Concave Volt+ Knit Soccer Cleat Review

IMG_2432After watching the big three sports brands (Nike, adidas, and Puma) implement and perfect knitted football boots, Concave is now taking a stab at it as well with their new Volt+ Knit. Featuring an advanced micro-yarn upper with a knitted “sock” design, the Volt+ Knit caters to the changing demands of the game while staying true to the brand’s identity. In typical Concave fashion, you can find Concave’s patented Powerstrike element integrated into the upper. They’re available to purchase here. IMG_2418Tech Specs

The Volt+ Knit, labeled as a “speed” boot, features a Micro-Yarn Techstitch upper that provides a lightweight, soft-touch feel without compromising comfort and durability. This latest innovation includes a fully integrated Concave Powerstrike Design that is built into the upper, including a knitted “sock” design for extra comfort. The outsole is clear print TPU injection with a moulded, oval stud configuration for high traction on all natural surfaces. F3 (Football Form Fit) unique dual-lacing system technology snugly supports players’ feet without contorting the foots natural form. The Concave Volt+ Knit football boots are available to purchase here. IMG_2417The Look

When I first laid eyes on these boots, I’ll admit it—I thought they looked like clunky baseball cleats. If I’m being honest, I still think that. For Concave’s first try at a knitted boot, it doesn’t look terrible, but since it’s considered a “speed” boot, looking clunky definitely does not help its case. Also, for $249.99, many Nike and Adidas boots arguably look much better than these. Concave definitely has their work cut out for them for the next generation of Volt+ Knit. The Blue/White/Red colorway is nice and simple; if you’re a USA, France, or England fan, you’ll probably like this colorway. IMG_2420Performance

The main feature of the Concave Volt+ Knit is, of course, the knit “Techstitch” upper. On foot, it feels pretty comfortable and flexible. The knit feels soft and high quality, and the boot feels quite durable. However, I wouldn’t consider this “speed” boot thin or lightweight. Compared to the Vapor 12 Elite, Nike’s current speed boot, these definitely feel a bit heavier, clunkier, and thicker. The touch on the ball has a decent amount of grip and feels slightly more padded than the Vapor 12 Elite. The knitted “sock” design is basically a one inch thick elastic knit ring around the ankle that lacks any sort of protective coating, making it very stretchy and soft like a sock. This reminds me exactly of the adidas Ace 16.1 Primeknit from early 2016, since that boot had the same exact thing. IMG_2425Concave masterfully integrated the patented Powerstrike Design into the knit upper of the boot, a task that seems tricky considering the soft nature of the upper. Originally, I was skeptical of the plastic Powerstrike piece laying underneath the knit in the “tongue” area as I thought it would bunch up or move around, but Concave have reinforced this piece very well by stitching a supportive, padded base with a pull tab directly underneath it. However, it’s extremely difficult to tell whether this piece adds any power to your strikes (its intended purpose), and since it just creates unnecessary bulk in the laces area, it may be doing more harm than good. I’m sure this boot would look and feel a lot less clunky and bulky without this piece, but then again, the whole point of a Concave boot is that every model has this plastic Powerstrike element that’s supposed to increase shot power. IMG_2428The TPU soleplate is very durable, flexible, and lightweight. Concave has been using this material for years now, serving as a perfect example of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” The oval stud configuration provides great traction on firm, natural grass. There’s a pull tab at the back of the heel to help you get the boots on easier, but it’s completely useless because you can’t even put a finger through it. A larger, more functional pull tab would make getting on the boots much easier. IMG_2424Fit & Feel

In the beginning, it felt awkward tying the laces directly on top of the plastic Powerstrike element, but with time, I got used to it. You’re still able to achieve a snug fit and proper lockdown despite the element adding extra bulk in the laces area. When the laces are tied tightly, the knit upper hugs your foot nice and snug and provides a comfortable, secure fit. In typical speed boot fashion, the Volt+ Knit fits pretty narrow; if you have very wide feet, I recommend staying away from these boots. In terms of sizing, I recommend going down half a size to achieve the best fit possible. IMG_2421The Verdict 

There was a lot to be said with the comfortable yet clunky-looking Volt+ Knit; from the soft micro-yarn upper to the unique Powerstrike Design element, there’s a lot going on with this boot. It’s arguable whether it’s worth the $249.99 price tag. However, one thing is clear: Concave did a decent job for their first ever knitted boot but need to improve on some things for the next one. You can purchase a pair for yourself here. IMG_2413

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Adidas Copa Mundial Soccer Cleat Review

IMG_4267One of the most popular soccer cleats of the past 20 years, and for good reason. This classic, old school, high quality boot has a great fit, a simple look, a classic kangaroo leather upper, and unmatched comfort making it the top choice for players in search of that classic look and a comfortable fit. They’re available to purchase on Amazon.

