Review: PUMA evoSPEED 1.2 Soccer Boot
Launched this summer, the PUMA evoSPEED 1.2 (now available at World Soccer Shop, Big Toe Soccer and Kitbag) has been one of the most visible soccer boots in world football during the 2013/14 European season and 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
World Cup-bound PUMA athletes Sergio Agüero (Manchester City and Argentina), Radamel Falcao (AS Monaco and Colombia), Gaël Clichy (Manchester City and France) and English Premier League table-topping Arsenal FC players Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud are among the football luminaries currently wearing evoSPEED 1.2.
Over the last month one of our Football Fashion team members has been boot testing the synthetic version of the PUMA evoSPEED 1.2 starting with break-in sessions followed by match training and local league games. Here is what he thought of PUMA’s second iteration of the evoSPEED speed boot.
Not a total departure in appearance from the all high speed-themed evoSPEED 1, the evoSPEED 1.2 maintains the series sleek speed boot look. However this year’s incarnation has more of a traditional football feel to it via the use of a black base at launch and minimally stylized PUMA Formstripe.
PUMA’s designers have made the Formstripe, lettering, tongue, laces and studs on the boot in contrasting colors to the base color. Thus far we’ve seen them in the can’t miss on the field neon yellow and orange combinations.
For the first time in recent memory, PUMA has put its name in large letters on the inside of the evoSPEED 1.2. The only other boot maker that we’ve seen do this is Nike. Nonetheless, it’s a bold move that adds swagger to the evoSPEED.
A final nice design touch on the PUMA evoSPEED 1.2 is the use of glossy graphics in the shape of muscles and tendons through the boot. A first for soccer cleats and reminiscent of the PUMA BioWeb running shoes, these complete a brilliant-looking boot that looks so good that you debate whether you just want to put them on display or actually wear them on the field.
The fit of the PUMA evoSPEED 1.2 is true to size but with a caveat – it is somewhat tight at the top midfoot area when first worn. This is to the point that it caused redness in this area of my foot when I took it out for some jogging, ballwork and shooting practice for an hour. After I slipped on the evoSPEED 1.2, I immediately noticed the tightness in question but it did not affect my play via pain when wearing the boots.
I managed to resolve this issue by wearing them for a couple of more break-in sessions before heading to team practice with them. Continuous running and ballwork with the evoSPEED 1.2 stretches out the microfiber that it is made out of to the point where it conformed to the shape of my foot.
As with any new pair of soccer boots, the first thing I do in them in walk to a jog and then start running in them. The PUMA evoSPEED 1.2 is the type of boot that makes you feel like you can attain Usain Bolt-like speed from the time you put them on. Yes it is a speed boot that weighs only 6.8 oz. but it is unlike most other boots in its genre in that it is extremely comfortable and feels like a running shoe on the foot.
The evoSPEED 1.2 uses a new, almost leather like microfiber upper that is thicker than the Teijin leather used for the evoSPEED 1. The feel that it provides around the foot is much softer than the 2012 version of the boot and indeed most lightweight boots out there. Combine this with the phenomenal Achilles support carried over from the evoSPEED 1, a cushioned EVA insole and great midfoot support via PUMA’s EverFit cage and you’ve got a boot that is essentially effortless to run in. I ran about two miles in warm-up laps the first time I slipped these on and did not want to stop going. That should give you an idea of what they’re like.
While the PUMA evoSPEED 1 featured a mix of conical and bladed studs, the evoSPEED 1.2 uses only rounded studs. The Pebax Speedtrack spine running down the middle of the boot’s soleplate is new for the new evoSPEED while the heel counter on the shoe is largely unchanged from the evoSPEED 1. As a former evoSPEED 1 wearer, I’m happy with what has changed and what hasn’t.
The more conical studs, the better. I’ve always found them to provide a more stable boot than blades via better ground penetration and greater maneuverability. Meanwhile, the technology of the spine adds a noticeable degree of stability to the evoSPEED 1.2 compared to the original version. I thought that this was because of a more uniform feel throughout the sole of the shoe. Finally, the heel counter of the evoSPEED 1 was one of the best stability features of the shoe and provided more Achilles support than every other speed boot that I’ve worn. No need to change what works well!
I’ve worn the evoSPEED 1.2 on a variety of natural surfaces from newly sodded pitches to some less than stellar ones. The stability of the shoe was impeccable on every surface. Turn your body, trap or one touch pass the ball or unleash a volley. The evoSPEED 1.2 works with you as you adjust your body shape to handle the ball in any given situation on the field.
The evoSPEED 1 took some getting used to because of its ultrathin Teijin leather upper. As previously mentioned, the PUMA evoSPEED 1.2 microfiber upper is thicker than Teijin though almost as lightweight. This results in feel that is more reminiscent of control boots than speed boots and most welcome. I was able to figure out how to use evoSPEED 1.2 to make long arching and curved passes with the front top and side of the foot within fifteen minutes of knocking a soccer ball around with them.
The microfiber at the inside midfoot area of the evoSPEED 1.2 feels a bit thinner than around the rest of the foot. It is what you would normally expect in a speed boot. While this provides an intimate feel of the ball upon contact, you will have to knock at least fifty passes with this area of the foot to get a good feel of how to best use the evoSPEED 1.2 for those all-important low, on the ground short passes or finesse shots at goal. I recommend doing so with a rebounding surface or training partner.
While the tongue on the evoSPEED 1.2 is relatively minimal, it does offer more padding that that of the evoSPEED 1.2. I thought that this is a great change as the padding makes for better volleys, lobbed passes and clearances.
The level of foot protection offered by the PUMA evoSPEED 1.2 is definitely better than that of its predecessor and just about every other speed boot on the market. This is thanks to the use of the new microfiber that I’ve been raving about throughout this review.
That said, the evoSPEED 1.2 will not protect your foot from stomps like the control or heritage boots favored by defensive midfielders and center backs would. As a speed boot, it has little padding and cannot do so. However, the thick microfiber upper and padded tongue will take the bite out of opposing player studs when they inevitably land on your metatarsals better than most ultrathin speed boots would.
The evoSPEED 1 and most other Teijin leather upper lightweight boots might last a long time but crease quickly. The new microfiber used for the evoSPEED 1.2 does not. Even after three wears, the evoSPEED 1.2 showed very little creasing. As is the case with all soccer boots, this increased with use but was no more than you’d see in a control boot.
Everything else in the PUMA evoSPEED 1.2 has held up well after a month of solid use. This is a well-built, solid product that should last for a least a year of heavy use.
PUMA’s statement soccer boot right now, the evoSPEED 1.2 is one of the most eye-catching boots on the market today. After a thorough test, we think that it is an excellent boot for strikers, midfielders and full backs. A delight to run it, the evoSPEED 1.2 is a step above just about every other speed boot when it comes to touch, comfort and protection. We definitely recommend it to you if you are fleet-footed and looking for a soccer boot to support your game.