Nike5 Gato Leather Review
The Nike5 Gato series of shoes is one of my personal favorites as far as indoor shoes are concerned. The Nike 5 Gato Leather is one of two lines from the Gato series, with the Lunar Gato being the most expensive model. It is also worth noting that the Gato is also available in two different upper materials, either leather or synthetic. There is no difference in price, and I find the quality of the leather version to be far superior to that of the synthetic model.
One of the major reasons why I love the Gato series of indoor shoes from Nike is how comfortable they are in comparison to other indoors currently on the market. The problem I find with so many current model indoor shoes, like the Elastico line from Nike, is that the soles are so low-profile, to the point where there is next to no cushioning at all. The Gato is different in that it offers a slightly thicker than average sole, running through the entire foot, offering plenty of impact protection, allowing you to stay comfortable when playing on unforgivingly hard, indoor court surfaces. The cushioned feel is achieved through the use of Nike’s Cushlon foam, which is a foam that you will find in some of Nike’s running shoes. With that being said, the cushioned feel is not that of a running shoe, where you feel like you’re sinking into the sole, but instead is a firm cushion, giving you just the right amount of cushioning, while still remaining responsive.
Other comfort elements include the upper, made from a combination of natural leather and synthetic. The forefoot area is where you will find the leather section on the shoe, and after a couple hours of break-in, the leather really softens up, allowing for a very soft and comfortable fit. The synthetic mid-foot area of the shoe, allows for a slightly tighter fit, without worry of the upper over-stretching. The heel is lined in mesh, which is backed by a thin layer of padding.
As far as the fit of the shoe is concerned, the Gato should fit most foot types. I would say that the fit is slightly wider then most, especially in comparison to the Lunar Gato, with the widest section of the shoe being the forefoot/toe box area. I personally have about a regular width foot, and found that I had just a little too much extra wiggle room in the forefoot area of the shoe. Of course, this would not be an issue for somebody with a slightly wider foot, but it definitely is worth mentioning. As far as stretching is concerned, even though the forefoot area of the shoe is natural leather, it will not stretch much at all, due to the strip of suede that wraps nearly the entire forefoot. As far as sizing is concerned, I found the Gato to fit a little small. I wore a size 9.5US for review, which is half a size larger than my usual size 9US. If you’re looking to order a pair of Gatos, I would strongly recommend going half a size up for the most comfortable fit.
The Nike5 Gato weighs in at 10oz, which is not bad at all for the amount of cushioning that the shoe provides. Just like the outdoor shoes, indoors are getting lighter and lighter, where I would call the 10oz mark about “average” in terms of the weight of most indoor soccer shoes currently on the market. While there are plenty of shoes on the market that weigh about an ounce less, which is barely a difference, none of those shoes are going to offer as comfortable of a feel as the Gato series does.
Part of what makes the Gato series great, is the simplicity of the design. The sole of the shoe is constructed from a very soft gum rubber which is, in my opinion, the best type of rubber if you’re looking to get as much grip as possible. Since the rubber is a little softer than your standard rubber sole, it grips indoor court surfaces very well, meaning that you aren’t going to be sliding around. You’ll also notice the two sections of slightly firmer rubber at both the toe and heel of the shoe. The firmer rubber has been strategically placed in the two spots on the boot that tend to wear out the quickest, so the use of firmer rubber in those areas should allow you to get a longer life out of your shoes. The entire sole has a “honeycomb” pattern running through it, and like I said, does a great job of keeping you from sliding around. For me, the Gato offers some of the best grip on the market.
The touch of the Nike5 Gato is pretty good, but still not at the same level of quality as the slightly more expensive Lunar Gato. The materials themselves are good quality, but there are some parts of the boot that I find are slightly bulky. The leather through the forefoot is soft, but also very thin, allowing for a slightly padded, yet close touch on the ball, which is something that I really like. One of the issues that I personally had with the Gato was the suede wrapped toe and forefoot area of the boot. The suede itself is really nice, but it is much thicker than I personally would have liked, and is much too large in my opinion. The suede is there for the sole purpose of durability, which is fine, but to have the suede run through the entire inside of the forefoot, and being as thick as it is, I found it to add just a little too much bulk to the upper, especially considering that it is sitting on top of a layer of leather. Another small complaint is the tongue, which is 100% mesh. I would have loved to have had at least a partly leather tongue, just to make to touch when juggling the ball to feel less “fluffy”, but this is just a feature that I miss from the top end Lunar Gato. Overall, I Like the touch on the ball that you get from the Leather Gato, but it could be better.
Striking the ball in the Gato is nothing that you wouldn’t expect from a shoe of this type. The upper does not feature any kind of striking elements whatsoever, giving you a very traditional feel when striking the ball. I would say that striking the ball in the Gato is pretty self-explanatory.
The Gato is built to last, and is a shoe that you can expect to have a very long life, given that wear them on only indoor court playing surfaces. The upper uses very good quality materials, and is put together very solidly. The suede wrapped toe and forefoot area of the boot is going to allow for plenty of wear and tear in the toe area of the upper, and is also going to keep the shoe from ever over-stretching. The raised sole around the toe box, along with the nylon stitching means that the bond between the sole and upper is one that will take a beating, without worry of any separation between the two. The only thing to note regarding the durability of the Gato is the sole. Gum rubber is a very soft rubber, and if you use the Gato strictly on smooth, indoor court playing surfaces, you won’t have any issues. If you intend on wearing the Gato on concrete, or any other kind of outdoor playing surface, the gum rubber sole will wear away a little quicker than you might want. If you are going to be playing on concrete, I would strongly recommend going for a pair of Nike Street Gatos, which features a sole that is specifically designed to withstand the harsh playing surface that is the streets.
I’m a fan of the Gato series of shoes from Nike. If you’re like me and like to have a little bit of extra cushioning when playing of hard, indoor court surfaces, than you should take a good look at the Gato. It will fit nearly any foot type, offers plenty of responsive cushioning, as well as a more traditional leather touch on the ball. For the price, you really can’t go wrong, but if you want the best, for an extra $25 to $30, you can pick up the Lunar Gato, which is a slightly better quality, more refined version of the Gato.
|Comfort/Fit||8 out of 10|
|Weight||8 out of 10|
|Traction||9 out of 10|
|Touch||7 out of 10|
|Shooting||8 out of 10|
|Durability||9 out of 10|
|FINAL SCORE||49 out of 60 or 82%|