It's not every day you get your hands on a Premier League players match worn and signed football boots, and more interestingly for boot fans, an exclusive close-up look at the full customisation Mikel Arteta has on his Puma King's...
Arsenal and Spain star Mikel Arteta is a relative newcomer to the Puma brand, but with a look at his modified footwear you can see Puma look after their athletes and their needs. Also, from a consumers point of view it's great to see Mikel's boots began life as a standard firm ground pair of King Finale's.
The boots are a signed gift from Puma and Arteta, and sharing these with our fans was a must as we continue to give you exclusive access to the inner workings of the boot industry. We can certainly confirm the boots are match worn (they have quite an organic smell to them!), and what's great is they offer an insight into the importance of your footwear at the highest levels, and how players know what they want from their football boots to perform.
What instantly draws your attention on Mikel's football boots is the custom mixed stud sole-plate. The outsole, which began life as a standard firm ground King Finale, has six firm ground studs removed and replaced with aluminium soft-grounds. Mikel isn't alone in having a unique sole-plate as we've also seen Puma produce one for Cesc Fabregas, and the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba quite famously opt for their own sole-plate.
Looking at the outsole in more detail, you can see a more heavy duty rivet in the heel to attach to the upper. Although we can't know if this is a request from Mikel, we can be sure it's his decision to remove the middle stud from the fore area of the plate. The stud has been sheared off and also the ridge that protrudes smoothed down, which must be in relation to traction for the Spaniard.
In terms of fit and comfort, the boot shape and last appears to be standard when compared to the retail versions. Of course it's highly probable Mikel's boots are formed around his last which Puma will have 'on file'. But it's reassuring to see Arteta has the standard issue King Finale insole for comfort over a competitive 90 minutes, which features additional under heel padding for shock absorption.
It hasn't escaped our attention that Mikel removes the tongue from his Puma King football boots. Not uncommon for players at all levels of the game as it's a personal preference, and a close-up inspection reveals he's quite simply cut the tongue off. In doing this, Mikel has negated the need for the tri-hook fastening looping through the lacing system which he's also cut off.
The soft K leather on the King Finale's stand up to the rigours of Premier League football, as the stitching and shape have retained their high level of quality. The toe box has flattened and shaped to Mikel's foot as you'd expect with a soft stitched leather, and as happens and is completely expected on a leather boot, the toe area of the outsole has collected some turf and mud from various Premier League grounds!
Arteta has now of course moved into the Puma King Finale SL football boots, but the King is clearly a range he's very comfortable in. We feel quite privileged to be able to take such a close-up look at a professional players football boots and share them with the boots community, so our thanks go to Puma and Mikel.
What do you think of Mikel's Puma King Finale football boots and his customisations, do you have any of your own? Share your opinions and thoughts with the SoccerBible community online, on Twitter and on Facebook.