As part of the evoSPEED 1.3 series, Puma willingly released a leather version to go along with the introductory synthetic. Rather than simply appeasing the masses with a standard leather release, Puma steps it up and has spent time creating a signature release that could actually be a better performer than the primary synthetic release.
We have had these in our back pocket now for a while, and many of you have been looking for an update. With that in mind, we wanted to highlight some of the key characteristics of the range, so you know what they have on offer should you decide to pick up a pair.
Side note, this leather version is not readily available across the market, you can find them at soccer.com right now, but they are limited.
Breaking In and Comfort
The SpeedTrack Spine that sits under the midfoot has continually proved stiff through the initial break in phase. That was again the case with these boots, and it took a few wears to really loosen it up for uninterrupted 90 minute action. But there is one saving grace with these, and that is the leather upper, which eases the introductory phase thanks to its super soft feel. We are not talking buttery soft here, more like pleasantly supple.
Full Grain Leather Upper
Given that the differentiating factor of this boot is the use of a leather upper, it is an area that deserves its own section. So, lets talk about it a little more. Rather than being a one-piece material, the leather is split into different regions and features plenty of strategic stitching to keep it held in place, molding to the natural shape of your foot more appropriately. Along the medial and lateral side, just around the ankle lining, Puma implement a synthetic that adds extra structural support to the boot.
In terms of touch and control, the leather is very effective and clean in play. By adding a cris-cross style stitching across the forefoot, Puma has created a slightly padded area that offers some additional definition on the ball. Leather, in itself, offers players clean touch and a little extra grip than you would get from a smooth synthetic. But by adding the layers of stitching, the positive impact increases substantially.
Keep in mind that this boot is intended for speed players, and those focused on accelerating out of tight situations. So, they are not going to be an ideal option for those that value power and ball striking. They feel fine striking the ball, but with thin materials used through the forefoot you won’t get that proper oomph that can add confidence while striking shots or long passes.
In Game Performance
Overall, I very much enjoyed what these had on offer and they worked out to be a well rounded shoe. As an attacking minded player, it only makes sense that they would suit my style of play effectively, but they proved more than just effective. The conical stud configuration proved an ideal accomplice on both AG and FG surfaces, providing steady ground and the ability to grasp surfaces through sprints. The upper is ideal for keeping the ball close as you take defenders on, and it served effective for swinging crosses into the box.
From a positional perspective, the leather version of the boot will prove more universal than the synthetic version. This is primarily due to the added level of natural touch you get from the softer, more pliable material. Outside backs and midfielders, in particular, can easily benefit from the performance characteristics they have on offer. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them as a suitable option.
How do they Fit?
Puma keep things tight with the evoSPEED series, but the benefit to a leather upper is the fact that it offers stretch through wear and is more likely to mold and adapt to individual player foot shape. With the synthetic version, I needed to go up a half size to truly feel comfortable, but I felt much more at home in this leather version. The toe shape is slightly more boxed than your traditional boot shape, so they might prove a little more snug than players are familiar with.
It is obvious that some players might need to go a half size up, but I don’t have as much concern with these as I had with the synthetic. In other words, give true to size a shot before considering switching up.
Synthetic or Leather
The all important question that many of you will skim this review just to read! There is always a lot of personal preference when it comes to choosing the upper material of a boot, but in this instance the choice is clear and very easy – go for the leather version. Whereas most brands have perfected the synthetic materials they use, Puma just hasn’t perfected it with the evoSPEED and it results in a much stiffer feeling boot. The leather version is super soft, fits more naturally and provides a cleaner first touch on the ball.
For those in need of a pair, find these boots at soccer.com.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: A lightweight speed boot that features a soft leather upper and exceptional traction on AG and FG surfaces.
Category: Lightweight, with a touch of heritage.
Would I Buy Them: They are a boot to consider, and they sit as my top choice in the evoSPEED silo. But ultimately, they wouldn’t top my list of lightweight boot options – especially when leather is also put into the equation.
Player Position: Ideal for wingers, stylish strikers, and they prove to be a suitable option for outside defenders who like to break forward.