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Umbro Speciali R Pro Review

Umbro Speciali R Edition

If you are looking for a classic boot that feature some performance upgrades, the Umbro Speciali R could be right down your alley. There is something about the Speciali range that evokes a unique emotion – maybe it is the old school, very simple design, or maybe it is the related to the fact I wore them quiet often through my early years! One thing is for sure, this design looks good and has received positive attention throughout the market.

For review, I received a pair of size 9US in the White/Red colorway, but since then, they seem to have vanished off the market! Last week I spotted two new Pro colorways  (a Black/Tendershoot and a Pearlized White/Vivid Blue) that are probably your best options if you want a pair.

Umbro speciali Pro R

Breaking In
Out of the box, I actually found that the Kanga-Lite upper was slightly tough. They seemed like they were dried out and almost rigid. I ended up wearing them in a jogging session before breaking them into a full training – no problems to report there. After the first full training session, the upper was noticeably softer and with some game time, they got even softer. I haven’t experienced this type of reaction with Kanga-Lite before, but thankfully they break in pretty well over time.

In terms of fit, they are true to size, although they seem slightly narrow at the front of the boot. Right through the arch they fit comfortably for anyone needing some extra space in that region. Having spent a few weeks testing them, I would compare the Speciali R to a fine wine: they improve with age, and currently they are a much better boot than they were starting out!

Umbro Diamond - Speciali R

Design
Umbro has stuck with the ever classic look we expect from the Speciali range, although there are some unique finer touches that make ths Speciali R stand out. For example, on either side of the boot, there is an added section of material (the A frame cradle) that is used as part of the lacing system. It basically allows you to really tighten the boot right around your foot, creating a snug fit. It is very noticeable and is almost a little odd to look at. Yet in use it is effective. There is also a change with the tongue, with the fold over design replaced by an ankle cut-off design. This makes the tongue lighter and more breathable.

Other pretty sweet additions include the Speciali R name printed on the side, tongue and sole of the boot in posh writing. It is effective in adding a more expensive look to a modestly priced boot! I like this White/Red colorway that I had the opportunity to test, but as stated above it seems to be sold out.

Speciali R

Performance
If you are fond of wearing the Speciali range, then you are going to be equally excited to wear the Speciali R. They are an ever classic boot, so rather than play around with performance, Umbro stick to what they know works. In game, I found that they offer great touch and control on the ball, primarily because of the Kanga-Lite upper that mimics real leather with additional waterproof properties. The cross stitching on the front of the boot also allows for plenty of flexibility and an upper that easily molds to the shape of your foot as you run. Of course, this is all after the initial break in period when the Kanga-lite loosens up.

Front of Speciali R

Kanga Lite Speciali

Suitable for HG
Important to remember is that these boots are designed primarily for Hard Ground surfaces. I had the opportunity to wear them on a natural grass and an artificial turf with positive results. The studs are more narrow than you the conical studs you find on other boots, giving these the ability to disperses pressure while providing appropriate traction on solid ground. If you play mostly on turf, they are effective, but ultimately a better boot for natural HG.

Soleplate Umbro Speciali

Negatives
The Kanga Lite upper was a slight disappointment to me. I was expecting an upper similar to the CTR360 Maestri when they arrived. But on the Speciali R, it seems like the material is thicker and it took a few sessions to really get them loosened up. I also found that through testing the upper scuffed quiet a bit. There were no durability problems per-se, but you will need to spend time keeping them clean in order to get the most out of them (that is if you go with a light colored upper.)

Umbro Speciali R

Summary
As comparison, the Umbro Speciali R is a boot that falls into the same category as the Adidas adiPure IV and Nike Tiempo. The primary benefit is that you are paying less money for a pair these. I like the positive steps Umbro are making to get a hold of the market right now, you only have to look at the new Geometra release to see that progress is being made. And considering players of the caliber of Michael Owen and John Terry have sported this specific release, you know that they are designed to suit players at the highest level. Overall, I think they are a top quality, value for money option. They won’t give you the advanced technology that you find on the likes of Adidas or Nike releases, but they will give you consistent performance over an extended period of time. Player wise, they are ideal for most positions on the field as Umbro have not targeted them towards any specific player – instead they are a suitable choice for any players who values reliability!

(*boots supplied for review by WeGotSoccer)

About Bryan Byrne

The mastermind behind the revolution that is SoccerCleats101. Bryan started this website back in 2008 and has been testing boots on a daily basis ever since. Check out our About Page for more details on Bryan and the website.

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17 comments

  1. Been waiting for this. hehe. btw just wan to confirm bout the sizing . im a Uk9 size for Nike Shoes ( Vapour and Laser) so i shall order a Uk9 for this too? The new colourways seems to be great =)

  2. Awesome review. i would like to make a final confirmation on the sizing tho.
    Im wearing uk9 for my Vapour 6 and Laser. so i should order the same size for this too? im interested wid the new colourways.
    And do the leather stretch much? or its almost like the Ctr360's Kangalite ? =)

    • "In terms of fit, they are true to size, although they seem slightly narrow at the front of the boot. Right through the arch they fit comfortably for anyone needing some extra space in that region"

      "The Kanga Lite upper was a slight disappointment to me. I was expecting an upper similar to the CTR360 Maestri when they arrived. But on the Speciali R, it seems like the material is thicker and it took a few sessions to really get them loosened up"

  3. Thank you Bryan!! I was wondering about the sixing of Umbro in general and more specific on the Speciali, How does it fit, its a wide soleplate or normal on terms of wide. THank you for reviewing!!! I was looking for some comments on the Speciali for quite a while!

  4. What is the difference between the speciali and the speciali r?

  5. Personally I would stick to leather for anything heritage. I am not convinced that synthetic material is as good.

  6. Nice review, but I would like to point out that the upper is labeled as Kanga Touch by Umbro, so strictly speaking it is not Kanga Lite. However, with Nike owning Umbro there's a good chance that Kanga Touch is just a rebranded Kanga Lite.

    It's also worth noting that the newer colorways you mentioned are described as being actual kangaroo leather, which means either a) EuroSport's description is wrong, or b) Umbro has changed the upper of the Speciali on newer colorways.

    • soccercleats101

      It is difficult to say as Umbro don't share much info in the US – my initial reaction is that EuroSport have it mislabeled, but I can't confirm.

  7. When will the new colorways be released?? Its impossible to get them around Asia retail shop..

  8. Can you do a giveaway on these if you dont want to keep them?!?!?!?!?!?! I really want them.

  9. What is the difference between the speciali and the speciali r???

  10. These are definitely leather, NOT kanga-lite. Kanga-touch is just some fancy name they came up with.

  11. I asked Umbro via their official Twitter account if the kangaroo leather was real or imitation and they said it is real. I don't think they'd lie about it.

  12. I love these, same materials as tiempo legend 4 elite, (insole and leather) but 200dollars cheaper than the new tiempo elite 4, AND LESS WEIGHT!! (umbro, 9.2 nike 9.4oz) anone whod buy the nikes are insane, especially considering there’s no carbon fibre pain and blisters

  13. Why does the lacing thing change in some of speciali boots? and whats the difference between R and not

  14. Would these boots fit narrow feet well?

  15. it seems like the umbro symbol on the instep would improve passing, like ctr360

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