A new Puma
Puma has been taking the bull by the horn with a host of new silos as well as series of innovative changes that elevate what we have always thought of soccer boots. These changes have been refreshing to the soccer boot world. There have been some really good ideas, but one sticks out from all for me, the idea that is the Puma Future. This is the first boot to have a fully customizable lacing system based on your own personal needs and desires. The main construction of the Future 18.1 consists of a thin synthetic base called Evoknit (Puma’s knit material), and Netfit which is the newest addition to Puma’s technology arsenal. The idea of the Netfit system is to give you, the wearer, unlimited ways of lacing up your boot. They’ve put together a decently soft synthetic upper and Evoknit to fully wrap your foot with a one-piece construction. On top of that they have fused on a woven Netfit net all over the base, giving you many lace holes which allow you customize lacing up however you like.
Testing the Future
One may think that the Future would be quite bulky with the synthetic upper and the Netfit on top, however, it’s not bad at all. Yes, it is a lot of material on top of each other, but once you have broken it in, the upper becomes very soft. The Netfit is a bit stiffer, which isn’t a necessarily bad thing because when you strike the ball, you get a pingy sensation thanks to the honeycomb net. The touch as well feels quite crisp with enough texture from the Netfit. With a soft knitted collar, woven honeycomb net, and a soft upper, the Puma Future 18.1 is quite revolutionary.
I was impressed with quality of my test shoes. I first got to test them during a practice outdoors and I was pleased for the most part on first test (outdoors in a Midwestern winter season). About half way through the practice or so, the upper began to soften and mold around my foot very nicely. It felt very thin but padded at the same time, like a calf skin leather upper. Regardless of how the upper felt, I wasn’t quite locked in as much as I had wanted. That immediately spoke to how it will take some time and some clever thinking to come up with the perfect lacing system for you.
The Evoknit sock is extremely soft and padded, making it one of the best knits on the market in my opinion. The Future is very comfortably equipped with a decently thick fully removable foam insole and a good amount of padding in the mid foot and heel. They had a close to barefoot feel, yet had just enough padding without being bulky. Although it is quite comfortable and a good idea, there are some things I should mention that can be taken as negative by some players and I list them below:
The idea of a customizable lacing system is great, especially with the Netfit.
However, if you make your laces to tight because you want a snug fit, there will be some overlapping materials and folding, making the boot a bit uncomfortable and bulky in that area. Also, the toe box becomes a bit roomy and not secure.
Now going to the sole plate
Puma attempted to make a FG/AG plate, which is perfectly fine, but the execution isn’t perfect. The studs are a tad longer than normal. I’m not entirely sure if that’s dangerous but it does get in the way sometimes when they dig into the ground during a pass or strike. Besides those things, I don’t have any negative things to really say but I’ll add that the fact that the Puma Future is a one-piece construction cleat means that people will be attempting to go lace-less with them. That is not a smart decision as the boot has absolutely no structure or lockdown without the laces. It is not designed to be worn lace-less, the boot was created and design specifically around personalization of your laces. So please, for your own safety and proper performance from the boot, keep your laces on.
With all that said, the Puma Future 18.1 is a great boot with some minor things that can be fixed to make it even better. I look forward to using these boots in-game or a practice and that’s a great testimonial because I would not want to wear boots that negatively impact my game. They feel great and comfortable with a soft touch alongside a pingy feel when taking a shot. I am very happy with these boots and how Puma has revolutionized the idea of customization and embraced the future. Count me in as a fan.