I find it intriguing how different companies approach different market places. One example of this is Umbro. Back in Ireland (where I grew up), Umbro is seen to be one of the absolute leaders in terms of footwear and soccer gear. Yet, here in the US, the company has taken a more subtle approach, and has not really attempted to attract the US soccer consumer. I admit that they are heavily involved in USL, but try to get in contact with a US Umbro rep, and you will soon find that they are more centered outside of our sphere. Our attempts to contact a US branch of the company were not successful, but we did manage to get a new pair of Umbro Speciali’s to review. This is something that pleased me, as I really do think Umbro is a leader in terms of comfort and style!
Check out the full selection of Speciali boots currently available.
Here is the skinny on what you need to know about the Speciali’s:
- New and improved insole board
- Central lacing
- Kangaroo leather upper
- Suitable for firm natural surfaces
- Weight in at 9.4 oz
Style and Design
These Speciali’s are definitely one of Umbro’s best creations. The first thing to note is the fact that they are Umbro’s lightest cleats to date, at a very reasonable 9.4oz. Obviously as a winger, I am always after a light cleat! The Kangaroo leather is very soft, and offers a great look. I tested the Black/British Racking Green/Gold design. Rather than standing out, these cleats have the classic Umbro look, with a white line that runs up the outside of the cleat, along the seam. After trying on these cleats, I noticed a few things. First, the front of these cleats are roomy. I have a wider fitting foot, and these cleats were pretty comfy when I tried them on. Breaking them in was a little different, and it did take a few practice sessions before the front area felt fully formed to my feet. The inside of the cleats has EVA foam that is designed to mold to your foot, and this was true for the heal area. Thankfully, I can report no blisters as of to date! At this stage, it is important to note that I have not yet worn these cleats in games, only at training!
One thing that I really like about these cleats are the seams that come around the cleat on either side, allowing you to pull the laces tighter around your foot. The main reason for this design is to give better protection to the metatarsal area. I’m not sure why more cleats are not designed this way, as it makes sense! It is a central lacing system, the tongue is designed a little bit different than on other cleats, as it has a type of snap-down design that keeps them close over the front laces. I would personally prefer to have a strap that wraps around the sole of the cleat, but to be honest, this design works pretty well. The tongue doesn’t cover the full lacing system, but it covers enough over the strike zone.
Overall, the Speciali’s are a very tidy cleat. As I said above, I see Umbro to be the classic cleat that is synonymous with soccer. In terms of who these cleats suit, I would say pretty much any position on the field! These cleat don’t offer any specific detailing like the Predators or the lightweight Vapors, they are the in-between cleat that are designed for players who are serious about their game and have confidence in what they do without needing to stand out (being serious here!!)