IMG_4278Tech Specs

-Kangaroo leather upper

-Foam insole for comfort

-Synthetic lining

-Direct-injected outsole for optimized fit and comfort

-Durable firm ground outsole for use on firm natural grounds

The adidas Copa Mundial soccer cleats are available for around one hundred fifty US dollars on Amazon.

IMG_4270My Thoughts

Fit & Touch: Breaking in the classic Copa Mundials was surprisingly very quick and easy. It only took two training sessions before the boots started to fit very comfortably. It does take a bit longer for the soft and supple kangaroo leather upper to truly mold to your feet and offer the best possible fit, though. The fit is definitely not true to size; I recommend going down a full size as these boots are longer than regular boots and also because the kangaroo leather will stretch over time. The kangaroo leather upper found on the Copa Mundial is some of the softest I’ve ever experienced; I can definitely see why these boots have been so popular for the past 20 years. It becomes super soft and supple after a couple hours of wearing the boots and provides a true touch on the ball.

IMG_4285Performance: The Copa Mundial is a simple, classic boot that performs pretty well. It has no new technology whatsoever; it just has a kangaroo leather upper with an extended tongue on a direct-injected firm ground outsole. The kangaroo leather upper feels very comfortable on feet and offers a great touch on the ball while the simple direct-injected outsole offers good traction on firm ground surfaces, like natural grass. After testing these boots for a few weeks, I have not found any signs of deterioration or separation of the upper from the soleplate so it looks like these will hold up for quite some time.

IMG_4294Overall, the Copa Mundial continues to be sold to this day because it sets itself apart from nearly every other boot on the market. Unlike every modern boot, it doesn’t features any new technology. Instead, it features a soft, kangaroo leather upper, a classic fold-over tongue, and a direct-injected outsole for use on firm ground surfaces. Adidas have proven that simple is enough in this case; the Copa Mundial is undoubtedly old school and suits players in search of just that. You can pick up a pair for yourself on Amazon.IMG_4295

Adidas Gloro 16.1 Soccer Cleat Review

adidas gloro 16.1 soccer cleatsA more affordable and modern version of the beloved Copa Mundial, the adidas Gloro 16.1 soccer cleat offers a soft kangaroo leather toe box, a synthetic leather midfoot, and eleven conical studs. Priced around one hundred ten US dollars, it’s a simple yet effective and affordable boot for players in search of a classic look and a comfortable fit. They’re available to purchase in a variety of colors on Amazon.

IMG_1793Tech Specs

Made for firm ground pitches, the outsole features only conical studs and a comfort frame for stability. An EVA insole absorbs some of the shock on hard, dry fields. With a soft kangaroo leather toe box, the Gloro 16.1 offers that classic leather touch while the synthetic midfoot provides stability for powerful strikes.

-Premium K-leather vamp with synthetic leather in heel for great combination of softness and stability

-Synthetic lining for a lockdown fit and step-in comfort

-Die-cut EVA insole for lightweight comfort and shock absorption

-Flexible TPU firm ground outsole with comfort frame and eleven conical studs

The adidas Gloro 16.1 is available in a variety of colors for around one hundred ten US dollars on Amazon.

IMG_1833My Thoughts

Breaking In & Fit: Within the first day of testing the Gloro 16.1 out, I did not experience any pain, discomfort, or have an awkward fit. They fit perfectly right out of the box and hug my feet nice and snug. That being said, there really isn’t a “break in” period for these boots; they feel very comfortable from the first time playing in them and only get more comfortable the more you wear them. The fit isn’t too tight or narrow; it feels pretty snug at first, but the kangaroo leather stretches over time making for a more comfortable fit that should fit most foot types. The adidas Gloro 16.1 runs true to size.

IMG_1841Performance: The Gloro 16.1 has proven to be a very good and high quality boot for its relatively low price point (MSRP is one hundred ten US dollars). The kangaroo leather toe box is pretty soft right out of the box, but gets even softer and stretches the more you wear the boots. It offers a nice padded leather sensation when dribbling or striking the ball. What’s so great about the Gloro 16.1 having a synthetic midfoot is that it’s extremely stable and supportive, allowing you to achieve maximum power when striking the ball. I had no issues with the perforated synthetic lining; the step-in comfort you get when putting on the boots is impressive. The lockdown you can achieve with the Gloro is also quite impressive. The outsole features a comfort frame for stability, and that definitely holds true from my experience testing these boots. The eleven conical studs (seven up front, four at the back) get great traction on firm, natural ground surfaces, like dry grass. They penetrate the ground well and allow you to turn easier with the ball at your feet. Note that the Gloro is not designed or made for artificial grass; it’s strictly intended for firm ground use only.

