When it comes to leather uppers, I am personally a fan of the touch and control benefits that are offered. That is why, having already tested the synthetic version of the Puma V1.11, I took the opportunity to pick up a pair in the k-leather upper for review. At 8.4oz, the boot is designed to be a speed boot and the shape of the upper around the toes fulfills the requirements of the V series! For testing, I wore the Fluo Green/Midnight Navy/White colorway in a size 9.5US.
You will find that some of this review is similar to the Puma V1.11 synthetic review, specifically in areas where the boots are extremely similar.
Important: Getting the right size!
If you are not familiar with Puma shoes, they generally fit tight – my recommendation for the k-leather version is very similar to the synthetic version, order up a half size. You will get some stretch from the K-leather upper, but the reason that I recommend a half size up is related to the shape of the boot, with the toe region offering a flat rather than round fit. For those of you who know their size in previous V series releases, these fit very similarly, with some additional width at the top of the boot.
Ensuring I had the right size from first wear resulted in a smooth break in period with these boots. My experience was again very similar, with the soleplate starting out a little stiff. But, after a training session they quickly got into the swing of things! The front of the boot has that strange “V” angle design we have become familiar with on the V series. I refer to it as a box toe because of its sharp angle appearance. It is an odd comment, but if you have a toe that is longer than your big toe, you will probably want to avoid these! I ended wearing them in several training sessions before the first game.
There is just something about leather that immediately increases the appeal of a boot for me. There are some players that prefer synthetic, but I just feel that leather has more to offer in terms of touch. And falling right in-line, the addition of K-Leather to the V1.11 makes for an even better boot! Not only does the leather feel soft, but the stitching ensures it contours with the shape of your foot as you connect with the ball, producing a glove like fit. It could also be argued that the Puma cat looks much happier in leather!
When it came to game time, the V1.11 perform at a competitive level. The lightweight nature of the boot suited my game and I found them to be an effective tool in terms of acceleration. Crossing felt ok, it is one area they fall slightly short. Along the front of the boot, stitching is applied to ensure you are getting a durable boot, but this causes the material to rise slightly. Getting under the ball on a pitch with little grass might cause issues. On grass, they worked out well and I felt like they were more suited. The leather upper give you an extra supple touch. I found that as the ball contacts your foot, the leather molds to your foot and allows for more cushioning. I also found that while wet, the leather gives a grippier feel on the ball.
Something I didn’t mention on the synthetic review that I did notice with these was problematic traction. I played several games at night when there was mist on the field, and I have to admit that on several occasions I lost my footing. This was particularly true while dribbling and trying to stop quickly. It wasn’t a consistent problem, but be warned that there might be times when they fail to offer exactly what you need!
The negatives I have with the V1.11 are primarily centered around size. There were definitely moments when I thought I needed a full size up rather than the additional half size I wore. Another negative was that of traction, and I was a little disappointed when I lost my footing on several occasions. The Puma blades are generally designed with more angled dimensions than regular cleats, something that is worth taking into consideration. Other than that
With each new release in a series, companies look to go bigger and better – Puma have achieved that with this release. It is the simple things such as the addition of a fully functional lace cover, and the redesigned front strike zone that features a more textured effect. I definitely don’t think the Puma V1.11 are suited for all players and I have no doubt that people will buy them only to discover the shape and fit causes them problems on the field. But those players who find them to be effective will experience a fantastic match and a high performer. If I had to choose between the leather and synthetic version, my vote definitely goes to the Leather. The soft upper just adds another level, with a better touch and feel as you move with the ball at your feet. The weight difference between both versions is 0.2oz – something only a prima dona would complain about! (Don’t be that guy) If you are looking for a different colorway, Puma also has a White/Black/Dresden Blue colorway in K-Leather available.
*Boots supplied for review by Puma Soccer