Umbro Speciali 4 Pro Review
Umbro has really refined the Speciali model with the release of the Umbro Speciali 4 Pro. Aesthetically it may not appear to be all that different, but the fit and quality of materials used on the Speciali 4 is far better than the previous model. The upper is made from a very high quality kangaroo leather, giving the boot an amazing feel. The leather quality of the Speciali 4 is some of the best currently on the market, rivaling shoes like the Adidas Copa Mundial and Nike Premier.
Other comfort elements besides the kangaroo leather upper include a nicely padded, perforated synthetic heel liner, which provides a comfortable fit, as well as keeps your heel locked in place. The removable insole is well cushioned, with additional Poron foam inserts at the heel and forefoot, providing a solid yet cushioned feel. The A-Frame cradle through the mid-foot really does its part to keep your foot locked inside the boot, even after it has stretched, making for a slightly more secure feeling than you might get from other full leather soccer shoes.
From right out of the box, the leather is super soft and flexible, but like any leather shoe, some break-in time is required before the boots start to feel just right. After a few hours of wear-time, you’ll find that the leather upper softens up even more, making for a truly custom fit and feel. This is a shoe that will stretch a fair bit, so make sure they have a snug fit from brand new in order to make sure that they don’t over stretch.
The Umbro Speciali 4 Pro runs very true to size. I wore my usual size 9US for review, and the fit in the length was absolutely perfect. So, if you’re looking to order a pair for yourself, I would strongly recommend going true to size for the best possible fit. Since the leather upper does have a decent amount of stretch to it, the Speciali is well suited for most foot types, even wider footed players. One additional note regarding the fit is the inclusion of the extra top lace hole on the Speciali 4. It allows you to get an extremely secure and locked down feel, that is sometimes difficult to achieve on a boot with such a soft leather upper.
The Umbro Speciali 4 Pro weighs in at 9.2oz, which is right on par with other shoes in the same category, like the Nike Tiempo Legend 4. At this weight range, the shoes feel very solid on your feet without feeling clunky. This is by no means a pair of shoes that is going to weigh you down, and if you’ve worn this style of shoe in the past, than you’ll feel right at home in the Speciali 4 Pro.
The soleplate and stud pattern on the Speciali 4 Pro is identical to the previous model. Similar to the layout of the Nike Tiempo series, the Speciali stud pattern features four conical studs on the both the lateral and medial sides of the forefoot, with two bladed support studs in the middle and four bladed studs under the heel. The conical studs themselves all have fairly large bases, making for a very stable feel. The larger size of the studs also means that they don’t penetrate the ground quite as easily as other stud patterns, like what you might find on the current Tiempo Legend 4, but the performance is still very good. The aggressive blades under the heel provide plenty of stability and grip when planting for a strike, playing into the overall solid feel of the Speciali 4 Pro. The stud pattern provides a nice blend of grip and maneuverability on firm, natural grass playing surfaces, and is also well suited for harder natural playing surfaces as well.
Given that the majority of the upper is made from ultra soft kangaroo leather, the feel of the Umbro Speciali 4 Pro is amazing. I’m personally a huge fan of traditionally styled, leather soccer shoes, so the Speciali 4 Pro was right up my alley. There aren’t any gimmicks or any “obstructions” found on the upper, only the natural finish of the soft kangaroo leather upper. The leather itself has a nice thickness to it, giving that classic soft touch on the ball that you would expect from any top end leather shoe. It has the soft touch of a classic leather boot, without the extra bulk. Its tough to explain simplicity, but what I can tell you is that if you’re looking for a traditional, high quality, kangaroo leather feel, than you have a great option in the Umbro Speciali 4 Pro.
Striking the ball in the Speciali 4 is nothing that you wouldn’t expect. The boot does not feature any kind of striking elements, but the lacing system is pushed to the lateral side of the boot, leaving you with a slightly larger striking zone, free of any laces. The natural padding of the leather gives the boot a nicely cushioned feel upon impact with the ball, which is a feeling that I’m personally a big fan of. If simplicity is something that is important to you in a soccer shoe, than you’ll enjoy shooting in the Speciali 4.
Like most leather soccer shoes, the Speciali 4 Pro provides some pretty decent protection. The natural padding of the leather provides some provides plenty of impact protection should you get stepped on, while the internal plastic heel counter provides some decent protection should you take a kick to the back of the heel. If protection is something that is important to you, than you’ll feel perfectly safe wearing the Speciali 4 Pro.
You can count on Umbro to put out a quality product, and the Speciali is a prime example of that. It uses some of the highest quality kangaroo leather currently available on any boot, making not only for a soft touch, but also solid durability. Throughout testing I had absolutely no issues at all with the durability of the boot, and even after weeks of playing, everything on this boot feels just as solid as it was from day one. This is definitely a boot that should get you through at least season’s worth of play. Keep in mind that the Speciali 4 Pro features a natural leather upper, 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 Speciali 4, or any FG boot for that matter, is designed for use on natural grass playing surfaces. Using any FG shoe on an artificial playing surface will have a major impact on the durability of the boot.
To say the least, I was very pleased with the Speciali 4 Pro. The quality of the kangaroo leather alone makes the Speciali 4 an attractive option, but when you take into consideration the fit and solid build quality of the boot, there is no reason why you shouldn’t consider the Speciali 4 Pro if you’re on the market for a traditionally styled soccer shoe. If you’re looking for that classic leather feel, than I would strongly recommend the Speciali 4 Pro.
|Comfort/Fit||10 out of 10|
|Weight||8 out of 10|
|Traction||8 out of 10|
|Touch||10 out of 10|
|Shooting||8 out of 10|
|Protection||8 out of 10|
|Durability||9 out of 10|
|FINAL SCORE||61 out of 70 or 87%|