Puma evoSPEED 1 K Review
The Puma evoSPEED is the all new speed boot from Puma, but what really got people excited was the release of a kangaroo leather model. The evoSPEED 1 K is one of the softest, ultra-lightweight boots on the market, offering an extremely soft leather upper. The fit of the shoe is very dependent on the upper to stretch and form to your foot. Like any good kangaroo leather shoe, the evoSPEED 1 K does require a break-in period of a couple of hours before the shoe begins to feel like it is “your” shoe. The leather is soft from right out of the box, but the fit will be very tight throughout the shoe, which may feel a little uncomfortable at first, but trust me when I say that you need to buy these shoes tight. One of the main issues that has always plagued the Puma “Speed” series of boots has been the sizing. I am happy to report that Puma has finally fixed the sizing, so if you are looking to order a pair online, just go with your normal size. I wore my usual size 9US for review, and from right out of the box, I was a little worried at how tight they fit, but after about half an hour or so, you can feel the shoe loosening up, which is when the shoe really starts to become comfortable. What’s unique about the evoSPEED is that Puma decided to stick with the anatomical shaped toe box, which granted is not as extreme as that of the previous v1.11 “Speed” boots from Puma, but it is still there. There are mixed opinions on the anatomical shaped toe, and personally it isn’t something that bothers me, but in this case, I truly believe that it improves the overall fit of the shoe. Like I said, from brand new, the toe box feel very cramped and the sizing makes for a very tight fit in the length as well. Since the toe box is not round, the front of the upper hugs the front of your toes, so once the shoe stretches, the upper takes on the exact shape of your foot. This means that once the shoe breaks-in, you are left with what is essentially a perfect mold of your foot in the form of a soccer shoe. The stretch of the shoe also makes for a shoe that will fit wider feet, something that can be tough with most ultra-lightweights on the market. Along with a suede heel liner, a nicely padded tongue and a very flexible soleplate, the evoSPEED 1 K is one of the most comfortable ultra-lightweight soccer shoes on the market. If I have one complaint about the comfort of the shoe, it would have to be the thin soleplate. If you play frequently on hard ground, or artificial grass, you may have some issues with stud pressure. Otherwise, the evoSPEED 1 K is a great new ultra-lightweight shoe, especially if you want one that features a kangaroo leather upper.
Given that this is a “Speed” boot, one would expect the shoe to be lightweight, and that it is. The listed weight for the evoSPEED 1 K is 6.8oz, which is very similar to that of the very popular Adidas F50 adizero miCoach in leather. When you consider that the evoSPEED features a majority kangaroo leather upper, a leather tongue, suede heel liner and a nicely padded insole, makes the overall weight of the evoSPEED 1 K quite impressive. While weight is not everything, and I personally believe that it means very little, it must be said that the evoSPEED 1 K offers a feel unlike any other shoe currently on the market, with the combination of a very high quality leather upper along with a super lightweight construction.
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.
No other ultra-lightweight, leather soccer shoe on the market compares to the evoSPEED 1 K in terms of quality of touch. Unlike other leather options, like the adizero, or even some of the kangaroo leather options like the Mizuno Morelia Neo or the 11Pro SL, the evoSPEED 1 K offers a complete leather feel. What I mean by complete is that the feel is not a dumbed down version of what you would get from your average “classic” soccer shoe. What you get is a very high quality kangaroo leather, that doesn’t span the entire upper, but does cover most of it, and is extremely high quality. After break-in, the leather becomes super soft and will literally collapse on itself when not in use. The thickness of the leather is also very important because the evoSPEED 1 K uses a very nicely padded kangaroo leather, very similar to the thickness of the leather used on the Puma King Finale. What this translates to, is a classic touch on the ball, partnered with an ultra-lightweight feel, which is great. Keep in mind that the entire upper is not kangaroo leather, and the upper transitions to synthetic right at the Puma logo on the inside and outside of the shoe. The synthetic that was used is not a thin, delicate material, but is instead around the same thickness of the leather. This is very important because it gives the shoe a balanced feel on the ball, meaning that the touch is the same on all parts of the foot. Granted, the synthetic is not as soft as the leather and the feel is not exactly the same, it still offers a similar enough feel to where the entire shoe does feel like it is in fact 100% leather. If you are looking for the only ultra-lightweight soccer shoe on the market to offer a true leather experience, the evoSPEED 1 K will provide that for you.
Shooting with the evoSPEED 1 K is exactly what you would expect it to be. The leather upper offers up a fairly tradition feel when striking the ball. The natural padding of the leather offers a good feeling of protection when striking the ball. For those of you who like the lightweight feel, but are not a fan of the thin upper that goes along with the shoe, the evoSPEED 1 K will offer that extra padding that you need. The soleplate, while very flexible moving forward, is actually quite stiff in terms of bending backwards, and because the shoe fits so nicely, there is a very solid feel about the shooting.
Again, for how lightweight the shoe is, protection, while I wouldn’t say that there is a lot, there still is a fair amount due to the thickness of the upper. The leather upper, as well as the leather tongue, provides some nice padding should you get stepped on by an opposing player. The external heel counter, while it is there, is pretty skimpy and is more for stability rather than protection. Overall, this is not the protection that this boot provides is about average, but if compared to other ultra-lightweights on the market, is one of the better ones.
The quality of the shoe is very good, and due to the simple design, there is very little that could go wrong. Generally when a shoe has a longer break-in time, that means that the shoe will last longer than a shoe with a shorter break-in period. While I am not convinced that the evoSPEED 1 K is going to be as durable as say an Adidas Copa Mundial, it is still a shoe that should last a fair amount of time, given that you take good care of them. Keep in mind that the upper uses a natural leather upper, so some maintenance is required to keep the upper in good shape. VERY IMPORTANT, do not where the evoSPEED 1 K on artificial surfaces! You will shorten the lifespan of your shoe significantly.
Any ultra-lightweight, kangaroo leather shoe is exciting, simply because it combines the heritage feel of leather with the modern ultra-lightweight construction. Up until now, there have been some solid attempts at creating a true lightweight kangaroo leather shoe, but none, for me at least, have provided a classic feel as good as the evoSPEED 1 K. They offer a fantastic fit, are very comfortable and provide that classic kangaroo leather touch on the ball. If all of this sounds like something you might like, then the evoSPEED 1 K may be a shoe to consider.
Comfort/Fit 10 out of 10
Weight 9 out of 10
Traction 8 out of 10
Touch 10 out of 10
Shooting 8 out of 10
Protection 8 out of 10
Durability 8 out of 10
Final Score 61 out of 70 or 87%