Puma has taken a bold move with the King series, by taking the old-school, heritage inspired, classic boot into the modern era in the most spectacular fashion. The King II, released in October, offers players an ideal option when it comes to comfort thanks to some radical updates like the EverFit lacing system that sits across the midfoot. “Perfect Fit” has become a key feature of the range.
As opposed to other brands and top tier releases, there is more to the current King story. Outside of the signature King II release, Puma has taken two other “King” inspired releases to market and pimped them out in completely different fashion. What we are referring to here is the King SL Classico and the King II EF+.
At the moment, we have both the latter boots in testing, but seeing as they are currently available in limited numbers, a “to date” performance rundown is necessary to fill the space for those considering picking up a pair. Note that there is plenty more to come in the reviews, but hopefully this gives you an sneak peak idea of what to expect from them.
King SL Classico
Puma steps back a decade with this remake of the iconic King SL cleat released back in 2001 and they have done it right. What they have done is taken the classic design of the King series and drafted it into the modern era. These boots feature a thin K-leather upper that is buttery soft right out of the box. And the layered stitching across the forefoot brings back memories of older model King’s that were full bodied and designed with durability in mind!
Visually, they are a pretty tasty looking boot. Added to the traditional black leather upper is dome sultry white and gold detailing – exactly what you expect to see on a true King release. Then there is probably the most unique aspect of the boot – that fold over tongue. What I love about this is the fact Puma has taken steps to keep it locked down across the laces, via a double layer of stitching. It is pretty perfectly designed and solves the issue of a flapping tongue! I’ve been tucking the laces in underneath it and they been sitting pretty right there through testing.
The end result is a lightweight, 6.3oz speed boot that meshes comfort with traditional visuals.
Performance wise, they have been pretty fantastic to date – Puma has a unique ability to really create quality lightweight boots that perform well and feel comfortable in the process. The only kicker is the $300 price point, but that comes with the fact that there is only 2,001 pairs released worldwide – as in the year the original was released. In other words, this is a limited edition boot that makes a nice addition to any collection (pending you have the funds to invest!)
You can currently find a wide variety of sizes still available at soccer.com.
Puma King EF+
This release is about as far as one can get from a standard King release, but they still stay true to the ideals of the range. In order to really concentrate on a perfect, perfect fit, Puma took to some new age technology, using Kevlar cables to customize the shape of the upper for different players. These cables pierce through the leather upper, from soleplate into an EverFit lacing system, becoming an integral part of how they feel across the foot. As you pull the laces, the entire upper curves in around to contour your foot and creates an individual fit!
Then there is the fact that the cables create definition through the upper, where they lace through. I’m pretty sure that the intent is not to create a “power” element to the boot, but they most definitely benefit from those ridged regions. Striking the ball, it adds some extra padding, and I’m always in favor of a little definition to improve touch on the ball.
I still have some concerns about the strength and performance of the Kevlar cables, as there seems to be areas where pulling them tightly could cause them to tear apart. Word of warning on that end! But as a whole, these boots have been seriously quality to date and they are already set to take a place among my favorite boots over the past few seasons. In order words, they are definitely worth a gamble or at least consideration.
You can currently find the EF+ at soccer.com.