Gone are the days of endlessly searching for the perfect-fitting boot since Puma have recently come out with, quite literally, the Future. Featuring customizable lacing as part of Puma’s new Netfit technology, an evoKNIT ankle sock, and a lightweight Pebax outsole, the revolutionary Future 18.1 Netfit is one of the most accommodating boots on the market, engineered for players of all foot types looking for a truly customizable and form-fitting synthetic football boot. They’re available on Amazon.
When I first laid eyes on this Fizzy Yellow/Red Blast/Puma Black colorway, I was captivated by its brightness and unique graphics. “Fizzy Yellow,” which is drenched all over the upper of the Future 18.1 Netfit, is bright but not overwhelmingly so. “Red Blast” is the color of the Puma branding found at the heel, on the soleplate, on the pull tab, and on the lateral side of the boot, and “Puma Black” serves as the dominant color of the digital-esque graphics carrying from the upper to the translucent Pebax soleplate. Personally, I love flashy colorways so I’m all over this one, but for those who aren’t, Puma released a more subtle Puma Black/Fizzy Yellow/Asphalt colorway back in November. Besides the eye-catching colorway, the boot itself definitely looks futuristic (no pun intended). When laced up as Puma’s suggested “the speedster” or “the goal machine” lace configurations, it truly does look like a revolutionary boot with a purpose of innovating the current football boot space. The unique Netfit technology and evoKNIT ankle sock gives the Future 18.1 Netfit a modern look that will surely have players checking them out.
With a name as bold as “future,” the Future 18.1 Netfit most definitely comes equipped with Puma’s latest technology and features. Their new Netfit technology provides infinite lacing options for any foot shape, lock-down, or style needed, creating a custom, snug fit for top on-pitch performance. When I first learned about this new lacing system, I was intrigued by the innumerable lacing configurations and loved the idea of being able to truly customize your fit. Having tested it out, I’m an even bigger fan of the technology as it allows me to achieve the most snug, foot-hugging fit possible and look cool while doing so. However, lacing the boots does take some time and effort; some of the holes are harder to get the laces through than others, especially near the Puma formstrip on the lateral side of the boots. Also, if you’re in a rush or using too much force, I’m concerned that the lace tips could break. To prevent this from happening, you really have to take your time and be careful with lacing the boots. The evoKNIT ankle sock hugs your ankle nice and snug and makes for a seamless transition from your leg to your foot; you don’t feel one point or area where the boot starts, something you feel with a traditional low cut boot. The Pebax outsole is lightweight and features a combination of conical and bladed studs for flexibility, grip, and maneuverability.
Due to the form-fitting synthetic upper and Netfit lacing technology, the Puma Future 18.1 Netfit offers a true, solid touch on the ball. With the Netfit lacing technology laying directly on top of the upper, you get a pingy sensation when striking the ball which I really like; and if you’re worried that the Netfit technology makes the upper feel bulky, it doesn’t. The raised upper (due to the Netfit system laying on top) coupled with a thin protective coating over the toe box provides great grip and texture on the ball which is noticeable during play. Considering the touch the Puma Future 18.1 Netfit provides, I’d say it’s very similar to the first generation Nike Magista Obra which featured a Flyknit upper and sported a similar “honeycomb” pattern. Both boots offer a true, pingy touch when striking the ball.
Fit and Feel
As I had originally hoped, the Future 18.1 Netfit was ready to go straight out of the box; there was no break in time needed. The boots feel very comfortable and lightweight on feet, and the Pebax outsole is quite flexible and springy. I like how Puma went with a mix of conical and bladed studs for the soleplate as it provides great traction on both firm ground and artificial grass, making this a viable option for players wanting a single boot to use on both surfaces. The synthetic upper begins to form to your foot after some time playing in the boots, and the lockdown you receive once you lace them to your liking is incredible. Whether you have narrow feet, wide feet, or something in between, you can definitely achieve a comfortable fit and impressive lockdown once you find which lacing configuration is the best for you. If you have narrow feet, I recommend lacing wider to achieve greater lockdown, and if you have wide feet, I recommend lacing more narrow to achieve a comfortable and not overly tight fit. Once I found the configuration that worked for me, I stuck with it, but you can feel free to change up the style if you have a special game or just want to try something different. Despite being able to customize your fit, I found that the toe box was a bit wide. This is good news for players with wide feet, but for players with narrow feet, this just means you don’t get a super snug foot-hugging fit in toe box area. The evoKNIT ankle sock aids in the Future 18.1 Netfit’s comfortable fit as it hugs your ankle nice and snug without being too tight. The sock is very stretchy and so far, it hasn’t loosened up or lost its elasticity, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to anytime soon. The Future 18.1 Netfit fits true to size as I went with my usual size seven and they fit perfect.
Overall, the Puma Future 18.1 Netfit is an innovative game changer, one that offers a truly customizable fit and allows for individual creativity. They offer a clean, pingy touch on the ball thanks to the soft, form-fitting synthetic upper. Thanks to Puma’s new Netfit technology, these boots are suitable for both players with narrow and wide feet. The only problem that they presented me with was the difficulty of lacing them in some areas of the Netfit system; I’d like to see Puma improve on this in future generations. Other than that, I’m fully impressed with Puma’s innovative push forward in the boot world and look forward to seeing more of the creativity these unique boots call for. You can pick up a pair for yourself on Amazon. You can check out my unboxing of these boots here and watch how to lace them here.
Categories: Soccer Cleats