Warrior Skreamer K-Lite Review
It isn’t often that a new company joins the world of soccer shoes, but if there were ever a company to do it right, it would be Warrior. If you’re not familiar with Warrior as a company, that’s because they are completely new to soccer, and up until this year, they have been a company dedicated to producing top quality equipment exclusively for both Lacrosse and Hockey. Warrior made a big splash this season, with the signing of Liverpool Football Club, as their official kit supplier. Warrior’s edgy styling, and innovative ideas is what they’re known for, and it shows in their products.
I have had the opportunity to test out the new Warrior Skreamer K-Lite, for several months now, prior to the official release, and have been thoroughly impressed by this brand new shoe.
Most shoes from all of the major companies are more or less variations on the same thing, and even when models change, it isn’t too often that something is released that is truly different from anything else on the market. The Warrior Skreamer K-Lite is one of those shoes that is truly unique, and unlike anything else out there.
The Skreamer K-Lite is the kangaroo leather version of Warrior’s top end boot, and is unlike any other kangaroo leather boot that I have ever worn. The upper features a blend of kangaroo leather and synthetic, with the kangaroo leather spanning the entire forefoot, as well as the lower half of the instep. As far as kangaroo leather is concerned, it is on the thinner side, but is still very soft, especially after a couple hours of break-in time. The mid-foot area of the upper is made from high quality synthetic, which blends very well with the leather section of the boot, making for a touch on the ball that feels uniform across the entire shoe. All of the materials used are very high quality and nothing on the boot feels cheap at all. The tongue is the thinnest part of the shoe, and is crafted from what feels like a paper-thin synthetic. Normally I would have preferred a leather tongue to match the rest of the upper, the synthetic tongue actually meshes well with the rest of the boot, mainly due to the unique lacing system.
Probably the standout feature of the boot has to be the lacing system. The lacing system on the Skreamer is pushed slightly to the outside of the boot, and runs very deep, allowing you to fully adjust the fit of the shoe all the way through. The bottom of the lacing system starts in the forefoot of the shoe, pretty much right above your toes, and than goes up from there. This is gives you that extra element of adjustability that you just can’t get from any other soccer shoe on the market, not only in how tight the shoe will fit, but it also gives you some freedom to play with the width of the boot. You’ll notice in the pictures of the boot above, that the sides of the shoe appear to be higher than you average shoe, and that’s because they are. The high sidewalls of the boot, partnered with the unique lacing system, allow for an extremely customizable fit that will suit nearly any foot type.
Other comfort elements include the small cutouts on both the top of the tongue and the Achilles heel area of the boot. These cutouts are what Warrior calls “Murderholes”, and allow for a couple of different things, which include ventilation, adjustability and flexibility. I particularly liked the Murderholes on the Achilles area of the boot, simply because it allowed for some extra flexibility to the back of the boot. The Arrowbed insole is also another great feature on the boot, in that it is actually really comfortable. Most soccer shoes features incredibly minimalistic insoles that offer next to nothing in the way of cushioning. The Arrowbed insole has some decent thickness to it, and offers immediate step-in comfort, almost like a running shoe. Another feature worth mentioning is the heel liner, which is made from a very soft, textured synthetic leather. There is a very light dimpling to it, almost like a basketball, that helps to hold your heel in place, preventing any kind of heel slippage.
The soleplate and heel counter also play a very large role on the overall fit and feel of the boot. The one-piece heel counter and soleplate is made from Pebax, which a more flexible type of plastic. What is different about the Skreamer, is that the heel counter, called the HeelShield, only covers the back of your heel, to provide some extra protection, while the sides of your heels have no plastic at all, either internally or externally. This allows for some extra flexibility and an overall more comfortable fit in the heel area of the boot. Instead there is a piece of plastic that cups the bottom of your heel, and comes up the sides just enough to keep your heel locked in place. This makes for a solid fit in the heel, without any feeling of restriction.
As far as sizing is concerned, I wore my usual size 9US for review and the fit in the length was perfect. So, if you’re looking to order a pair online, I would strongly recommend going for your normal size. From right out the box, the shoe does feel pretty tight in the toe box area, but once you give the shoe a couple of hours to break-in and allow the leather to soften up, the leather will stretch and form perfectly to the shape of your foot. Again, due to the unique lacing system, this is a shoe that should fit pretty much anybody, from wide feet to narrow feet, you should be able to get a comfortable fit in the Skreamer K-Lite.
Just from the looks of the boot, you might not guess that the Skreamer K-Lite is lightweight, but it is. The shoe weighs in at a very impressive 7.6oz, which is extra impressive considering the solid fit, very comfortable feel and the inclusion of a kangaroo leather upper. As mentioned before, the insole is a little beefier than you would normally get in most soccer shoes, and it does up the weight of the shoe. I weighed the insole myself and it weighs in at 0.8oz, which isn’t a lot, but is more than most insoles that average around 0.5oz. It is just super impressive to me that if you remove the insole from the shoe, it only weighs 6.8oz! As far as weight is concerned, you can’t ask for much more than a sub 8oz shoe with a kangaroo leather upper.
