Nemesis can be defined as “an inescapable agent of someone’s downfall.” It’s a strong definition of a boot that disrupts with equal strength. So, will the adidas Nemeziz 17+ 360 Agility be the downfall for adidas or their competitors? We laced up to see what it’s all about.
With the launch of the X 17+ Purespeed, we wondered whether the revolution had switched on cruise control, as the changes were fairly minimal from the previous generation. However, the Nemeziz has shown us to remain on our toes and expect the unexpected, for the revolution is still in full flow. Throwing laces out the window for the second time, it’s impressive that the Three Stripes have been able to take another laceless boot and present it in an entirely unique way.
The Nemeziz has replaced the MESSI 16+ PureAgility silo; a boot that didn’t set the bar spectacularly sky high for the Nemeziz. However, there’s certainly a reason why people tell you to never judge a book by its cover. From the cut of the ankle all the way to the surprisingly soft AgilityKnit in the front of the boot, there’s a wealth of ingenuity on display that, if it can all come together to form a competent package, could be a show stopper.
Where to start?
The biggest talking points have to be the ankle cut and AgilityKnit. The ankle cut will be a major focus later, but visually we can’t quite decide how it fits in with the collared boots already on the market. When you hold it in your hands, it doesn’t appear to really be anything other than a low-cut boot that, despite the angle of how its shaped, will sit similarly to a standard boot. However, once you actually slip them on, it sits closer to a mid-cut boot in terms of where the parts of the boot sit around your ankle. The bottom of the V-style cut sits around where classic ankle cut boots would be, but the angled heel and front of the cut sit a bit higher on your foot than boots from the pre-collar generation.
The AgilityKnit starts right below the Nemeziz branding on the forefoot of the upper, and is also included in the bottom part of the heel. It gives the boot a very interesting texture when you are first examining them. You can immediately see the medical bandage inspiration when you get a closer look at the boot, as it truly does look like adidas took a dozen medical bandages and pieced them together for the boot.
A medical bandage that boasts about its comfort? Can the Nemeziz make that happen?
As we’ve said before, comfort is no longer judged by how the boot feels after a few sessions, but how the boot feels and performs as soon as it’s on your foot. The Nemeziz 17+ 360 Agility might look like it’s going to be super-thin across the entirety of the upper, but every single area of the boot (minus the stretchy area where the tongue would be and about two centimetres around the heel of the ankle cut) has been covered by an extremely nice level of padding. It feels similar in thickness and comfort to what we saw on the X 16+ and 17+ silos. All of this means that the Nemeziz 17+ feels great out of the box, and as the AgilityKnit in the forefoot starts to really soften with wear, only improves as the life of the boot goes on.
When you first slip the shoe on, you’ll notice that the area around the ankle, where the tongue/laces would normally be, aren’t covered with a thin plastic layer and that’s to allow it to stretch and form to your foot without the aid of laces and give it a great fit. The rest of the boot has a thin layer of plastic coating to make sure that the boot doesn’t overstretch. It’s very evident that two Purecontrol releases have helped adidas be able to understand what a laceless boot needs in order for the first Nemeziz release to be extremely impressive.
It all sits on top of the entire new, but not really very new at all TorsionFrame outsole (new name, but it looks like soleplates we’ve seen before from adidas), and we didn’t feel any hotspots or discomfort from this type of underfoot build. The studs remind us of what Nike gave us on the CTR 360 III with the studs being semi-circles… a hearty blend of conical and blades. Given everything that fits together on the Nemeziz, it seems to fit true to size.
Is the Nemeziz 17+ difficult to slip onto your feet?
The PureControl needed a shoehorn in the box and a fair bit of trial and error before you were able to slip the boot on quickly. The Nemeziz is actually very simple to slip on, and it might actually be a bit easier to get on than most of the laceless boots on the market right now. The area where the tongue and laces should be has been left very stretchy by adidas by not adding the light plastic coating that aids durability and helps keep the boot from overstretching, and this helps you slip your foot in without an instruction manual or a team of doctors on standby. It does make you worry about the lockdown that the boot will be able to provide once you start running about, but it’s a system that quickly removed one of our fear. The other interesting factor from the stretchy area is that this boot might be the first laceless option that wider footed players will actually be able to enjoy. It’s actually impressive how the Nemeziz can offer a premium fit for players that sport narrow feet all the way to those players carrying a few years of fish and chips in their stompers.
