There’s nothing quite like the feeling you have when you open the door to see a package that you know has those brand new cleats you’ve been anxiously waiting on for a week. That feeling is even better when it’s a fresh pair of blacked out boots. Straight out of the box you can tell this boot is special. The leather feels extremely thin and soft as soon as you pick up the evoSPEED SL-K. The SL-K is the kangaroo leather option of the Puma evoSPEED. Once you get this boot out of the box and on feet, you really start to see what all of the fuss is about. You only get one chance at a first impression, and the SL-K makes as good of a first impression as any boot out there.
What is there to say? The beautifully crafted blackout leather and blackout synthetic sections make for a stunningly clean looking, simple colorway. Everything on this boot is black. From the laces to the studs, everything is a matte black colorway, except for the slightly shiny Puma form stripe and ‘Puma’ branding. There really is nothing better than a well-crafted blackout colorway and the SL-K absolutely qualifies under the well-crafted category. In terms of looks, the SL-K is an easy 10 out of 10 rating.
The big selling point for the SL-K comes with the touch on this boot. The now enhanced leather upper is Kangaroo leather as opposed to the standard leather SL’s already soft upper. The Kangaroo leather is buttery soft straight out of the box and stays that way for the entire lifespan. The concern I had was that it was so thin that it would not be able hold up very long; luckily, I was wrong.
The K-leather runs just past the laces, all the way around to the other side past the top lace. After the laces, the upper turns into a synthetic to add a bit more stability to the area of the shoe you probably are not going to be controlling the ball with. The synthetic is significantly thicker but it will not affect the performance of the shoe. There is the standard heel cup that is found on the entire SL lineup from Puma that protects the lower part of your ankle while helping keep your foot locked into the boot. The laces run straight down the middle of the boot like a standard evoSpeed SL model from Puma.
Moving down to the outsole, Puma have created a dual density nylon material that features a mix of conical and bladed studs to create one of the best soleplates available on the market today that Puma calls their Speedframe outsole. This soleplate is made only to be used on firm ground surfaces. If you use any of the SL line on artificial ground, the boot will break down faster and you will feel a lot of stud pressure. Two Speedtrack spines help keep the foot stable at the back while allowing your forefoot to move more freely.
While playing you will notice (and enjoy) the touch of the leather and the comfort of the boot. I was hard pressed to find another boot that I enjoyed the touch of as much as the SL-K. The leather allows you to have one of the most premium touches I have had on any cleat. Turning to the comfort, you will find zero problems in terms of discomfort for as long as the boot lives. Oh, and did I mention the boot is the lightest leather option on the market? The combination of leather, lightweight, and comfort help the SL-K become one of the best lightweight boots on the market for any brands right now.
The comfort on the SL-K is hard to be matched. You would think that a boot so light would not be as comfortable because most times you have to sacrifice comfort for weight. The SL-K is not only comfortable, but can compete for one of the most comfortable speed boots on the market.
I have slightly wider feet and I fit comfortably into the SL-K with zero problems. If you have very wide feet and want a leather option, I would recommend taking a look at the Nike Tiempo line, as the SL line may be tight on your feet.
Bang For Your Buck
The biggest dilemma with the SL-K is justifying the price. The SL-K retails for $250 normally, as it is technically a limited release. However at SoccerPro.com, you can pick the boot up for $224.99. If you are a huge leather speed boot fan and love a limited cleat that also performs the part, then check out the SL-K. The SL-K will need to be taken care of well in order to prolong the life of the shoe.
Who’s Wearing It?
In a professional world of player personalized cleats, it is nearly impossible to tell who is wearing the SL-K. No Puma player is wearing the blackout colorway but could be disguised as a brighter colorway. Marco Reus, Sergio Agüero, and Antoine Griezmann all wear the SL lineup and have been spotted in different variations of the upper.
I know some players have had some issues with durability on the boot, but I have not experienced the same issue 15 sessions in. I would highly recommend the SL-K if you can justify the high price tag. The soft, supple, and thin leather is one of the nicest I have felt on a leather cleat. Combining that incredibly soft leather with the thin SL outsole, the SL-K creates a wonderful experience to play in. The performance is all there and has a great look and comfort so if you feel the price is worth these shoes, I would say go for it and enjoy your experience in a stellar leather speed boot.
Sizing: Runs true to size
Want a pair for yourself? Take a gander at SoccerPro’s Puma evoSPEED collection!