From the very first 1968 Puma King, one of footballs most iconic boot ranges has undergone a number of changes in its history. The latest in Puma's range of legendary football boots is the Puma King SL – a remastered version of the King Finale. Having already basked in Thierry Henry's return to Arsenal, the Puma King SL is an exciting prospect for boot fans eager to get their hands on a pair.
When a brand makes the decision to upgrade one of its already premium boots, it poses the average boot-buying Joe with the common ''is it worth it?'' question. For boots that are escalated above their silo's standard designs, they are often set at the higher end of the price scale. But where the Puma King SL is concerned, the relative jump in price might be the most justifiable yet.
In the modern world of football boots, lightweight design is paramount. For all of the King Finale's positives, the boots are a bulky 275g. Now armed with a new design, the King SL football boots are a significantly slimmer 225g, while maintaining the classic traits of any true Puma King. Lightweight and leather, the boots now combine two of the markets most sought after traits.
The Puma King SL inherits the same craftsmanship of the King range and is constructed using super-soft kangaroo leather. The material is a thinner grade of K-Leather than the standard Finale, making the upper noticeably lighter while offering the same comfort and performance advantages of any leather football boot.
One of the moves used by Puma to reduce weight is the bonded integration of a new 'Formstripe' design into the leather upper of the boot. It's a smart move by Puma and shows the level of detail invested in making these boots light on the scales. The new Puma 'Formstripe' removes the need for another layer of stitched leather material, as used on the standard King Finale.
One of our best-loved features of the new King SL is the redesigned tongue. Fold-over tongues are a thing of the past and for the King Finale, Puma recreated a heritage-inspired look at the cost of performance with a tongue that felt over-sized and bulky. For the Puma King SL, the boots are equipped with a super-sleek perforated tongue, skimming extra grams off the boot while making them more player-friendly.
Another significant difference is the alteration to heel counter, with all excessive materials being stripped back in another move to reduce weight. The TPU injected outsole does however remain. With this being one of the most popular features of the standard King Finale, PUMA's decision not to opt for a redesigned outsole isn't that surprising. The insoles do however differ, with the King SL featuring a super lightweight chassis insole.
When it comes to higher level premium boots, the price can always be a deal breaker, but with a reasonable price tag set at £160.00 GBP / $200.00 USD / €190.00 EURO (roughly £50.00 more than the King Finale and in-line with other lightweight leather football boots) they will certainly tempt a high number of leather boot fans! If you're not on the tightest budget, Puma's new King SL is certainly worth the upgrade!
Now that you've had a good look at both boots, do you think the Puma King SL is a worthy alternative to some of the markets lightest leather boots? To see our full feature on the Puma King SL football boots, click here. Share your thoughts on Puma's latest King design online, on Twitter and on Facebook.