Puma recently made a bold leap when they discontinued their V1 series and threw their hat into the lightweight boot race. They ditched the iffy sizing, the odd stud configuration, and several other aspects of the boot that made them one of the last options for people looking for a speed boot. They did all this by putting out the EvoSpeed, a boot that quickly became a major contender and competed directly with Nike’s Mercurial series and Adidas F50 line. With great success and after being praised by reviewers everywhere, Puma have released an update to that boot with the new Puma EvoSpeed 1.2. Thanks to our friends at SoccerPro.com for letting us get our hands on this beauty!
The Look- The EvoSpeed launch colorway is one of the prettiest currently on the market today. A black boot with fluorescent accents always is a winner with me and it looks great out on the pitch. The only major change from the look of the initial Evo to this one is the large PUMA branding on the instep of the boot. While many are not a fan, I think it looks great and is a slight nod to what Nike have placed on their Mercurial range. The Puma stripe on the outside of the boot and the Puma branding on the instep start with a bright blue and fade into that fluo yellow, and if you hold the boots under the light, you will see some black lines that shine in the light that almost give the branding symbols a look like they are moving through the air. All in all, it is a great looking boot (and there will be no doubt what brand of boots you are wearing on the pitch).
The Touch- The single layer upper on the Evo definitely provides that barefoot touch that all speed boots are looking for. Although Puma have added slight dimpling to the upper, the touch on the toe-box is largely unaffected by anything on the boot and it provides a very pure strike when you are dribbling or attempting to curl the ball with a free-kick. The only issue is that the PUMA branding on the instep has a slight stickiness when you first start using them, but after a few run-outs then it will not affect the ball at all. The upper is so thin that having the ball at your feet feels great, but a tough tackle will definitely take its toll. With the EvoSpeed, the toe-box is cut in a slightly different manner to most boots with the cut fading in a manner that is consistent to the size of your toes (smallest at pinky toe and curls back in to the instep at the big toe) where most boots come to their tip right in front of the index or ring toe.
The Feel- With the comfort aspect of most speed boots, I tend to shudder a little at the prospect of the break-in period. However, this boot feels great after only one or two uses. The Ever-Fit cage around the midfoot helps provide a nice snugness that makes the boot feel secure and the single layer upper quickly starts to mold to your feet. The biggest difference between the Evo and the adidas F50 would have to be that the break-in and comfort is so much better with the Evo, which is why I actually prefer Puma’s speed boot to the very popular Adidas version. Add in how great it feels to have a fantastic conical stud set-up under your foot and this boot quickly became a favorite of mine.
The Verdict- With the speed boot arena being highly contested and with every brand seemingly attempting to bring something brand new to the forefront every few months, Puma have done a great job with the new EvoSpeed. Although Puma could still make a few slight improvements, the impetus has definitely fallen on some of the Evos competitors to try and match the level that Puma have brought with this new incarnation. For me, Puma and Nike are fighting for the top spot in the speed boots and Adidas will now find that they are fighting to just get back in contention. If the F50 has left you feeling a little displeased or if you are in the market for a great speed boot, then I would definitely suggest the EvoSpeed 1.2.