The Diadora Kobra K has been released just in time for the 2010 World Cup. In recent times, Diadora have been pretty quiet, and it seems like we have been waiting a while for the Italian giants to bring us something new. We know that Diadora have already established a game plan to showcase their latest technology in South Africa with the aid of Brazil’s Felipe Melo, who will be wearing the Kobra this summer. There is no doubt that a vast amount of time has been spent on these, ensuring that they offer something unique to soccer players across the globe. One look at the boot and you notice that it has a unique skin covering and a very different stud configuration. For testing, I wore a size 9US in the Black/Yellow/Metallic Silver version.
I have never had any issues breaking in Diadora cleats and still haven’t after testing these. It only took one training session before I knew these were game ready. The Kangaroo leather upper is super soft from day one and really doesn’t take long to mold to your foot. I did spend some additional time with these testing out the new soleplate and stud configuration that Diadora are using. The outsole is made of Carbon Fibre and gives a pretty decent bounce back feel, more about this below. Overall, they are a good option if you are looking for a quick boot to break in.
Diadora have chosen to add a few new features that are outside of the norm.
- First off is the touch control finish across the leather region of the upper. To look at, you would almost think that the boot has fish scales. The scales are almost like little rivets that are ever so slightly raised from the actual leather. Compared to a normal leather boot you can feel and see the difference. I compared the Nike Tiempo side by side with the Kobra and it is evident that the K-Leather on both has completely different properties. Diadora maintain that the new touch control serves its purpose. In my opinion, it is probably true, but you are not going to notice a huge difference compared to other K-Leather cleats. I have a feeling that these might be extremely useful in wet conditions. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to use them in wet conditions so I can’t verify.
- Second is the use of a Carbon Fiber soleplate. Diadora usually don’t stray away from the norm and I was surprised to find out that they were changing up their tried and trusted soleplate. But one thing that Diadora do well is ensure their technology works (this is probably why we don’t see many releases from the Italian giants.) Unlike the Nike Mercurial range, the carbon fiber soleplate in the Kobra does not serve the purpose of weight control. Diadora are not focused on reducing the weight of their boot, rather they are focused on creating a comfortable boot. The carbon fiber soleplate offers increased bounce back when you run. So, as you sprint and the center of the boot folds in, you will notice a little extra spring on release.
- The final change is a new stud configuration. Diadora use what is called a Flex Rotax arrangement, that is designed to improve forefront rotation as you turn. I found my feet getting a little stuck if anything, so I am not sure how much benefit this adds to the cleat.
Design and Style
Diadora have definitely made a transition to wild and exuberant colors in recent times. You only have to look at the bright yellow Diadora strike on the side of the boot as evidence. But, to be fair, it actually looks good against the primary black color. The fish scale look also adds a new and different dynamic. Although these are a K-Leather boot, the back half is composed of a mesh material that gives the heel a solid black look. The overlapping tongue also has a decent look about it, even though it does have its issues (see negatives.) It is designed to fold over the entire lace, leaving an extra large strike zone. There is also some silver detailing on the tongue that gives it a sharp finish. I wouldn’t say these are the most attractive boot in the world, but they have a decent look to them.
These fit true to size. If you are a size 9, go for a size 9. Throughout testing, I never really had a problem with the Kobra’s. I only wore them in 2 games, but this was enough to know that they are a very consistent performer. At times they did feel a little sluggish, and the stud configuration seemed to drag on turf surfaces, especially on lateral movements. The external heel counter is solid and offers great protection, I can tell you this from experience as I had an opposing player catch my heel as I was running by him.
First off is the stud configuration. At times, I felt like the boot dragged as I moved laterally (from side to side.) They can feel a little sluggish. Second, and more annoying is the overlapping tongue. After testing, I still can’t tell you where on the underside the strap needs to go. If you move it to close to the center of the boot the tongue bunches up, whereas if you place it too close to the toe the tongue seems loose. I actually feel that the strap needs to sit tighter around the cleat for it to work appropriately, so maybe Diadora will trim it down in their next version.
It is good to finally have another Diadora boot released to the market. I must admit that I am a fan of what they produce, especially since they are so consistent in their new releases. Francisco Totti was recently omitted from Italy’s World Cup final squad, opening the door for Felipe Melo to become the focal point of Diadora’s advertising campaigns. One thing we know is that he will be comfortable in what he is wearing! But if you are in the market for a speed boot, these are not what you are looking for. Diadora emphasize comfort and performance over speed and weight. In terms of position, these are a suitable boot for players of all positions, although I can see defenders benefiting from their comfort and protection more than a striker who might need something lighter and a little less bulky. I enjoyed wearing them and will definitely be throwing them in my bag for a rainy day (literally so I can see how they perform in wet conditions!) You are getting a well crafted boot that means business from the first minute you wear them on the pitch!
(*boots supplied for review by soccer.com)