Straight from Pan, the company from Thailand, I present to you the Pan Super Sonic III (which was also made in Thailand)! Other than my experience with x-blades this is my second jaunt out into the sea of obscure branded cleats. Most of you haven’t heard of the brand until this February we featured them initially. As I have only heard of the boots in passing talk with other boot reviewers I somewhat have an idea of what to expect.
Pan boots are very hard to find outside of asia so I haven’ t had as much as a glimpse at a pair in person. Honestly I can say that these boots have a much different feel than any of the boots I’ve gotten to this point. I wouldn’t call it X factor so much as ? factor as they are odd indeed, they seemed to be of sub par quality but something about the boot hinted at much hidden potential and I mean to find it out. I got them in and I knew right away testing was going to go smooth and easy as the boot felt comfortable and had decent flex starting off so it is going be an easy go round.
The Pan Super Sonic III can be found on Pan.com.
There isn’t a lot going on visually here, I could do without the green swirly detailing on the outside of the boot. Though by no means is the Gold/Dark Blue (more of an orange) colorway ugly but the design is rather plain and easy to pass up, but over all the feel of the boot almost reminds me of some of the vapors of the past. They are long of stud and I can easily tell why the company strongly emphasized that they were made for soft ground. The company totes them as a speed boot though this is more reflected in the stud pattern than being a super light weight. They feel around the same weight as the Nike Veloce so I would put them around 7 oz as I don’t have any exact specs weight wise. Over they feel like a slightly down graded version of the Vapor 7 save with a leather finish.
The Odds and Ends
The main bit of tech is the seamless upper comprised of the Pan exclusive K.13 Microfiber Leather. The two main points is that it supplies lighter weight while being slightly thicker than the average speed boot so it supplies comfort, protection, durability, limits stretch and it feels better for striking. Of course it is hard to get a handle on things like the limitation of stretch, the rest of the K.13 benefits could be tracked in testing. The rest of the tech is just a TPU outsole with a long bladed stud configuration that is reminiscent of the vapor 5, so the set up clearly is made for supplying traction for quick, powerful and pacey movements. Over all there is minimal tech to this speed boot.
Fit and Break in
Being a boot from Thailand there were expected sizing issues. However length wise they fit true to size at at size 9.5 us and width wise they are of a middling width. The midfoot fit is a little different from some boots as it hugs in above the arch and it feels like it kind of leaves space for the arch itself. Over all though I found the fit to be comfortable and the midfoot issues lessened as they broke in more. I found that with thinner socks the collar fit a bit loose but not to the point where there was really any sliding.
Break in time was quite non existent and the upper is quite user friendly.The initial expectation for the upper was that it would painfully folding inward during break in, however it defied expectations and it kinda wrinkled inward quite comfortably and smoothly. An upper with the thickness of K.13 does not seem like the kind that would gently fold in any manner shape or form so there is some merit to the microfiber used in the upper. I was able to tighten up the laces to make the upper flush with my foot within a short span of use. The out sole bends and flexes with a very decent amount of resistance, not to much and not too little. I would hesitate to say perfect though. You can bring these boots into a game right off with no worries.
Performance and Durability
The benefits of the upper and configuration of the studs are outlined quite clearly and in length so the overall testing felt laid out for me already, just a matter of checking off a long list. I didn’t doubt many of the claims other than comfort really, it seems that the testing results echo the product specs. Crossing the point of shooting off the list was quickly apparent. I felt like I was getting very good power and decent accuracy with my driven shots so when it says that shooting with them is pleasant they didn’t lie. Taking challenges was not sweat either which is due to the thickness of the upper. Touch was pretty nice, the faint leather texture coupled with a moderate level of actual grip to the upper lead to solid ball control. I think the “wrinkle factor” may also play into ball contact as well but its hard to tell.
Comfort wise they are up there with some of the more comfortable cleats I’ve worn, only thing to note was a bit of stud sensation but it wasn’t the painful kind. I could virtually feel the studs really gripping in on the surface which was actually really cool. Taking cuts and powering through lateral movement felt extremely satisfying and it made agility drills almost down right enjoyable. Those who like the more explosive movement will have a good time wearing a pair of these on the pitch! The configuration is just as good for firm ground as it is for soft ground.
One thing that Pan also claim about the boot is that the upper doesn’t deform/lose its shape and the upper is very easy to clean. On both counts Pan is correct as there is very minimal wear to the upper. It is very hard to tell where the material of the forefoot bends and scuffs virtually vanish right off the upper. There are only very minimal signs of wear other than some dirt on the out sole. I can’t honestly say how long they will last because of the lack of marking (I’ve put them through plenty of wear) but I can tell that they will last for quite a while.
Comparing to Big Brands
Since I’m testing these along side the adidas f30 messi edition a comparison is inevitable. Since the Super Sonic III and the F3o are in the $90-$100 price range it is a fair competition, which the Super Sonic wins hands down. While the f30 is a very solid boot it has more bulk to it than the Sonic, though the texturing in the Hybrid touch upper of the f30 wins out over the relatively smooth K.13. But in the over all package it comes down to the boot that detracted the most and Pan definitely have something going for them. I dare say they even surpass or equal some of the members of the Nike Mercurial line pre-vapor 8.
Other than some cosmetic changes I think that issues with performance were very hard to pin point. The fit of the midfoot and some other areas were a tad bit off but not to a point where it took away comfort wise. I would like to see a texture coating in the upper which would have really kicked the boot up a notch. Also the laces are very much fat compared to modern laces but at the same time the over sized laces are annoying I actually enjoy them since they are so different. The basic big negative is that they are more of a FG SG only boot, I would never be caught wearing these on turf or artificial grass.
By the $90 price point my conclusion for the Super Sonic III is of the opinion that they can more than hold their own with boots in the same price bracket. In the battle of the mid-tier speed boots I would put them between the f30 and the Nike Veloce. But I would definitely put them ahead of some of the speed boots that came before the 6 oz mark was even scratched. So fans of Vapor past will find the Sonic to be enjoyable. I would definitely recommend this boot to those with a taste for adventuring into unknown waters. It is very much worth giving these a go if you get the chance. As the boot has some speed properties as well as a well crafted upper it will suite most players quite well. In the grand scheme of things this is one of those boots that will surprise you.
Total Score: 82%