You’ll actually find that the stretchy bandage material is 100% of the fit for the boot. The slight plastic coating on the rest of the boot doesn’t really offer structure like we’d see on the Purecontrol, but just helps give the boot shape. An impressive upper from adidas, for sure.
How does it feel when it matters most? On the pitch.
The first thing that stands out once you get these boots on the ball is that the PureControl might actually be the thinnest boot that adidas has on the market. The Nemeziz 17+ 360 Agility might look like a collection of bandages across your foot, but the padding that adidas has placed all over the upper makes sure that every moment on the ball feels extremely supple. It’s always a bit of a tightrope walk to make sure that a boot can accommodate the type of padding necessary for ultimate comfort while being able to make sure that your touch on the ball isn’t hindered, but adidas ensure the Nemeziz excels with the ball feel at your feet. The AgilityKnit in the forefoot is fun out of the box, but dribbling at speed with the material only gets better with each use. After a few games the Nemeziz has gotten to a level of soft that we typically reserve only for our bedding choices. It’s definitely a dribbler’s dream, and a boot that both Messi and Firmino feel more and more appropriate as the faces of the campaign with each successive use.
The padding, fit, and laceless nature of the boot makes you want to immediately start making quick cuts and intricate flicks, simply because the boot has such a snug feel. This is the one slight downfall of the adidas road to no laces, as there’s still a slight bit of issue with lockdown when you plant a foot and attempt to push off in the opposite direction. Because of how stretchy adidas have made the top of the boot in order to accommodate the fit and the ease of putting the boot on, this area will stretch just a bit whenever you plant and push off. After quite a bit of testing, it never meant that this area overstretched and caused the boot to feel loose, but it’s certainly something that the laceless boots from the Three Stripes have a bit of a struggle with.
Striking the ball is a bit different if you catch it where the laces of the boot normally would be, as this part of the boot is definitely the thinnest. It helps it feel like the ball absolutely pings off of your foot, but don’t expect any padding to prevent the sting of a 30 yard rip or getting stood on. If you’ve ever taken shots with an older F50, an evoSpeed, or a Vapor, then this won’t feel incredibly new to your sensibilities. We’ve come to enjoy this type of feel when striking the ball, as you always get a clean strike and you know that the strike is determined by your technique and not some type of shooting element.
Despite loving the dribbling aspect of the Nemeziz, it’s the way that the padding aids passing which might actually be our favourite feature. Considering how Messi and Firmino are no stranger to the assist or perfectly weighted ball to a teammate, it makes it seem like adidas did quite a bit of homework before this boot hit the market. With padding on the instep and across most of the boot, receiving passes, bringing down balls out of the air, or passing the ball feels incredible with the Nemeziz. The Nemeziz blends well with your style of play to make sure that you can calm the rocket pass and then unleash either a pass or beautiful shot in the tightest of spaces.
While the TorsionFrame might not look totally different from things we’ve seen from adidas in the past, it feels like it was a perfect match for the Nemeziz. The boot offers the right amount of flex to zip in and out of cuts and turns without feeling dragged down or caught in the ground. Don’t look for the external heel counter of the SprintFrame on the Nemeziz, as adidas have taken the counter inside the heel to help make sure that your heel feels locked in without having to tighten up laces.
The last thing to talk about has to be that odd ankle cut that the Nemeziz 17+ 360 Agility sports. We’re going to put your fears away quickly by saying that there aren’t any negatives to report. The elasticated nature of the edges (especially the front portion) makes sure that you don’t get any hot spots and that it feels natural on your foot. There are even some slight silicone additions around the stretchy area of the forefoot to help grip your foot in order to prevent the boot sliding around. You will notice that the front portion does sit a little bit higher on your foot than you might be used to, but the stretchy nature of this material means that it doesn’t cause discomfort or any type of negative sensation. The heel is also sufficiently padded to avoid it causing any true issues throughout wear. It was a risky move by the Three Stripes, but it seems to have paid off.
As 2017 now rolls on from the halfway point, it’s tough to see the Achilles heel from adidas. The Nemeziz now sits aside two very strong silos that offer very different sensations on the ball while still all being top quality options for the player looking for that little bit extra from their footwear.
There’s nothing about this boot that is conventional. It even found a way to give us a unique ankle cut when we thought that you either had a collar, or you didn’t. We’re still not sure what to call what the Nemeziz has; to take an idea that’s been around as long as medical bandages have and turn it into something this impressive shows a level of ingenuity that the market demands for every new release.