When it comes a boot with class and a reputable history, the Puma King series has always been a leader. Well, that was until they announced the range would be transitioning from a K-leather to a calf-skin leather. Fans were up in arms! That change might be drastic, but performance isn’t compromised that much. In fact, this latest release offers a lot of positives for players who crave a look that doesn’t focus on highly vivid and vastly nutty color combos.
In a slightly odd twist, this review comes post King 2013 SL review, so we went a little backward on this one. But, we have had several weeks to work with them and the performance results are pretty comprehensive.
The current Puma King line-up can be found at soccer.com.
When they were released, there was initial concern that Puma had removed the traditional K-leather upper and replaced it with a less fancy calf-leather. So performance was key on this one. I’m glad the Black colorway arrived in, at least it is a lot more traditional to some other color combos of late.
Breaking In and Comfort
For the majority of players, comfort shouldn’t cause any sort of issues and the transition from a K-leather to Calf-skin really doesn’t create any problems. These boots are comfortable from first wear and it only takes a few wears for them to really loosen up and conform to your foot shape. Don’t be surprised if you need a few running sessions to loosen up the stitching and allow the leather to soften, but out of the box they will work out well and prove to be the ideal partner for a 90minute game.
Something that really surprised me about these boots was the feel when striking shots. Along the tongue, Puma use this oddly raised, hexagonal shaped, design, with what look like padded bolts added. They sit right down through the middle of the tongue and really provide some benefits when you are striking shots. They might not add any additional power, but they do take away from the full blow feel as you connect with the ball. In other words, you are getting the same force as you normally would with less impact along the strikezone.
The calfskin leather might be a turn-off for some players, but it actually holds up really well through play. Over time it loosens up extremely effectively and to be honest there were times when I forgot it was a K-Leather upper. Obviously, there is more quality to the Kangaroo but in terms of overall play, the premium leather suits the needs to most amateur players. I was one to criticize Puma for the more at the beginning, but after testing my opinion has softened…..ever so slightly!
The Nature Of ….
The stud configuration is absolutely ideal for artificial turf surfaces. We are seeing a rapid increase in the the number of artificial pitches around the country, so when you get an FG boot that performs very adequately on the surface, it is worth pointing out. This 4-sided stud design releases from the surface quite effectively when needed and there is no sticky feel. I’d recommend them as a boot to consider for AG surfaces. On FG, they work well, although there is nothing that makes it stand out compared to other boots on the market.
How do they Fit?
Very much true to size and in a similar fashion to previous King releases, like the King Finale. In fact, they almost seem to be built on the same soleplate. Width wise, this means they are very much a medium fit and they won’t suit the players out there who need that extra bit of width though the forefoot.
King Compared to the King SL
Reviewing the King SL, I was very impressed and loved what they offered – especially the lightweight feel. But when it comes down to it and you factor in price and durability, the King is definitely the way to go. Performance wise, they are pretty similar all around, but the King gains an edge for the extra padding and support you get across the forefoot.
[See: Puma King 2013 SL Review]
Power of Simplicity
Compared to other reviews, there is not a great deal more to add about the King 2013 and that is actually not a bad thing. They are a very simple boot that will provide a wide variety of players (including traditionalists) with plenty of comfort and positive performance characteristics without standing out. Sometime this is just better, so you can work on focusing on your game rather than what is on your feet. If you want uncomplicated, they make for a great choice.
Puma has done a good job of transitioning from the traditional K-leather upper and as a result they have taken a lot of slack. Fans just seem to associate the K-leather upper with the class we know the King has been continually grafted from. Realistically, they have done a good job with this end result, but when fans expect quality and a company chooses a cheaper material as a substitute, it causes problems. In fact, they took the step of releases a limited edition boot called the Puma King Lux Edition – it featured a K-leather upper, but is priced at a ridiculous $270!
The current Puma King line-up can be found at soccer.com.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: A modern but simple take on the Puma King that alters the everyday perception of the silo, but provides a high level of top performance.
Category: Heritage – even with the loss of a K-leather upper, they still fight the traditional fight.
Weight: A very commendable 8.4oz.
Would I Buy Them: Before getting my hands on a pair, I had reservations. Puma has looked at ways to keep up with the modern market and that involved making some controversial changes. Having tested them, my answer would be YES to buying a pair. They still provide top quality and are a top boot to consider.
Player Position: A typical multi purpose boot that will suit pretty much any player on the field. Yaya Toure and Michael Carrick wear them, so there is a definite focus on the midfield general from Puma. If that is your style, they are a good option.