The second top tier boot from Warrior Sports is the Warrior Gambler S-Lite. In something we have become accustom to from Warrior Sports, the Warrior is a bright, different, and interesting boot. At first glance, the checkered black and yellow stands out right away, not only because of its color but because of the mesh material used. The instep features a prominent piece of technology that Warrior have labeled the Ace Plate which we will take a look at later. When I first received the boots I was definitely excited to give them some use on the field, read on to see how they performed.
The Warrior Gambler is available at Soccer.com right now.
Comfort/Break in Time
The Gambler upper was flexible right out of the box, but remained a bit stiff through extended wear. The stiffness did not effect the touch on the ball, but did create some creases in the upper that prevented full contact with the foot. The out sole performed great out of the box, and flexed very easily during cuts and other movement. I am a fan of the flexible out sole, and this stood out right away in the Gambler. I did have a little trouble getting the boot as tight as I would like, but after a few uses, I was able to lace it up nice and snug. The Gambler was designed with a no stitch inner layer, which I noticed right away when putting on and taking off the boots, as the inside of the boot didn’t pinch or rub at all.
Technology and Design
The instep and forefoot of the Gambler feature two pieces of technology that Warrior refer to as the Ace Plate and High Roller rotation zone. The Ace Plate is a prominent design on the boot, it is located on the instep and adds texture to enhance feel and control when passing. The High Roller rotation zone consists of a rubber zone added further down the forefoot to assist in adding spin or rotation to the ball while passing or shooting. The Quick Draw zone is located on the outside of the forefoot, and is a raised and cushioned portion designed to assist in touches with the outside of the foot during dribbling, shooting and passing. In all honesty, I found the Ace Plate to be of more assistance when receiving passes than dishing them out, but in the end I think it does more good than harm. The High Roller rotation zone is easily noticeable on free kicks and long balls especially in wet weather where this soft ground version is mainly used. The Quick Draw section was hard to notice, but it is always nice to have a bit of extra material on the outside of the boot. The use of offset lacing provides a large, and constant area when striking the ball, but as I mentioned earlier can be a bit tricky to get fully tight.
In Game Performance
Marketed clearly as a control boot, the Gambler performed well in all areas I would expect for a boot of this category. As this was the Soft Ground version of the boot, it was raining or had just rained nearly every time I wore these in a match, and the SG soleplate performed well in the wettest and muddiest of conditions. It was also great to have the added rubber of the Ace Plate and High Roller rotation zones in the wet conditions as they added a bit of tacky touch on the ball that is almost mandatory in wet conditions.
My one concern in wet conditions is the use of a mesh fabric in a portion of the upper. I can’t help but feel the mesh fabric added to the water uptake of the boot that is almost impossible to avoid in wet conditions.
[Also: Warrior Gambler S-Lite Review]
One word that continued to creep into my head while testing this boot was different. The upper was different than what I am used to seeing, the soleplate was a unique combination of studs and blades, the added technology was more prominent than I have ever seen. In this case, different was both good and bad. It was a bit overwhelming, and at times the boot felt bulky even though it weighs in at a very similar wight to other control boots on the market. Given the chance I would recommend this boot to a user looking for something new that provides a unique feel not available in any other boot on the market.
If anyone else has tested thiss boot, leave some comments below on how they performed for you!