One of the easiest ways to please a fanbase is to release a boot that is typically seen as a synthetic in leather form. However, if the synthetic version is already held in high regard, then the leather option can be a bit of a difficult venture for a company. Adidas has been hit-or-miss with their leather F50, Nike has avoided leather on their speed options, and Jordon and I always find it difficult to allow anything to cloud our “Mizuno Morelia Neo” cloud…but Puma may have finally given us an option that we can get behind.
With the synthetic evoSPEED 1.3 getting high marks from us and several other review sites in the blogosphere, the only reason we were truly curious about the leather evoSPEED was because of the quality in past releases (the original evoSPEED leather was a glorious kangaroo leather option), and how fantastic the pics of Santi Cazorla and others looked online. In short, we had to get these boots in our hands to see if the leather evoSPEED could perform at a top level…spoiler alert: it does.
The only thing that has ever been difficult for us to enjoy about the leather option of the Puma evoSPEED is the colorways and detailing of the boot. Puma has, up to this point, always released their synthetic and leather options in identical colorways. While we love the launch purple that we tested (and ADORE the mostly black color update that is a bit more recent), we enjoy some differentiation between upper options on a boot like this.
As with the evoSPEED 1.2, despite being a good looking boot on feet, the stitching makes the boot look like a cheaper option/step-down model. This will only matter to some, but it is definitely something that you really notice when comparing the two uppers and looking very closely at the boot.
The first thing you notice with the leather evoSPEED is that there is more padding in the leather than you would expect. It is not overly thick, but addressing the ball with the boot shoes that this boot has not been stripped down to the bare bones to create a lighter boot. The tongue is very UN-padded and does create a bit of a contrast between the toe-box and the tongue, but it does not truly affect your play.
The medial section of the boot does begin to use the synthetic and EverFit cage system that we see on the synthetic version of the evoSPEED, so anyone hoping that this release would be total leather will be left wanting. As far as the touch is changed, I actually enjoyed the thin feel I got when receiving balls into the instep and passing from the same area. As mentioned before with the tongue/toe-box, it does create a slightly different sensation when addressing the ball with the two different materials, but since they are both very good upper materials, it never negatively affected my play during testing (but, it is something worth noting).
Shooting in the evoSPEED was very enjoyable as the low profile nature of a speed boot always allows you to get underneath the ball that slight bit better. Add in the leather toe-box, and you can really feel the added benefit when pinging a ball or taking a ball out of the air. The EverFit cage also really shows its benefits when making quick cuts as it keeps your foot locked into the boot and makes sure that the fit is always snug when you pull the laces tight.
This boot has a fantastic amount of comfort. Those looking for a boot that has shed every ounce of material to make it sub-6 ounces, this is not that boot. The upper has added a little bit of weight, but it has given the boot some comfort aspects and a break-in period that separates it from its synthetic counterpart and also from other boots on the market. After you have broken them in, the upper is very soft and supple…and feels like it will last for a long time.
The soleplate is the conical setup that Puma has embraced with their evoSPEED line for several incarnations, making it very dependable and effective on several types of natural grass. There is some nice flex to the soleplate, but this is one section of the boot where Puma stuck a bit closer to what has worked in the past instead of attempting to reinvent the wheel. (Note: despite using low-profile/conical studs, these boots should only be used on firm ground surfaces)
As we have mentioned in an earlier post, Puma is currently sitting with all of their major boot silos being of very impressive quality. Therefore, it was unsurprising that the leather evoSPEED 1.3 is an impressive release that would definitely be worth your time. Factor in that the evoSPEED’s price point is much lower than most of the other brand’s speed releases, and you definitely can snag a great boot with some serious bang for your buck. As far as who is wearing the boot, Puma players seem to be taking part in a bout of musical chairs at the moment. Santi Cazorla is one of the few that is consistently wearing the leather version, but considering Puma players can be seen wearing evoPower/Speed hybrids and jumping between different silos, it can be difficult to nail down this boot.
If you are in the market for a leather boot, this is a good option. If you are in the market for a comfortable boot, this is a good option. There are a ton of boxes that this boot would metaphorically check if you are looking for a new option, and we definitely enjoyed our time in this boot. The only way we really think that Puma could improve upon this boot is to step back towards the original leather evoSPEED and make the entire upper leather…but, we still enjoyed the 1.3 and would highly recommend snagging a pair.
SIZING INFORMATION: True to size (some slight stretch in the leather, not a bad option for slightly wide feet looking for a speed boot option)