In order to create a true lightweight boot, most brands have quickly acclimatized to using synthetic materials in the upper. In many cases, they also open up the floor and accompany their releases with a leather upper option also. In Puma’s case, they have taken the 7oz evoSPEED 1.2 and added a supple calfskin leather upper to produce a compliant 7.7oz option for those that want a more traditional styled speed boot. In general, the weight falls on the high end of the “speed boot” norm, but like its synthetic brother, Puma has modeled this boot toward speedy wingers and pacey players.
What exactly have they got to offer? We have been testing them over the past few weeks and here is what you can expect should you decide they are the boot for you. Before you get started, make sure to check out the evoSPEED 1.2 synthetic review, as they are referenced a lot below and it is worth understanding what they have to offer.
Find the Puma evoSPEED 1.2 L at soccer.com.
Breaking In and Comfort
Being that these boots feature a leather upper, you would expect they take a few wears to break in. Well, that would be very accurate with the upper providing a very snug fit from first wear compared to the synthetic version. It is the unique challenge that comes with a boot that features a supple upper and you do need a few sessions before they truly adapt to your foot shape. The outer side of the forefoot has a little more curve to it and really sits snug against the little toe, something that is vitally important to bear in mind if your need extra space in that region.
Turn the boot over, and you will see that you get the SpeedTrack system on the soleplate. It is intended to provide additional support and spring-back as your look to accelerate away, improving speed. As was the case with the synthetic version, it offers a stiff feel starting out, and it doesn’t provide the high level of flex needed right out of the box. After 2-3 wears, they were fully loosened up and the impact of the system became more evident.
Leather vs Synthetic
There are some players that are automatically drawn to the supple feel of leather boots while others crave more durability and a thinner synthetic feel on the ball. For many, the option is made up before they see the boots. But for others, every new release where both materials are available leads to a need for answers.
In the case of the evoSPEED 1.2 things are actually pretty simple. Both boots are constructed in a very similar fashion, with an identical soleplate and stud configuration. The only difference lies in the initial fit and the how they feel on the ball. Starting out, the leather version offers a much tighter feel that gradually subsides as you wear them more and more. For a more natural fit starting out, the synthetic is the way to go, where the leather version suits those players that want a boot that adapts over time.
In terms of touch, the synthetic version is thinner and has a layer of griptech across the forefoot. It comes into play very nicely in wet conditions and is an ideal weapon for wingers who want to get on ball and keep close control as they take on defenders. In comparison, the leather version has that supple, soft feel that naturally adds to touch on the ball, but you don’t get that thin natural feel as you dribble. It actually makes the boot a much better option for players in other positions across the pitch, transforming the speed boot into a more compatible selection.
Lets talk about the leather upper for a minute and how it feels. Puma has gone with a calfskin leather than is supple out of the box but still has a rough feel as you try to flex it. One benefit to this is the added grip you get on the ball, but you are not getting that super soft feel some players might expect before they arrive. The added double layer of stitching that covers the upper just above the toe also allows the boot to bend a little more naturally and adjust to your required fit quicker. We have seen a similar stitch added to the recently released Nike Tiempo Legend V, but where it was problematic on the Legend, it sits effectively on the evoSPEED.
In terms of actual touch, you definitely still get that natural leather feel on the ball. Compared to the current market, the upper does feel slightly more rigid and thicker than other leather releases, probably because other companies reduce the amount of material included to really drive down the weight. If I was to compare the feel and touch to another current release it would have to be the Nike Premier. In this instance, there is less stitching but they offer a similar feel. The real benefit to a slightly thicker leather is that you feel less impact in several situations, like when you strike solid shots or get caught by a stray tackle.
The studs 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. It is very functional and these boots make for an ideal weapon in several situations. For example, I would rate these as a top choice for players who need a boot to use on AG and FG. The conical configuration works very effectively on newer turf surfaces, providing a high level of traction. Switch them out to firm ground surfaces and they work just as well.
How do they Fit?
Starting out, they are tighter than true-to-size, in other words they need a few wears to feel like a natural fit. If you need a little extra space, these are not the right boot for you. In pretty standard Puma fashion, they leave these very snug right through the forefoot, leaving them as a better option for medium width players. I mentioned this above, but the upper curves toward the little toe and this area doesn’t stretch much removing them as an option for those that need a wide fit. Overall, they provide what we like to call a very “puma-esque” type fit!
This is a boot that does take some time to truly break in, so don’t expect them to be game ready out of the box. The soleplate, in particular, can cause some discomfort as you take them out for the first few wears. But outside of that, they are a pretty reliable boot that shouldn’t cause players that are familiar with Puma boots too many problems.
If you are looking to pick up a pair, check the current Puma evoSPEED 1.2 L line-up currently available at soccer.com.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: Speed matched with a supple, durable leather upper and geared up with a stud configuration ideal for AG/FG surfaces.
Category: Lightweight Speed.
Weight: 7.7oz, a decent weight for a leather boot.
Would I Buy Them: They tested well, but they wouldn’t be my preferred leather option on the market. I’d choose the synthetic evoSPEED first.
Player Position: From outside backs to center mids, they are an ideal option for those that enjoy taking advantage of their pace and need something with a little more protection through the upper.