Under Armour Blur Carbon III Kangaroo Leather Review
The Under Armour Blur Carbon III is the perfect example of what a modern day soccer shoe can be, and with the option to now have a kangaroo leather upper, you can have all of the modern tech, with the classic touch of soft leather. Everything about the Blur Carbon III is cutting edge and has 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 Blur Carbon III K is honestly one of the most comfortable boots that I have ever worn. Nearly the entire upper, at least all of the important parts, are made from ultra-soft, high quality kangaroo leather, providing tremendous flexibility and a custom fit. The leather itself is on the thinner side, and fits well with the lightweight theme of the boot. For such a lightweight soccer shoe, the Blur Carbon III K is extremely comfortable, especially after a couple hours of wear-time. The leather does have some decent stretch to it, allowing for a wide array of foot types to fit comfortably. I have average width feet and had no issues with the fit whatsoever, and feel that the boot could accommodate wider foot types quite comfortably as well.
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 synthetic materials.
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, but instead the entire upper of the shoe from the instep flows over the top of your foot, wrapping over to the outside. The laces 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 K, it works incredibly well. Not only does the shoe fit really well, but it’s 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 boot the step-in comfort of a running shoe.
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 K. I wore a size 10US and 9.5US for review, which are both bigger than my usual size 9US, and that’s simply because the boots run a little small. You will get some decent stretch out of the kangaroo leather upper, so if the shoes fit a little tight from right out of the box, don’t worry, they’re going to stretch. If you’re looking to order a pair for yourself, I would recommend going half a size up for a tighter fit, or a full size up for something that will still fit snug, but will also have a little bit of breathing room. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference.
The UA Blur Carbon III K has a listed weight of 7oz, which is very lightweight for a kangaroo leather soccer shoe. While it is a kangaroo leather soccer shoe, the design and fit of the boot makes for a very secure feel, which only adds to the lightweight feel of the boot. While there are other lightweight kangaroo leather options out there, none of them match the Blur Carbon III K when it comes to the amount of leather featured on the upper, so you get that lightweight feel, while still maintaining a soft, kangaroo leather touch.
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 and stability.
Kangaroo leather is considered to be the best of the best when it comes to touch for so many reasons, which is why I was so excited when I found out the UA would be releasing the Blur Carbon III in kangaroo leather. The design of the boot hasn’t really changed much from the synthetic version, all that’s different is the main synthetic material used on the upper is now kangaroo leather. The kangaroo leather itself is really high quality, providing that classic, soft touch on the ball. The leather is on the thinner side, but I personally like the thin leather, as it plays into the whole lightweight feel of the Blur Carbon III.
The smooth finish of the leather upper allows the ball to slide freely against your foot when dribbling, making for a very natural feel on the ball. I was worried that the fold over tongue design wouldn’t work well with a full kangaroo leather upper, but to me, it actually felt even more comfortable than the synthetic model. The carbon fiber lateral wing is something that seems to worry a lot of people when it comes to touch, but trust me when I say that it does not interfere with your feel for the ball whatsoever, and isn’t even noticeable.
If you’re looking for that classic leather feel, while still maintaining a lightweight yet solid construction, nothing on the market can provide this package as well as the Blur Carbon III K.
Striking the ball feels fantastic in the Blur. The thin kangaroo leather upper provides a slightly padded feel when striking the ball, but is still thin enough to where you get that responsive sensation. The off-centered 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 K.
Protection is definitely not the strong suit of the Blur Carbon III K, although it is more protective than the synthetic upper variation. The leather upper does provide some impact protection should you get stepped on, but since it’s so thin, you’ll still feel the majority of the blow. For a leather soccer shoe, there isn’t much in the way of protection, but it doesn’t leave you completely exposed either.
The build quality and materials used on the Blur Carbon III K is top notch. Everything is well put together and feels very solid as a final product. Throughout testing I had no issues at all regarding durability, and nothing really jumped out at me as a potential concern. This is a boot that you should easily be able to get at least a season’s worth out of, if not longer should you take proper care of them. One thing to note is that the Blur Carbon III K features a natural leather upper, so some maintenance is required in order to keep the upper in optimal condition.
Keep in mind that the firm ground version of the UA Blur Carbon III K 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.
The Blur Carbon III K met every one of my expectations. I’m a huge fan of what UA originally did with the synthetic Blur Carbon III, and with the implementation of kangaroo leather, the overall package couldn’t have been more attractive. The soft leather upper in combination with an incredibly comfortable fit, lightweight construction and responsive feel makes this a boot that anybody would be impressed with. While many will overlook the Blur Carbon III simply because it isn’t made by the likes of Nike or Adidas, those that do give it a try might be shocked at what they were missing out on. The Blur Carbon III K has become one of the go to boots currently in my rotation, and is a boot that I can strongly recommend to anybody.
|Comfort/Fit||10 out of 10|
|Weight||9 out of 10|
|Traction||10 out of 10|
|Touch||10 out of 10|
|Shooting||9 out of 10|
|Protection||7 out of 10|
|Durability||8 out of 10|
|FINAL SCORE||63 out of 70 or 90%|