In order to make a name in the market, you need to grab the attention of players and that is exactly the strategy Warrior Sports has taken with this new release. The Warrior Gambler is a definite control boot that comes with the slogan “Deal With It”. Since the release of the intro boot, the Warrior Skreamer, there has been a positive surge of fans interested in the Warrior brand. This time around they look to cater to a new market with a funky design and a boot loaded with technology.
We got our hands on a pair of the S-Lite version, and here is how they panned out.
The Warrior Gambler S-Lite is currently available to buy at soccer.com.
Initial Reaction plus Launch
Warrior Sports are not afraid to build some intrigue behind their releases and it creates a positive effect when the boots are unveiled. In similar fashion to the Skreamer, we were fed a bunch of PR content prior to the Gambler’s arrival. This is a very smart play by Warrior and it proves they have the desire to duke it out with the top brands.
There is a slightly stiff feel about the upper when you take them out of the box. The synthetic is pretty thin in width, but it seems to be created from a strong material. Having the correct size will result in a comfortable feel and allow the upper to sit neatly across your forefoot through the first few wears. They never really seem to soften up through wear, but it definitely doesn’t threaten the performance offered. I was definitely pleased with the soleplate, which bends right through the forefoot very naturally. They are a very manageable boot out of the box that won’t cause many players problems.
Tech Mesh Upper and Design
The first thing that surprised me when I received this pair for testing was the Tech Mesh used in the upper. I was under the impression that is was more of synthetic material base, but it is in fact a full on fabric. It is soft and ensures the boot has a light, flexible feel through the back of the boot. On the FG version, where you are more likely to be playing in dry conditions, I don’t see any problems with it. But this pair is the SG version and I can only see the Tech Mesh soaking in and retaining water. It doesn’t seem like an effective strategy in varying playing conditions.
The design is extremely unique, it almost reminds me of a tartan design. To be honest, I think they have got it spot on for what I would associate with a boot named the Gambler. It just seems to fit really well!
Full of Technology
From first glance, there is a lot going on with the Gambler. You can easily break the boot out into different sections, with each offering its own piece of unique technology. The Tech Mesh we referred to above actually has a thin support system running across it. The material seems to be a thin rubber that is glue on in place. It runs under the soleplate and across the Mesh to the lacing system Because it is a clear material, you are not likely to see it unless holding the boot up close.
Then there is the very easy to spot Ace Plate region. This is the visually prominent region that sits along the instep and control zone. It is intended to allow players “Deal out killer passes” with a lot of texture providing a unique touch and control on the ball. To be honest, there really doesn’t seem to be any rhyme of reason beind the positioning of the technology and it seems to jump up and down in definition right through the region. Rather than being a negative, I’m actually fine with the design and found it to be especially effective when controlling long balls. When a teammate really drills a pass in your direction, the added dimensions provides a cushioned effect and helps keep the ball close. When you add that to the performance benefits of the High Roller zone (which sits along the side of the strike zone) it makes for a great region for placing bending shots on target or simply bending soft through balls for players to run onto. You also get a little extra pop when striking shots on frame or playing long balls across the pitch, but it is definitely more effective as you look to play shorter, bending balls.
Warrior also implement Off-Set Lacing, and this plays in the favor of the High Roller zone by creating a more larger strike zone and a better fit across the forefoot.
Along the outside of the forefoot, you will find a slightly raised and embossed region that is labelled the Outside Zone. The added definition adds a little extra padding on the ball, but there is not a great deal of performance benefits to the region, It is a simply addition and makes the raises the visual profile of the boot more than anything else.
SG “Full House” Soleplate
I absolutely loved the traction offered by the stud configuration on natural grass. It hasn’t been raining here much lately, but I did play shortly after the pitch was watered and loved everything they had to offer. The subtle mix of conical replaceable studs and the set-in-place blades works very effectively, they really compliment each other and proved ideal for chopping and turning without catching the surface. I found that they release quickly and offer that little bit of acceleration as you push away from the surface.
“Glory Holes” – Should I Even Go There?
First off, the names associated with the cut out region around the heel is pretty inappropriate. Second, it really doesn’t serve a valuable purpose. Warrior state it is intended for sticky situations, where you can use the gap to stick your finger through and pull the boot on. Having experienced it in play, it only serves as a weak spot, where there is less material and more opportunity for opposing players to catch your Achilles. Plus, it actually ended up rubbing on my heal (pretty uncomfortably) while wearing thin socks in training. While wearing thick game socks, it didn’t prove as issue, but when I train I want to wear my thin socks!! It is a unique concept and something we haven’t seen a company implement before, but personally I’d like to see it filled in!
I’m already really well associated with the Warrior brand and I like how they brand each of their releases. Again, you get the large W on the outer side of the boot, but is the boots name that sits on the instep that really works well. It can be difficult to include the silo name on the boot and not many companies even attempt it, but Warrior has somehow managed t0 pull it off!
How do they Fit?
Length wise, they run ever so slightly longer than a regular, true to size boot. Through the forefoot, they offer a pretty decent width, with everything closing in around the toes and I’m sure Warrior Sports has gone with this style design to ensure they provide an adequate fit for more players. I’d recommend ordering them true to size.
Who is Wearing Them
One of the areas Warrior has acceled is in their acquisition of top quality players. Thomas Ince and Marouane Fellaini are the players you will see through the Gambler’s advertising campaigns. Both are young stars who offer tremendous potential and decently big names, something that is needed to get fans interested in your range. We have seen a lot of companies try to break the market but with less success due to the players they choose (Under Armour – Bobby Zamora, Concave – John O’Shea).
I have a few concerns about the Gambler. First is the use of the Glory Hole, I did foresee it being a customary addition to all boots so it is something Warrior could do with replacing. Then there is the use of Tech Mesh fabric on an SG boot. There is a definite concern that the material will retain moisture in wet conditions. Plus, when you turn the boot over, you will notice the same Tech Mesh is used in a gap along the soleplate. The same thing here, I’m concerned this will also retain moisture. Why it is there, I’m not really sure!
The Warrior Gambler S-Lite is currently available to buy at soccer.com.
If you have tested these boots or have any comments on design or performance, leave them in the comment section below! We want to hear your thoughts and read your input on what the range has to offer other players.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: A top quality control boot that has a lot of technology included and is ideal for playing short bending shots or passes anywhere on the pitch.
Category: A control boot thanks to the Ace Plate that is used on the instep.
Weight: This SG version with all studs in place weights in at around 8.8oz, which is a very decent weight considering.
Would I Buy Them: I’d consider them, but they are not a definite especially in the SG version. I do like the performance of the boot alot, but there are certain aspects that leave me with concerns about splashing out on a pair.
Player Position: A wide variety of players can benefit from the style these boots offer, but I feel midfield style players who like to get on the ball and play different types of passes with get the most from them.