Review: Concave Aura + Soccer Boot. Heritage Redefined.
In a soccer world seemingly obsessed with colorful boots, Concave Football have brought back the timelessness of black with their first launch of 2017 – the Aura + (now on sale at concave.com). We’ve been wearing it during training and matches on both natural and artificial grass surfaces over the past couple of weeks. Here’s what we found during our first boot trial of 2017.
Here’s a brief technical description of the Aura + from Manchester, UK-based Concave:
The Aura is a football boot designed in the purest fashion and if streets were made out of grass the Aura could be worn with a suit in our eyes. The minimalistic design creates one of those must have boots for your kit bag. Simplicity and class pours from the Aura and our patented PowerStrike Technology gives you all you need to feel like a champion on the pitch.
PowerStrike Technology hands you a larger striking zone, which increases power and accuracy like never before. When releasing the ball through the centre of your foot and upon coming into contact with the ball, you’ll instantly notice it come into play as you receive up to 15% more power and a hugely noticeable difference in the quality of your distribution. Not only that, it supports you as a player giving you more protection on your foot, without affecting the foot’s natural form and movement.
Who’s Wearing the Concave Aura +?
Concave Football has built up an impressive roster of profession soccer players that include veteran USA wingback DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), RJ Allen (New York City FC) and Vito Mannone (Sunderland), James Maurer (New York Cosmos) and Freddy Yao (Burnley). Allen, Maurer and Yao are all currently wearing the Aura +.
Concave has gone back to the timeless black and white colorway that was a mainstay among football boots until the early 2000s with the Aura +. Its upper is unapologetically in classic black with white Concave Football branding. The soleplate of the Aura + is all white with bladed studs that are translucent towards their tips.
The Aura +’s upper is made of now increasingly rare leather that is stitched in strategic locations. The leather stamped to create a clever looking set of raised trapezoid shapes around the Concave logo on the outside midfoot area. The inside midfoot is also stamped with a subtle Concave logo.
Flat laces run beneath a relatively fixed league tongue that has Concave’s patented PowerStrike striking zone at its tops. There is a short bit of lacing about the strike zone.
The heel counter of the Concave Aura + is a solid, protective affair whose soleplate portion is exposed to create an eye-catching effect. The Aura + name runs vertically on a strip of Kevlar feel material at the back of the boot. This is quite innovative and not something often seen in soccer boots.
The Aura +’s stud configuration departs from the classic. As previously mentioned, blades are used instead of the now disappearing conical studs. The layout of the blades is in line with current football boot trends and focused on ball control based on our experience with the Aura +.
The net result of all of this is a brilliant-looking boot that is a relief in a market full of sometimes obnoxious colorways. At the same time, the Concave Aura + is chock full of characteristics that make it a brilliant control boot. Read on to find out more!
The first generation of Concave boots has much larger striking zones and came with shoe horns that helped you to get your foot into them until their leather uppers became molded to the shape of your feet. We did have a bit of a hard time getting our feet into the Aura + the very first time we put them on. This involved raising the tongue up as far as it would go and angling into the boot. This was a one-time deal however as we were able to readily slip our feet into the boot every time we wore it after that.
The laces of the Concave Aura + are flat with only about three inches of lacing available beyond the strike zone. We were worried that this would not be enough to create a secure tie. This was not the case however. We were able to create a small bow with the lacing that remained tied up throughout every training session and match in which we wore the Aura +.
The sizing of the Concave Aura + is true to size so we recommend buying them in your normal soccer shoe size. Once on the foot the boot has a snug, magnificent fit with absolutely no slippage or hotspots. The amount of space left between the toes and upper at the front of the boot is ample for comfort, good foot movement and proper striking of the ball.
The feel provided by the Aura + is something that only a leather boot can provide. We can best describe it as natural, liberating and quite a relief from synthetic uppers that can never quite emulate the foot to ball connection that only leather can provide.
The Concave Aura + requires no more that thirty minutes of running and light ball work to get used to running, stopping and cutting in it. This is a result of its lightweight soleplate, insoles, heel counter and stud configuration.
Our testers found the boot to be comfortable from the first time they tried it on. There is no stud pressure on the sole of the foot even when wearing thin socks. The insole keeps the bed of the shoe soft while wearing the Aura + while the lining of the upper takes care of the rest of the foot. The result is a sockesque feel that augments the natural feel of the boot.
The Aura + has an average weight (8 oz.) for a control boot nowadays. This is light enough to not weigh you down in the modern game and keep you moving quickly. Given that the boot is leather we did find it to soak up water when playing in the rain. Needless to say this added to its weight but that’s a price that has to be paid when weather non-synthetic leather cleats.
The stud configuration of the Concave Aura + works brilliantly on boot natural and artificial grass surfaces in dry and wet conditions. The blades towards the back of the shoe are relatively long (which is why several professional rugby players are donning the boot) and provide excellent stability when dribbling, passing, trapping, shooting and clearing the ball. We’re also fond of the four blades on the outside front of the Aura + as we found them to work in concert with the rear blades to give the shoe sound traction and support player agility in matches.
Many a synthetic boot has come and gone through the years but leather always prevails. The Concave Aura + is not exception to this statement and does providing a refreshingly natural touch on the ball.
From the first touch to the last with the Aura + our testers lauded the boot’s excellent touch on the ball. The upper is little padding beyond its sock liner so there is little between the foot and the shoe’s soft leather. The result is a high level of intimacy with the ball that had our testers attuned to the boot within half an hour of slipping it on.
There is no adjustment that has to be made to get the right weight on the ball from inside or outside of the foot passes with the Concave Aura +. This makes it an excellent boot for players who build their games around passing such as midfielders, supporting strikers and wingbacks. The same applies for low shots (essentially passes into the goal), curled shots and passes taken with the front of the instep, and clearances. However some practice is required to get used to Concave’s strike zone at the top of the boot. Based on our experience it does add a bit of power to shots and long crosses. Therefore you’ve got to spend some time practicing those types of shots in order to ensure accuracy when using them.
The soft leather that the Concave Aura + is made of does provide a touch advantage in wet conditions. This is because this classic material does not retain any water films that cause slipping when in contact with wet soccer balls. Synthetic boots are often the opposite given their often glossy finishes that may or may not have grip-enhancing textures added.
A combination of its real leather upper, heel counter and enhanced sweet spot tongue makes the Concave Aura + one of the most protective new soccer boots on the market right now. The leather and its padded protects all around the foot until the boot’s sturdy heel counter takes over at the back. The strike zone is an integral part of the tongue and made of a hard enough to withstand stamps and mashes from even metal, soft ground studs. This produces an unparalleled level of metatarsal protection that is all but gone from most modern boots in which lightweight at all costs seems to take precedence over all else.
Two weeks, four training sessions and two winter league matches in and the Concave Aura + is holding up quite well! The boot is made of good quality materials and well put together from what we can tell. Its only side of wear are the expected creases on leather upper as the boot has taken the shape of our feet and has been worn for a good share of soccer action.
A boot for traditionalists and modern football technology lovers alike, the Concave Aura + is a solid, well-performing control boot with a touch of heritage thrown it. It can we worn anywhere on the pitch. Creative midfielders will love its superb touch while defensive midfielders will appreciate the protection that it offers. Defenders will also like the latter when involved in hard tackles while strikers will like it because of the abuse that they can take when plying their craft. We recommend considering it for your next pair of soccer boots!
Design – 9/10
Fit – 9/10
Ride – 9/10
Touch – 9.5/10
Protection – 9.5/10
Overall Rating – 9.2/10