In terms of fit, I can definitely say that the Laser IV fits a little more streamlined than the past Lasers. The biggest difference coming in the shape of the toe box, which is now much more narrow in comparison to previous Lasers. I would call the, overall fit, and feel, very similar to that of the CTR360 Maestri, with a slightly wider mid foot. The heel is also slightly more narrow on the Laser IV, which just improves the overall fit of the boot. The lacing system is exactly the same as the Laser III, with the laces pushed to the outside of the foot. The tongue is also very similar, with a strip of memory foam running through the middle to take away any chance of lace bite. The upper itself is also very soft from right out of the box. This is the same material that is used on the CTR360 Maestri, but I think it feels even softer on the Laser.
Nike has done a really good job implementing this material for the upper. It is soft, does not stretch and dries more quickly when it gets wet. I would have liked to seen a kangaroo leather option, but Kanga-Lite is the next best thing. The last thing to note is that the soleplate is a little more flexible than past Lasers, which is good in some ways, and not so good in other ways. The overall fit and feel of this shoe is very Maestri-esque. As far as sizing goes, I wore my usual size 9US for review and they fit perfectly. These boots fit true to size, so if you are looking to order a pair, you should go with your normal size.
This shoe weighs in at 9.8oz, which is slightly less then the standard Laser III was, but I do feel that Nike have taken away some elements which would explain the slight weight loss. The soleplate is a little thinner and the rubber element itself is a third of what it used to be in terms of bulk, making for an overall lighter shoe. This is an average weight for most soccer shoes, and feels just right for this type of boot.
The new SG-Pro stud pattern got people excited, mainly because it is a stud pattern that was exclusive to the professionals, but now Nike have released it to the public. This is also the same SG-Pro stud pattern that can be found on the CTR360 Maestri III and the Tiempo Legend IV. What makes the SG-Pro stud pattern so attractive is that it isn’t a particularly aggressive soft ground stud pattern. With that being said, there are two sets of studs included with the purchase of a pair of SG-Pro shoes. Included are a set of 11mm and 13mm, as well as a set of 13mm and 15mm studs, for really soft ground. If you look at the shorter set of metal studs, they do not extend much past the plastic, or firm ground studs, making this a stud pattern that you can get away with should the ground that you are playing be consistently soft-ish.
If you are playing regularly on firm ground or hard ground, the standard firm ground stud pattern is what you want. Another misconception with the SG-Pro stud pattern is that you can use it on turf or artificial surfaces. I strongly suggest not doing so. As the name suggests, the stud pattern is for “soft ground”, which is more or less the exact opposite of a shallow artificial surface. As far as the performance of the stud pattern is concerned, the plastic studs scattered around the metal ones do make for a different feel than you would normally get from your standard six stud, soft ground stud pattern. There are some additional grip points on the shoe, but what I am a big fan of is the extra stud right at the toe. This stud just gives that little bit of extra grip when pushing off, which could be the difference between slipping and staying on your feet in soft field conditions. Other than that, I would say that the plastic studs give the stud pattern a feel more like a firm ground stud pattern on the ball. If you have ever used a pair of six studs before, you know that feel of somewhat of an awkwardness if you ever use the bottom of your foot to control the ball, and that just doesn’t happen with the SG-Pro stud pattern. It is easy to see why the pros are choosing to use the mixed sole stud patterns, but just keep in mind that they are still intended and should be used on soft ground.
Being that this shoe is made of Kanga-Lite, I was expecting a fairly high quality feel from these boots. The touch, and overall feel of the Kanga-Lite version of the laser feel extremely similar to that of the CTR360 Maestri. The entire feel of this shoe is not at all what the Lasers have been in the past. The Laser IV has little to no bulk, and the actual rubber element is very minimalistic in comparison to what it used to be. To me, this boot feels very much like the CTR360 Maestri with a small rubber element. The rubber element itself still has those rubber fins on the instep, but they are much smaller and not as noticeable, especially when dribbling. The actual striking element that covers the top of the foot is also much thinner that it was on the Laser III. Nike have also removed the layer of memory foam that used to be under the striking element, making the Laser IV feel very thin in comparison to the Laser III. The rubber is also much less abrasive on the Laser IV, so you never get that same feeling that the ball is getting stuck in your feet when playing in dry conditions, but you also don’t get the exceptional grip in wet conditions. The touch on this boot is the exact opposite of what you got from the Laser III. But none the less, these have a pretty good touch.
This is where I have a major problem with the Laser IV. The striking element has been severely stripped down from what it used to be. The new element is thinner, uses no memory foam padding, a much harder rubber (less abrasive) and covers about 40% less of the boot in comparison to the Laser III. What I loved about the Laser III was how over the top the actual striking element was. It felt like no other shoe when striking the ball. You got that feeling of satisfaction when you really struck through the ball, a feeling that I can’t really describe but I am sire much of you know what I am talking about. The Laser IV just doesn’t provide that same feeling. The element is very thin and they removed the memory foam that used to be underneath, so you don’t have that extra padding that felt so good when shooting the ball, or that sense of power that I felt in the Laser III. The rubber itself is much harder and therefore less abrasive, so you don’t get that same grippy feeling when you strike the ball. The last thing that I really didn’t like was how much smaller the striking element is in comparison to all of the past Lasers. I found that it just doesn’t cover the surface of your foot that strikes the ball on most shots. The only time that you could really strike the ball directly on the element is on free kicks or the odd time that the ball just sits perfectly for you. To be completely honest, I just didn’t have that feeling of satisfaction when striking the ball, which is something that has to happen on a boot that is labeled as a “Power” boot. If I don’t feel a difference when striking the ball in a pair of boots with rubber elements, I would rather they not be there. Striking the ball in these boots is not bad at all, it just isn’t as good as the Laser III, which should not be the case.
The durability that these boots offer is going to be pretty good. The Kanga-Lite upper will not stretch, requires no maintenance and will not wear out as quickly as a natural leather will. This is a boot that you can safely wear on any surface without worry of them not lasting for at least an entire season.
These boots will offer a fair amount of protection. The upper is thin, but not too thin, but with the rubber elements, they will provide some decent protection should you get stepped on. There is also an internal heel cup and the top half of your foot, closer to your ankle, will be pretty well covered. These are not as protective as the Laser III, but they are still going to offer a fair amount of protection, which is always a plus.
I have to say that I am somewhat disappointed with the Laser IV. I have always been a fan of the over the top designs that the Laser line has introduced through the years, and I just don’t think that the Laser IV follows that same pattern. This is by no means a bad boot, in fact, I would call this a very good boot, the problem I have with it is that it just isn’t a Laser. If you are looking for a more minimalistic Laser III, you will love the Laser IV. It offers an improved fit and a more streamlined feel. I would recommend this boot to those who love the CTR360 Maestri, but would like a slight change of pace and want to try something new.
|Comfort/Fit||9 out of 10|
|Weight||10 out of 10|
|Traction||8 out of 10|
|Touch||8 out of 10|
|Shooting||9 out of 10|
|Protection||9 out of 10|
|Durability||8 out of 10|
|FINAL SCORE||61 out of 70 or 87%|