Puma evoSPEED 1 Synthetic Review
The Puma evoSPEED 1 is the all-new line of speed boots from Puma, replacing the V-series. With the release of the kangaroo leather version of the evoSPEED 1, the synthetic model was somewhat overlooked by most. The evoSPEED 1 Synthetic features an all-new synthetic upper from Puma. The upper itself feels very similar to that of the Sprintskin upper on the synthetic adizero miCoach, which is definitely not a bad thing. The single-layer synthetic, is a little on the stiffer side from out of the box, so some break-in time is required before you truly begin to feel comfortable in the boots. Also like the synthetic adizero, the shoe has a very plastic-like feel, which is ok, but if you are looking for a very soft feel against your foot, you are not going to get it here. This doesn’t mean that the shoe is not comfortable, it just means that it is a different type of comfort, one that many will like, but if you are a fan of softer upper materials, the evoSPEED 1 in synthetic may not be what you’re looking for. One unique feature of the new evoSPEED is the soleplate, which is extremely flexible, making for a very comfortable running experience. The shoes have a very minimal feel about them.
As far as fit goes, Puma have not completely ditched the anatomical shaped toe that turned away so many from the V-series. The basic concept behind the anatomical shaped toe box is to provide an upper that fit as closely to the foot as possible. If you take a look at the pictures of the soleplate above, you will notice a toe box that come to a very soft point right at the big toe, and then rounds off from that point. Like I said, the shape is not to the same extreme as previous models from Puma, but it is still there and it still does have an impact on the overall fit of the boot. I have always been a fan of this concept and I think this particular version is the best the Puma have released. The shape allows for the closest possible fit at front of the shoe, so if you like your shoes to have zero space at the toe, like myself, you are probably going to like the fit of the evoSPEED 1 synthetic. The rest of the shoe fits about an average, to slightly wider foot type, which is most people. Also featured along the inside of the upper is the EverFit cage, which is partly there to offer a closer fit on the inside and outside of the mid foot when the laces are pulled tight, but serve mostly as structural support for the upper itself. One major issue that so many thin synthetic soccer shoes have is that they just don’t fit right. The reason for this is because thin synthetics tend not to stretch and are very reliant on the original shape of the upper in order to ensure a “close to the foot” feel. I am happy to report that the upper does fit quite nicely, and most people will be satisfied with the second skin feel that the upper will provide. One major change from the previous “speed” range from Puma, is that the sizing has been fixed, sort of. Since the leather version of the evoSPEED stretches, it allows you to go with your normal size, but because the synthetic model doesn’t stretch, sizing becomes a little more tricky. I wore my usual size 9US for review, and the shoes fit very tight from right out of the box, almost too tight. After wearing the shoe for a couple of hours, the upper did stretch ever so slightly, where I had a very custom fit, but one that was very tight and with zero space at the toe and in the forefoot area, which some would consider uncomfortable. This is something that I really liked, and this sounds good to you too, then I would stick with your normal size. If you would like a little bit of extra wiggle room, not to the point where the shoe will feel, but just so they aren’t skin tight, then you can safely order half a size up.
The new evoSPEED 1 from Puma offers a very lightweight feel in both the leather and synthetic models, with the synthetic model being the lightest of the two. Weighing in at 6.4oz, the evoSPEED 1s are very comparable to the adizeros from Adidas and the Mercurials from Nike in terms of weight. They feel very light in your hands, as well as on your feet, but remain at the same standard as other highly regarded “speed” boots. The weight is impressive, but has pretty much become an absolute necessity if you want anybody to even be remotely interested. If you want the lightest possible shoe, the evoSPEED 1 in synthetic will provide that for you. Keep in mind that this is pretty much the only shoe in the weight range that features a conical stud pattern.
