The Umbro Speciali range used to have a prestige about them with some legends of the game like Alan Shearer, Michael Owen and Roberto Carlos (with “that” free-kick against France) wearing the iconic double diamond.
In recent years Umbro have lost their way slightly with the company being bought and sold by Nike. Many of Umbro’s top endorsed athletes are now under contract with Nike. Even with this setback Umbro have still been producing some very good football boots like the previous Umbro Speciali 3 Pro and the Umbro Geometra range, so read on to find out how the newest edition of the Umbro Speciali measures up to its predecessors.
I received the Speciali in the newest Black/Lava Pink colour with the SG soleplate and even though I never thought I would say that I liked any pair of boots with Pink, I actually really like the look of these, Umbro include an extra pair of black laces in the box which is a nice touch for the more reserved player, also included with the SG sole version is a stud spanner/wrench.
I was a huge fan of the Speciali 3 and the boots look quite similar, but what is very apparent between the two is the difference in the leather. The Speciali 4 uses a very high quality K-leather that is much softer and nicer. What else was very noticeable was the size of the Aluminium tipped studs, they were very big so I had a wait for some rain to begin testing, read on to find out how the Speciali performed.
Comfort, Fit and Break In
The Speciali range have always produced a very high level of comfort and this model is no different. From out the box the leather is very soft but after an hour or so of use the softness and quality of the kangaroo leather really is impressive and mould to your foot shape nicely.
The Umbro Speciali 4 pro fit true to size and are a great option for wide or narrow footed players, the A frame cradle does a great job of making the boot wrap around your foot that makes for a nice secure fit and there is also an extra lace hole that allows you to really secure the boots in place.
The break in period was very smooth, I first took these to a local park for a jog and a little kick about for about 90 minutes and they were a little tight starting out but after about an hour they loosened off nicely and become very comfortable. I next took them straight into a game with no problems, I would recommend using these only on the correct surface, especially the SG version as the studs are so big.
Touch and Striking
Natural soft leather and a nice snug fit ensure that the Speciali 4 offer a fantastic touch on the ball, the amount of leather used is generous and covers the whole forefoot and instep making the touch excellent. The Speciali really is up there with the best when it comes touch and I can’t stress enough how good the leather feels, it is right up there with the best in its category.
Striking the ball is also a pleasant experience, I personally love the feel of natural leather when taking shots and playing passes and the Speciali did not disappoint.
Traction and SG Studs
The SG version features 6 large studs (4 at the front and 2 at the heel) and they do a stellar job in wet muddy pitches. They actually remind me more of rugby boot studs as they are so large. I was very impressed with the traction they provided on wet grass except when I wore them on a pitch that wasn’t soaking and still slightly dry which I hadn’t anticipated and I had to change into a pair of FG boots, but that was my fault for choosing the wrong footwear as I doubt the ground would have taken well to any metal studs, especially ones as big as these. My favourite feature of the soleplate is a flexible strip along the front of the foot which allows for great flexibility.
The FG version stud pattern looks identical to the previous Speciali 3 with blades at the back and conical studs at the front which is also excellent.
Durability and Maintenance
Umbro have always made really well built football boots and you can expect the same with the Speciali 4, the boots are very sturdy and if you take proper care of them, I am sure will last you a very long time.
Maintenance is the same with all leather boots, always clean them and let them dry naturally and if every so often apply leather cream or dubbin to keep the leather from drying out.
Would I Buy Them?
The Umbro Speciali 4 is in the “Modern Classic” category along with other boots like the Nike Tiempo Legend, Adidas AdiPure and Puma King 2013 and I would rate the Speciali above all of them, if you consider the amazing price you can pick these up for then my answer is a definitive YES!
The highlight for me is the outstanding leather, excellent comfort and a very nice fit. Umbro’s reputation may be slightly down compared to previous years but I can assure you that the latest Speciali really is something special, if you buy these I am sure you will not be disappointed.