Every so often, a new boot comes along that just flat out surprises you – and that was my reaction while testing the Umbro GT Pro. To be honest, I have never really been a big Umbro fan, although I have worn several different Umbro boots through my career. One thing I can say about the company is that they do have a huge marketing presence in the UK, with players like Darren Bent, John Terry and Michael Owen wearing them on the field. Add to that the emergence of improving releases and Umbro are gaining some much needed momentum. The most notable thing about this release is that Umbro have approached the speed market for the first time, with a boot that weighs around 8.3oz. After testing, I will admit that I have become a huge fan, although I do realize they are not going to suit all players. Also, they have a very strong resemblance to a recent Puma release……for testing, I wore a size 9US in the White/Gun/Orange colorway.
Again, another boot that turned out to be ultra smooth to break in. Like several other speed boots I have tested in recent times, I was quiet surprised with how quick they were ready for game action. It only took two practice sessions before I broke them out for 90 minutes. Across the front of the soleplate, Umbro have strategically placed a slight break that allows the boot to flex in just the right area. You can really feel this when you are wearing them, and the difference between these and boots that use Carbon Fiber soleplates is easily noticeable! (with the GT Pro being more comfortable)
The upper is made of a very soft Teijin Japanese Microfiber that allows Umbro to cut the weight of the boot. They come in at a modest 9oz, and although this is at the heavier end the speed boot spectrum they still feel ultra light to wear. Another area where Umbro have cut weight is in the tongue, which is extra thin. Not the best for challenges on the top of your foot but it does leave them that little bit lighter.
Comfort and Performance
I have to admit that these are currently one of my preferred boots based on performance. On the field they do exactly as expected, allowing you to bend, twist and turn as needed with little difficulty. Comfort wise, they felt great from the first wear and even though I can’t say that they molded to my feet, they fit in the right ways. I wore a size 9US, which is the size I normally wear, and they fit pretty true to size. One thing to bear in mind is the fit at the front of the boot, where they have really been crafted for a slightly narrower fit. The entire soleplate is designed for a medium foot – so if you are a wide fit the GT Pro might not be the boot for you.
One thing I found to be interesting about this release was the profile and positioning of studs. All the studs are narrower than other boots on the market and Umbro have placed them in a unique fashion. The idea of the positioning is to increase grip and allow optimum acceleration. The 8 forefront studs are placed 4 and 4 on either side of two central placed, support studs. The boot is designed for HG and testing on a wet grass field they felt great! The studs act like blades on a running shoe and added a high level of traction. I also tried them on an artificial surface and was pleasantly surprised to find that they performed equally as well with good grip – although please note I am not endorsing use on artificial surfaces!
Vs. Puma V1.10 SL
Straight up, the GT Pro is a slightly heavier version of the Puma V1.10 SL. Both boots are great options and hold extremely similar traits – they look similar, they both perform at a high level and are made from a microfiber upper. It is the 2.9oz weight difference between both boots where the divide lies. And rather than being a negative, you could look at it the additional padding as an advantage, giving the GT Pro more protection. Note that the V1.10 SL fits a size small, while the Umbro GT Pro is true to size.
Two areas of note here. First is the A Frame Cradle that acts as a support system connecting the soleplate up along either side of the boot to the laces. It is tying the laces that allows the system to work effectively. Similar to Flywire seen on the Nike Superfly, the A Frame Cable is designed to bring the boot closer to your feet. For me, the system was effective. The other technology used lies along the inside of the strike zone, where Umbro have placed a medial toe strike zone. It is basically a series of small rivets that are designed to increase grip when you are on the ball. This I did not find useful as it really doesn’t seem to add anything extra to the boot. It is the one part that I found to be gimmicky!
If you like heel counters, the Umbro GT Pro will not be a good match. They do offer some protection but not to the extent of other boots on the market. Another negative is how easily the upper material scuffs. I have found that most microfiber uppers suffer this problem – the best thing to do is to ensure you clean them off after each wear!
Personally, I really like these soccer cleats and they were a fantastic match for my game, but these are boots that are going to either be a big hit or big miss for players. Some players will love them while others will find they don’t suit their style. I love the fact that they fall into the lightweight category while also offering a good level of protection, something that differentiates them from other boots in the category. They break in really easily and perform extremely effectively on the field. In terms of player position, they suit both winger and forwards, and are probably on of the better options for other players on the field who want to try a lightweight boot. Since they merged with Nike, the range of Umbro releases have been improving (this includes the Stealth Pro) and in my opinion the GT Pro is another building block for the brand. If you do decide to get a pair, you also have the added bonus of great prices right now, with a pair coming in around the $120 mark!
(*boots supplied for review by soccer.com)