The Puma evoSPEED 1 features an all new soleplate and stud pattern combo. The soleplate features what Puma calls “Duo Flex” which is essentially a thinned out section of the upper, cutting in between the studs in an “X” shape on the forefoot of the sole. This is important because it gives the soleplate a very flexible, none-restrictive feel, similar to what a barefoot style running shoe would provide, in terms of feel. The stud pattern itself is also all new, using a combination of conical and bladed studs, all strategically placed to provide different types of traction. The forefoot uses predominantly conical studs, with two tear drop shaped studs positioned somewhere around the middle of the forefoot. The conical studs provide good traction, while still providing plenty of freedom of mobility when twisting and turning, while the tear drop studs are simply there as push off points for accelerating and slowing down. The overall feel of the stud pattern leans more towards a traditional conical stud pattern, which is not a bad thing, but it certainly is not the norm for an ultra-lightweight soccer shoe. Under the heel you will find your standard four bladed heel studs, offering plenty of stability. If you prefer having a conical stud pattern as opposed to a bladed stud pattern, the evoSPEED 1 is a solid option.
The new synthetic upper on the evoSPEED 1 is very reminiscent to that of the synthetic adizero from Adidas. It is a very thin, single layer synthetic, that provides that barefoot feel, which is exactly what you would want rom a shoe like this. The ultra-thin upper hugs the instep of the foot very closely, providing that second skin feel. What you will immediately notice upon viewing these shoes for the first time in person, are the dimples that cover the forefoot area of the shoe. While they appear to be very minimal, when you start feeling the ball out, you realize how much grip that they actually provide. These little dimples act as somewhat of a grip element, which through me off at first, mainly because the grip was so unexpected, especially for a shoe with such a thin upper. Generally when a shoe provides extra grip, it is through a rubber element, which almost always adds some extra bulk to the upper, but because the dimples are so minimalistic, you get the extra grip without the extra bulk. This is what sets the evoSPEED 1 synthetic apart from other thin synthetics on the market, and if you are a fan of having just a little extra grip, you may want to take a look at the synthetic evoSPEED 1.
Striking the ball in the evoSPEED 1 is not much different than what you would get from any other thin synthetic boot. The upper is very thin, and provides very little padding between your foot and the ball, giving you feel that is very close to being completely barefoot. One thing to note is that the tongue does feature just a little bit more padding than the rest of the upper, so you will get just a little bit of cushion against the ball across the laces section of the boot, which is something that I personally like. Another thing to note is the little bit of extra grip that you get from the dimples on the upper. It is definitely something that is less noticeable when shooting, rather than dribbling, but it still does impact the overall shooting experience, and from what I understand, most people do like the extra grip for shooting.
There is honestly not much in the way of protection with the synthetic evoSPEED 1, but what do you expect from such a lightweight boot? The upper is made up of a single layer, and provides very little padding, if any at all. If you really want that feel of being barefoot, than you have to give up protection.
The shoe itself is very well made, and because the design is so simple, there isn’t much that could go wrong. One huge thing to note is that these shoes are not at all designed for use on turf, or any type of artificial surface. If you intend on using these particular boots on anything that isn’t natural grass, don’t expect these shoes to last very long. On grass, I am very confident that you should get at least a seasons worth of use from the evoSPEED 1 synthetic.
The Puma evoSPEED 1 in synthetic offers a feel that is completely different from other ultra-lightweight shoes on the market. The fit is unique, the sole is very flexible, and the upper combines that barefoot feel with an extra element of grip. The main attraction for me, when it comes to the evoSPEED line, is the use of a conical stud pattern, in combination with that lightweight feel, offering a perfect mix between modern and classic feel. If you are looking for something different in the ultra-lightweight category, than I would take a good look at the evoSPEED 1 synthetic.
Comfort/Fit 9 out of 10
Weight 9 out of 10
Traction 8 out of 10
Touch 9 out of 10
Shooting 8 out of 10
Protection 7 out of 10
Durability 8 out of 10
Final Score 58 out of 70 or 83%