Although they have been around for a while, the Charly Gignac PFX offers us the first opportunity to test a boot from the Mexican brand. What is unofficially their first full market release here in the US, the Gignac is designed specifically for French international, Andre-Pierre Gignac who has been playing in Liga MX since 2015 for Tigres.
For some, it might be the first time you have heard of Charly. If that is the case, we wanted to bring you a breakdown of what you need to know about the flashy, economy style boot release. And a little more about the brand.
1 – How Would You Describe Charly?
From my experience, I’d describe them as a brand with a direct focus on delivering “wearable” boots at a mid-tier price point. Their designs are not cutting edge, and they won’t compete with what top-tier brands have on offer. Instead they are simple yet effective style boots that provide reliability and a high level of quality for their price range.
The brand has actually been around since the 1950s. In 2014, they launched a soccer line and made the decision this past Summer to jump into the US market.
“Our story began in 1950 with Salvador Gonzalez selling children’s shoes at his store in Mexico City. A decade later, Salvador moved his family to León, Mexico and created the brand Campanita. In 1977, Campanita changed to CHARLY and expanded production and marketing efforts to a wider assortment of sports and performance footwear.”
2 – Initial Reaction To The Gignac
The Gignac line-up is impressive visually, with slick designs and an aerodynamic look. Charly use popular upper colors coupled with flashy, chrome style soleplates to create sleek looks on the silo. The upper features a perforated pattern, giving them a 3-D like textured definition. It is a modern release that is created using more generic pieces. In other words, the soleplate has the feel of a less elite release, while the ankle collar is definitely not a knit DF type of material. But at their $120 price point, they have more positives than negatives on offer.
I’m also impressed with how they are presented. Inside the box, Charly detail the fact they are designed specifically for Andre-Pierre with graphics, a sticker and some information pamplets. Simple touches, but they give the release a higher-end feel when you unbox them.
3 – How Do They Fit?
Charly has designed them to be a true to size option, so they fit very much like most boots here in the US. In the past, smaller brands like Pirma and Joma have had a tendency to increase the length by up to a half size. I found the length in the Charly Gignac to be pretty ideal, offering just enough space to keep me feeling comfortable without being restricted. The upper is a synthetic, so you don’t get a whole lot of natural stretch out of it, so the size when you put them on is basically what you can expect. In terms of width, they are a very wearable medium to wide fit, so they will have some appeal to a wide variety of players.
One thing I really do enjoy is the one piece collar that runs down through the tongue. It creates a snug connection between ankle and foot, ensuring you are locked in. But, there is plenty of stretch in that material, meaning it adjusts to your movement in play. Also, it might seem like they are tough to squeeze your foot into, but again the stretch in the material makes it pretty easy to slip into.
4 – Upper Material – Feel, Control, Texture
One big talking point is the upper material and how it feels on the ball. It is an extremely lightweight synthetic material that has the appearance of a knit covered in a very thin synthetic upper layer. It is almost like that thin layer is suctioned onto the under layer, giving it a textured feel to the touch.
First off, the upper isn’t very pliable, again has the feel of a synthetic – they definitely don’t compete with a supple leather upper. But that isn’t all a bad thing. This actually provides a little extra durability, while the perforated style gives you a little extra grip on the ball. I found this to be extra useful in wet conditions, where the definition gives you extra surface area to connect with the ball. Added to the upper, just around the toes, is a durability strip, giving you a little more piece of mind if you are intending to wear them on turf.
5 – Final Thoughts
Listen, I’ve read some other reviews that have been a little more critical on how these perform. I get it, they are definitely not a top tier option. But they are not intended to be, and that is important to take into consideration. When you look at them through the lens of being a $120 boot option, they have a lot of positives on offer. In fact, they easily compete with a $150 release from adidas or Nike, and there are definitely some options where I’d easily chose these as a much better option.
Overall, I enjoyed wearing them and would recommend them for players on a budget that want something a little different, something that matches the performance you’d expect from a $120 boot.
Find all available Charly Gignac colorways at soccer.com.