It is not often you will find us running a direct comparison between two pairs of boots in the exact same silo, but it is definitely necessary when it comes to the current Puma evoSPEED SL series. We are talking synthetic vs leather, the lightest boot ever vs one of the lightest leather boots ever.
There is light and then there is superlight. These are boots that definitely compliment their SL name, with the leather weighing 5.5oz and the synthetic version an incredible 3.5oz. Holding one of each, you can tell that there is a very slight noticeable difference in weight between both, At such a low weight point, it is difficult to really discern, but you can tell that the synthetic version has less material running through the upper.
Lifespan and Durability
Puma are not trying to hide anything when it comes to durability. They place a sticker on the synthetic version that states they are not intended to last more than 10 games. What a bold move! In reality, the boots are likely to last longer than 10 games, but this ensures they are protected in the event their lightest boot ever falls apart. It will at some point.
The leather version is a little different. They DON’T come with a 10 game warning, but Puma do highlight the fact that they are intended for your best game days. In other words, it is likely you are only going to want to wear these come match-time and not in training.
Both boots are also not intended for use on artificial turf surfaces, although that varies by where you play. While testing the synthetic version, I found the soleplate separated from the upper, but I was testing them on a turf pitch on an extremely hot day. The gum keeping everything together basically melted and everything fell apart. With the leather version, I tested them later in the year when it wasn’t anywhere near as hot and they tested pretty well. In general, I’d advise using them only on a natural firm ground grass surface.
Between both, you are almost guaranteed to get a longer life out of the leather version.
Upper Material and Feel
We have to start with the synthetic version and that ultra thin upper. It is almost like Puma created the boot out of a thin cardboard, although the pliability of the material is much more like a sheet of paper! Combined with the soleplate, it makes them an ultra accelerating machine. But, when it comes to protection across the forefoot, there is none! Whether you are striking shots or meeting the underfoot of an opponents boot, you are going to feel every single ounce of it.
When it comes to the leather version, players will be pleasantly surprised by the over feel and protection provided. You have to acknowledge the fact that they are an SL leather, so they don’t feel like a standard leather upper does. But from personal experience, I very much enjoy the clean touch and feel provided. What really helps is the layered stitching the covers the midfoot through forefoot. It provides additional support to the material and also creates a little extra padding via the panels left in place.
What is a little different about these is actually how long they fit, something that goes against the norm for Puma releases. Slip your feet in and you’ll find a little extra space/length through the toes. This doesn’t make them wider, but it does ensure your toes are not smashed up against the front of the boot. Less pressure on the material means you are not decreasing the potential of the boot splitting apart!
Price and Availability
On release, you were looking at a price of $230 for a pair. But, over time that price has dropped and their are some terrific deals available. For example, the Electric Blue leather version pictured are available for $159.99, while the synthetic camo version (which features a 3D print across the upper) can be picked up for just $139.99. Given the durability issues, that makes the prices must more competitive!
To see everything that is currently available in the Puma evoSPEED SL line-up, head to soccer.com!