We have seen Umbro emerge as a force with several key releases over the past few months, and this latest edition to the Speciali range is another boot that is already turning heads. The Umbro Speciali 3 joins the market at a time when heritage releases are all the rage, meaning there is even more pressure to get it right. When they were released, the reception they received was extremely positive, with plenty of excitement around their design and visual look. A k-leather upper matched with conical dual-density studs create a very classic looking boot.
Umbro sent over a pair of size 9US in the Pearlized White/Black/Nectarine colorway, which we have had in testing for the past several weeks.
Whats New About the Speciali 3?
It is quite evident that Umbro are looking to spice things up with this release, although there is still a very familiar and classic feel about them. In my opinion, the new package is a wise move as they look to increase their margin in the market. Several notable changes to the new version include:
- New off-center lacing.
- A redesigned ankle tongue.
- Strategically positioned stitching through the upper.
- Addition of a small control pad on the instep.
One aspect of the Speciali 3 that I like a lot is how they eventually contour amazingly well to your exact foot shape. But starting out I found them to be slightly uncomfortable through the midfoot, something I definitely hadn’t anticipated. As a result, I ended up wearing them through 2 jogging sessions before introducing them into a proper training session. I tried to work out what was causing the slight cramping feeling, and although I couldn’t pinpoint it, I did find something unusual about the upper to soleplate join through the midfoot. The upper actually wraps below the curve of the soleplate, and is then stitched in, rather than meeting the curve and connecting there. This produces an unusual lip that almost acts like an extra level of arch support.
After I got them into play, the problem gradually went away. Four games later, these boots now offer a fantastic fit and the comfort level is immense. What is quite unique is how the upper gently stretches and allows the boot to shape right around your foot. Normally the upper sits close in and offers only a slight angle toward the outsole. But with the Speciali, strategically positioned stitching allows for a more rounded edge. Out of the box, some players might endure some comfort concerns, but after several wears you will find that these are a great fitting boot.
In Game Performance
Umbro’s gamble to change things up with this Speciali has paid off, with this boot offering a great mix of modern and classic. I am a fan of the cut off tongue and the slightly padded region that sits on the underside. It is particularly useful when striking the ball, without taking away from touch. The off-center lacing is also a bonus and creates a very smooth surface along the strike-zone, although the region is still lacking some sort of technology to really separate it from other releases – I am not talking about control fins or a power silicon panel, but rather a little more pronounced padding to create an air of confidence as you strike shots in them.
Right throughout the K-leather upper, Umbro employ strategically positioned stitching that is effective in allowing for plenty of natural foot movement. The addition of some slight padding along the control zone is also a nice touch and is realistically a much more toned down version of what is seen on the side of the Geometra Pro. And then there is the soleplate, that in typical Umbro fashion carries a consistent feel from its predecessors. I am a huge fan of the split toward the forefoot and to be honest, it is something I would like to see on more boots!
It has been quiet evident through their last few releases that Umbro are focusing on producing good looking boots – something that is ultimately paying off. Feedback on the new Speciali after release was extremely positive, with the sharp/clean looking upper being a focal point of comments. They don’t disappoint in person either, with the slightly off white upper being accented, in an attractive fashion, by black and orange detailing. The inner side of the boot features a unique piece of detailing. The orange line that comes down from the ankle line to the soleplate features “Speciali” in some fancy writing, and a jagged, shark-tooth pattern. This is in place simply for visuals and doesn’t impact performance in anyway. For those looking for the ultimate traditional look, there is a Black/White/Vivid Blue colorway waiting for you!
How Do They Fit?
Very much true to size, although I did find the midfoot feels like a slightly narrower fit than it looks (more to do with how they are designed). If you need arch support, I found these to offer the best support of all current heritage releases. Through wear, you get plenty of stretch through the upper and it results in a really snug, very natural fit.
The only problem I encountered was through the initial break in period, but thankfully it is something that subsided after a few wears. Although a minor negative, it is something that gets to me – the laces! Umbro use what I consider the ideal laces for workman boots. They are very thick and chunky compared to laces you get on your typical cleats.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: Sharp new design, addition of a control zone on the instep and a soft k-leather upper make for a very solid heritage release!
Category: Heritage – the Speciali holds a lot of tradition, although this release features several modern updates.
Weight: 9.2oz, which is right on target of the average boot weight.
Would I Buy Them: They are a definite to consider. They have a great look, perform well and another positive is the price range they fall into. But ultimately, I don’t think they are the best boot you will find in the heritage line.
Player Position: Again, with the heritage range it is tough to find a specific player on the field that will benefit most. Having said that, I think they are an ideal boot for any player across midfield, particularly with the addition of a light control pad on the instep. Defenders will also find extreme comfort and confidence in a pair!
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