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Review: PUMA King SL Soccer Boot

Football Boots

Review: PUMA King SL Soccer Boot

Worn by two-time African Footballer of the Year El Hadji Diouf in Leeds United’s recent upset of Tottenham Hotspur in the English FA Cup, the PUMA King SL is the lightweight version of the latest PUMA King soccer boot.

PUMA King SL 2013 Soccer Boots / Football Shoes

Since its launch in December 2012, the King and King SL have been mainstays among professionals such as Yaya Toure (Manchester City and Ivory Coast), Michael Carrick (Manchester United and England), Mikel Arteta (Arsenal) and Nikica Jelavic (Everton and Croatia) in major leagues around the world.

Over the past month, one of our boot testers has been wearing the PUMA King SL in winter training sessions and for competitive matches around our city (our local league is on break). Here is what he thought of the PUMA King SL. It is now available at World Soccer ShopBig Toe Soccer,and Kitbag.

PUMA King SL 2013 Soccer Boots / Football Shoes


The PUMA King has an over forty year heritage. PUMA has embraced this fact by using a careful blend of classic soccer boot looks and contemporary elements in its King designs of the past decade. However, the King SL now has more of a contemporary lean to it that its predecessors. It is streamlined, slick, sleek and totally modern in look in almost every aspect. Its first colorway, Blazing Yellow / Black / White, screams of the styles of 2013 where players seem to prefer brightly colored boots. Perhaps this is why PUMA did not append an edition name (e.g. King Finale, XL, etc.) to this version. The King SL may very well represent a reboot of the much-loved series.

PUMA King SL 2013 Soccer Boots / Football Shoes


The PUMA King SL is the first professional grade lightweight boot in the series to not use natural leather. Instead it features a premium lightweight microfiber than could easily be mistaken for animal-based leather in feel and in the touch you get when striking a ball with it.  It also uses a heel counter / soleplate unit made of Pebax (a lightweight polymer) and nylon. Finally, the while the stud configuration of the King SL is similar to that of 2012’s King Finale SL, the studs on the boot are all bladed except for one rounded cleat at the front of the boot. Also, the studs to the rear for the new SL are slightly longer than those at the front.

What all of this amounts to is some of the latest and greatest footie boot technology in one place and the lightest PUMA King ever at only 5.8 oz!

PUMA King SL 2013 Soccer Boots / Football Shoes


I’m a size 10 when it comes to non-soccer shoes (e.g. street, running, cross-training).  However, since I prefer a snug fit for ball feel, I wear my soccer boots half a size down. Therefore, the PUMA King SL that I wore for my boot test was a size 9.5.

How did it fit? Just as I wanted – snug, not too tight anywhere and with no unwanted gaps. So I would say that the King SL fits true to size.

I will point out that since the SL has a thin tongue intended to lie on the top of your foot, you do have to loosen the top row of lacing on the boot when putting it on.

PUMA King SL 2013 Soccer Boots / Football Shoes


Once you get these the PUMA King SL on for a break-in session, you won’t want to take them off. That’s how good they ride compared to most of the other speed boots on the market.

For a speed boot, the King SL has a high level of padding throughout. Normally this is the first thing sacrificed to shed weight. However, the designers have been able to maintain ample padding in the SL via what we think is the use of a microfiber upper. The result is the feel of a lightweight running shoe on the foot and a greater sense of foot protection when stepped on.

Running on the high tech soleplate of the King SL is comfortable from your first run in the boot. Indeed on a non-parched, natural grass surface, you could think that you are in cross trainers.  The only thing that I had to get used to was the high level of support from the heel counter.  This is something that you get used to after about thirty minutes of working out with the King SL.

PUMA King SL 2013 Soccer Boots / Football Shoes


After great experiences with the PUMA King Finale and Finale SL over the past couple of years, I was eager to see how the newest King would compare. I was not disappointed.

One element of the King series that has remained a constant since the 1980s (maybe before but that was before my time) is the classic, stitched front of the boot. It is this feature that I have found to make the King easy to make driven shots with, chip balls with and make accurate off the ground passes with. I’m happy to say that this front area is included in the King SL and as effective as ever.  However, since everything else around this heritage feature is updated for the better, a bit of practice is needed to excel at using the boot.

PUMA King SL 2013 Soccer Boots / Football Shoes

The same applies for passes and skills moves. Given the increased stability that the ultra-supportive heel counter offers and the light weight of the King SL, I had to practice passing on my rebounder for about twenty minutes to figure out the right weight to put on them. Once you get the weight right, expect some nice results on the pitch with some defence-splitting passes and accurate on the ground passes to you target’s feet.

As far as skills moves are concerned, since there is less boot in terms of weight to move around, the easier it is for you to pull them off. Since I’ve always been a heritage boot fan, fact that the 2013 incarnation of the King SL is so light in weight makes it a dream for me when playing in wing positions.

PUMA King SL 2013 Soccer Boots / Football Shoes


Until now all of the speed boots that I have tried have been made of either Teijin leather or K-leather. They look great coming out of the box but after a few wears they become quite creased. I expected the same with the King SL given that it is a speed boot but was pleasantly surprised to find that the microfiber upper used for it did not crease as much as its Teijin or kangaroo counterparts.

After about nine solid hours of match play and practice, the PUMA King SL is holding up remarkably well and show no signs of shape distortion or damage. It is a well-made soccer boot from all accounts.

PUMA King SL 2013 Soccer Boots / Football Shoes

Final Thoughts

A great boot for players whose game relies of speed, skills and passing and shot accuracy, the PUMA King SL earns its place in the boots famed line with flying colors. The only thing that might deter most from getting this boot is its relatively high price point at $249. However, if you can the price will go down as new colorways are released. The wait will be worth it!

Thanks to Michelle!

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