Under Armour Blur Carbon III Review
The Blur Carbon III is the perfect example of what a modern day soccer shoe can be. Everything about it is cutting edge and never been done before, but what’s even more interesting is that it all works. Up until now, many people, including myself, have been on the fence when it came to UA soccer shoes. While they have produced some decent models in the past, there have been just as many that weren’t so great. With the release of the Blur Carbon III, you just need to forget everything that UA has done up until this point, because they have produced something truly fantastic.
The fit of the Blur Carbon III is exactly what I look for in a lightweight, thin synthetic boot. It offers that second skin feel on your foot, which is so hard to do, but UA has managed to get the shape of the boot almost perfect. The shoe really contains your foot, locking everything in place, making for an incredibly responsive feel. Like most lightweight synthetic soccer shoes, the Blur Carbon III does have a slightly narrower cut, so if you have wider than average feet, than this style of boot might not be the best choice.
The heel of the boot has an unusual cut to it, which is one of the first things that you’ll notice when you see this boot for the first time. Let me reassure you that the odd shape does not make for any discomfort whatsoever, and is honestly really great. The triangle-like dip on both the lateral and medial sides at the heel allow for the boot to be very low cut, but still grab your heel, locking it down and keeping you securely fastened in the boot. Even when you flex the shoe itself, you’ll notice that the sides of the boot at the heel don’t bulge out at all, which is a common issue with so many thin synthetic boots. The mid-foot hugs the instep of your foot, but still remains very comfortable. The forefoot and toe box are also on the narrow side, again to provide a very secure fit. When you pull the laces tight, there is very little extra space inside of the boot, which is fantastic. This is one of few thin synthetic soccer shoes that rival the Nike Mercurial Vapor IX in terms of providing the closest fit possible.
Another unique element of the boot is the lacing system. While it may appear to be all-new, it isn’t necessarily something that hasn’t been done before. For those of you that can remember back to the Nike Air Zoom T90 III, you’ll notice that the lacing system used on the Blur Carbon III is very similar. This particular lacing system does not use a stand alone tongue either. Instead, the entire upper of the shoe from the instep flows over the top of your foot, wrapping over to the outside. The laces themselves run through a combination of lace holes and lace loops on the outside edge of the shoe, with the laces on the instep running directly through little cut-outs in the actual upper of the boot. This is a lacing system that I’m generally not a big fan of, simply because it hard to get the proper fit. The first shoe that comes to mind is the Adidas Predator X, where the fold-over upper/tongue wasn’t executed as well as I would have liked, but on the Blur Carbon III, it works incredibly well. Not only does the shoe fit really well, but its also very comfortable.
Other comfort elements of the boot include UA’s 4D Foam insole, which is easily one of the best soccer shoe insoles around if you ask me. It’s a little thicker than your average soccer insole, but it offers some fantastic cushioning, giving the shoe the step-in comfort of a running shoe. If a cushioned insole is not your thing, you can swap them out for the extra set of thinner insoles that are included in the package.
The soleplate is also a talking point, offering the perfect combination of flexibility and stiffness. Using a combination of carbon fiber and Pebax, the soleplate is very stiff where it needs to be, while still maintaining flexibility through the forefoot. The carbon fiber on the soleplate runs from the heel, all the way to the base of the forefoot, with the rest of the forefoot being made from Pebax. This allows for plenty of stiffness through the mid-foot, giving the shoe a very solid and secure feel, especially considering how light it is, while the Pebax in the forefoot gives the front of the soleplate tons of flexibility, making for a very smooth feel when running.
Sizing is the one thing to look out for with the Blur Carbon III. I wore my usual size 9US for review, and the fit in the length was way tighter than I would have. Given that I were to get another pair, I would definitely go half a size up to a 9.5US. So, if you’re looking to order a pair for yourself, I would strongly recommend going half a size up in order to get the proper fit.
The UA Blur Carbon III has a listed weight of 6.25oz, which is very lightweight. For comparison sake, the Blur falls just in between the Nike Mercurial Vapor IX and the synthetic Adidas F50 adizero, which is not too shabby. If you’re looking for that ultra-lightweight feel, you’re going to get that from the Blur.
The Blur Carbon III has been labeled by UA as “the ultimate direction changing machine”, and after using them, its hard to argue against that statement. When you think of traction from a soccer shoe, the first thing that comes to mind is the stud pattern, but nobody thinks about how the upper can impact traction and performance. UA has really thought of everything with this one, with the upper being designed not only to provide a great touch on the ball, but to provide lateral stability as well.
For me, the standout feature of the Blur Carbon III is the carbon fiber lateral wing. It is one of many distinctive features of the Blur, but it also serves a purpose in providing lateral stability. The idea behind the lateral wing is to provide a solid push off wall on the outside of the shoe. This almost guarantees that your going to have next to no movement or stretch in the upper, giving you the most responsive feel possible. The concept of “roll-over” is what you need to understand here. Roll-over is when you push off in any given soccer shoe and the upper moves, mainly from stretch in the upper. The movement can be very minimal or pretty significant depending on the shoe, but essentially what’s happening is your foot is sliding inside of the boot, meaning that your shoe is taking up an extra split second the react. If the fit of the shoe is very tight and the lateral side of the boot is solid, like it is on the Blur, there is virtually no roll-over, making for a true one-to-one feel because your boots will be moving with you 100% percent of the time. No matter how hard you push off, the Blur will react as a second skin.
