One of the biggest challenges any company faces is finding a persuasive way to categorize a specific boot to a mass audience – but it seems like Umbro has got it right with this release! The Umbro Geometra Pro is a boot designed to tackle the Control/Playmaker category, with plenty of technology added to a fully functional K-leather upper. This is the first Umbro release since Nike took over the company, and you can tell that there a new thought process involved in this release. It took a while, but I finally received a pair for testing, in the Silver/Black/Yellow colorway, and have spent the past few weeks putting them through their paces!
One thing that Umbro has done well is create a very easy to wear boot! Out of the box, they offer a comfortable fit right through the upper, and the soleplate offers a flexible feel immediately after you put them on. I spent one training session loosening up the stitching before taking them into a game. I was a little concerned initially that they would be too loose and they do fit slightly longer than true to size. But with soccer socks on and the fact that the upper is designed to sit close to the top of your foot, they almost mold down onto your feet. The leather is super soft and the strategically positioned stitching allows it to move and mimic your foot shape very quickly – always a bonus!
Improving Ball Control
The one area of this boot I love most is the ECZ, or Energy Control Zone. This is the padded region that sits along the instep and it makes for a fantastic addition, particularly when you go to take long passes out of the air. In fact, it is the best piece of technology I have seen added along that region of any boot on the market! The concept of padding the region makes complete sense, and Umbro employ a Teijin medial pad with memory foam to do so.
Right along the front of the boot there is a silicon-bonded grip zone that almost feels like a soft suede. It sits on top of the K-Leather and right along the strike zone, as seen in the image below. I don’t see its addition improving power, but it does add some extra grip and better touch, helping to improve control. It is especially effective when you are playing in wet conditions, as the region almost feels a little rougher. Another good addition that improves the appeal of the boot.
Both the addition of an ECZ and a silicon-bonded grip zone compliment what these boots are – a control boot. But that is not all they have and there are other factors that make the package more impressive. The strategically positioned stitching featured along the K-Leather upper improves how the boot syncs up with your feet. Right through wear, they seem to mimic your movements and this immediately improves performance. Another area where they excel is in traction. I found that through wear they offer a solid level of grip no matter what the surface! The shape and design of the blades are very effective and having worn them on turf and natural grass, I give them the thumbs up. Also, sitting right under the joint of your big toe is a circular bladed region. As you swivel and turn, it gives you great stability and is very useful when you are looking to accelerate quickly in another direction.
I like the design’s Umbro have created with this release, although it doesn’t match the best looks seen on the market. You get plenty of colorway options, some of which look better than others. I wasn’t overly excited by the Silver/Black/Yellow colorway I tested, but they offer a unique look and an interesting combo of colors. There is plenty of detailing through the boot and the signature “Umbro” sits very impressively along the heel. My preferred release in the range comes in a pretty simple yet sleek White/Black/High Risk Red colorway.
How do they fit?
Starting out, I was a little concerned that they were going to be a half size too big, but thankfully that did not turn out to be the case. You get a pretty wide fit toward the front of the boot with the shape offering a more rounded look. Compared to other boots, I found there was some extra space on the outside of the boot, around your little toe. Overall, players with a slim fit will probably need to consider ordering down a half size, especially if you find that you have a little extra space in your current boot. I am normally a straight up size 9 – I would categorize these as a 9.25!
There are a few areas where Umbro can make improvements to this boot. Size is the first area – I don’t quite think the sizing is right, especially up around the toe region. They seem to be a little “rounded” and all though this might suit some players, I can see it being a negative for most. Something else that concerns me is durability. There are plenty of seams through the upper and I did notice that the upper-to-soleplate joining was loosening up in several areas. It is something to watch! Another suggestion is in the weight of the boot. Coming in at 10.2oz, they suit the control mode and are not at all a heavy boot. In fact, 3 years ago they would have been a light boot! But, companies seem to be striving to break the 10oz mark and doing so would only increase the appeal of the boot.
It is my opinion that this release could be the boot to change the direction of Umbro soccer footwear – in a very positive way! The design matched with some excellent technology has elevated what I expect from the brand. The only issue is getting players to try these boots, but players that do will not be disappointing and will probably take a liking to Umbro. The most impressive aspect for me was the addition of the control region along the instep as it really helps to cushion balls that you take out of the air. They seem to match the expectations of both playmakers and defensive midfielders who strive to take control of center midfield. You get great control and touch on the ball thanks to the ECZ and the grip zone, while the traction offered matches the best boots on the market! Overall, I would have to rate this as one of the best releases we have seen from Umbro in a while!
(boots supplied for review by Umbro USA)