When it comes to speed boots, Puma know what they are doing and they usually do it well. Case in point, this latest evoSPEED 1.2 release. With the likes of Sergio Aguero and Radamel Falcao endorsing the range, you can tell there are some key characteristics that define the type of player intended to wear them. This is the second evoSPEED release and Puma has definitely modified several angles in order to improve overall performance of the boot – I never had many problems with the original, but there is always room for tweaking. As reference, this post covers the Synthetic version of the boot, with a leather version also released.
The evoSPEED 1.2 is currently available to buy at WeGotSoccer for $167.
Breaking In and Comfort
First off, you have to give props to Puma for including the awesome leather boot bag (seen above). It is a pretty sweet touch and one that we are not too familiar with seeing Puma pull off!
In the interest of extensive testing, I’ve spent a full month with these boots before hitting the review button. There are elements about them that are much improved in terms of comfort, but there are also some things that make them a little tougher to break in than other Puma boots.
Lets start with the positives, and they are the tongue design and the inner lining of the boot. Both areas receive a padding upgrade and result in a more comfortable feel as you wear the boot. It is actually refreshing to see some more material on the tongue. We have seen many companies, such as Puma, trim the region down to the bare in order to reduce the boots weight. Lets be honest, the minimal padding that is added results in absolute minor weight changes, whereas the benefits of a little extra padding can be huge. Another excellent modification is the material used to line the inside of the boot, especially around the heel. It has a sort of Styrofoam feel to it, slightly sticky but also a little squishy. It really holds your foot in place, especially as your socks get wet through play.
[See: Puma evoSPEED 1.2 Released]
The one area that proves a little problematic, and I will cover this in more detail below, is the SpeedTrack system. Intended to be the Spine of the boot, it is a little too firm when you first take them out of the boot and causes some lag as you break them in. It serves its intended purpose over time but you need a few wears to get it in sync with your movements.
SpeedTrack and Stud Configuration
When the SpeedTrack system finally adapts to your movements and style, it proves to be effective especially as it works in unison with the rest of the technology seen on the soleplate. Up front, Puma uses DuoFlex technology. It runs between several studs and offers the sole some additional bend as you move in different directions. Usually a bend in the soleplate simply runs across the plate, but Puma has taken it a step further and it is useful as you look to change direction. The plate has the ability to bend across your toes.
Then there is the studs, which have been trimmed down and are now thinner than on previous Puma models. The purpose of this is to optimize ground penetration and allow for quicker movements through turns.
Back to the SpeedTrack and its purpose. Basically, it is there to be the spine or backbone of the boot. Because it is not on any other boots, it takes a few wears to really get used to how it functions with the boots performance. It literally removes any bend through the midfoot. I’ve never been a fan of additions like these. Adidas are currently testing a new system on the Nitrocharge, which is intended to provide more spring, while Nike tried it with their Elite range of boots by adding Carbon Fiber. Ultimately, none of them have really improved performance substantially and all have proved a nuisance through the break-in period. The end result of the SpeedTrack is a more uniform feel through wear and it does provide some extra rebound as you look to react quickly and sprint in another direction, but that also factors in all the other changes Puma has made to the entire soleplate.
Synthetic Upper and Dimpled Design
Puma has modified the upper and now use a monolayer microfiber upper that they claim is thinner and softer. I’m not too sure about this claim as I found the upper to be slightly more rigid and set in place. Then again, it depends how you factor their statement. It might feel softer as you run your finger across the surface, but when you push don on it feels more rigid than the upper on the evoSPEED. If anything, this is a positive as I have found the boot to be a lot more durable than its predecessor.
In order to improve touch on the ball, a layer of raised dimples have been added across the forefoot. There is a simple intent behind this addition and I like the approach Puma has taken. There is nothing invassive about the dimples and they are not there to radically improve how the boot performs. Instead, they are there to add a little extra dimension to the forefoot of the boot, improving your ability to keep the ball closer to your feet. When you rub your hand across it, you will notice a very slight textured feel. It is just enough to offer some positives without being overly dramatic. Simple, yet effective!
Weighing in at 7oz, these boots are again obviously designed for absolute speed and acceleration. They actually weigh in heavier than the original evoSPEED 1, which sat at 6.4oz. We are at a turning point with the market now, where it seems the demand for lightweight is not as extreme and boots aroud the 7oz mark are becoming more welcomed. The added weight on this version lies in the soleplate and the SpeedTrack system specifically.
EverFit Cage and Overall Durability
Obviously, there is a reason for the inclusion of an EverFit cage on Puma releases like this – keep the boot together! Since these are a super lightweight boot, Puma has developed a simple layering inside the boot that provides more strength without taking away from the boots flexibility. Without it, the end result would be a much less durable boot.
How do they Fit?
In typical Puma speed boot fashion, these are a tight fitting shoe. When it comes to length, they actually feel true to size and that is a bonus. But they do feel slightly tight through the midfoot. Players who need a wider fit might want to order up a half size to get a snug fit. The general shape of the boot is also slightly different, with the lateral side of the boot running pretty straight toward the toes. In other words, players who need extra room on the inside of your foot might find these to be slightly uncomfortable. Overall, I feel like Puma has taken a slight step back toward the V-series design with this release.
A Quick Note on Design
Puma released a limited edition Camo evoSPEED 1.2 release that gave us a brief intro look at the range, but it really didn’t tell us the true story about the boot.
There is one glaring addition to this boot that we haven’t seen on any Puma releases in the past – the large “PUMA” hit that sits on the lateral side of the boot. Some people like it, others hate it! We have seen Nike do this in the past but again, this is new to Puma. Personally, I like the looka nd feel like it is a smart addition. It doesn’t prove to be negative visually and it promotes the fact they are a Puma boot. Again, this one is down to personal taste, but I like how it looks on this release.
Evolution of the evoSPEED
Even though things look pretty similar, there are some key differences between the evoSPEED 1 and 1.2. For example, the Soleplate has been completely redesigned, with Puma creating a new SpeedTrack system and toning down the stud shape. Similarly, the upper has also undergone transition, with a dimple control element added to the synthetic. The transition from V-Series to evoSpeed has actually gone extremely smoothly for Puma and this new design really focusing on the key fundamentals of a speed boot. The removal of the V box-toe shape has also been instrumental in the success of the range. Even though these boots were just released, and I am jumping the gun here, I’m interested to see how Puma can evolve the silo from here without undergoing another major change up.
I’m not a big fan of the SpeedTrack system – for me it just creates a stiff feeling boot. Out of the box, I really want a flexible feel that allows me to move 360 degrees without having to spend several games breaking them in. it might serve additional purposes in the long run, but I don’t really want to have to wait to find out!
The evoSPEED 1.2 is currently available to buy at WeGotSoccer for $167.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: Pure Lightweight Speed, in typical Puma fashion. Upgraded performance through the upper with the added bonus of a fresh new design.
Category: Lighweight, designed for pacey speed players.
Weight: At 7oz, they are slightly higher in weight than we might have expected from Puma but don’t take this to be a negative.
Would I Buy Them: They are a definite boot to consider, but I wouldn’t consider them to be one of my favorite releases at the moment.
Player Position: Definitely designed for wingers, dangerous attacking mids and pacey forwards. With Aguero and Falcao sporting them, Puma has positioned them to be a true goalscorers boot.