Adding to the lateral stability of the boot is the thicker synthetic that spans the entire lateral side-wall of the boot. This stiffer, more structurally stable material is designed to lock your foot in place, and add to the overall stability of the boot. The lateral wing itself is directly attached to the soleplate, positioned above three specific studs at the base of the forefoot. In terms of the functionality of all this new tech, everything works flawlessly. It isn’t often that an innovative design like this comes around, especially one that works so well.
The stud pattern itself is a combination of conical and bladed studs, but with a twist. The heel features a fairly standard layout of four bladed studs, so there’s not much to talk about there. When you move on to the forefoot, you’ll find three conical studs running along the medial side, where as the lateral side features two conical studs, transitioning to two bladed studs and middle support stud, making up the piece that is directly attached to the lateral wing. The conical studs themselves taper down from the base of the soleplate, making for a very small surface area at the tip of each stud. This allows for very easy and very deep ground penetration when playing on natural grass. Since the studs dig in so well, you get tons of grip at push off, but because they’re conical, you also have plenty of freedom to twist and turn once your foot has been planted. The three bladed studs isolated around the lateral wing act as one very solid push off point for lateral movements, allowing for solid grip at push off and a quick release.
You can tell that a lot of time and effort went into the traction element of the Blur Carbon III. Again I have to make comparisons to the Nike Mercurial vapor IX, which is not a bad thing at all, putting the Blur in a select group of shoes that excel when it comes to traction.
You cannot compare any previous synthetic UA boots to the Blur Carbon III, because the new synthetic that they’re using is so much better. There are two types of synthetic materials used on the Blur, as I explained earlier. You’ll find a stiffer, slightly thicker synthetic making up the majority of the lateral wall of the boot, while the rest of the upper is made from an ultra-thin microfiber. The microfiber synthetic upper is actually really nice. Its soft, flexible and has the smallest amount of cushion to it, giving the shoe that barefoot feel. It reminds me of the Sprintskin synthetic use on the F50 adizero, but just a little thicker, and a little softer. The shiny finish on the upper gives the shoe a slightly grippy touch on the ball, which felt great. I’m personally a big fan of the clean surface on the instep of the boot. Since the laces are pushed to the outside of the boot, the entire instep is free of any kind of obstructions, giving you that true barefoot feel.
The Blur Carbon III is designed to provide that barefoot feel, and that’s exactly what it does. The synthetic is soft, flexible, and very thin, allowing you to feel the ball tremendously well. If you’re looking for a true barefoot feel, the Blur will provide that.
Striking the ball feels fantastic in the Blur. The ultra-thin upper allows you to feel every bit of the ball, giving you a great sense of control when taking a strike. The off-center lacing system allows for a very clean striking surface, which is unique to the Blur in comparison to other shoes in this weight range. Not to mention the secure fit and the incredibly solid base that is a carbon fiber soleplate, its safe to say that you’ll enjoy striking the ball in the Blur Carbon III.
If you’re looking to be as light as possible, don’t expect to get much in the way of protection. The ultra-thin upper provides next to nothing in terms of protection should you get stepped on, so if you’re at all worried protection, than you should probably stay away from not only the Blur, but pretty much every lightweight soccer shoe currently on the market.
Its always difficult to predict the durability of a boot, but what I can tell you about the Blur Carbon III is that its by far the most solid feeling soccer shoe, in this weight range, that I’ve ever used. Everything feels well constructed, the materials are very high quality, so I don’t think that durability is going to be an issue here. I realize that the lacing system might be a worry for some, but just know that the upper is reinforced all around the laces in order to strengthen any potential weak spots. This is a shoe that I can definitely see lasting at least a full season’s worth of play. Keep in mind that the firm ground version of the UA Blur Carbon III is designed for use on firm natural grass playing surfaces. Use of this shoe, or any firm ground soccer shoe, on artificial grass/turf will have a major impact on the durability of the boot.
Every once and a while, a boot comes out of nowhere and really surprises me, and the Blur Carbon III is one of those shoes. Everything about this shoe just feels so well thought out, and the attention to detail is incredible. UA really thought of everything on this boot, making for a boot that feels truly complete. From the fit, the high quality synthetic upper and the incredible traction, the Blur is a truly elite pair of soccer shoes. Soccer shoes have changed tremendously in the last ten years, and if there were a shoe that I could take back in time to show the world the latest and greatest in soccer shoe technology, I would definitely bring along the Blur Carbon III. If you have written off Under Armour soccer shoes because of what they have produced over the last couple years, I would urge you to re-consider, because the Blur Carbon III is not only a great Under Armour shoes, its a great shoe period. If you’re on the market for a lightweight soccer shoe, I would take a good look at the Blur Carbon III, because it truly is one of the best lightweight options on the market.
|Comfort/Fit||10 out of 10|
|Weight||10 out of 10|
|Traction||10 out of 10|
|Touch||10 out of 10|
|Shooting||9 out of 10|
|Protection||6 out of 10|
|Durability||8 out of 10|
|FINAL SCORE||63 out of 70 or 90%|