The international rugby and football seasons are underway, and you know what that means? New boots! We’ve been keeping an eye on the players (and most specifically, their feet) to see what the boot manufacturers have in store for sports-lovers this season. Here’s our picks of the top 3:
Puma EvoPower 1.3
Puma have been delivering some great all-round quality boots in recent seasons, and their new range is capitalising on all the improvements seen over the years. While the EvoSpeed caters for the speedy backline players and football forwards, the Evopower is the answer to all those players (both of the oval and round ball) who are looking for control, grip, and of course, power.
The yellow/atomic blue look is a fantastic colour combo that will make sure you stand out on any and every pitch. As for the boot tech itself, one thing you definitely notice is the creases along the instep that make their way on to the toe-box. All of these smalls dips and raised areas are where Puma has placed the AccuFoam that has been ever-present on the evoPower series. This allows the upper to be totally smooth, flexible, and soft on the foot, giving you a great balance between feeling the ball and delivering enough cushioning to unleash a powerful kick.
The Evopowers are also incredible light, and the flex of the soleplate doesn’t sacrifice any traction, with a mix of conical studs and blades to prevent you from sliding around even in slightly muddy conditions.
Worn by: Elton Jantjies (Lions / Springboks), Ruan Combrinck (Lions / Springboks), Schalk Burger (Stormers).
Nike Magista Opus
Like me, my feet are slightly narrower than most, which Nike caters for quite nicely with their slimmer boot range. The Nike Magista Opus line has been generating a cult-like following, and the blue/grey colourway has many starting to lean towards the big Swoosh’s new releases.
The boots feature a Kanga-Lite upper which is incredibly soft on the roof of your foot, allowing you a great feel on the ball with no noticeable friction against your foot. Nike’s new fancy-sounding NikeSkin technology basically means that Nike has reduced any unnecessary layers in order to minimise weight and to create a fit closer to that of a sock, and it works.
A noticeable feature is the 3-D texture on the uppers, which results in some friction and grip on the ball, allowing you to slow a ball down easier and deliver passes much more precisely. This is ideal for the football playmaker or kicking rugby back.
All in all the Magista Opus is another classy instalment to Nike’s boot ranges. They’re light, comfortable, and have great traction on firm and softer grounds. In my eye, one of the best boots on the market today.
Worn by: Aidan Toua (Brumbies), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal/England), Michael Carrick (Manchester United / England).
Adidas Adizero Crazyquick Malice
Adidas continue their close relationship with specialised rugby boots with the release of the new Superlight range. Split into two categories, the Kakari Force (for forwards) and the adizero Crazyquick Malice (for backs), the new range is designed specifically with positional play in mind.
Looking specially at the Adizero Crazyquick Malice, the boots feature a neoprene sock (becoming a staple in the industry) designed to provide increased support and ankle stability. The boots also have a thinner, breathable upper material to achieve an overall lighter weight. Adidas claims they’re 25% lighter than Adidas’ previous collections, we can’t guarantee that, but we’ve contacted Adidas to review a pair.
Worn by: Israel Dagg (Crusaders / All Blacks), Damien de Allende (Stormers / Springboks), Ma’a Nonu (Toulon).
Which of the new season’s boots are your favourite? Tweet us @MenStuffZA and let us know what you think.
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