Over the past few years we have seen a pretty significant brand switch away from the Power boot category. But there is one brand that has stayed true to their morals and continued to look at ways to evolve power, keeping tabs with market trends. Case in point the Concave Volt+ Knit, a boot that providing a unique mix of power, speed and fit in the form of a new low-cut knit style ankle collar.
This is a boot you have to completely dissect in order to truly understand. Thankfully, we have done that for you by putting this pair through several weeks of testing.
Find the Concave Volt+ Knit available at soccer.com.
Concave continue to evolve with market trends, this time getting into the collar business. It is rather surprising to see a boot that emphasizes the importance of a power component, cover that component with extra material. So, is this is a boot that harnesses the values of a traditional power boot? Or does it change the overall style and what they have on offer? I’m definitely eager to see how they feel striking shots.
Breaking In and Comfort
Out of the box, these really are not a bad option to break right into action. Concave has done a good job of creating a very responsive boot that offers plenty of natural movement on foot. I was able to take them out of the box and right into a training session with no problems. The fit is pretty spacious, so that helps alleviate any pressure points that you might get from a snug boot. We will talk more about fit and the materials used below, but note that everything about them is ready for action.
The one thing that makes them a little more complicated than your standard release, and one reason why you might want to ease your way into a pair, is the PowerStrike component on the front of the boot. Since it is an added element, it changes up the weight distribution across the front of the boot. And that might create an added adjustment phase, where you need to familiarize yourself with how they feel in-game. Under most circumstances, I recommend testing out new boots in training before taking them into a game, that is definitely the case here.
Concave’s First Knit Collar
Rather than being a compression collar like we see on Nike and adidas releases, this micro-yarn collar is there to enhance comfort around the ankle, while also altering the performance of the PowerStrike. On foot, the knit covers the PowerStrike zone, reducing the curvature around the sides. So, you are getting a much less dramatic shape than found on other Concave release. This produces a more uniform strike region that still falls into the power category of performance.
Obviously with a knit collar, people immediately ask how easy they are to slip on. The actual collar is pretty tight, with a narrow opening to slip your foot in. It actually does take some effort to get them on. The key is loosening up the laces, pulling the PowerStrike technology and tongue out with one thumb, the back heel area with your other thumb, then slipping your foot in at an angle. There is a little pull tab in place on the rear portion of the collar, but it really doesn’t prove to be that useful.
Touch, Control, Shooting
The upper material used on the current Volt+ line-up is called TechStitch. It is basically a knit style material that interlocks throughout the upper’s inner lining to maintain structure and minimize weight. Don’t think it like Nike Flyknit material that is all woven with a soft pliable feel. It is more like an ultra thin synthetic with a layer of stitch beneath that provides the strength needed to enhance upper durability. To the touch, you will be extremely surprised by just how natural the upper feels. It folds very easily under your fingers. On foot, you also get the bonus of some ribbed texturing that provides a little extra control on the ball. The texturing is shaped like arrows that point toward the heel, the extra definition creates a more dampened fell on the ball as you look to take control, while also increasing the surface area allowing you to put some extra spin on shots. It is not Predator-esque, but if you strike the ball correctly, you definitely have more opportunity to control its flight.
The other key piece to the upper, and what makes these a strikers boot, is PowerStrike technology. This is the shield that sits across the tongue are, the piece that differentiates Concave boots from anything else on the market. Over time, Concave has modified its shape and feel, and I definitely feel like the PowerStrike feels a little thinner and more pliable on this version. It folds really easily under your fingers, which makes it more responsive across your foot as you contact the ball. Striking the ball, it definitely adds a different dimension. It is not intended to act like a donkey punch that puts the ball past the keeper before he even notices. Instead, it provides a little extra rebound to enhance your strike, while protecting the strike zone on your foot. In other words, it can increase your comfort while striking, and that should allow you to put more force behind shots. This is, of course, pending you use the area to its full potential.
PowerStrike – Does It Alter Your Strike?
From my personal experience, you have to adapt to how it feels when controlling and shooting the ball. On other Concave boots, I’ve found that it often resulting in unexpected rebound off the surface. Here it is a little different. Again, the collar runs down across the component and over the tongue area. This reduced the impact of those contoured edges and makes the zone a lot more uniform. As such, the added tech actually enhances the purpose of the PowerStrike element. I’m not sure if this was part of the thought process that went into its inclusion, but it really adds value.
Traction and Soleplate
Concave advertise these as having the “most aggressive soleplate” available on any of their boots. The configuration is a mixture of blades and oval-shaped studs. I immediately get some Pele Sports flashbacks when I see the design, although they are not quite that dramatic. i like the traction on offer, mostly on FG surfaces. On natural grass, you get a real bite that allows you to cut quickly and push of dynamically. On turf, they are not as ideal. Blades tend to drag through lateral movements, so I’d recommend them as a better option to players that play on grass. This is especially true as we head into wetter seasons, when you need a little extra grip on slick pitches.
The soleplate has plenty of flex to it right out of the box, offering natural movement from first wear. This obviously helps if you are looking to break them in quickly.
How do they Fit?
In pretty typical Concave fashion, they fit large. So, you definitely need to go down in size. I tested a size 8.5US (normally wear a 9US) and that proved to be pretty ideal. I have also heard from players that like to go down an entire size, but overall I feel like the 8.5US offered a suitable, comfortable fit in-game. If you are considering a pair, I’d definitely recommend considering going a half-size down to get a more snug and natural fit.
In terms of width, they are surprisingly spacious on foot, so they are a definite option for wider fitting players. This is a boot that offers the option of opening up the laces to increase the width through the midfoot. But, note that the laces run through the large rubber Power element, resulting in additional time needed to get the fit just right. When you receive a new pair, take the time to readjust the lacing rather than wasting time when you arrive at training or practice.
This is a boot I’m extremely comfortable highlighting as being a very durable option. If that is something on your wish-list with a new boot, then the Volt+ has a lot on offer for you. I did have some concern initially that the knit collar would overstretch, but it really hasn’t. It is snug around the ankle, but not tight enough to lose its stretchy feel over time. And the overall upper design is pieced together to allow for proper protection and extended wear over time.
Is this the boot the sways me toward being a full-time Concave wearer? Honestly, no. Not because I think they are a bad performing boot, or because I have a vendetta against Concave. Simply put, they don’t suit my personal style. I prefer streamlined and sleek, without any collar. That doesn’t mean they won’t provide the right balance of performance for other players out there. In fact, I’d label these as the best Concave release to date. And the fact you get some additional padding across the upper forefoot might provide additional benefits for players that need extra protection in the region.
So, there are two versions of the Volt+ to distinguish between. The standard version, which retails at $199.99, is highlighted by a TechStitch upper. The boot reviewed here is called the Volt+ Knit, with the distinguishing feature being the knit collar. There are several fresh colorways available, retail for $249.99.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: A power boot with the added (unexpected) bonus of a knit collar that actually improves the overall functionality of the boot!
Category: Power, power, plus a little speed!
Would I Buy Them: They are definitely the best Concave boot released to date, and they do have a definite target market. I base my game on speed, so I don’t fall in that category. But, if I was after a power boot, they would be a top option.
Player Position: As much as you want to talk about player position, I see them as a boot with a function. If you need something that offers a little more protection or enjoy a boot that allows you to strike solid shots, they are a great option.