The Nike CTR360 Maestri is a boot targeted towards a very specific part of the market – the Playmaker. We watched Cesc Fabregas debuting the boot in total style last October when he bagged 1 goal and 4 assists in Arsenal’s EPL game with Blackburn, setting the tone for the entire range. Add to that the positive performances put in by several World Cup stars that were wearing them in South Africa and there is even more credibility in what they have on offer.
I have to admit, I now regret the fact that I did not bring you a review of these sooner as they are simply a great boot! I put in some extra sessions to get a quick turn around on this review, wearing them in 3 training sessions and 2 games. But as it turns out, it was more than enough time to formulate a thorough evaluation.
For testing, I wore a size 9US in the Team Red/Metallic Gold color.
Focusing on the Playmaker
Nike created an extremely calculated advertising campaign that has played a huge role in the success if these boots. There was definitely a void in the market, with no boots focused on the midfield Maestro, or the Playmaker, before Nike released the CTR360 Maestri. Cesc Fabregas and Landon Donovan have been key figures in emphasizing the player these boots were designed for. And then Spain’s Andres Iniesta really added the icing to the cake by scoring the winning goal in the world cup wearing, you guessed it, the CTR360 Maestri! Oh and Fabregas got the assist. Ultimately, they fit the mold of what a Playmaker needs; something with great comfort and exceptional control that gives the Maestro confidence to create opportunities all over the field.
Right out of the box, these were and are some of the most comfortable boots I have worn. From the first training session, I could tell that they were ready to use in a game. So, without having to think about it, I wore them in a game! The results were all positive, I encountered no blisters or discomfort and felt confident wearing them. They fit amazingly well, and true to size. One of the best things about them is the feel of the Kanga-Lite leather on the inside, especially around the heel area. The leather is super soft, with a very similar feel to the Adidas adiPure III even though it is actually a synthetic leather.
Comfort and Performance
I was surprised with the absolute comfort you get from this boot. From looking at them, I didn’t expect much but what I encountered completely changed my mind! And, as with all great boots, comfort allows you to become a little more confident in your game. Distributing the ball works especially well as there are control pods along the strike zone. Overall performance was also pretty impressive and the boot felt like it was molded to my foot as I moved while on or off the ball. A problem that I have encountered with other boots from Nike is how your feet feel when you try to stop sharply. I didn’t get the same feeling from these. Everything about this category equals positive.
The upper of the CTR360 is created using a revolutionary Kanga-Lite synthetic leather that inhibits the properties of natural Kangaroo leather without the added weight. Another advancement lies in the strike zone, where Nike have placed innovative control pods that are made of a dampening foam, designed to enhance ball control and optimal passing pace. Finally, they have been created with unique cleat geometry and off center lacing, aligned towards the toe unlike other cleats that veer to the outside of the cleat allowing for a larger strike zone.
One negative – the leather tends to scuff very easily. I can’t comment on the long term durability of the boot, but from my experience I have a feeling that you are not going to get a long life out of these. This, of course, is not completely accurate as I have only had them 2 weeks and have no evidence that they necessarily “fall apart”. But from my experience and from what I have seen from similar designs, you will need to spend some time cleaning them after each use to keep them looking good and in tip-top condition, especially if you wear them on an artificial surface. I will follow up on this over the coming weeks.
After testing, I can tell you that the CTR360 is my preferred choice of the Nike family. In fact, they are now sitting pretty close to the top of all boots I have tested. If you are looking for durability, I don’t think these will be the best option. But they certainly have several fantastic attributes like comfort and total control. In terms of who they suit, I have to say they fit the bill of pretty much any player on the field. I have seen many defenders and forwards wearing them, but ultimately they are most suited to the midfield maestro – the Playmaker! If that is you, then I am confident that they will compliment your game.