With Sergio Aguero the most recent player to be spotted switching to the Puma v1.11 football boots, we thought it was about time we put the boot through a SoccerBible Play Test to find out what all the fuss was about!
The v1.11 is the most recent addition to the Puma v1 range, their established speed range in direct competition with both the Mercurial and F50 ranges. From a style perspective, the v1.11 holds a similar look to the v1.10, but the real question is how does it perform?
The versions we've been wearing for the past few weeks are the synthetic Puma v1.11's, one of the most unique looking boots on the market. In hand, the v1.11 is an interesting blend of materials, shapes and structures. And for those not familiar with Puma boots, they generally fit tight so we'd recommend going half a size up (eg. If you wear 7.5 Nike, go for an 8 in the v1.11).
Not that we particularly want to start on a negative, but our first experience with the v1.11 wasn't a good one, as adjusting the lacing system for a comfortable fit isn't the most user-friendly activity because of the lace-cover. However, when the boot is on, the snug fit does redeem this annoyance.
The Last is slightly wider than previous incarnations of the v1 range, and with the lace-cover fastened, the synthetic upper and softly padded tongue make this a very comfortable fitting boot. The outsole does provide slight resistance and a bit of rigidity to comfort for the first few wears, but after about three performances the boots feel like they've been broken in.
The microfibre upper material provides a good touch and feel for the ball, and is up to the challenge of tears, scrapes and opposing studs, as it has proven to be durable in the first few weeks of wear. We do once again have to account for the notorious Puma toe-box, a pointed toe that has been a feature of the v1.08, v1.10 and now v1.11. It's something that doesn't hinder performance, but if you've not encountered it before will notice on your first few wears when striking, chipping and touching the ball with the instep dribbling at pace.
In terms of movement, the v1.11 caters for the type of player the boot is aimed at, as it's very responsive for speed players. The heel provides the snuggest area of fit for the v1.11, combine this with the lacing system and lace-cover and you have a very secure fitting boot ready to respond to a players movements. The outsole has plenty of spring in the toe-area thanks to the carbon fibre, making the v1.11 an effective tool in terms of acceleration.
When it comes to striking the ball, the Puma v1.11 is an evolution and improvement on the v1.10, and in this department outperforms it's sibling the v1.11 SL. Despite the initial annoyance over the lace-cover, this new feature comes into it's own when connecting with the ball.
The materials offer a very well protected feel, and you can really put your foot through the ball. These v1's are almost the closest you could get to a lace-less feel and ball strike from a boot that has laces – we hope that one makes sense!
Fans of previous incarnations of the v1 range will be very pleased with the v1.11. Puma have definitely improved their boots, thanks in main to the materials they've used. The boot is comfortable and gives a great ball touch and feel. Once you've got your lacing system sorted to your personal fit, the lace-cover is a great compliment to the fit and performance of the upper, whilst the outsole remains a proven performer.