Nike CTR360 Maestri II Elite Firm Ground Review

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The CTR360 Maestri II Elite line has become one of the most popular high end boots on the market today, and for good reason. As I have already reviewed the standard version of the Maestri II, I was curious to see if the Elite version offered anything more in comparison to an already great boot. The upper is made from Nike’s Kanga-Lite material, which is basically an attempt at creating a synthetic kangaroo leather. This material is by far the best synthetic leather material and is the main reason why this boot has become so successful. The upper is fairly soft right out of the box and softens up gradually over the first couple hours of use. Although it is an attempt to create the feeling of kangaroo leather, I find that they feel a little different, but in a good way. When you slip the boot on your foot for the first time, you can feel the shape of the boot.

What I mean by this is unlike a natural leather boot, the shape is pre-determined, allowing the boot to have a touch similar to kangaroo leather but have the feel of a synthetic boot. This unique feeling makes for an extremely comfortable boot that won’t stretch, so what you feel from the first time that you wear them will remain the same. There are also some added elements of comfort that Nike has added to the boot, such as a swede heel liner. Overall, the comfort level of this boot is really great, and because the Elite version uses a carbon fiber sole plate, you get no stud pressure at all, making the boot very comfortable to wear for a long period of time. I also noticed that the carbon fiber sole plate does not feel as stiff on the Maestri as it did on the Laser Elites. The carbon fiber sole plate just seemed to work really well with this particular boot. As far as fit goes, I would say that they fit exactly the same as the regular. The fit is very generous in the width so even the widest feet will fit with no problems in this boot. The one thing to note with the sizing on the Elite version is that it is slightly messed up. In the regular version of the Maestri II I am a very tight fitting size 9US, but in the Elite version I wore a size 9.5US and that was only slightly larger and fit me a little better. So if you’re looking to order the Elite version of this boot, I would recommend going a half size up, especially because they do not stretch.

Weight

This boot weighs in at 8.8oz, which is 2oz lighter than the standard version of the same boot. Putting the Elite Maestri on one foot and the regular version on the other, there is a clear weight difference between the two. The Elites feel much lighter, and although not as light as most speed boots, they still do feel very light for the type of shoe that it is.

Traction

The traction that the Elite Maestri provides is completely different from what you would get from the standard version because the stud pattern is completely different. For whatever reason, Nike decided to use a completely different stud pattern on the Maestri Elite, unlike the other three Elites in the series. What you get is the exact same sole plate that you would get with the Laser Elite, which is similar to the Laser III sole plate, with some minor changes. What was changed on the Elites is that the front studs are slightly shorter then the back studs. This slight difference made the world of difference for me. This stud pattern felt so much more stable than the regular pattern. I never found myself slipping, and had the confidence to cut in at high speeds without worrying about slipping.

Touch

This is what the shoe is marketed for, and this is what it does. If you are looking for a shoe that will provide a great touch, these are what you are looking for. These shoes are slightly thinner than the original Maestri, but still retain the same effect, which is a soft touch. The two memory foam pads do a great job of cushioning the ball upon impact, and although they are a different shape than the original Maestri, they feel the same. The touch is great, but there is one improvement that I did notice from the original, and that is the pass pad. The pad now sticks out off the shoe and features small nubs that come off of it, similar to that on the instep of the Laser III. It doesn’t do much, but you do feel it when it makes contact with ball. Overall, I truly do feel like this shoe does help with your touch, and is definitely something to try. Kangaroo leather will still provide a more cushioned feel, where as the Kanga-Lite will make for a closer to the foot feel, similar to a vapor but slightly more padded. For a synthetic leather shoe, the touch is phenomenal and is definitely the highlight of this boot.

Shooting

Shooting with these shoes is pretty much the same as the originals. They are very padded which feels nice when striking the ball with the laces. They do not provide any extra grip for bending the ball, but do provide you with a good feel for the ball despite the large amount of padding. What I did notice was that upon striking the ball with the outside of the foot, directly on the memory foam pads, I was able to generate a large amount of spin making for some pretty incredible free kicks. I don’t know if this was just me, but that’s what I felt while wearing these shoes. A lot of people might worry about the laces being placed right in the strike zone of the boot, but this has no affect on your shot whatsoever and is not noticeable at all.

Durability

This is probably Nike’s most solidly built shoe, as there are no extra gimmicks that could affect the durability of the shoe. Because the Kanga-Lite material will not stretch, you should have no problems with the shoe over-stretching. The carbon fiber sole plate will not break down nearly as quickly as the standard sole plate would, making this a boot that you can certainly count on to last you a very long time.

Protection

The shoe uses two large pads on the top of the foot that, although are for touch, will also provide some nice padding should you get stepped on. The boot is a nice thickness and will definitely be a fairly protective boot if that is one of your concerns when choosing a soccer shoe.

The Verdict

Is it worth the extra money for the Elite Maestri over the standard version? The answer is yes. I have to say that I really enjoyed the addition of the carbon fiber sole plate and much prefer the stud pattern that you get with the Elites. I also feel like the Elites are going to have a longer life span than the regular version and is overall a better experience. If you have the extra money or are looking to get the best version of the Maestri, than I would definitely go for the Elites.

Comfort/Fit9 out of 10
Weight8 out of 10
Traction8 out of 10
Touch10 out of 10
Shooting8 out of 10
Protection8 out of 10
Durability10 out of 10
FINAL SCORE61 out of 70 or 87%

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