When you lose the ownership of the biggest soccer company in the known universe. When you lose the bulk of your sponsored players to that company and find that, even months later, players still are heading in that direction. When all of these fall on your company’s doorstep within the span of 365 days, it can be difficult to survive. However, instead of merely sitting on past glories and watching their stock continue to drop, Umbro has decided to continue to push forward with remaining silos and, with the UX-1, even drop some new ones.
One of those remaining silos has seen a major change in the make-up of the upper and has been turned out with varying camo colorways over the past few months, which is where we came in. Umbro sent us the GeoFLARE in the grey camo/safety yellow with an old-school six stud soft ground configuration and let us see what we had been missing. It turns out, after getting very lucky with the rain/muddy pitches, that the GeoFLARE offers one of the most unique experiences on the market. Is that a good thing? Yes, most definitely.
If you took the Umbro logo off this boot, it is highly doubtful that anyone would know this boot from a distance. Add in the camo colorway and you have a boot with features that are tough to discern from a distance. For anyone looking for a dull boot, the GeoFLARE has avoided anything calm for the past few colorways. Bright camo during the World Cup, silver Camo afterwards, and a light-blue Camo on the newest version. Jordon has spotted the FLARE on numerous occasions because of how the colorway stands out among the rest of the boot world.
Considering the recent UX-1 blackout, we would love to see the FLARE given the same treatment. With Umbro giving most of their time and energy to the UX-1, FLARE, and Speciali, it seems like the FLARE is meant to fill a void left by the GT Pro II. The look when you get the boot in your hands shows some texturing on the upper, some definition given to the diamond on the outside of the boot, but the camo looks even better close-up. An intriguing look for one of Umbro’s remaining boots…but a look that shows a constant willingness for risk…which says a lot for the company.
This area is where the GeoFLARE surprises. Until the boot arrived, just reading about the one-piece upper had me thinking it was going to be lightweight and resemble a bit of a speed boot. However, the upper is a bit thicker than expected and it actually offered a completely un-speed boot experience. The touch is closer to what can be found on most hybrid-touch Predators that we have seen over the past few releases, but with all the Predator elements removed. The upper has some small ridges across most of the forefoot, but it does not change the feel of the ball.
Striking anything with power feels great in the FLARE. Something about the extra padding on the FLARE makes shooting and controlling long passes have that extra bit of satisfaction. The profile of the boot seems made to slip underneath the ball when trying to get a little extra lift on any lobbed passes. You hate to ever slap any boot with any label that can typically be seen as “negative,” but the FLARE just seems to feel “normal” at every turn. We never bumped into any negatives throughout testing, but it left us searching a bit for the “firework” moment. The FLARE is a very good boot. For the price, you could almost see it as great…but, unlike the UX-1, it will have a harder time standing shoulder-to-shoulder with its peers. This boot is perfect for anyone looking for a boot that is no-nonsense (outside of the camo), with a build that will not change how the ball feels during play, and with a level of durability that seems built to last for multiple seasons.
Considering the one-piece upper, the initial fit can be odd on some parts of your foot. However, it will shift to your foot after a few wears. The heel cup is made in a way that could cause some pretty nasty hot spots if you try forcing this boot into a full 90 minutes without any type of break-in. However, being smart during the first few wears can avoid this. The synthetic does not have a ton of stretch, so despite the fact that it will shift to mold to your foot, any extreme tightness from trying the boot on for the first time would be a pretty big warning sign.
The soleplate on the GeoFLARE, if you snag the FG, is a mix of blades similar to what we see on most of the current Umbro releases. However, our pair in the six-stud SG look meant that we only took the boot out for a spin when the field conditions were right. Nothing quite matches the satisfaction you feel when 9/10 guys playing are slipping all over the place and you only leave your feet by choice. Despite feeling like a broken record at this point, only use your boots on the prescribed surface. Using the Umbro blades on turf is a recipe for disaster and using SG studs on anything other than very soft ground can be a mistake (not to mention that SG studs can cause some serious damage to any unsuspecting feet).
An absolutely unique experience, but one that was definitely fun. For anyone looking for something different or that were already considering the GeoFLARE, it is easy to suggest. However, considering the fact that Umbro really did not give the FLARE any defining characteristic, it feels like it may have difficulty finding a niche. The GeoFLARE is not extremely lightweight, has no over-the-top control features, and, despite it being a crock, most boots make a large portion of their sales because the managing company slaps the product with some “boots by position” idea that draws in potential wearers. While it means that the boot may struggle to gain traction with buyers, it is worth your time. Can a boot survive by just being a quality release? That’s the biggest question for the FLARE…and we hope the answer is “yes.”
Who’s Wearing It
Check out a few of the recent spots Jordon has posted recently…this boot has been out there!
Bang for Your Buck
The newest version of the FLARE can typically be found for somewhere in the range of $150. Considering that most boots hit the market pushing the edge of $200, the FLARE offers a budget option while definitely giving you the option for something that will set you apart and perform well on the field.
SIZING NOTE: TRUE TO SIZE
An impressive sizing set-up for a boot made from a one-piece synthetic upper.