Gareth Bale's match worn Adidas X17.1 UCL Final 2017

Gareth Bale's match worn Adidas X17.1 UCL Final 2017


Player name: Gareth Frank Bale
Country: Wales
Clubs: Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid
DOB: 16/07/1989
Position: Winger
Height: 6 ft 1 in
Gareth Bale is a Welsh professional footballer who plays as a winger for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Wales national team. Renowned for his ball striking from distance, swerving free kicks, and his ability to get past defenders with pace, Bale has received plaudits from his peers, who have described him as a footballer with tremendous speed, great crossing ability, a great left foot and exceptional physical qualities. He began his professional career at Southampton, playing at left-back and earning acclaim as a free kick specialist. Bale moved to Tottenham Hotspur in 2007, for an eventual £7 million fee. During his time at Tottenham, managerial and tactical shifts saw him transform into a more attacking player. From the 2009–10 season, under the guidance of Harry Redknapp, Bale became an integral part of the team, rising to international attention during the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League. In 2011 and 2013 he was named PFA Players' Player of the Year, and was named in the UEFA Team of the Year. In 2013, he was also named PFA Young Player of the Year, the FWA Footballer of the Year and the Premier League Player of the Season. He was nominated to the PFA Team of the Year three times in a row between 2011 and 2013. In September 2013 Bale moved to Real Madrid for a fee of 100.8 million euros. In the 2013-14 season Bale helmed Real to win the Copa Del Rey and UEFA Champions League scoring in both of the finals.
Here at BC Boots UK we have managed to get our hands on Gareth Bale's modified Adidas X17.1 boots which he wore during the UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Juventus at the Millennium Stadium, on the 3rd June 2017. The match finished 4-1 to Madrid leading them to lifting the trophy, their 12th triumph in this competition, which made it 3 in 4 seasons for the Spanish club.
Real had their qualities questioned in their most recent Champions League finals, starting with their victory over Atletico Madrid in Lisbon in 2014 - when they needed Ramos' injury-time equaliser to force extra time before going on to win - and again  in 2016 when they beat the same opponents on penalties. No such questions can be levelled at Real after this latest triumph.This was the performance of a world-class team, ripping apart a defence that has a reputation as one of football's meanest.
A you can imagine, these are incredibly rare - like gold dust! This pair were made completely bespoke for Gareth, featuring a long list of modifications make them practically unrecognisable to the retail versions of this model. Above we can see his custom logo has been applied to the Sprint Frame heels by Adidas, as well as adding the Wales flag to represent his home nation. The TechFit collar has been specially made for Bale, with the heel tab being a fraction of the size of retail versions, also a lot stronger and less flexible too.
On the instep side of the Sprint Frame heels, Adidas have added the names of Bale's children "Alba" and "Nava", along with his squad number 11 and of course his surname. The left heel has also been made slightly lower than the heel of the right boot, as per his specifications.
As with all of Adidas' superstars, this pair have been hand made in Germany by their Athlete Services technicians. Specially sized to 9.75UK, which in US sizing is 10.25 with Adidas. The elite players get special sizing options to their boots as they are made so specifically, getting options of things such as quarter sizing, wider/narrower soleplates and so on. The small label inside the heel area bares the factory number "502001" of the Athlete Services factory in Herzogenaurach, Germany.
One of the main modifications to this pair is the tongue and lacing system. The retail model X17.1 used a one piece upper, with the TechFit collar connecting it all together. There featured no lace holes, but instead lace hoops which, to put it lightly, was not a lacing system that will go down as one of the best. The hoops were prone to ripping and becoming loose after not many uses. Bale opted for the system from the X15.1 which features a traditional lacing set up and tongue - if it's not broke don't fix it!
Another huge modification Bale has made is the upper. Completely different to the retail version Adidas X17.1. The upper on this pair is made up of 2 layers, the outer being from the X16.1 whilst the second layer is from the F50 AdiZero, 2013 model. In the image above we can see the internal structuring, a mirror copy of that F50 model. Whilst this pair does have the paint job of the X17.1, it is seemingly far from being the actual version sold in stores to the public.
