During this spring, we have been bombarded by a constant battle between adidas and Nike trying to “win” the build up to this year’s World Cup. However, while the “battle” rages on, we have been busy testing some of the lesser known releases in the equipment world. Sent to us from Thailand and from a relatively unknown brand (in this side of the world), the Pan Super Sonic 3 does not look like a game-changer and it took a bit of self-motivating to finally dive in on this boot. However, despite expectations being quite low when I was lacing them up, this boot was definitely a pleasant surprise and I wish that the brand was a bit more readily available here in the U.S.
While the performance aspects (which we will discuss later) exceeded my initial expectations, the look of these boots are pretty poor. A goldfish colored upper adorned with green and blue accents would never really catch my eye if I was in the market for these, and it feels like Pan would have been better served going overly tacky instead of just a mish-mash of mis-match. The laces also look huge for a modern soccer boot and the dull grey innards really set the bar incredibly low once the shoes had been removed from the box. Luckily, the performance of the boot was nowhere near as poor as the look…
I will admit that the combination of colors on the upper and other boots that were also available to test around the same time as the SS3 had me slightly dreading the task of wearing them. However, a relatively quick break-in, a good snug fit, and a decent touch on the ball quickly changed my tune. While any user of modern speed boots should not expect the barefoot feel from the SS3, the padding inside the boot does not make it feel overly thick. In fact, the SS3 has the potential to stand and be counted right beside any mid-tier release from almost any other brand. Passing with the boot was crisp and striking also felt surprisingly good. Every look at this boot screams that the performance would be poor, but I am hard-pressed to truly knock any of the in-game aspects of the SS3.
The soleplate, as we discussed in our “New Arrival” post, is reminiscent of older Nike set-ups but with some slight twists and additions to make it feel unique. During testing, I was able to use the SS3 in wet and dry conditions (all on a real-grass pitch) and I never slipped or felt unsure on my feet. While the studs might look a bit too big to be effective, their aggressive bladed-shape makes sure that you are getting traction and able to cut/turn effectively.
If this boot got thrown in with other mid-tier releases, it would definitely be seen as a decent option for anyone looking for a new pair of boots or maybe a brand change. Considering how poorly most smaller brands execute synthetics, Pan seems to have made a decent step towards having a quality non-leather option.
While the break-in was not as long as I anticipated with the threat of the “no-stretch synthetic,” it definitely took a run-out and some in-house break-in time to feel broken in. The soleplate is quite stiff, but did not seem to give any problems once the boots were on my feet. However, this is one area where the top-tier boots on the market pull farther away from the Pan release as the areas around the ankle and in the heel never quite felt perfect. The heel always felt loose and, no matter how tight the laces were, there was not nearly as much of a snug-fit around the entire collar of the boot for my tastes. The laces may be thick, but they do the job with little fuss and the extra padding around the boot helps keep it comfortable throughout testing. The SS3 also feels like it is solidly built and could handle a long season and several harsh tackles. If the next Pan Super Sonic could snag any improvement, this is the area where it could really fix some slight issues to create a better product.
As I have already said, if I just saw these boots in a storefront window, I would be passing on them. The look and the fact that I had no clue who the brand was would have caused me to slip back into boots that I would be more comfortable with. However, after testing, these would be a definite option for anyone hunting for a no-frills synthetic boot or looking to wear something unlike what anyone else on the field is wearing. If you ever find yourself with the option to snag a pair or you forget your favorite boots while traveling to Thailand, these would be a quality pick up. After this review, I have no excuse to ever judge a boot by its cover ever again…
SIZING: With the SS3, true-to-size fit perfectly
While you will have to do some internet research to switch your size from U.S. sizing to the sizing used with Pan, you will be fine ordering your normal size. This will provide a snug fit that is not too tight, but do not expect much (if any) stretch from the SS3 as Pan have placed a lot of emphasis on their synthetic being made of a “no-stretch” material.