The PUMA Ultra Ultimate is back for another season with updated tech and the signature barefoot feel PUMA speed boots are known for. As longtime fans of the Ultra franchise, we were eager to see how this latest model performed on pitch. With bold claims of being the “ultimate” agility boot, we took the new Ultra Ultimate for an extensive test drive to see if they live up to the hype. Read on for our World Exclusive review of the new soccer boot!
At first glance, the latest Ultra Ultimate carries on the ultra-thin, sock-like aesthetic of previous models. The upper features a textured Ultraweave material coated with a glossy TPU skin. Underneath lies PUMA’s Power Tape incorporated into the upper for stability. This design allows for a flexible, adaptive fit while still supporting the foot during quick changes of direction.
The key technical specification of the boot are:
- ULTRAWEAVE upper with TPU skin for thin, sock-like feel
- Power Tape incorporated into upper for stability and structure
- Low-profile SPEEDPLATE outsole for traction and grip
- FG stud pattern optimized for firm, artificial and natural grass pitches
Fit and Comfort
As with all speed boots, fit is crucial in the Ultra Ultimate. We opted for our usual PUMA size which fits snug all around the foot. The Ultraweave upper is extremely form-fitting and flexible right out of the box. However, the Power Tape running underneath does make the boot feel more structured than previous Ultras. The midfoot has a very tight, almost compressive fit. PUMA shaped the toe box a bit higher and wider for some extra room.
We found the break-in time to be longer than expected. The upper fits like a glove but is still fairly stiff. About 2-3 full training sessions were needed to really soften the material and get that adaptive, second skin feel. This isn’t bad, just don’t expect plug-and-play comfort.
Once broken in, the Ultra Ultimate provides a very responsive, minimalist sensation. The upper bends and moves fluidly with the foot. Traction from the studs can be fully felt through the thin layer of material. Overall, PUMA found a good balance of lightness, flexibility, and structure in the upper.
Sizing wise, we’d say go true to size unless you have a very wide foot. The midfoot fit will feel snug, especially with the Power Tape. But the length proved ideal for my preferences. Just beware, the Ultra Ultimate is not ideal for wide feet.
Touch & Control
A thin, minimal upper provides the ideal conduit between foot and ball. The Ultra Ultimate excels in this regard with its barely-there sensation. The finish is smooth with some ribbed texture for a bit of added grip. You feel every touch and control the ball with precision.
Shots feel ultra-responsive thanks to the adaptive Power Tape providing tension and snapback through strikes. There is zero excess material to dampen the connection with the ball. Passes snap off the foot with pace and accuracy. The sensitivity took a bit to get used to but ultimately provides a very honest, raw touch.
The fit does run on the tighter side in the forefoot which won’t be ideal for all players. We noticed some restriction in the flexibility of the upper during initial runouts in the Ultra Ultimate. This diminished with use and over time but is something to consider, especially if you prefer a roomier fit up front.
All in all, for players looking for that barefoot touch and high sensory feedback, the Ultra Ultimate delivers. The tech enhances connection without impacting feel. We can’t think of another boot on the market providing this level of sensitivity with structural support.
Traction & Stability
On the outsole, PUMA uses a SPEEDPLATE plate for responsive traction. The mix of conical and bladed studs is optimized for firm natural grass. Lateral stability comes from the external heel counter which provides solid lockdown during cuts and direction changes.
Performance-wise, the traction and stud configuration allow for explosive accelerations in any direction. The plates snap back into transition providing a sensation of effortless agility. Grip is consistent across a variety of field conditions.
The incorporation of Power Tape into the upper works well to provide midfoot stability. The boot feels very solid during cuts and landing from jumps. Inside the shoe, PUMA added anti-stretch mesh to prevent slipping. This combo ensures your foot feels securely locked in place.
In terms of improvements, the heel cup fits a bit shallow and high on the foot. We noticed some minor lift during hard stops and redirects. A lower, anatomical curve would improve overall lockdown. But this is nitpicking on an otherwise excellent performing boot.
After extensive testing, we can confidently say the PUMA Ultra Ultimate lives up to its billing as a top-end speed boot. The ultra-thin upper provides unmatched sensitivity on the ball with a barefoot feel. Traction and stability allow for the quick cuts and skill execution that are necessary in soccer.
Break-in requires patience as the upper starts stiff but once formed to the foot provides a seamless extension. Sizing runs snug, especially in midfoot, so try it on before buying if possible. This boot won’t work for you if you’re wide footed, however.
At $220, the cost pf the PUMA Ultra Ultimate is on par with most other professional grade speed soccer boots. Lace it up if you want the ultimate marriage of fit, feel and traction in a speed boot!