We always expected a fresh new version of the Puma King to be released, especially since the previous version held an association (and title) with 2013. On hand, is the latest very modified version of the long standing heritage release. Puma has again moved in a much modernized direction, with the end result being a boot that might cause some controversy with players that want that old school, K-leather, heritage focused option. But within the new release comes a new level of performance, something different that entertains what current day players need to excel.
With a fresh pair in hand, featuring a pretty delicious Majorca Blue colorway, here is how the latest version performs on pitch and in game. Apologies if you have been waiting on this review – I’ll explain below why it took so long!
Find the King II currently listed at soccer.com for $149.99.
It is always interesting to see an updated version of a traditional boot released, but it can also be controversial. The biggest addition on this one is an EverFit lacing system running from the soleplate up around the second and third lacing eyelet. It still holds that iconic heritage appearance so performance will be where these are make or break.
Breaking In and Comfort
I doubt that many of you expect anything other than rave reviews in this department, and you wouldn’t be wrong! In typical King fashion, they fit just right and provide a pretty natural fit that makes them the perfect boot to wear right out of the box. The upper is plenty soft and very pliable, and the soleplate bends nicely to ensure you have natural movement right off the bat. Given that I don’t have a great deal to talk about in this section, it should give you an idea of how simple they are to wear.
On the side of the boot, you also get that fresh new EverFit lacing system. It is an unusual addition for a heritage boot, but it adds something that players can really make the most of. The system works by allowing for a more snug fit as you pull the laces tight. It is built through the side paneling and down to the soleplate. When you pull the laces, it cradles the foot and creates a secure feeling through the midfoot. The benefit here, from a comfort perspective, is the fact you get to choose how tightly you want that fit to be. If you prefer a little extra space, just loosen up the boots, but if you need a firm fit through the midfoot and arch, tighten them up to the last!
A Boot Full of Heritage
Even with all the updates and a modern colorway, this boot is still all about catering to players that want something with heritage in mind. The full-grain leather is super soft and provides a nice natural feel on the ball. It is not adiZero thin, but it does give you a clean connection as you move about the pitch. The stitching is also slightly different to what players might be used to, but its purpose is exactly the same as it is on similar classic boots – loosen the upper to create an ideal fit.
The big talking point on these is the EverFit cage, and we have covered the important aspects above. Its purpose is to cradle your foot and create a snug fit, it does that ever so well and allows for players with different needs to adjust them as required. It also adds an unusual visual appearance that sets them apart – when you see the boot it is easily distinguishable and a definite talking point when players are introduced to them for the first time.
Along the forefoot, the boot is constructed using a super soft full-grain leather upper, with Puma hinting toward improvements in its softness and touch on the ball. It does has a buttery feel, something that is increased by the bountiful level of stitching throughout the region. These might not be the best shooting boot on the market, seeing as the material is so thin and soft, but they still serve a valuable purpose for attacking minded players. In terms of compatibility, they are going to be an ideal option for central styled players that like to get on the ball and play creative passes forward.
Head around to the heel and you will find the second noticeable change in the form of a redesigned 3D external heel counter, intended to add some extra protection and more secure fit in play. What is slightly different is the fact that Puma has trimmed down the materials used and made the region lighter.
Traction and Stud Configuration
One aspect of the King series that I’ve been impressed with is the FG outsole, perfect for use on natural grass and a suitable solution for those that need to double a pair over to artificial turf. Puma adds a tri-conical stud pattern under the big toe socket that provides a perfect pivot point. Added to that along the lateral portion of the forefoot is a slightly skewed, four sided stud. These also sit on the heel portion offering ideal traction and stability in the conditions where they are intended. On a muddy surface, you won’t get the desired acceleration from a standing position – use them on natural grass, firm ground or as an option on AG.
Compared to the King 2013
Visually, there are only slight variations between both boots with the side Everfit cage being the most obvious. I was a fan of the 2013 edition, but in this new boot Puma has added performance value. There is a much more modern feel about this version, yet Puma has managed to keep the one key fundamentals of the range unchanged – comfort.
How do they Fit?
Very much a true to size length boot, so I don’t anticipate them causing any problems for many players that know their fit. Where they really feel awesome is across the forefoot, much of the credit here goes to that layered stitching. It actually provides a slight stretch feel to the upper that adjusts with your foot shape. And having worn them for a while, I’ve noticed some slight overlap on the edges. This is ever so slight but enough to ensure you have some breathing room as you chop and turn, and it hasn’t messed with their durability.
Still Without A Focal Player
What is extremely interesting about this release is the fact that we are still without a key player wearing them. It is standard for Adidas, Nike and Puma to focus their attention on one player that highlights the performance characteristics of a range. On this occasion, it seems like a focal player hasn’t yet be found, or maybe Puma are just waiting to sign one up. Yaya Toure would have been our ideal candidate through the initial introduction phase, but he continues to sport the Puma evoPOWER right now.
This is a classic boot brought into the modern era with some current day modifications. I can see some players reputing the fact that this is actually an improvement, and I get it. Because of the age we live in, there are not many dramatic updates that we get to see. For the Copa Mundial it was some blazing neon colorway and for others it was retirement altogether. For the King, it is a makeover and the removal of some old-school effects. Personally, the updates are a positive for me, but at the same time I understand the concerns of those that want a pair of the Puma King Top K di and nothing else changed. Wait, those boots are available – rejoice!
Straight Up Boots
I’ve been sitting on this review for far too long, and it has been a point of contention since a lot of you have been awaiting the final verdict. Ultimately, these are designed to offer an effective “behind the scenes” type of performance. In other words, they work really well without having a single area that necessarily stands out. Trying to describe that fact can be difficult, thus the complication. Just know that these boots work – they are not designed to take the spotlight or mess with the physcy of your opponent. Instead they are comfortable and unnoticeable in game. If you are willing to gamble on a pair, rely on the fact that you won’t have too much to be concerned with while wearing them – other getting the job done yourself on the pitch!
For those considering a pair, find the King II currently listed at soccer.com for $149.99.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: A modern take on the classic King series, with a new EverFit lacing system running across the midfoot to provide players with an opportunity to tighten the boot around the foot to their own preferred specifications.
Category: Heritage, but again it is a modern version thanks to some upgrades.
Weight: 8.5oz, very impressive for the King!
Would I Buy Them: I like what these have on offer and at their $150 pricepoint they are a definite to consider if you need something simple, yet very effective.
Player Position: It is more of a playing style on this one. If you like to graft and control the game with short, slick passes they are a great option. To put them into perspective, players I’d see wearing them effectively include Michael Carrick, Jack Wilshere or even Jermaine Jones.