Puma evoSPEED 1.2 Leather Review
Just like the Puma King series, the evoSPEED 1.2 is no longer made from kangaroo leather, but instead features a high quality calfskin leather upper. While many may consider this to be a downgrade, in all honesty, the quality of the leather upper is actually very similar to the previous evoSPEED model, plus you get more of it. Just like the previous evoSPEED model, the lateral Puma logo going down the side of the boot is made from a padded synthetic material, while the medial side is now 100% leather. The central lacing system and synthetic tongue allows for a secure yet comfortable fit when you pull the laces tight. The heel is lined in a nicely padded, smooth synthetic material, which can be a little slick depending on the socks that you’re wearing, but for the most part did not cause me any issues with discomfort. The removable insole is well padded and provides some decent step-in comfort for such a lightweight boot, but should you want to swap it out for something different, you do have that option.
From right out of the box, the leather evoSPEED 1.2 felt a little bulkier than I was expecting. This is mainly due to the thickness of the leather, as well as the strange stitching pattern featured on the upper. The flat, smooth section across the top of the toe area is a design element more commonly seen on sneakers, and makes for a slightly awkward phase when initially breaking-in the boots, but after a few hours of wear-time, the leather will soften up and become much more flexible, giving the boot that classic leather feel. Since the majority of the upper is made from high quality calfskin, the overall feel of the boot is similar to what you might expect from more traditionally styled soccer shoes, like the Puma King.
One of the main design elements of the evoSPEED series that scares a lot of people away is the shape of the boot. The evoAptoLast is Puma’s way of designing a boot that more closely matches the natural curves of the foot. This unique shape is most noticeable in the toe box area of the boot, where instead of being completely round, the toe comes to a slight point at the big toe and then curves around the toes to match the shape of an actual foot. The anatomic shape is not nearly as extreme as I’ve seen on previous models from Puma, but is still just as effective. If this is something that’s a major concern for you, trust me when I say that there is hardly a difference in feel at all, and you might actually like the fit better than you’re average soccer shoe. The unique shape allows for a more natural fit in the toe box and forefoot area, giving you that secure feel without your foot being squeezed to fit into the shoe.
The leather evoSPEED 1.2 is a surprisingly wide fitting shoe, especially after they’re well broken-in. From right out of the box, the boot had a much deeper and fairly wide fit about it, which is somewhat unusual for most lightweight soccer shoes. Give the boot a couple of hours of wear-time to stretch and form to your feet, and you’ll find that they expand in width pretty much all the way through, providing a very comfortable fit. I have an average width foot and personally didn’t have any issues fitting into these boots, but I did find myself having to tie my shoes tighter and tighter with each new wear. Definitely a great option for wider footed players.
Sizing has always been a little bit off with the evoSPEED line, and the 1.2 is no different. I wore a size 9.5US for review, which is a half size larger than my usual size 9US, and the fit in the length was pretty much perfect. With that being said, if I really wanted to, I probably could have gone a half size down to a 9US due to how much they stretch, but the fit would be a lot tighter. At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference. I would personally recommend going half a size up in the leather evoSPEED 1.2 for the best possible fit, but if you prefer a really tight fit, than you can definitely stay true to size.
The leather evoSPEED 1.2 weighs in at a respectable 8oz, which isn’t what most would consider to be incredibly lightweight, but given that the upper is almost entire made of good quality leather, 8oz is not too shabby. The majority of the shoe’s weight is in the upper, while the outsole itself is very light, which gives the shoe its lightweight feel. Its in a similar weight range to other lightweight leather boots currently out there on the market, and certainly will not weigh you down.
The evoSPEED 1.2 introduces an all-new stud pattern for the evoSPEED line, which I feel is a definite improvement over the previous version. The stud pattern is not a complete redesign, as the layout of the studs is almost identical to what we’ve seen before, but the new shape and length of the studs makes a huge difference in the overall feel and performance that you’ll get from the evoSPEED 1.2. All of the studs are conical in shape and feature a very narrow profile, allowing for very easy ground penetration, which results in plenty of grip when pushing off, while still maintaining plenty of freedom to twist and pivot when planted. The thermoplastic elastomer soleplate is very thin and flexible, allowing the studs to move very closely with the bend of your foot, resulting in maximum traction and stability no matter which way you step down.
