it would be a mistake to not put the leather ACE right near the top of their current roster.  In a world that always seems to be moving farther and farther from classic leather, it’s impressive that we get something so nice from the midst of the adidas revolution.  Sometimes a brand has to blow everything apart in order to find such a simple (winning) formula.  It takes a great player to control a match, so why not make your move in a great boot?

Sizing: Runs true to size


About the author: Andrew McCole


If I may be so bold to condense my immense personality into two words, it would be: soccer nerd. I love everything about the beautiful game and I tend to reflect that in my writing. I suffer through Liverpool fandom and hope that they will win another title before my wife spreads my ashes at Anfield (considering I'm in my twenties, it seems somewhat likely). Although I also dabble in tennis, teaching, and coaching, most of my free-time is spent writing articles.


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