If there is one thing Nike has done well in the past, it is produce a top range of Control boots. Coming off some successful releases, this latest CTR360 Maestri III, or the third installment in the silo, has a lot to live up to. One thing is clearly evident about this boot and that is the changing dynamics Nike has put them through. A newly redesigned pass and control zone has been added to a fresh stud configuration, while the Kanga-Lite upper has also seen some change – ACC added to increase its potential performance. There is a lot going on with these boots and I was glad to have some extra time with these to really nail down the good and the bad.
For testing, I wore a pair of size US in the Sonic Yellow/Black colorway, which has a current retail price of $199.99.
Straight-up, this is the sort of boot you take out of the box for the first time and say “Wow”. My focus immediately centered on the unique double layer of stitching that runs across the forefoot and steadily shifted to the control zone. Everything about the boot oozes a certain confidence. Out of the box and on your feet, they have an immediate tight feel. I talk more about this in the “How do they Fit” section below, but the basics of what you need to know is this; they fit tighter than previous CTR360 releases and almost feel like the Tiempo IV mold starting out.. It takes a while to get things loosened up and feeling comfortable, definitely a few training sessions before you break them into game.
When it comes to the layer of stitching I mentioned earlier, it makes for an excellent addition and helps the upper really mold to your foot shape. When it comes to the soleplate, it offers plenty of flexibility and is comfortable through wear.
There are a few areas that need to be tackled here, starting out with the Control Zone. To get further details on its role, there is a section dedicated to it below. On contact, you do get that added control element, with the region almost enveloping the ball. Something that really impresses me is how Nike has attached it to the upper without creating a stiff feel. In fact, it actually produces a very natural feel. When it comes to playing passing, you get a little extra bounce or rebound off, which in theory can’t really harm things.
Next up is that fantastic stitching that crosses the forefoot of the upper. In my opinion, this is actually the highlight of the boot and I’m extremely glad Nike has added it. When I’m testing boots, I usually notice two crease lines across the forefoot that at times can be slightly uncomfortable when the boot scrunches. I’m sure there are a few of you out there that know exactly what I am talking about, and if you do you will be extremely pleased with this release. It is a simple addition that makes a big difference, with the upper flexing in a much more natural way. If there was something I’d like to see Nike continue with on this range, this would be top of the list!
Finally, the new stud configuration. On release, I was pleased to see Nike had taken a fresh approach with this release, and in-game it does have plenty of positives including a high level of quality traction. BUT, and there is an important but, Nike has failed to create a truly advanced configuration. In fact, they have placed a stud toward the front of the boot that cause some discomfort. It is the second stud front to back of the boot that sits on the instep. (as per the picture above). What is odd about this stud is that it sits higher than the front stud, and this causes pressure on firm surfaces. I actually don’t understand the logic behind its dimensions and feel it is an area that Nike are going to have to address. Having also encountered sharp studs on the Vapor VIII, I’m starting to wonder what is going on in the stud configuration designer department!
Designed to be a Control Boot
One of the more obvious aspects of this boot visually is the 3D control pads that sit along the instep of the boot. They are there to maximize the area where the ball comes into contact with the boot and are designed to offer some additional aid when it comes to passing and receiving. It is a vastly different type of technology compared to previous CTR360 releases and actually plays a much less obtrusive role. Its positioning makes a lot of sense and does play a valuable role in what the boot has to offer.
All Conditions Control (ACC)
The concept behind this advanced addition is optimal control in dry and wet conditions. This is a bold statement from Nike as they continue to produce an even more advanced Kanga-Lite upper. To put it to the test, I did test these out with some extra water and they worked out pretty well. It is tough to say whether or not the control is the same in both weather conditions, but there is definitely a positive feel when the boots are wet.
Compared to the Maestri II
There are obviously plenty of differences between this release and the CTR360 Maestri III. In fact, the only real similarity lies in the two-tone design! The control zone is very different and the resultant dynamics produces a different type of performance. The upper has also been modified, with the addition of ACC adding as an improvement. While the stud configuration has also be redesigned and developed with a new approach. Ultimately, they are both solid boots with plenty to offer aspiring playmakers.
How do they Fit?
Out of the box, these boots fit tighter than previous CTR360’s. It is a slight difference that results in needing a few wears before loosening to the right size. Thankfully, you do get some stretch through the upper and as the stitching loosens, but as a true-to-size boot they fit very snug initially. In saying that, I recommend going for a true-to-size fit starting out, unless you have a wide fit or like a little extra space, in which case you should probably order up a half size.
That one pesky stud that sits along the inner side of the boot is a problematic negative and although it won’t result in your performances taking a nose-dive overnight, it does cause some unnecessary discomfort through wear on firm surfaces. No other negatives to report, but one other thing to note is that the laces are very short on these boots, so you might need to fork out on a new yellow pair if you like to wrap them underneath your boot before tying!
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: Designed to provide a new level of control for midfielders who want to get on the ball and control the game. Improved Kanga-Lite is effective in both wet and dry conditions, always a plus!
Category: A definite Control boot, with a hint of deft Touch added in.
Weight: 9.2oz, which is a vast improvement on the 10.8oz Maestri II.
Would I Buy Them: Listen they are a great boot and I thoroughly enjoyed testing them, but I’m going to be slightly controversial here and say I’d rather pick up a pair of CTR360 Maestri II on sale than buy the III at full price.
Player Position: They are advertised as being the ideal choice for center mids, but realistically they have a lot to offer players all over the field, from attacking style magicians to defensive minded hackers.