Puma King Finale SL Review
I was surprised at how excited everybody was when the Puma King Finale SL, a lightweight version of the already very good Puma King Finale, a shoe that nobody really seemed to care about. From right out of the box, you will immediately see and feel the differences that Puma made in order to shed weight in comparison to the King Finale, and I would go as far as to say that the SL version is almost completely different in almost every area. From right out the box, the Finale SL is super comfortable, probably the most comfortable lightweight soccer shoe on the market. The kangaroo leather upper, while it is thin, is very soft and flexible, so the upper moves really nicely with your foot very easily, making for a very comfortable fit. Keep in mind that the upper is going to stretch quite significantly, so sizing is very important. The heel is a little higher cut than the standard Finale, and I found it to lock your heel in really well. The heel itself is lined with a synthetic leather that is very smooth and nicely padded for such a lightweight shoe. The sole plate of the shoe, although visually the same as the standard Finale, is actually much thinner. The thin sole plate makes for a very flexible feel when the shoes are not your feet, but depending on how hard the ground is, stud pressure could be an issue. I personally did not have any issues with stud pressure in the Finale SL, even on turf, but it is worth keeping in mind if you normally play on harder playing surfaces. If the ground in your area is not particularly hard, you won’t have any issues. As far as how the Finale SL fits in the width, they will stretch to whatever width that you need. The thin leather upper really stretches and forms to your foot, so even the widest of feet should not have any issues. The sizing in the Finale SL is definitely true to size, but because of how much they stretch, I would strongly recommend going down half a size if you’re looking for the best fit possible after break-in. I wore my usual size 9US, but definitely would have benefited from going down to an 8.5US. There definitely is a break-in time to these, but they will stretch very quickly, and once they do, they are probably the most comfortable lightweight shoes on the market.
The Puma King Finale SL weighs in at an impressive 7.7oz. While this is certainly not the lightest shoe on the market, it is by far the lightest “full kangaroo leather” boot on the market. There are leather speed boots on the market, such as the Adidas F50 adizero or the Adidas adiPure 11Pro SL, but those are only part leather, and the quality of leather does not compare to what is on the Puma King Finale SL. I think that the reason why so many were surprised by the weight of this shoe was because of how it looks It has the appearance of a classic soccer shoe, with simple styling and even conical studs. The Puma King Finale SL is a sleeper to say the least.
The Puma King Finale SL uses the exact same stud pattern as the standard Puma King Finale. What you get are four conical studs at the heel as well as conical studs at the front of the shoe. This stud pattern doesn’t use any bladed studs, like you see on the Legend IV, but I didn’t find that any traction was lost because of it. The reason that I have always preferred conical studs over blades is that you never feel locked in to the ground when planting your foot. I feel that conical studs have a concentration more on agility and being light on your feet, where as blades have always been solely about grip. It’s very difficult to differentiate one conical stud pattern from another because performance-wise, they always end up being the same, which is not a bad thing at all. The sole is also on the thin side, so the sole is also very flexible, which means that the sole will adjust with the flexion of your foot, making sure that there are as many studs in contact with the ground as possible. It is a great stud pattern, and is quite unique on a lightweight boot.
This is what makes the Puma King Finale SL so unique. Whenever you get into the lightweight, leather soccer shoes, you are generally getting a shoe that is about 20% leather, and generally the leather that is there is not the best quality. The Puma King Finale SL offers that same lightweight feel, but in a shoe that is not only 80% leather, but is also a very high quality kangaroo leather. The leather that is there is probably some of the thinnest kangaroo leather that I have ever seen on a soccer shoe, but the feel is still great. It provides a very close to the foot feel, while still offering the slight cushion from the leather. This is the first successful attempt at creating a lightweight soccer shoe that still offers a classic feel, something that is not easily achieved. The tongue of the Finale SL is a very thin synthetic material, which does not feel out of place at all. Given that the leather upper itself is very thin, the thin tongue really does work well and flows with rest of the boot. The feel is fantastic, and I am happy to say that Puma were successful in truly creating a lightweight classic.
Shooting in the Puma King Finale SL is pretty straight forward. It offers a classic leather upper with no extra shooting elements. The leather is on the thinner side, so you may feel just a little more of the ball than you might expect from a leather boot, but other than that, nothing here is going to surprise you. The sole is definitely not the stiffest sole out there, but it is stiff enough that you are not going to have any issues when striking the ball. If you like the classic feel, you will like the Finale SL.
Like any lightweight soccer shoe, protection is usually the last concern, and although the Finale SL may e a little more padded than your average lightweight soccer shoe, there is still very little between your foot and the ball. The leather will provide some protection from impact, but you will still feel the majority of the impact. The tongue is also a thin synthetic, essentially leaving the entire top of your foot exposed. At the end of the day, I don’t think that anybody is buying the Puma King Finale SL is going to be worried about protection, but if that is a concern that you have, I would definitely say that these will provide just a little more in the way of protection than a lightweight synthetic boot would.
The quality of materials and the way it is all put together is top quality. With that being said, anytime that you take away weight, you generally compromise the durability of the boot. Do I think that the Puma King Finale SL will last an entire season? Absolutely they will, but I would be reluctant to use them on turf on a regular basis. They also stretch quite a bit, which is not a bad thing, but unless you get the proper size, over-stretching could become an issue. I guess that what I am getting at is that the durability of this boot is going to be on par with other “leather” speed boots on the market, like the leather F50 adizero.
The Puma King Finale SL does something that no other shoe on the market has ever been able to accomplish, and that is in creating a lightweight soccer shoe, while still maintaining all of the elements of a classic soccer shoe. The thin kangaroo leather feels fantastic and it molds to your foot beautifully. I really appreciate the use of a classic sole plate and stud pattern as it really makes the overall feel of the shoe totally unique. If you are looking for that classic feel in a lightweight package, the Finale SL is definitely something to give a try.
Comfort/Fit 10 out of 10
Weight 10 out of 10
Traction 8 out of 10
Touch 10 out of 10
Shooting 8 out of 10
Protection 7 out of 10
Durability 7 out of 10
Final Score 60 out of 70 or 86%