The Nike CTR360 Maestri II football boots have been a big hit since their official release in December 2010. With the 10/11 season coming to an end, we thought it would be an appropriate time to play-test potentially the summers most wanted football boot!
Just as Europe's biggest clubs will be deciding who to sign in the transfer window, we're sure lots of you are already thinking about what boots to buy for next season! With rave reviews and some of Europe’s best players wearing them, the CTR360 Maestri II will be a major consideration come the summer!
As you can see, our choice of colourway was the new White/Black/Tour Yellow CTR360. Above all of the technological features that have made this boot so popular, the CTR360 Maestri II is one of the most visually impressive boots we've seen in a long time. The two colour break down of the upper is the main visual attribute that contributes to its strong visibility on pitch.
The design is simple but effective and offers a classy and understated feel. Upon release, it was good to see Nike reverted to block colour combinations in place of the gradient colourways that featured on the later CTR360 Maestri boots. Complimented by a solid silver line and black swoosh, the White/Black/Tour Yellow CTR boots cast a great first impression. Basically, they look great!
One of the first things we were reminded of when putting on the CTR boots was the suede-lined heel. The suede heel not only offers improved comfort when running, but also makes the boots easier to slide onto the foot.
Once on, the CTR360 lives up to it's reputation. These boots are extremely comfortable and feel ready for action straight out of the box. They provide an improved fit in comparison to its predecessor. With the new lower lacing system, the boots offer a tighter, more secure fit across the whole shoe. If you weren't aware, these boots could easily have been sepcifically tailored to every contour of your foot!
It's no secret that the CTR's have built a reputation for being one of the most comfortable boots available. Nike have also made step forwards with their bespoke Kanga-lite material as the Maestri II offers a softer feel than the original.
The only noticeable negative when we first put the boots on was the weight. At 10.8oz, the standard CTR isn't exactly a light boot. In comparison to the Elite, the standard CTR360 Maestri II might carry too much on the scales for those after a super-light boot.
From our experiences of having worn the Elite editions of the CTR360 Maestri II, the standard versions seemingly require less breaking in time. The standard sole-plate provides less stiffness than the carbon fibre found in the Elite's while the low toe-box offers a snug fit that conforms perfectly to your foots shape.
Like with any boot, the technology (or lack of) defines what type of soccer shoe it will be. With the CTR360 Maestri II, one of the most noticeable feedback comments we've had here at SoccerBible is the effectiveness of the tech incorporated into the CTR II. As we found, the CTR360 Maestri II is packed with legitimate technological advancements that fulfil the objectives of the boots.
One of the most impressive features of the CTR360 football boots are the dampening pods. The newly designed dampening pods on the outside of the boot go a surprisingly long way in acting as cushioning zones on the lateral forefoot. Throughout the test, we noticed a moderate improvement to our ball touch as the pods worked to create a better, more enhanced feel and first touch ball control.
Another of the CTR360's main design features are the Pass/Receive pads on the medial side of the boot. The injected instep pass pad and the next-generation receive pad have been designed for precise distribution and enhanced instep ball control. Our ball trapping experienced significant improvements with the receive pad that looks to be a big step forward from the original. The soft TPU receive pad with new 3D raised fins helped to kill the ball for a faster pass release.
As much as the technological features go a certain distance towards improving your game, they importantly provide a sense of self confidence that your feet will take care of themselves. As you would expect, the CTR is impressively effective in what it is marketed to do. For a soccer shoe that offers a great touch and ball feel, the CTR is unrivalled.
Throughout the test, the boot moved very well with the foots alterations and didn't offer any discomfort. The flexible Kanga-lite upper meant that there was no stiffness or pressure in movements as we performed a variety of sprint exercises. Unlike the Mercurials that we recently play-tested, the CTR's combine far more naturally with your foots movements to create a natural comfort.
The improved lacing system on the Maestri II has been one of the most documented changes made to the second generation CTR360 boots. Nike's relentless pursuit for the perfect control boot has led them to designing an asymmetrical lacing system that creates an expanded surface, making it easier to receive all types of passes. It was hard to notice how effective this change was in terms of ball control, but the new lacing design certainly created a better fit.
For the surface we were playing on, the CTR's stud configuration offered the perfect stud pattern for great grip. When turning at high speeds, we had full confidence in the CTR's sole plate that features the same dual-density stud structure unique to the CTR football boots. Once again, there were no complaints in this department!
One of the main queries and concerns people have with the CTR360 is the boots durability. From our experiences of testing Nike boots, the CTR360 Maestri II has one of the most solid builds that stands it in good stead for long-term durability. The original CTR did receive some criticism for poor durability but after playing in the Maestri II for the best part of 2011, the boots have held together well.
Every compliment we've given the CTR360 Maestri II is fully deserved! Nike have created a boot that is already on its way to becoming an all time favourite! By improving the fit, Nike have ensured that the evolution of the CTR is on the right path. The brilliance of the original seems distantly in the past as the CTR continues to develop and improve. If you're willing to sacrifice the weight, the standard Maestri II offers value for money like nothing else!