IMG_1845IMG_1851Durability & Looks: I really don’t foresee the Gloro 16.1 having any durability issues, especially since the back quarter and heel are synthetic. After testing these boots for two months, I have not found any signs of deterioration or possible durability issues. However, because the toe box is kangaroo leather, that area is most susceptible to deterioration; it’s known that k-leather doesn’t hold up too well when exposed to wet or sloppy weather. To attempt to combat this, looking after your cleats and washing them after those exposures is advised. The Gloro 16.1 definitely sports a simple and classic look with it’s “Vivid Red” upper and three adidas white stripes on both the lateral and medial side of the boot. There’s nothing too extravagant or out of the ordinary with these boots, making them a nice, basic option for all that take a liking to these. They also come in other colors such as black, white, and blue.

IMG_1866Overall, the Gloro 16.1 is a boot focused on simplicity and comfort and for a very competitive price of one hundred ten US dollars (MSRP). It’s definitely a more modern and affordable version of the traditional Copa Mundial, with much needed modern improvements such as the weight-saving synthetic midfoot and the comfort frame outsole. You can purchase a pair for yourself on Amazon.IMG_1807

New Balance Audazo Pro Turf Soccer Shoe Review

IMG_8831Designed for small-sided play on 3g surfaces, the Audazo Pro Turf soccer shoe features a lightweight synthetic upper and an aggressive texture toe cap to deliver lightweight performance, fit and feel made for a true competitor. Traction and support take center field with an Ndurance rubber outsole combined with Pro Bank technology and a REVlite midsole. They’re available on Amazon.

IMG_8819Tech Specs

The Audazo Pro Turf shoe features a synthetic/mesh upper that is breathable and flexible. Plus, the rubber molded outsole offers a superior grip, comfort and durability on 3g surfaces.

  • Additional widths
  • Lightweight, cut-out, rubber turf outsole for specific use on turf pitches
  • Printed graphic visible through transparent rubber outsole
  • Removable Fresh Foam insert
  • REVlite midsole with Pro bank insert for added support during cutting movements
  • Synthetic vamp and medial quarters
  • Textured toe bumper for durability
  • TPU and mono mesh lateral for increased breathability

The New Balance Audazo Pro Turf shoes are available in sizes 7-13 (including half sizes) for approx. $100 USD on Amazon.

IMG_8828IMG_8838My Thoughts

Fit & Breaking In: The Audazo Pro Turf is definitely not a shoe that you can take out of the box and immediately play a game in. Because the synthetic upper and rubber outsole is initially pretty rigid, you need to take baby steps in breaking in these shoes to achieve the most comfortable fit. After wearing the shoes for several practices and training sessions, I found that the flexibility and comfort had gradually increased the more I played in them. In terms of the fit, I went with my usual size 7.5 although the fit was a bit tighter than usual. New Balance suggests ordering a 1/2 size bigger than your typical NB size since the shoes have a “performance fit.” The shoe itself seems to be a bit on the narrow side.

IMG_8844IMG_8841Feel & Touch: Once broken in, the shoes feel very comfortable on feet. The mesh tongue allows for decent breathability since the synthetic upper doesn’t allow for much. The flexible synthetic upper, although not very breathable, gets a great touch on the ball and has a pingy sensation when striking the ball. Although it doesn’t offer as nice of a touch as a leather turf shoe (specifically the adidas Mundial Team), the durability that comes with this synthetic upper is well worth it. Priced similarly to most other popular turf shoes on the market, the Audazo Pro Turf offers a great touch on the ball that makes it worth checking out, especially if you’re looking to try something that’s not from Nike, adidas or Puma.

IMG_8835IMG_8849Performance: Due to the high quality synthetic upper and the texture toe bumper, the durability of the Audazo Pro Turf is great. Having worn these shoes for several months now, I have not experienced any deterioration or issues with durability and I do not foresee these problems in the future. The rubber turf outsole gets an amazing grip on 3g surfaces, making this a serious contender for Nike, adidas and Puma turf shoes. I had no problem changing directions, accelerating, decelerating or making sharp turns while wearing these shoes. The removable Fresh Foam insert is very thin, lightweight and offers great comfort. The REVlite midsole, composed of a foam compound, allows for a very comfortable, supportive and responsive ride. The internal heel counter locks your foot in place for extra stability.

IMG_8850IMG_8855IMG_8837Overall, the New Balance Audazo Pro Turf shoes offer almost everything a good pair of turf shoes should have; comfort, stability, a great grip and a good touch, but they lack breathability. This may not be a deal breaker for many players but it’s worth noting as your feet could get pretty sweaty in there. For approx. $100 USD, the Audazo Pro Turf is a great contender for many of the popular turf shoes already on the market and is a worthwhile option for those looking to try a shoe from someone other than the big three brands Nike, adidas and Puma. For more information or if you’re interested in purchasing, visit Amazon and check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.IMG_8829

Puma Future 18.1 Netfit

Puma Future 18.1 Netfit Review

Puma Future 18.1 NetfitGone 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

Puma Future 18.1 NetfitPuma Future 18.1 NetfitThe Look

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.