As great as the stud pattern can be, there are some minor downsides to the overall design. The studs themselves are a little longer than your average firm ground stud pattern, so if you tend to play on slightly harder natural grass playing surfaces, you may find the stud pattern to feel a little bit unbalanced and you may even run into some minor issues with stud pressure. On normal firm ground to softer natural grass playing surfaces, you shouldn’t have any issues at all with the performance or feel of the evoSPEED 1.2 stud pattern. On the right playing surface, this is a fantastic stud pattern.
The feel of the evoSPEED 1.2 really reminded me of the current generation leather Adidas F50 adizero. The calfskin leather upper is a lot thicker than you might expect from a “speed” boot, but I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the feel of the leather evoSPEED 1.2. The main issue that I have with so many lightweight “leather” soccer shoes is that most of the time there just isn’t enough leather on the boot to justify even calling it a “leather” boot. Luckily the evoSPEED 1.2 does not suffer from this problem as all the parts of the boot that should be leather, are.
There isn’t much to explain when it comes to feel on offer from this particular boot. If you’ve worn a leather shoe before, than you should know what to expect. The thickness of the leather offers a nicely cushioned touch on the ball across the entire foot, which is something that I look for from any leather boot. One of the elements that makes the evoSPEED 1.2 unique is the GripTex material that spans nearly the entire instep. This transparent coating is designed to provide added grip on the ball in both dry and wet playing conditions, and it does that pretty effectively. The amount of grip provided by the coating is very subtle, and feels much more effective in dry playing conditions than in wet, and overall was a nice little feature that I personally wasn’t expecting.
The latest Puma King model was harshly criticized for not having enough leather, and the overall feel of the boot suffered because of it. The leather evoSPEED 1.2 on the other hand is a completely different story, and I would almost go as far as to say that the evoSPEED offers a more traditional leather feel than the Puma King! If you’re on the market for a lightweight leather soccer shoe, the evoSPEED 1.2 is definitely something to consider.
Striking the ball in the evoSPEED 1.2 feels pretty good. The natural softness of the leather upper makes for a slightly cushioned feel when striking the ball, and the GripTex coating across the instep does its part to give you that little bit of extra grip. What really surprised me was the solid feel of the boot, mainly due to the Pebax Speedtrack spine running through the base of the soleplate. There isn’t anything ground breaking here, but if you like the feel of soft leather, than you’ll enjoy striking the ball in the evoSPEED 1.2.
Most shoes around the 8oz mark don’t provide too much in the way of protection, but the evoSPEED 1.2 isn’t too bad. The natural padding of the leather provides some decent impact protection should you get stepped on, while the external plastic heel counter, although very minimal, will help should you take a kick to the back. The shoe is lightweight, but it doesn’t feel delicate, so if you want that lightweight feel without being left exposed, than the leather evoSPEED 1.2 is a solid option.
Durability was not a concern that I had with the leather evoSPEED 1.2. The boot is well made and overall feels very solid. The only thing that you need to watch out for is the leather upper. Like any natural leather upper, some maintenance is required in order to ensure that the leather remain in optimal condition. I personally had no issues with the boot throughout testing, and don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t be able to get at least a season’s worth of play out of the evoSPEED 1.2. Keep in mind that the firm ground version of the evoSPEED 1.2, or any FG shoe for that matter, is designed for use on natural grass playing surfaces. Using any FG shoe on artificial playing surfaces will have a major impact on the longevity of the boot.
The leather evoSPEED 1.2 is definitely an improvement over the previous model. Not only is 90% of the upper made from leather, but the redesigned soleplate and stud pattern makes for a shoe that will draw many comparisons to the very popular F50 adizero, which is not a bad thing at all. Just like the adizero, the evoSPEED 1.2 isn’t perfect, but it certainly is one of the better lightweight leather boot options currently on the market. The leather evoSPEED 1.2 isn’t necessarily an automatic buy, but it’s definitely something to consider.
|Comfort/Fit||9 out of 10|
|Weight||8 out of 10|
|Traction||9 out of 10|
|Touch||10 out of 10|
|Shooting||8 out of 10|
|Protection||8 out of 10|
|Durability||7 out of 10|
|FINAL SCORE||59 out of 70 or 84%|