Over the past 2 weeks, I have been trying extremely hard to test and review the all-new Diadora Cambio PU. It has not been a successful process! In fact, I’ve got to the stage where trying to piece together a review would be pretty useless as I’d simply bash the heck out of the boots performance. I’m not one to overly criticize a boot, but the Cambio PU has proven to be a menace and its design is flawed to the point where I don’t understand how they could even have been released to market.
With that being said, I am only one player. Even though I’ve suffered problems with them, I’m sure opinions will vary and there will be some players who find the new technology useful. Because of this, I offered them to a teammate who wears the same size as I do, to give them a run out. His experience was pretty much identical to mine and reaffirmed some of the my thoughts listed below. These boots will now be going to another member of the SC101 team for their evaluation, and if there is any other feedback to offer, we will offer it in the form of an updated post!
If you need a refresher on the Cambio PU, check out: Diadora Cambio Arrive + Unboxed.
Straight Up, What is Wrong With Them?
The primary issue lies with the support provided – or the lack of support. Everything is good and well with the world as you slip your feet into the interchangeable insoles. You slide them into the boot and there are still no problems. But then you start to run and that is where the real problems start. Because there is no solid sole in place and the interchangeable insole features no grip (it is simply a piece of foam), your foot is left to move and shift inside the shell. Without natural support underneath your foot, you feel the full extent of stud pressure exerted on your feet. If you look at the soleplate in the images, you will also notice that there is a split/divide between the front and back of the sole. Again, there is extremely limited support provided through the midfoot and even with the wide array of conical studs, the weight distribution is non-existent. This, in turn, causes a lot of foot cramping and is just plain painful on your sole. The more you run, the worse it gets.
How Does the Shell Feel?
The shell feels exactly like a rubber compound, so it offers excellent protection around your foot, but it doesn’t provide a natural shape. That is also a major factor in the boots negative performance. It tends to simply sit in the same uniform shape through wear. As players, we expect boots to soften and mold to our natural shape over time, but this won’t happen with the Cambio. The shape you get from wear #1 is going to be pretty much what you get right through wear. When it comes to controlling the ball, you do get a material with natural rebound and ping, so it feels good striking shots. But, again you don’t get that natural feel as you look to control or dribble the ball.
What About Size?
I wore a 9US, and although they were slightly longer in length, a size down would not have worked. The interchangeable insole provides the real size of the boot, as that is what provides the shape your foot takes in the boot. The shell acts as a housing unit, and every players foot shape will take up a different region of space. If you are interested in them, true-to-size is the way to go.
Thinking Outside the Box
This is the type of technology that takes balls to create and then release. Diadora has definitely challenged the norm and the buzz surrounding the boot when they were initially slated for release was pretty impressive. But, we obviously didn’t have them in hand and fans were simply baffled by the idea of an interchangeable insole. My real question on this release is how much time was spent researching the comfort provided for competitive players and did they test them on field over 90 minutes? Your gut reaction is “of course they did, what company would release a boot without testing them in game“, but I’m not so sure on this one. If they did test them, I have a feeling the feedback from testers was pretty inaccurate. I’ve honestly never encountered so many comfort problems with one pair of boots.
In saying that, there is potential for this type of technology to work! And I could see it being popular. A more defined insole is needed and the upper material needs to be tightened around the forefoot for it to work (in the same shape or mold as something like the Nike Vapor VIII).
Your Thoughts and Insights
Since they are decently affordable, I’m sure some of you will fork out on a pair and if you do, please share your experiences with the boot in the comment section below. We are eager to hear how other players find the technology and if you encounter any of the same issues we did.
You can currently find the Diadora Cambio PU in two colorways at soccer.com.