If shock and awe is your thing, Concave is a brand that has you covered! Last week they introduced their 2019 edition of the Halo+ Pro, and this one looks a lot different! Gone is that incredibly large front PowerStrike component, and in comes a completely re-engineered strike component. It is a change in direction that signals huge change for the brand as they look to refocus on the market.
Think of these as the Darth Vader of the boot world, dark and mysterious with a lot of bold attitude! We have been testing them for the past few weeks, and here is what you need to know about how they perform!
This is a big change in direction for Concave, as they look to create a boot that is more relevant to the current market. Let’s be honest, they had to do something different. Modifying the strike zone and providing players with something less dramatic is a great start. The brand focus is still in play through the implementation of ACCUSTRIKE technology, so they are not looking to reinvent the wheel. How that actually plays out is the most important part, especially when striking shots!
The packaging is as impressive as ever, with a silver chrome box providing an upgraded look. Inside, you also get a signature Concave boot bag included.
Breaking In and Comfort
Well, something that hasn’t changed with these is the sizing issue. Again, they fit long so you need to go down in size for them to be comfortable on foot. Learn more about that in the fit section below, but for now what you need to know is that I ended up wearing a pair that was a full size smaller than I normally wear.
Getting them on foot is easy. Even with the enclosed ankle collar, all you need to do is loosen the laces and slip your foot in. I’m a big fan of that ankle cut, as it hugs your foot right from first wear. This helps give you a feeling of security and confidence to just wear them. There is also a piece added to the heel that cups the Achilles comfortably. The fit is very snug right off the bat, but very comfortable. Right through the upper, the material is soft and pliable, with plenty of natural motion that mimics your movements in play.
PowerStrike VS ACCUSTRIKE
PowerStrike Technology, or the large concave rubber panel that was employed on previous Concave boots, provided some additional power for striking shots. That was, or course, as long as used to its full extent. It was a part of the boot that fans clearly had a love/hate relationship with. From my personal experience, you had to adapt to the feel of controlling and shooting the ball, and it often resulted in unexpected rebound off the surface. Then you also had to factor in a modified weight distribution that produces a different fell on foot. So, you spent a lot of time adjusting to the new style.
ACCUSTRIKE is very different and a huge upgrade to the boot! Now, you have two smaller rails running down along the outside of the lacing. There is no longer a large rubber panel across the lacing and tongue, so you get much better feel on the ball. And there is no odd weight distribution to have to work against. The intent of the ACCUSTRIKE technology is to cup the ball as you strike it, creating a zone where you still get rebound, just in a more direct fashion.
Lets talk about ACCUSTRIKE in a little more depth here. It is the centerpiece of the release, after all. The first thing to note here is that you never feel it in play, you will pretty much not know it is there. Its presence is there to connect with the ball on the outside, not create discomfort with your foot on the inside. In its natural position, each rail seems to be very rigid. But, under the motion of your fingers, they are very flexible. What this means is that you get a piece of technology that has the ability to add extra ping on connection, as the rails cuddle the ball and allow it to rebound quickly.
Does it actually work? I have to say it is effective and it does serve a purpose. I found that there was a definite positive while striking shots and when hit clean, you get excellent pop off the surface. I would go as far as saying that I got more power behind shots while wearing them, you do notice a difference. At least I felt like I did (can any keepers I was playing against while wearing them confirm this please? LOL.) Now, whether you feel like you want that added element in your game is up to you. But it is a bonus for players that want something just a little different.
And better again, it doesn’t impact or cause any unnecessary rebound when the ball hits it at the wrong angle, like its predecessor did. The rails are very unobtrusive and really don’t get in your way through play! A definite upgrade all around.
Does ACCUSTRIKE Look Familiar?
When I first had the opportunity to see the updated Halo+, I was left wondering if I’d seen this type of technology before. Then, the German brand Aspero came to mind. Both boots were built on the same concept of using an outer piece around the laces to impact contact with the ball. Sadly for Aspero, who disappeared a few years back, their boots were too heavy and the component was too rigid and misplaced. Thankfully, Concave have a far better design and much better performance!
Traction and Soleplate
Here is another area that has been modified for the modern game. Concave has worked to create a much lighter soleplate that substantially reduces the overall weight of the boot, while balancing out weight distribution. These boots weigh in at a very standard 8.5oz, much improved on previous models. And the plate performs very well, if not better than ever before. Concave has gone with a mix of low profile conical and semi circular/rectangular blades around the outer side of the boot. I wore these on both AG and FG with plenty of success! They are not the best AG option out there, but they do work well at keeping you balanced without any unnecessary drag or traction. I found them to be at their best on natural grass, where they can act like teeth and really dig in/release from the surface!
Sidenote, the chrome plate comes with a warning that you might see some cracking or flaking during wear, but performance will not be affected. I did notice some areas where the stress of play caused what I’d call “hairline wrinkled cracks” around the back blades and under the forefoot flex. It caused some concern with some friends who were checking the boots out after I wore them. But again, performance is not altered in any way. It is simply the chrome outer coating cracking.
How do they Fit?
You will definitely still need to go down in size to get the right fit, an area that Concave just hasn’t perfected yet. Or, they just like to have a different sizing convention compared to the market. For testing, I wore a size 8US, when I’m normally a 9US. They worked out to pretty good, but I think an 8.5US would be have been a more tailored fit. So, my advice with these is to go down a half-size, otherwise your foot will be swimming in them.
In terms of width, you get a decent amount of space to keep your feet feeling comfy. But, they don’t fall into the wider fitting boot category. I’d label them as an ideal medium/wide options, with the ability to stretch out to a wide fit if you give the upper time to naturally expand. There is plenty of stitching through the upper to add durability to the leather as they mold to your foot shape.
Where Concave has got the technology right on this release, they have dropped the ball on the overall design of the boot. Well, the leather version at least. That upper and forefoot is just too busy with a whole lot of stitching. The synthetic version has a much cleaner look that is sure to have a lot of appeal. Then again, we need to see this leather version in other colorways to see how they play out.
With the new technology, Concave has the opportunity to capture fans attention and get them wearing their boots. But that becomes more challenging when they have a price above that of top-tier Nike and adidas boots. It becomes a gamble for consumers. But again, the synthetic version is a lot more affordable and that might appeal more to excited fans.
For testing, I wore the pictured calf leather version that retail for $239.99. The next option down is the MAZE synthetic version that retail for a much better $179.99. In the past, we have talked out the difficulties Concave face trying to convince fans that they should invest the same amount in Concave boots as they do with a Nike or adidas release. That is a hard sell! Here, things are very different as I see fans enjoying their time with the new silo, and that will lead to easier referrals.
If you want to take a look at everything included in the new 2019 collection, check out concave.com.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: A new take on power and control from Concave, with a re-engineered strike zone and lighter soleplate. Upgraded!
Category: Mostly Power, with a little Control added in.
Would I Buy Them: As far as Concave boots go, these are the best yet and they have a definite target market. I don’t feel like I personally fall into that bracket, but they are a boot I’d wear on occasion.
Player Position: It is more about playing style and what you are looking for in a boot. If you value the additional power component, then they will suit players of any position!