While there may be more marketing to come, and perhaps the odd boot or two to actually be launched in the midst of the World Cup, we have been given a view of what all the major boot companies will have on show during the biggest stage that soccer provides. So, now that we have seen what all the major players will be wearing during their trip to Brazil, it is time to do what people sitting on the sidelines do best: judge them. Which company put their best foot forward for the summer? And which company took a definite step back?
While smaller brands like Lotto, Diadora, Warrior, Joma, Mizuno, and Under Armour will be hoping to merely gain some time on the pitch during the “big dance”, we are going to try and explain how the big boys have fared in the biggest venture since 2010.
For Puma, it really should not have surprised anyone for the cat to take the quickest route to being unique. While a few players have given the mismatched boots look an occasional run-out, Puma have decided to make the look the “face” of their World Cup campaign. While an evoSPEED update seems to be imminent, the World Cup colorway adorns the 1.2 and the new evoPOWER has been available for a few months. In 2010, Puma tried to try a various mixture of garish colorways to draw attention during the tournament in South Aftrica, but 2014 will definitely be the easiest year to spot Puma from afar. The mismatched idea feels a lot like how many people view simple (yet extremely profitable) ideas: they love them, but wonder how nobody thought of the idea before.
While watching the FA Cup final, a huge contingent of Arsenal’s players could easily be spotted wearing the mismatched boots. While the pink boot is a bit easier to spot, the bright blue boot jumps off the pitch a bit as well. Considering that Puma will only have two silos involved in their Cup campaign (mainly to keep long-time King fans from crying upon seeing the King in mismatched colors), it does not matter that the boots will be difficult to differentiate from afar. Considering the main boots that Puma will be competing against during the tournament, they are the easiest to spot (Nike’s volt stuff might outpace them a bit, but that is only half of their boots).
As with all our World Cup boot judging, we would never make any statements about a boot without testing them first. With Puma, we have tested everything the brand has to offer (including boots that we wish were included in the WC campaign (i.e. leather evoPOWER)). The evoSPEED 1.2 is a great boot that, when it launched, The Instep staff saw as a superior boot to the F50 of the time. While we feel the current F50 and evoSPEED 1.2 stand practically shoulder-to-shoulder, it is a great option. As for the evoPOWER, one only needs to look to our review to see that it is a fantastic boot. The only negative aspect of the Puma build-up is that we really think that there is a new evoSPEED on the horizon…making us a bit reticent to go out and buy the 1.2. Still, impressive from the big cat!
For Puma, the grades are similar across the board. We give the general idea (including originality) an A-. We give the execution an B. And, after testing all of the boots, we give the quality therein an A- (high quality products that do still have some slight room for improvement). The only reason we did not score execution higher is because several boots in the Puma catalog have been left out completely, somewhat confusing a lot of us here. On top of that, the aforementioned evoSPEED 1.3 that we feel is on the horizon just gives us a bit of pause with this collection. Still, considering the players that are on Puma’s payroll, this WC outing should surprise nobody.
OVERALL GRADE: B+