Via a combination of online, TV, big match field level ads and massive live event in Barcelona featuring the PUMA athletes Cesc Fàbregas (FC Barcelona), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Mario Balotelli (AC Milan) and Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), the release of the evoPOWER was arguably the biggest boot launch campaign seen to date.
Since then the PUMA evoPOWER has graced the football pitches at the elite level of the game on every continent. Along with Cesc, Reus and Balotelli, just about every PUMA sponsored soccer player from defender Nemanja Vidić (Manchester United) to midfielder Michel Arteta to striker Radamel Falcao (AS Monaco) have been spotted in the evoPOWER. The one notable exception is evoSPEED 1.2 die hard Sergio “Kun” Aguero (Manchester City).
The results on the pitch has included a series of sublime goals that includes Balotelli’s early Goal of the Year candidate for Milan against Bologna on Valentine’s Day along with finesse-driven finishes from Yaya Toure and Tomáš Rosický as Arsenal and Man City battle for Premier League supremacy.
Over the past few weeks one of our team members (a former NCAA Division 1 player) has been testing the PUMA evoPOWER during winter training and off-season matches. What follows the World Exclusive Football Fashion of the evoPOWER.
As its name indicates, the PUMA evoPOWER is classified as a power boot and is most likely the successor to the much-vaunted PowerCat boot (although PUMA hasn’t stated that it will be retired). That’s where things get interesting since the evoPOWER unleashes a slew of technological innovation into the previously unseen in the power boot realm. The focus of the design is to enhance the natural kicking power of the foot. These are the ones that stand out and that could probably lead to the evolution of a new silo of boot.
• Gradual Stability Frame (GSF) – A never seen before innovative boot spine in the sole plate that allows the evoPOWER to bend both upwards and downwards. The PUMA boot designers based this on the natural biomechanics of the bare foot in an attempt to harness its natural power.
• Adap-Lite Upper – Reminiscent of the now popular Teijin leather, new ulstrasoft Japanese material Adap-Lite stretches mainly vertically and only a bit laterally. This complements the GSF in replicating the natural up and down motion at the front of the boot.
• AccuFoam Inserts – These are located throughout the evoPOWER the upper which, creates a smooth and flat kicking surface upon impact with the ball. They also offer good foot protection. adidas soccer boot wearers may find them similar to the Predator LZ’s Lethal Zones.
PUMA first gave footie fans a look at the evoPOWER via the now collectible Mario Balotelli-inspired Camo version of the boot. Even in that form we could tell that this would be a good-looking boot after PUMA put their finishing touches on it. The final product came in the form of a stunning Fluro Peach-Ombre Blue-Fluro Yellow colorway (which is the version that we are testing).
100% contemporary, the PUMA evoPOWER’s design capture everything that the boot is functionally designed to do. The sleek look reminds us of the evoSPEED while its inserts scream power and control. PUMA’s now popular EverFit cage is highlighted in yellow on the inside rear instep to add some character to that usually tame area of soccer boots. Throw in flash via several fluorescent yellow and the use of the PUMA cat on the front instep area and you’ve got a beauty.
If you get up close to the evoPOWER, you’ll notice a series of fingerprint-like contours printed on the boot. These are not functional in any way but certainly add to the boot’s aesthetics. All things considered, the evoPOWER represents yet another fine design effort from PUMA’s boot engineers.
As with every PUMA boot that I’ve tried out, the evoPOWER fits true to size. Since I prefer a snug fit for my game footwear, I always go half a size down and then allow for normal stretching. This approach worked wonderfully with the evoPOWER and within three runouts, they felt like old friends on my feet that I could turn to for any game. This was improved by the Adap-Lite material used for the upper which is an extremely soft material that adapts to the shape of your foot quite well.
The one fit drawback that I found with the evoPOWER was with regards to its width. It is a wide boot! This is particularly so towards the front of the instep area. This is great if you are a wide-footed player but for the rest of us who are of average foot width two pairs of socks when wearing this boot is a must. Not a big deal for me since I usually do that anyway as a long-standing matter of preference but definitely worth pointing out.
The PUMA evoPOWER uses mixed bladed and conical stud configuration on its soleplate that is complemented by a hidden soft heel insert. Coupled with a lack of stiffness in the soleplate because of the new GSF, the evoPOWER feels like a high-grade running shoe on the move! It is by far one of the most comfortable boots to run in that I’ve ever worn. The soft Adap-Lite definitely augments the comfort factor because of its soft enveloping of the foot.
The stud configuration closely matches that of the excellent PUMA King 2013. As such, it offers the same level of traction and stability as much-lauded heritage boot. I wore the evoPOWER on artificial turf, and natural grass with no worries about how footing whatsoever.
Also worth pointing out is the weight the PUMA evoPOWER is only 7.2 ounces. This is two ounces lighter than most other power boots on the market and on 0.4 ounces more than the evoSPEED 1.2 speed boot. Needless to say, the light weight makes the ride of the boot unlike anything that I’ve ever experienced with a power boot. All of the elements of the boot silo are there but with the removal of unwanted weight.
Support for the natural bending your foot regardless of its direction of movement (up or down) is the main innovation of the PUMA evoPOWER boot. I will say without reservation that this is brilliant and feels absolutely amazing. The upward bend was seen back with the original evoSPEED 1 boot in 2012 but was removed from the evoSPEED 1.2 last year. Allowing full vertical motion for the front on the foot produces a feeling of more freedom compared to any other boot when you wear start moving in the evoPOWER. As you might imagine, this is a great feeling when taking on opponent in a one on one situation that might require you to unleash some well-practiced skills moves.
I found that the up and down bend of the PUMA evoPOWER also gave be a better, more natural feel when striking the ball the top of the foot. The closest thing that I can compare the feeling to is the type of feel and adjustment that you can make with the foot itself when kicking it barefooted (for example in beach soccer). I can’t say whether this resulted in more powerful shots (especially without high tech speed and force measurement devices) but I do believe that better accuracy for shots with the top of the foot are attainable with the evoPOWER.
Along with the bending soleplate, the PUMA evoPOWER’s AccuFoam material adds to its shooting support by providing a good mixture of padding and feel needed for precision. It’s not as padded as say the PowerCat series or heritage boots but is not as minimalist thin as speed boots. I view it as a perfect meld when it comes to padding that results in a wonderful kicking surface that creates a good feel when putting the foot through the ball.
Foot protection is not touted by PUMA as a key feature of the evoPOWER’s AccuFoam. However, I will point out the fact that while the AccuFoam is primarily intended to aid in shooting, it does provide a great deal of protection when your foot is mashed during a game. The level of shock absorption is about the same as that of the PowerCat boots and other power boots on the market. The evoPOWER’s advantage is that it weighs less than other boots in its silo while offering the same amount of protection.
Simply put: PUMA PowerCat 1.12 + PUMA evoSPEED 1.2 = PUMA evoPOWER
No wonder PUMA has spared nothing in its marketing campaign for the evoPOWER boot. It is a hybrid between traditional a power boot .and a speed boot that could very well create an entire new genre of soccer shoe.
Given the variety of well-known professionals wearing it and their continued success while doing so, the evoPOWER is suited for every single position in the modern game. Light in weight, protective, wonderful to run in, and developed to improve shooting, the evoPOWER is the Boot of the Year so far.
Thanks to Michelle!