It wouldn’t be right if Puma didn’t join the mid-collar race and continue a storied battle to surpass Nike and adidas in another tech filled category. The release of the Puma evoTOUCH series was an expected one, but their approach has been far different to other brands, with a supple leather upper added to a modified ankle cut styling. And their decision to do it with an old-school black upper design for their first release sets an unusually subtle statement.
We’ve had these in testing for nearly 2 months now – yes, it has been that long. And there is a specific reason why it has taken us so long to get a full and comprehensive review out to you. There have been challenges! Find out more and what exactly the issues have been below.
Find the evoTOUCH Pro available at soccer.com.
Loving the general style of the boot, and I’m excited by the prospect of a super soft leather upper combining with a controlled, knit collar. It is sure to be different performance wise from anything else on the market, and that is a brave move by Puma. Visually, they look like a very balanced boot that will hopefully become a market mainstay.
Slipping Them On For The First Time
The nice thing about these boots is that they are super easy to slip into from first wear. Unlike Nike and Adidas collared boots, the knit material here easily stretches. There is also pull tabs on the front and back to make it even easier. It is also worth noting that the evoKNIT knitted sock is not anywhere near as restrictive, so if you want a tight fit you will definitely need to tighten those laces up!
Breaking In and Comfort
Oh how I wish this section was more positive, but unfortunately I’ve had some issues with the comfort of evoTOUCH. The problem lies in the heel and how Puma’s heel counter is formed to connect with the leather and then the evoKNIT sock. Basically, the cuts are too low and this produces a very unnatural pressure that is directly caused by the heel counter. It has been a huge disappointment through testing, as it has continually been problematic without resolution. As your heel leans against the back of the boot, the leather pushes outward but the counter doesn’t. That results in your heel pushing against the lower lying counter as you accelerate or push-off from the surface. I’ve blistered from it and as a result, testing them has been very cumbersome.
I hear you say, but Bryan, maybe you are wearing the wrong size, or maybe your heel is a funny shape. Well, as you guys know, I’ve tested a lot of boots and never had an issue like this. In terms of size, they are perfectly shaped and fitted across the forefoot. So, yes I could technically go up a half-size but that could result in too much space toward the front of the boot. If the opportunity arises to get them a half-size up, I’ll take it. Stepping the testing up a notch, I’ve had several friends (who wear a size 9US) wear test them also. Their experiences were pretty similar, with one of the guys taking them off 10 minutes after putting them on, and the other wearing them through a game but reporting similar pressure on the heel. He didn’t blister.
If you take the heel out of the equation, they actually feel really nice to wear. The leather forefoot is perfectly cut and shaped to contour naturally across the forefoot. And the evoKNIT collar has some stretch that allows the material to fit snug, but not restrictive, right around your foot.
evoKNIT knitted sock
Puma has focused on performance inside the boot to perfect their functionality. The integrated evoKNIT knitted sock gives a snug fit, and it works in unison with anti-slip GripTex arrows inside the sock to lock down the foot, prevent slipping and ensure stability for the foot. Through play, I did feel locked in even through the collar is not as restrictive as similar Nike/adidas boots. It is an unusual sensation and one that will please players with thicker, tree-truck ankles. You will comfortably slip in and out of these while gaining a more snug fit than you would experience with a boot with a collar!
Touch and Control
Given that they feature a K-Leather upper, you won’t be surprised to hear that these are exquisite on the ball. Puma use such a clean piece of material, with no stitching anywhere across the forefoot. Stitching can help improve flex in the material, while adding extra durability. But that doesn’t seem to be needed here. The leather is so incredibly supple, it really does mold as you run your fingers across it. This helps produce a perfectly natural fit across your foot as you break them in, and this in turn makes them ideal for moving with the ball at your feet at top speed. The material is thin, however, so you do feel the impact of striking solid shots. In saying that, at 7.5oz, they are probably one of the most efficient lightweight, k-leather boots for shooting on the market!
Soleplate and Configuration
Here lies one of the best areas of the boot, where Puma has created a new outsole with a raised SPEEDTRACK spine. The conical configuration perfectly distributes weight pressure while allowing for quick release on multiple surfaces. Seven studs along the forefoot combine with a single central blade along the SPEEDTRACK to keep you firmly connected with the surface in play. Along the heel, a standard 4 stud configuration is used. Through testing, I wore them on both FG and AG surfaces and they perfectly equally as well. With this type of design, you are removing any unnecessary drag and that means a less injury and a quicker acceleration as you break from the ground.
I also like the implementation of a spine, or the SPEEDTRACK. Puma has used similar systems in the past, and they haven’t been very successful. What I mean is they have been overly stiff. Here, you get very nice flex with little resistance, but there is a little spring-back that aids in dynamic movement and reduces the amount of energy you are using to push the plate back down. This is one of the more positive aspects of the release and something I’d like to see more of on future Puma releases.
evoTOUCH 1 vs evoTOUCH Pro
Visually, there are not many differences between the evoTOUCH 1 ($170) and the evoTOUCH Pro ($275). In fact, side by side you’d have an extremely tough time figuring out which was which. Performance wise, it is the leather that separates them. On the Pro you are getting a premium, thin Kangaroo leather, while on the 1 it is a thicker calfskin. That results in a dramatic increase in weight, from 7.5oz to 10oz. From a durability perspective, the evoTOUCH 1 is designed to last, but I’d personally chose the evoTOUCH Pro everyday.
How do they Fit?
I’ve touched on this a little in the comfort section, and I’d still recommend them as being a true to size boot. They fit so nicely up around the forefoot, with a roomy spacious fit that will suit players with a wider style fit. But the heel does need to be addressed. If you really want a pair, try them on in a store first. A half-size up is definitely an option, but I can’t guarantee you won’t encounter the same issues.
Outside of the heel comfort issue, there is so much potential in what Puma has put together with the evoTOUCH. In my opinion, it is like the counter is angled too tightly in toward the heel. A few degrees the other way and it wouldn’t cause so much of an issue. Raising the counter a little higher might also prove beneficial.
I’ve no doubt that this is the type of boot that will work perfectly for some players, maybe those with a smaller foot. If it the case, they could be a real winner and a favorite performer. Again, if I have the opportunity to test a pair a half-size up I will, and I’ll update here. There is sure to be an evoTOUCH 2.0 released, so I’m hoping the heel counter it is addressed.
Check out all available evoTOUCH Pro colorways at soccer.com.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: Puma’s first soccer boot to feature a collar, or evoKNIT Sock. The addition of a k-leather upper takes this release in a completely different direction to the competition, and it is a quality material.
Category: Control mixed with Heritage.
Would I Buy Them: Given the heel issue, no. And it is the reason that I’m not investing in a half-size up. But it is such a shame as they have soooooo much potential.
Player Position: They have a very universal feel about them, so they are balanced enough to fit pretty much every player on the pitch. If I had to, I’d place them as a best option for central style players, maybe central midfielders who like to get on the ball.