When someone brings up English brand Umbro, it normally brings up memories of some of the most iconic leather soccer shoes of the past. However, if you have been overlooking Umbro over the past few years, you are missing out on the positive resurgence of the brand. Umbro is attempting to turn into a top brand once again with the introduction of new boot lines, new innovation, as epitomized by the introduction of a knitted material on the all new Medusae Elite 2.
The thought behind the Medusae boot is to combine the best of both worlds in a few different manners. The boot boasts a tagline of “Speed and Touch: All You Need.” Umbro have combined the soleplate we normally see on the Velocita line up and allied it to a premium leather upper to make one boot that attempts to create the ultimate Speed and Touch combination. The other combination is the integration of a knitted material in the heel area and a knitted collar to create that more seamless feel from leg to boot. A TPU cage is used on the heel area to create a more stable fit and feel in the knitted area and a thicker TPU band is used in the midfoot to lock in the midfoot. The leather is a no-sew upper to create a clean touch and striking surface and to allow less water to seep into the boot and allow the leather to keep it’s shape and last longer. There is a foam cage underneath the leather in order to keep the shape of the boot in tact longer and allow a more modern fit and feel on a leather football boot.
The design of the boot is intriguing to me as the boot sits higher than a traditional low cut boot, but it does not sit as high as any of the Nike FlyKnit boots. It sits around the same part of the ankle or leg as the ACE 16.1 PrimeKnit from adidas. The knit is soft, flexible, and durable to return to shape after use. The tongue is the same material used but covered by a protective material to help the knit last longer in what is a high use area of the shoe. Now that all of the tech has been covered, let’s get into the important part, performance.
The Umbro Medusae II at first did not truly blow me away, the boot seemed kind of odd and looked like it was a strange first attempt at getting into the knitted boot game. The Medusae 1 was a boot that impressed, but did not blow me away either with it’s take on a modern combination of both leather and modern materials. After hitting the field for almost 3 weeks of training and shooting, I truly believe the Medusae II is a Top 8 if not Top 5 soccer cleat on the market. The leather is extremely soft but also padded to give that kind of touch that old school leather cleat wearers love. The cage is padded and truly helps keep the shape of the boot even after wearing the boot over weeks and months of use. The obvious comparison when talking about the leather upper is the Tiempo Legend 6 which I thought was disastrous. It is the same kind of internal cage on a leather football and same sort of touch. However, the Medusae will not give out on you after only a few uses like the Legend did. The knitted collar feels comfortable and like a very thin sock over top of the soccer socks already being worn. On the inside of the shoe, the insole is padded for comfort and allows the boot to be worn over multiple hours of use with zero issues. The big addition to the inside of the boot is the rubber grip elements on the heel to prevent your foot from slipping around. I personally loved this addition to the boot to allow for the boot to fit more one to one and prevented any sort of slippage. Any sort of addition to a football boot that will help with slippage being reduced is one that I am all for. The soleplate is a mixture of conical and diamond studs and I feel like it is a high quality, lightweight plate that allows for easy movement when trying to make those quick and sharp turns that you have to make in matches. The only real issue I had while using the Medusae was the midfoot area. I really had to watch how tightly I tied my laces in that area with the TPU band really becoming tight if the laces were pulled tight. I have feet that are a little bit wider than the average foot and before I knew to not tie the boot as tightly in that region of the foot, I did experience some pain. If you are going to pick up a pair of the Medusae II, keep in mind it will fit your wider feet, but it will cause some pain if you lace the boot up too tightly.
Overall, my thoughts on the Medusae II boil down to one word…Underrated. The Medusae Elite II is one of the best boots on the market without a doubt. The combination of a lightweight boot, a high-end level upper and a comfortable mid cut collar, this boot is a winner from all angles. I guess Umbro are right, Speed and Touch really is all you need.