Around the toe boxes Adidas have applied a thick layer of transparent synthetic onto the upper material, this is highly reminiscent of the "Sprint Web" technology we saw on the F50 AdiZero 2013. Bale seemed to love that model F50 and has more or less stuck with it since 2013, with all of his boots since then showing high similarities regarless of the model. Adidas tend to make Bale's modified boots look like retail versions for the TV cameras, another example of this is if you look closely at the images above you can see the indentation marks which are from the previous X16.1 model, even though the polka-dot paint job of the X17.1 is present. 
Above: Bale wearing this pair in the training sessions at the Ciudad Real Madrid training ground leading up to the UEFA Champions League Final.
Above we can see a side by side image comparison of Bale's X17.1 and the regular retail version. Even though they share the same stud pattern and paint job, they are virtually incomparable in terms of shape. To the naked eye and TV cameras they may look the same which is clever marketing, but when you see them up close the differences are incredible - especially as Bale is one of the main faces of the X silo. It says a lot when one of the main players promoting the X is barely even wearing them.
Did you know, since joining Real Madrid for a for a then world record transfer fee of just over 100m euros, Bale has won the UEFA Champions League 4 times. In the competition he has made a total of 63 appearances, scoring 20 goals and making 18 assists. For the last decade, he has been widely regarded to be in the top 5 players in world football.
This pair also feature a rather odd shape in comparison to retail versions. The toe box has been made slightly higher/raised, with the width of each boot also being increased hugely. The image above also shows how different the heel shape is, with the curvature which we imagine would cup the heels better resulting in a more lock down fit. 
Inside each heel the lining has also been custom made just for Gareth, with a soft yet thin black mesh material being put there instead of the standard thick padding we find in a store bought pair. Here we can also see the X branding and Adidas logo on the tongue which will not be found on retail versions.
Above: Gareth wearing this pair in Real's training session the night before the final.
We have also managed to acquire a pair of Gareth's bespoke insoles which are what he would wear instead of the standard pairs which come with normal boots. These are orthopaedic, meaning they are made to his exact measurements and requirements. Bale is known for regular injuries, things like this are added to players footwear to help reduce the possibility of problems such as muscular and joint injuries.
Made by Podoactiva in using their state of the art facilities and technology at their base in Barcelona, Spain. They are incredibly light weight yet immensely strong. The top features a soft suede like material, with Bale's custom logo and the Podoactiva logo,
"Our chiropodists are specialized in sport chiropody (the majority are in charge of the chiropody and biomechanics services to high-ranking teams such as Real Madrid, the Spanish National Football team, Atlético de Madrid, CSKA Moscow, the Spanish Athletics Federation, the Spanish Golf Federation etc.) We have the latest technology to diagnose with precision whether the way an athlete steps may have a relation to a present or future injury.

The way that someone steps has a direct relation with an injury in an athlete. This being a movement that we will repeat millions of times during sport, any small defect can lead to an injury."
Interestingly, the main material used underneath the top layer is carbon. From the heel to around 2 thirds the length is a solid piece of carbon, with the front third being completely flimsy. The heel area has a thick piece of cushioning on top of the thick part of carbon. The entire forefoot also has a thin piece of carbon fibre, the main reason this is the main material here is that it is a high energy return and high performance material.
Most top athletes, not just in football, use bespoke insoles just for them. Due to the fact that they play day in day out, they need their footwear to be as close to perfect as possible for optimum performance and to help prevent injury to the best they can.
We have also managed to acquire another pair of Gareth's match issued X16.1 boots, which feature the same modifications as the blue/pink pair of his we have - view our article on that pair for more details. All 3 pairs bare his custom logo, the same as his insoles, which could possibly represent his heart celebration and squad number 11 in the middle... however this is just a guess, we could be wrong on that one! 
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