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Puma Ultra 1.3 MG Review — Should You Be Wearing Hard Ground Boots?

We check out the mixed-ground version of Puma’s highly-rated Ultra 1.3.

Jeremy Proome

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Artificial grass boots are becoming increasingly popular due to the boom in artificial pitches across the world and their safety benefits. Furthermore, many players are even opting to wear AG boots on natural grass, due to their shorter studs and more comfortable feel. Puma’s artificial grass boots are actually called MG, or mixed-ground, boots, but while these AG boots are designed for synthetic pitches, their shorter, more forgiving studs are ideal for those who want the latest and greatest Puma models, but aren’t too fond of the overly aggressive blades found on the FG models.

Hence why we got our feet into the Puma Ultra 1.3 MG model. Puma’s Ultra boots have become favourites in the speed boot market, taking on the likes of Nike’ Mercurial Vapor and Adidas’ X series to the point where many will argue Puma’s entry is actually superior in many ways. The one caveat is that all these boots, including the firm ground Ultra which you’ll find in most stores, feature pretty aggressive studs.

The MG model, while a bit trickier to get hold of, features all the tech from the top of the range firm-ground model (soft, woven upper; lightweight structure; and grip control coating), but with a different sole-plate: the MG edition.

This soleplate features 25 short conical studs distributed evenly across the boot, giving you a vastly better weight distribution rather than that created by a handful of sharper blades or studs, as well as more maneuverability as ground penetration will be far less.

The result is a feeling that’s actually closer to a running shoe with some solid grip rather than the pressure points and elevated feel of a classic boot. That ‘closer to the ground’ feeling definitely delivers a sense of confidence and comfortability when making turns or cuts, as there is little to no chance of rolling an ankle over due to an awkward planting of the studs. Having no pressure or blisters from harsh stud positioning is a huge bonus, and this alone would help many players out there who suffer foot pain from most boot and stud types on the market.

Of course, there is a drawback to using these on natural grass. While they can be used on most hard surfaces, they aren’t going to replicate the aggressive traction found with bladed studs, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on your needs. If you’re a player who loves those sharp cuts and never wants any give or slippage, they may feel a little too forgiving for you. But for those who turn, pivot, and need a bit of respite for their joints, it’s hard not to recommend trying Puma’s MG variation.

Another thing to note is that the soleplate itself is a little thicker than the standard FG model (in order to handle the harshness of harder surfaces) which does add a little weight to the boot. On top of that, the boot doesn’t have a raised heel area, so you’re a fair bit more ‘flatter’ in your foot stance than wearing FG speed boots, which tend to have a slight but noticeable drop to help you lean forward.

While the studs are a godsend for players who want something more ‘gentle’, a point to note on the Ultra 1.3 MG specifically is the expanded toe box area. Likely due to the harder surfaces they’re designed to be used on, the toe-box appears to be slightly elevated and larger, which makes the sizing feel a bit too big. In a size UK9, any other Puma boot fits like a glove, however, these feel a half size to almost a full size too large, causing creasing on the upper when pushing off.

Strange length aside, the Ultra 1.3 MG is a very accommodating boot and will fit most people, giving more wide-footed players the opportunity to wear a high-end speed boot, whereas some of the other brands’ speed offerings are very slim and a little exclusionary.

The Puma Ultra 1.3 MG is a great boot for those who want something that has that soft, speed boot feel, but isn’t as aggressive underfoot, giving those more nimble and agility-based players something to swivel and turn in. Perhaps go down half a size if you’re picking up this particular model, but other than that, you can’t go wrong with the Ultra 1.3 MG.

You can pick up the Puma Ultra 1.3 MG from Pro Direct for £90 (around R1,760)*

*Pricing accurate at time of writing.

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