There is no doubting that the Puma King is a boot fabled around tradition, with a great reputation to match! Top players the world over have been wearing them in games all over the world since 1968 – that means the range spans back 42 years of top flight soccer! Throughout my soccer career, I have personally worn Puma Kings on several occasions with much success (although the Puma King Italia provided an odd experience.) After taking some time to test this latest version, the Puma King Diego, my conclusion is that its a real gem!
Aptly named after one of the greatest players to ever grace the game, Argentina forward Diego Maradona, the King Diego offers attributes fit for the man himself. I had the opportunity to test a pair out in size 9US, and my findings were as below.
Argentina legend Diego Maradona played nearly his entire career in Puma. The Puma King Diego Finale commemorates the relationship between boot and player, and was released to celebrate him on his 50th birthday – October 30, 2010. This boot takes its design inspiration from the 1986 PUMA Mexico Finale, where Maradona scored one of the greatest goals of all time, and brings it to new life with personalized branding and Argentina’s colors of sky blue and white.
The first thing you will notice about these boots when you take them out of the box is the wonderful leather smell, there is nothing like it! And when you get them in your hands they simply feel like a quality boot, with the leather creasing under your fingers. When it got down to wearing them, they felt a little tight in the first few training sessions, and it took over a week before I felt confident wearing them in a game. They seemed to fit just a tad smaller than needed to start, but eventually the leather softened and in the end they turned out to give a super comfortable. I would say it took 4 trainings and 2 full games before they felt just right. And when they did, they felt fantastic!
Size and Fit
It seems to be a trend with Puma releases at the moment, but they seem to fit slightly small. I wore a size 9US for testing and overall they worked out well. But, they did leave me wanting a little extra room while breaking them in. For those who do like a little extra space, I advise going up half a size. Since they are K-Leather, they will stretch over time and currently my pair are an excellent fit.
These boots have a really sweet look that is capped off by some finer detailing around the boot. There are several areas that need to be highlighted. For example, Diego’s signature and number 10 sit on the side of the boot in a gold color. Just below that and on the opposite side of the boot, Puma place the signature gold “King” button. On the front of the boot, there is a “King” logo that sits just underneath the number “10″. The tongue also comes with a sweet Diego Maradona badge, in Argentina colors with his number 10 again included. And finally, the insert used is 100% Diego!
On Field Performance
Since the King range has been around for such a long time, you know that you are getting quality when you put them on. That is of course as long as you are patient! In the first game they felt a little stiff and it took a little bit to adjust to the actual fit. But when these boots actually mold to your feet you feel a real connection with them. The leather just oozes class and I felt extra confident dribbling with the ball. The sole consists of 8 front and 4 back conical studs. Some players prefer blades and some prefer conical shaped studs, particularly when playing on artificial surfaces. Personally, I find both to give great traction during games, ultimately it is down to personal preference. During testing, the performance of the boot transitioned just as expected and I felt in the end they matched my expectations on the field.
Compared to the Puma King Finale
The King Finale and the Diego are pretty much the same boot except for the actual colorway. The actual properties of the boot are the very same, right down to the shape of the tongue. One thing is for sure, you can be confident that Puma put a lot of time and effort into both releases in order to produce a boot that would satisfy Maradona! Also, this release is 10 times better than the previous King Italia release in my opinion!
My only real negative is the design of the lace cover – and this is just personal preference! For me, it was a little too bulky and the shape at the front is kind of odd. On a positive note, it stays in place really well as it has a very effective Velcro just underneath. The initial sizing issue was also a slight concern, but after testing and knowing that in the end they offer a superb fit, I have to move it from the negative side – just something to keep in mind as you break them in!
If you want a boot built on style and quality look no further than the ever classic Puma King Diego. The man himself, Maradona, has been sporting this boots in charity matches and fundraiser events in recent months. The leather is the absolute highlight of this boot, and the extra detailing throughout the boot offers a different look. Puma also do a good job of keeping the boot in good stead weight wise, at a very competitive 9.2oz, leaving them very close to the new Nike CTR360 Maestri II (8.8oz) and lighter than the Adidas adiPure IV (9.8oz). I personally like the Argentina color combination of the Diego release, although there might be some Brazilians who refuse to wear such a thing! In terms of players on the field, these boots are pretty much going to suit everyone from goalkeeper to forward. They are a pretty solid all round performer.
(*boots supplied for review by Puma)