In the United States, any big gear nerd is aware of the smaller brands that occasionally can be found making boots. Here in the south, we have brands like Vizari, Starter, and Fila (to name a few) that offer cheap boots for beginners or young players. So, it comes as no surprise that there are also smaller brands in other countries that fill the void left by the big brands for beginners or anyone looking for a high-value boot for a great price. In England, one of these brands is Sondico. A smaller brand that has decided to avoid the modern-day lure of creating cheaper synthetic boots and has decided to put out great leather boots with high quality materials instead. Would the Precision (Sondico’s mid-tier release) impress? Or, would we quickly understand why we had never heard of the brand before?
Sondico’s boots are available in clean two-tone colorways with three different colors showing the three different boots on offer (Green-Top Tier- Touch/Blue-Bottom Tier- Flair/Red- Mid Tier- Precision), and the look is befitting of a boot that is meant to allow the leather to shine. A small branding strip runs across the midfoot and a Sondico symbol at the tip of the tongue are the only ways to tell the creator of these boots. Personally, the clean look is actually one of my favorite aspects of the Precision and it won me over as soon as I opened the box. Big strips of Nappa leather on the Precision actually made me think it was a synthetic on first glance, as only synthetic boots seem to avoid lots of stitching nowadays.
Two words: Nappa leather. The touch right out of the box is great with a leather that shows its quality immediately. Passing and striking on the leather portions feel as you would expect, with flat laces (despite looking odd on first look) actually allowing the leather more freedom to perform without being affected. Where the Nappa leather is used on the Sondico mid-tier Precision, Sondico has also used Kangaroo leather on the top-tier Touch and a quality standard leather on the bottom-tier Flair. While every area covered by leather on the Precision gave a quality touch and showed me that Sondico meant business, there was a slight loss once you got on the other side of the leather. The white strip of (slightly plastic) synthetic branding in the midfoot has been padded a bit too much and felt a little odd as it sits right next to the Nappa leather. Considering how well the front half of the boot feels/performs, a major improvement could be either extending the leather or just having this small branding strip feel interwoven with the leather a bit better.
As that branding strip is only a small one inch space on the boot, the quality does not suffer enough to truly hurt the Precision. The synthetic on the back half feels fairly good and (despite me still wishing the Nappa extended) performs well. While the weight of the boot feels perfect to me, modern day speed-hunters might feel it to be a bit heavy or clunky. Understand that Sondico have not even attempted to create a speed boot here and that the entire build is meant to let the leather stand out, or else you might be disappointed. There is also a nice bit of padding to the tongue and it really started to surprise me during testing how unknown this brand is despite how well the Precision performed.
Perhaps the only slight weakness would be found on the bottom of the Precision. An odd mix of Superman-symbol shaped studs in the front and blades in the back will certainly work well on any pitch that has a little give in the ground. Sadly, during use on a dry section of a pitch, it definitely felt like I was not getting the needed penetration that I wanted and that I was definitely sitting on top of the ground instead of digging in. Another odd note is that there is a groove towards the front of the soleplate that I thought would give greater flexibility and add to the overall impressiveness of the boot, but the added groove did not seem to add any flex at all to the soleplate…odd. However, the stud pattern is dependable and made with an obvious nod to durability…as the Precision looks built to handle several seasons of wear.
An odd way to describe the fit of the Precision would be “warm.” Because of the quality leather, the padded tongue, and shape of the boot, it felt very comfortable and snug from first use…making my feel feel nice and “warm.” There was a little break-in as the leather softened up (despite already being surprisingly soft) and formed to my foot, but the end result is fantastic. There were some slight moments where I felt that the fit in the heel could have been improved, but it never really affected the performance of the shoe. Considering Sondico has placed textured branding on the heel in order to aid this, perhaps something else should be done in this area to ensure that every inch of this boot feels as great as the forefoot. Whether looking for a comfortable option for yourself or a beginning player, the Precision would be a fantastic choice.
While it is only April, the Sondico Precision currently sits as my most underrated boot of 2014. The fanfare that the big brands receive because of the World Cup ensure that nothing they release could be “underrated,” but the Precision would be able to hold its own against many more expensive and higher profile competitors. Once again, Sondico have taken the smart route with quality leathers and simple boot set-ups and it has paid off here. While there are currently not any U.S. suppliers of Sondico, they can be found across the pond here. Considering the $60 price tag, there is no possible way that you could go wrong by making the Precision your next boot purchase. A truly, truly impressive boot…
SIZING: 1/2 Size Up
There will be some stretch with the leather, but a half size up was needed in the length and fit of the Precision. Just be aware that most sizes that you find will be listed in UK sizes, so prepare accordingly.