Puma Future 18.1 NetfitPuma Future 18.1 NetfitTech Specs

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.

Puma Future 18.1 NetfitThe Touch

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.

Puma Future 18.1 NetfitPuma Future 18.1 NetfitPuma Future 18.1 NetfitFit 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.

Puma Future 18.1 NetfitPuma Future 18.1 NetfitThe Verdict

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. Puma Future 18.1 NetfitPuma Future 18.1 Netfit

New Balance Visaro Pro Soccer Cleat Review

New Balance Visaro ProThe Visaro Pro is a top end New Balance soccer cleat with a mid tier price tag. Worn by Aaron Ramsey and Marouane Fellaini, it comes equipped with a 4mm Ariaprene mesh upper, a TPU “Rotation Zone,” a Fresh Foam footbed, and more. With an array of technological features, a comfortable fit, and a very appealing price point, the Visaro Pro is a great bang for your buck.

IMG_5908Tech Specs

-4mm Ariaprene® mesh upper

-Additional wide fitting

-Bio-mechanical stud placements

-Debossed 2mm “Sweetspot”

-For use on firm ground surfaces

-Lightweight nylon outsole with polished TPU “Rotation Zone”

-Low pressure zone instep for instant control

-Medial pivot zone for supremely quick turns

-Pro-form last for unsurpassed feel and unbelievable comfort

-PU bonded top layer

-Super-Flex soleplate for exceptional ground contact

-Fresh Foam footbed/midsole provides a plush, more natural ride

-Internal heel counter

The New Balance Visaro Pro soccer cleats are available in US Sizes 6.5-13 (including half sizes) for $179.99 USD on newbalance.com.

IMG_5921IMG_5914My Thoughts

Fit & Breaking In: I have heard nothing but great things about the New Balance Visaro so I have been very excited to test them out. Immediately upon slipping your feet into the boots, the synthetic upper hugs your feet pretty snugly (especially in the toe box) and comfortably, similar to the Hypervenom Phantom. The Visaro fits true to size and offers great lockdown. My foot feels like it’s locked well into place once I tie the laces nice and tight. The area around the heel is noticeably cut lower than what you’d normally find on a soccer cleat, making for a more shallow feel on feet but you get used to it over time. The 4mm Ariaprene mesh upper noticeably becomes softer and more flexible after wearing the boots for a couple of hours. The synthetic suede heel liner is very soft to the touch and is padded for comfort. There isn’t really an actual break in period for these boots as they’re ready to go from right out of the box, but I recommend gradually increasing your wear time in them just to get used to the fit and feel of them on your feet. If you have very wide feet and are concerned if these will fit you, New Balance offers an additional wide fitting Visaro.

IMG_5903IMG_5916Feel & Touch: The Visaro Pro is more often than not compared to the original Hypervenom Phantom from Nike. The upper of the Visaro is very similar to the honeycomb pattern on the Hypervenom, and both have that waxy/grippy but smooth feel to the touch. The undistracted surface on the instep and toe box of the boot allows for clean and crisp passes and strikes. Just like with the Hypervenom Phantom, I get a powerful ’pingy’ sensation when striking the ball in the Visaro Pros. In terms of weight, the Visaro Pro weighs 10 grams heavier than the Hypervenom Phantom, but this difference is hardly noticeable on feet.

IMG_5924IMG_5904Performance: There is nowhere near as much rollover with the Visaro Pro as there is with the original Hypervenom Phantom (there are no Flywire cables to prevent rollover). The TPU plastic Super-Flex soleplate is a bit stiff right out of the box, but it becomes much more flexible after some wear time. The triangular studs dig into firm ground surfaces really well; I had no problem changing directions, making sharp turns, accelerating, or decelerating. Unlike most top end soccer cleats, the Visaro Pro’s midsole is glued in the shoe to prevent slippage; it is not able to be removed (or easily, at least). The Fresh Foam footbed offers a comfortable, cushioned ride underfoot, more so than most regular insoles.

IMG_5912Overall, the New Balance Visaro Pro is a comfortable, high quality, top end soccer cleat with an attractive price point. Normally, for a boot with these many high quality features, you’d be paying about $80-$100 USD more if it was adidas or Nike, so for just $180 USD, the Visaro Pro is a steal and is definitely worth picking up. For more information or if you’re interested in purchasing, visit newbalance.com and check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.