Just like the rest of the shoe, the stud pattern is an all-new design, and unlike anything else that we have ever seen. The Skreamer features an all-bladed stud pattern, with the blades being called “ClawTec”, designed to provide optimal multidirectional grip. If you look at the studs themselves, you’ll notice that there is a straight edge on the inside, while the outside of each stud has a rounded edge. The reasoning behind this is to have as much grip as possible when pushing off from the straight edge, and to have a quick release from the ground with the rounded edge. Overall, the stud pattern performs really well, but doesn’t feel as aggressive as it looks. I never found myself slipping, whether I was playing on harder or slightly softer natural grass. The studs really do a good job of digging in when pushing off, and perform equally as good when making quick changes of direction.
One of the major contributing factors as to why the studs perform so well is the flexibility of the soleplate. Featuring Warrior’s carbon fiber X-Box Shank, the soleplate is incredibly flexible, allowing the shoe to move with your feet. Unlike other carbon fiber soleplates on the market, the X-Bow Shank combines both carbon fiber and Pebax, making for a very flexible feel, rather than feeling stiff, like most carbon fiber soleplates. It is also worth noting that the soleplate actually has a little bit of a curve to it in the forefoot, rather than being completely flat. The extra flexibility in the soleplate allows for as many studs as possible to be under your feet, no matter what direction that you twist or turn. I’m generally not a big fan of bladed stud patterns, but this is one that I really do like.
The K-Lite version of the Skreamer features a kangaroo leather upper, which is considered by many as the “best” material for a soccer shoe. The leather itself is thinner than what you would get from a more traditional shoe like the Copa Mundial, but isn’t as thin as some shoes, like the Puma King Finale SL. I personally like the thickness of the leather, simply because it gives you that nice soft touch on the ball, but doesn’t feel overly padded. Like most kangaroo leather shoes, the entire upper is not kangaroo leather, but what is important to note on the Skreamer is that the entire instep is actually leather. So, while a lot of the shoe is made from synthetic, all the parts of the shoe that are going to see the majority of the ball are kangaroo leather. With that being said, the shoe doesn’t feel too far off from a more traditional, kangaroo leather soccer shoe. With the laces pushed to the outside of the boot, you do have a very clean instep, free of any obstructions, while the tight fit of the boot helps with achieving the closest touch possible on the ball. Overall, if you’re into that classic leather feel, then you’ll love Skreamer K-Lite.
Striking the ball in the Skreamer K-Lite is also really good. The shoe doesn’t feature any striking elements, and the strike zone of the boot is pretty much one clean strip of leather. It’s nice to have the laces pushed to the outside of the boot, leaving you with a clutter free strike zone. It is also worth noting the carbon fiber soleplate provides some good rigidity to the boot when striking the ball. The slightly higher cut in the ankle also provides some extra support. Striking the ball in the Skreamer K-Lite is going to feel like most other classic leather boots, but with a modern twist.
When it comes to protection, the Skreamer K-Lite should meet the requirements of most. The leather upper offers some protection through its own natural padding, and will certainly provide adequate protection should you get stepped on. The HeelShield will do its part in providing protection from the back, should you take a kick to the back of the heel. There definitely are more protective boots out there, but the amount of protection that the Skreamer K-Lite has on offer, is definitely enough for most.
Unlike a lot of the shoes that I review, I have been wearing the Skreamer K-Lite for several months prior to release, so I have a pretty good idea about the durability of the boot. After wearing these shoes for at least 40 hours or so over the last couple of months, I can honestly say that there is absolutely nothing that has gone wrong with the shoes. The shoe uses only premium materials, and the overall build quality of the shoe is great. If you’re at all familiar with Warrior’s products in other sports, than you know that they make some really good stuff, and the Skreamer K-Lite is no different. Just keep in mind that the upper does feature natural leather, so some maintenance is required in order to keep the upper in optimal condition. Also keep in mind that the firm ground version of the Skreamer K-Lite, or any firm ground shoe for that matter, is designed for use on natural grass playing surfaces. Using any firm ground soccer shoe on artificial playing surfaces will have a major impact on the durability of the boot. If you were at all skeptical about the quality of the boot, don’t be, because the quality is great.
Anytime something new comes along that isn’t from Nike or Adidas, people are always very hesitant to give it a try. In the case Warrior Skreamer K-Lite, I can honestly say that this is a great shoe. Not to mention the fact that this is their first soccer shoe ever, the Skreamer is a stand alone amongst all other soccer shoes on the market. It offers a quality kangaroo leather upper, an extremely customizable fit, and a soleplate/stud pattern combo, with the inclusion of carbon fiber, that just feels great. If you’re willing to give something new a try, I can almost guarantee that you won’t regret picking up a pair of Warrior Skreamer K-Lites.