When Mario Balotelli switched his allegiance to Puma at the tail end of 2013, the world was treated to a preview of the radical Puma evoPOWER silo. Since that time the evoPOWER has taken the boot landscape by storm, with world class players like Mario Balotelli, Cesc Fabregas, and Marco Reus all thriving in the new release.
Bryan gave us a detailed review of the evoPOWER 1 back in January, however, it’s the the mid-tier evoPOWER 2, that I’ve had in testing up in the Great White North for the last month. I had been very eager to get my hands on the evoPOWER 2, to see whether or not they could give the Nike Trequartista III a run for top value takedown boot.
You can currently find the Puma evoPOWER 2 at soccer.com.
Conflicting would be the easiest way to describe my first impression of the evoPOWER 2, which arrived in the Fluro Peach/Ombre Blue/Fluro Yellow colourway. For a takedown boot, it’s an impressive piece of kit, featuring a good deal of technology that also features on the evoPOWER 1, and this was something which impressed me. However, upon actually seeing the release in person there was just something which didn’t sit quite right with me, the upper had a decidedly plasticky look and feel to it. Maybe I’m being a bit nitpicky off the hop, but one of the signs of a truly GREAT takedown boot is that you can’t fully discern the difference between it and the top tier model from a cursory glance. Thankfully though, aesthetics count for very little when deciding how good a football boot really is!
The evoPOWER 2 is without a doubt the most technically loaded takedown release in recent memory. So here’s a quick run down of what the evoPOWER 2 has in it, and what it’s designed to do:
GSF – The Gradual Stability Frame is built into the Pebax soleplate, featuring a ribbed design between the heel and midfoot, which gives way to a malleable forefoot designed to bend both upwards and downwards.
AccuFoam – A total of 21 foam inserts (2 in the tongue of the boot) designed to create a smooth flat striking surface.
Ever Fit Cage EXT – Much like the evoPOWER 1, the cage features on the outside of the boot (as opposed to the inside like most boots) to increase stability, however, unlike the 1 piece upper design of the evoPOWER 1, the Ever Fit Cage is a separate piece of the upper stitched to the remained of the boot.
Unlike the evoPOWER 1 the upper of the boot is not the Adap-Lite material, it’s simply a synthetic.
Does the GSF system allow the boot to bend like the evoPOWER 1?
Not as such. The evoPOWER 1 has soleplate flexibility the likes that haven’t been seen before, and while the evoPOWER 2 gives you some downward flexibility it is nowhere close to what the evoPOWER 1 was able to offer. The reason for this is the mid-sole of the evoPOWER 2 has a hardened plastic insert which appears to be cemented to the soleplate preventing the total freedom of downward flexibility that the evoPOWER 1 is known for.
The evoPOWER 2 arrived in a US9.5 and thankfully that was the case, any Puma boots I’ve ever owned have tended to run a wee bit smaller, and that is par for the course with the evoPOWER 2. It wasn’t quite enough to suggest ordering a half size up, but you are in for a snug fit when you first put on the boot. Much like the it’s bigger sibling it also runs wider than most Puma releases, this is particularly apparent when you look at the toe box which is designed in a manner which seemingly mimics the way a persons actual foot is shaped. It is important to note that I specifically mentioned the boot being wider than most Puma releases, in my experience with Puma they tend to run a bit narrower, so I wouldn’t say they are a truly wide fitting boot, should you have a particularly wide foot you would probably need to go up a half size to take advantage of the width the toe box and forefoot offer.
As for the break in period, the easiest way to describe it is non-existent, from the first wear they were impressively comfortable and I suffered from no stud pressure issues wearing the boot either on turf or grass. In my experience I’ve found that takedown releases are built with comfort in mind as players who purchase them often aren’t blessed with having the ability to spend a great deal of time breaking in a boot before game use.
The Power category has largely disappeared in the boot world, with only Puma and Mizuno manufacturing boots designated as power boots. And it’s definitely a great performing boot for the the power hitter who’s looking for a bit more wallet economy. When it comes to power, I’m more like a boxer who doesn’t have much pop but has great placement, the evoPOWER 2 definitely gave my shots a bit more pop! The way the AccuFoam flattens on impact to create a larger strike area means you can focus less on hitting the ball perfectly, and more on hitting the ball with force due to the enhanced sweet spot you get. The mite of downward flex you get in the soleplate also helps with striking as if you strike a ball barefoot you’ll notice your foot tends to flex downwards.
Despite my dislike of the “look” of the synthetic upper, I have absolutely no complaints about the touch it provides on the ball. You get a good feel on the ball, when receiving and making passes, the technology in the boot doesn’t affect your dribbling at all. I do wonder how the plasticky looking synthetic will handle playing in the wet, which isn’t an experience I have been able to have yet. My hope is that they’ll be no noticeable difference , but I will report back in the comments once I get some experience in that regard.
Weight wise you’re looking at a release weighing in at 8.6oz, when you consider the Powercat 2.12 was in double digits, those players making the upgrade may notice that they are slightly more fleet of foot which is always a great thing! It gives the boot the feel of a hybrid economic release, with all the benefits of power with the added bonus of speed, which makes it a great all rounder for the player who doesn’t want to drop $200+ for a top quality boot.
Traction wise you have 7 bladed studs and 4 conical studs. I’m on record as not being a huge fan of bladed studs, but I can’t really find too much a fault with the evoPOWER’s layout. The bladed studs allow the boot to really bite into the pitch when lining up a shot, so while I would prefer an all conical soleplate I understand entirely why Puma has gone with the predominantly bladed design. Having played primarily on artificial surfaces during the review phase I was impressed in how well the layout performed when it came to changing directions on the quick, I only had one misstep in them and that was due to a bad patch on the pitch I was playing on. So you’re getting a design which isn’t going to let you down when you need traction, nor hinder you when you need to move on the quick.
Would I Buy?
A resounding yes to this question. They are without doubt one of the best takedown boots on the market. For the price you get a top class boot which punches well above its weight and plays better than some top tier boots I’ve worn in the past. It’s definitely a boot which will be hanging around my kitbag for the forseeable future!
As I look to conclude I keep coming back to my musing earlier about the evoPOWER 2 giving the Nike Trequartista III a run for the top of the takedown boot tables. The answer is it definitely does. Does it beat it? That’s not a question for me to answer, power boot fans would say yes, and control boot freaks would say no. All I’ll say is I’m glad I have both pairs in my kitbag because they’re the top boots on the market for the player who wants to keep the price point respectable when buying a pair of boots.
The full evoPOWER Range can be found over at soccer.com.
What are your thoughts on the evoPOWER 2? Worn them and have an opinion? Drop us a line down in the comments with your take.