Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil and others to debut laceless shoe

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Arsenal’s Ozil and others to debut laceless shoe
by rick olivares

Over the next few days, Mesut Ozil and three others — Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic, Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez, and Chelsea’s Oscar — will be wearing the first laceless football shoes in a competitive match. All three will be donning the Ace 16+ Pure Control shoe that has the footwear world abuzz. 

For years, shoe manufacturers have tinkered with ideas on how to eliminate the laces that while keeping the shoe tied down to your feet have been cumbersome and at times irritating. The idea behind the development of the Ace 16 is ball control so it is no surprise that the four football players are all midfielders who are known for their control and creativity in the middle of the park.

Puma used straps for its shoes in the early years of the new millennium. Later on, Nike introduced the Roshe running shoe that had no laces as well. And there’s Fut Glove, one that gives that barefoot feeling while retaining the comfort of a runner shoe, that started it all. But for an intense sport such as football, all eyes will be on the the Adidas Ace 16+ Pure Control because should it really make an impact, you can expect it to also be adapted by other sports from basketball to baseball to volleyball. 

Ozil, Arsenal Football Club’s creative spark in the midfield who is leading professional football in assists and chances, will be donning the shoe when the Gunners take on visiting Chelsea and Oscar at the Emirates Stadium on Monday, January 25. Rakitic will be the first to wear the shoe in a competitive match when Barcelona take on Malaga away from Camp Nou while Rodriguez takes to the pitch a day after when Los Blancos face Real Betis. 

Ozil, who was a part of Germany’s World Cup winning squad in 2014, said, “My whole career, I have tried to minimise the impact of laces on my strike and ball control. I revealed to Adidas in 2014 that in the changing room, I knot the laces over and over again and then tuck in the ends; that way they do not interfere with my touch. When they came to me last year with the laceless boots, it was like they have created my dream product. I cannot wait to wear them on the pitch.”

When the playmaker posted a picture of him and the prototype black boots on Instagram two months ago, it generated almost 200,000 likes and 5,000 comments. 

The Ace 16+ Pure Control replaces the laces with three key points of stability to lock the foot into the boot. A thermoplastic polyutherane (TPU) cage locks over the iconic three stripes to secure the mid-foot and it anchored by a knitted upper and internal locking system. This combines for tight and loose premium knits across the shoe for optimum fit.

The question now is — will these boots, made available in limited quantities in selected stores in Europe — fly off the shelves or will they fly off your foot? We will know after the next three days.

James Rodriguez in training with Real Madrid wearing the laceless boots.

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