When you consider the number of wild and crazy options player’s currently have to choose from, there is something extra romantic about a plain, simple and slightly traditional black boot. It really is a rare sight these days, but there is a market for this style of releases. The Ryal 1946, Limited Edition, is designed to evoke memories of days gone when real footballers stuck with classic looks and real leather uppers. From the gold detailing to the brass sealed lace eyelets, you are getting a little taste of history in a modernized package. Unfortunately, Ryal has not yet crossed the pond, so ordering a pair from Europe might seem like a risky option. Well, here is our in-depth breakdown to give you further details on what you can expect from a pair.
An extremely classy looking boot that has an almost Adidas Copa or Lotto Stadio Primato look to it. Ryal use plenty of stitching right across the front of the boot, so I’m interested to see how they feel on the ball. I’m also interested to see if the teardrop stud shape will affect traction performance in any way. Definitely a well built boot.
There is definitely a full bodied feel about this boot from first wear, so you do have to expect it will take time to break in. The K-leather upper will feel more natural after a few wears and the minimal soleplate does need to be flexed before it moves in unison with your natural movements. You have to remember that this is a boot composed of full bodied materials rather than the lightweight boots currently released on the market. Comfort is high priority and it definitely plays out in a positive way as you look to break them in. In particular, a unique padding right around the ankle lining acts superbly to keep your foot in place and avoiding blisters! Finally, if you do invest in a pair of these boots, take the insole out – it is thick and extremely comfortable. Your foot almost soaks in when you take a step
If I hadn’t recently tested the Ryal La Storia, I would be stating that these boots are one of the most classic you will currently find on the market. It is still true to say that they are very close to the most classic but they have some modern features compared to the La Storia. The addition of gold stitching and “Edizione Limitata” add a nice twist on the primary black upper while you also get the Italian colors thrown in to gently spice things up. Realistically, you don’t want a great deal of color on a boot like this, why would you want to mess with the shiny leather?
Ryal use plenty of stitching right through the upper of these boots and surprisingly, it gives them a huge advantage. Normally you will find that companies use a single stitch line to separate regions. But Ryal go a step further, by using double stitching to produce individual padded segments. This acts to provide a distinctly different type of feel on the ball. One noticeable area in particular is the instep, where you get a highly padded control zone. It is not as prominent as that found on the CTR360 Maestri, but it is the best “naturally created” addition on any boot. In play, you get a little extra cushion on the ball and I’ve always stated that it is the one area on the boot where it doesn’t hurt to have some extra technology.
When it comes to the stud configuration and actual stud shape, there is a unique touch. Rather than being a traditional HG rounded stud, you get what is almost like a teardrop shape. It is a slightly different approach, but in terms of performance everything is pretty much the same as you get from the round version. i wore these on artificial turf, for the most part, and they passed all the necessary challenges. Ultimately, they are like the Rolls Royce of soccer cleats!
How do they Fit?
I normally wear a size 9US, which generally works out to be an 8UK. But with these, the listing inside says the 9US is an 8.5UK yet they fit very much true to size. I’m always left slightly confused by the conversions, but it safe to tell players that ordering their normal size is the way to go. There is a little extra room right through the toe, not enough to cause problems and definitely not enough to advise players order a half size down. If you like a very snug fit, then yes consider going a half size down – having a leather upper also means they will give you some stretch.
Compared to the Market
There is one boot that immediately comes to mind when I go to compare these – the Lotto Stadio Primato. Both have a classic look and are very minimal, the soleplate is even configured in a similar fashion. And on top of that, they are both made in good old Italy. Outside of that, you also have the Adidas Copa Mundial to compare them to, or maybe even the Pele Sports Redeemer. Ultimately, I would rate them about as equal in overall quality (maybe not performance) and you can tell by the feel of the handcrafted upper that they are just as durable.
The fact that these boots are not more readily available is the big negative with these. Or maybe that is actually a positive for some players seeing as they are such an old-school style release. A few pairs here in the US would not go amiss and I personally know a dozen players who have already commented on how they look. Something I am not a fan of is the tongue and you again have to decide what you want to do with it. Lets be honest, most older style models come with this feature and Ryal has done a good job of sowing it down in a forward direction. But I just don’t want to have to deal with it ever!Pick Up The Ryal 1946
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: A classically inspired release that combines modern features with old-school design. This is the type of release we are seeing less of on the market, so it was quite refreshing to test!
Category: Heritage – a boot designed for no-nonsense players who are sick of the rainbow colored designs on the market.
Weight: These are on the heavier side at 11oz, but for the category they are in and the package on offer, that is pretty standard.
Would I Buy Them: I’d consider, but with boots like the Lotto Stadio range available, I’d have to be certain of what I was getting for my money.
Player Position: Defenders and anyone with an eye for the glory days will love these. I’m thinking the mid-30’s Greek guy that plays on my team and hates when I test boots like the Puma Ducati! They offer a very solid and durable package, so they will give you plenty of life.