Puma’s incorporation of its Netfit custom-lacing technology has gone down a hit with footballers and rugby players, giving them a host of lockdown options during play, and the German brand is looking to take its futuristic Future line a step further with the 4.1; but is there enough of a difference to snatch your attention?
It’s fair to say that the Future 4.1 is a tweak of the Future 19.1, rather than a full reinvention. The makeup of the boot remains the same, although there are a few tweaks for this season. The upper features a more geometric embossed pattern rather than the ‘tiger-stripes’ found on the 19.1, which won’t make a colossal difference, but it is a more aggressive pattern that should supply more grip on the ball when needed.
The upper itself is also slightly more stiff than the 19.1. After a few hours of play, the boot’s upper does loosen up a bit and becomes a bit softer, but there’s definitely a more robust approach to the Future 4.1 – perhaps highlighting the focus on providing the firmness for more powerful shots and firm dribbling.
There’s also a reworked heel-counter, wrapped with a orange ‘X’ pattern and iconic Puma logo, which gives a bit more support for the back of your foot than with previous iterations.
As for the colourway, the Anthem Pack (as it’s called) is a familiar combo of silver/grey and bright orange. It’s a tried-and-tested marriage that always looks good, and with a secondary set of grey laces, players can go for a more neutral look if desired.
Size-wise, the boots are true-to-size, and a size UK9 fits perfectly with a slight bit of room for some toe-wiggle while on the pitch. After numerous hours of action, there was no fiction or abrasion anywhere on my feet, and the sock-like inner provided some warmth and minor support to the ankle area, which doesn’t make a colossal difference, but does give a luxurious feel.
Puma’s conical stud-layout with some blades on the heel area is still the best in the business, and provides enough firm traction with medium manoeuvrability to swivel if need be, while having enough grip to accelerate without slippage.
Of course, with all Elite boots, there comes a price – and it’s R3,299. Once again, Puma continues to deliver one of the best all-round boots on the market, catering for the midfield or open-running player who wants some grip but requires some lightweight materials for speed too. So, if they’re within your budget, the Puma’s Future 4.1 is the most versatile boot available right now. There are some takedown models – such as the Puma Future 4.3 – available too.