The first time I saw that the Puma evoSPEED SL would only last 10 games, I started to dismiss it straight away. As a tester and an avid boot lover, 10 matches is not long enough to get a lot of use out of them. When I received a pair, straight out of the box I was stunned at how light the SL was. These are, by far, the lightest pair of cleats I have ever worn. Slipping them on feet for the first time, I was shocked at how comfortable I was in the evoSPEED SL. My only fear moving forward was that the sole would start to separate before the 10-match mark. Let’s see how they did.
I personally had the Fandango Pink colorway that was made in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. I am not afraid to wear pink apparel while playing and really enjoyed the colorway. Taking a look at the other available colorways, not a single one looks sub-par. Puma designers did a wonderful job dressing up the SL to look nice in any color applied.
Having an almost see-through textile upper, the SL has (as you can imagine) no protection whatsoever. The SpeedFrame that is found on the normal evoSPEED has been stripped down to be as minimalistic as possible while keeping the thin upper in tact. I did notice that the SL would have fallen completely apart if the frame were not there.
When controlling the ball and dribbling, I could feel the ball closer to my foot than ever before. It felt almost like I was wearing a plastic sock with studs on the bottom, it’s that thin. While striking the ball, you really feel the sting from a hard strike. I personally enjoy speed boots and uppers with no distractions on them. If you normally enjoy wearing thin cleats and have some money to spend for some of your bigger matches, then the SL is for you.
The brand new stud pattern sheds off a lot of weight and takes the normally thick SpeedTrack bar and makes it into two different bars that do the job. I liked the stud pattern for the light cleat as the minimal amount of studs kept the weight low while still keeping your foot stable while playing. I never experienced any slippage or discomfort while turning and making sharp cuts in games. I was able to play without any separation or durability issues for 7 sessions that included 2 matches of an hour and a half or more. During my 8th session I noticed my right boot felt a bit different and saw that the sole started to separate. I was disappointed that I did not reach the 10-match mark. During the 7 sessions I experienced no problems, but having a boot break only 8 wears in is always a problem for me. Even though I knew it would happen, I am not very happy with the end result in the SL.
The SL was extremely comfortable while playing in both my testing sessions and in matches I was able to participate in. The ultra thin textile upper feels like just a thin layer of mesh over top of your foot to provide the closest feel for the ball I personally have ever experienced. Apart from the separation from the upper, I thought the soleplate was excellent and caused zero stud pressure.
Bang For Your Buck
Here’s where the catch is. Puma is asking about $240 for these because of the technology that is involved in the SL. Would I justify this price even with a positive experience in the boot? Absolutely not. Unless you find a deal that you can live with or play at a high level and need that bit of extra weight off to give you more confidence, then I cannot say these are worth the money. If I had to put a price on what a 10-match cleat would be worth, I would say $100-$120. A lovely cleat, not a lovely price.
Who’s Wearing It?
Puma has been putting together stellar line up for all of their high-end cleats and the SL is no exception. Players like Marco Reus, Sergio Agüero, and Puma new boy Michael Bradley, are all wearing the evoSPEED SL on pitch.
The SL is a fantastic boot for anyone wanting that mental edge in those big cup final matches but is not made for the long haul. If you are someone who wants a great speed boot to last all season, you will need to look elsewhere. Although I enjoyed my short-lived time in the SL, with the sole starting to separate at only 8 sessions, I cannot justify purchasing this boot unless you are playing at a high level of soccer. Overall, if the SL would last at least half of a season, you would see a much higher rating from me.
Sizing: Runs true to size
You can shop at SoccerPro.com for great deals on the Puma evoSPEED!