PUMA's armory has never looked stronger; they can boast the lightest production boot on the market, a top-quality power silo and a ruler of the heritage world in the King. Now, with the void left by the adidas F50 in the speed market, the Big Cat will hoping they can fill it with the fourth generation evoSPEED.

Will the evoSPEED 1.4 solidify PUMA's current collection as one of the most dominant line-ups a brand has ever had on the market? We'll see. After scrapping the V-series, the evoSPEED line has become an increasingly impressive piece of the speed boot puzzle. From the initial version, those willing to take a chance on PUMA’s lightweight option have been met with a boot constantly on par with the best speed boots available. While we were slightly disappointed with the 1.3 in terms of the evoSPEED’s progression, the 1.4 hopes to continue asserting the silo as a true competitor to the speed boot throne. A new look and some overall tweaks, but the proof is certainly in the boot’s performance.

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New Suit

The evoSPEED 1.4 leaves no doubt to who created the boot with massive “PUMA” branding on the instep side of the toe-box and the timeless Form-Stripe running on the outside of the boot. The biggest feature fans will notice is the spider web pattern running across most of the boot and what the function of the pattern is. Once you get the boot in your hands, you realise that the web pattern is a thin, clear layer of GripTex. This sits on top of a very thin microfibre upper that gets broken up by two stitched lines (one near the back of the instep, and the other near the beginning of the toe-box on the outside of the boot), and a tongue proclaiming “EVOSPEED.”

The 1.4 won't to be breaking any lightweight records, and PUMA have tried to create a speed boot from more of how the boot is built and how the upper performs instead of shaving off the ounces. The boot has shed some weight since the move from the 1.3 to the 1.4, but the boot still sits right about the 7 ounce line. Considering the ridiculously lightweight nature of the evoSPEED SL, it makes sense for PUMA to not feel it necessary to cut every possible weight corner on the standard 1.4. The only part of this boot that feels thinned out to the bare bones is the tongue, but don’t be fooled into thinking it's not light, it is.

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So it looks good, does it feel good?

The boot greets you like a well-fitting speed boot tends to: with a warm, tight fit right out of the box. For anyone that has never used the evoSPEED before, the boot has a slightly different fit because of the curve at the edge of the toe-box being slightly different than what we see on most other boots on the market. The laces tie into a criss-cross pattern that makes sure that the fit couples with a nice interior padding to create a high level of comfort. While the upper does take a few wears to really soften up, the boot will eventually soften and the comfort begins to shine through (especially for a boot built for speed). The biggest issue we had with testing was that the heel has a propensity to get squished down and is nearly impossible to get back into its original shape without taking your foot completely back out of the boot. A minor issue with comfort, but the number of occurrences surprised us.

For the soleplate, PUMA has given the set-up two levels of density to accommodate the type of player that will be wanting the evoSPEED. From the heel up to the beginning edge of where the foot bends, the soleplate includes the evoSPEED SpeedTrack; a very thick material running down the middle of boot to give this area of the soleplate some serious rigidity (to improve responsiveness) and adding some thickness to avoid any stud pressure. The rest of the soleplate from the end of the SpeedTrack to the tip of the boot is fairly thin and gives us the bend that PUMA has made us expect from all their releases.

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So, how does the boot perform?

The boot has a great combination from the thin upper and GripTex that makes having the ball at your feet a ton of fun. While the GripTex on the evoPOWER didn’t seem to really have an extreme change on the ball, the evoSPEED feels like the upper would be extremely slick without the addition. The combo allows you to feel like the ball stays close to your feet without having so much grip that the ball gets stuck underneath you. Users of old F50’s or Vapors (or comparable speed boots) will enjoy the thin nature of the upper on the ball, but with a bit more padding. The upper is definitely lined on the inside of the boot with a polyester-like material that gives it that added thickness while still allowing the boot to feel thin and provide a great touch.

Shooting and passing across the field is what we’ve come to expect from lighter options on the market. There aren’t any frills here to blame for a missed touch or to claim might add power/spin/etc for your game. The upper makes sure that everything that occurs is all down to your skill and technique. Any player that doesn’t want anything messing up their touch on the ball, the evoSPEED line definitely fits the bill. The conical soleplate also is one of the best on the market. Since the evoSPEED’s inception, any player that has worked their way into PUMA’s speed option has been a major fan of the set-up. No stud pressure and great traction is certainly the order of the day; exactly what we’ve come to expect from the boot.

The build of the boot, and the slight addition to thickness, also has us thinking that this is going to be a very durable option for anyone going for a boot with a thin-natured upper. It also will not have you writhing on the ground every single time a stud grazes by your foot. The evoSPEED is also a fairly accommodating boot compared to other speed boot in that it does allow for a slightly wider fit that the Vapor X or X 15.1. The best part about the evoSPEED transition after the death of the V-series? These boots fit absolutely true to size.

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What's the verdict?

Underrated. The evoSPEED 1.4 checks all the boxes that we look for in a quality release. If you're looking for a thin upper, an extremely dependable soleplate, and a great deal of durability you've found it with the 1.4 edition. However, unlike the evoPOWER and King, we find that the progression of the evoSPEED has us questioning where the boot is ultimately headed. The upper is thin, but the boot is closer to the modern boot’s median weight that we would look for in something built so much like a speed boot. Yes, the SL option allowed PUMA to have an extremely lightweight option on the market, but it still seems a bit odd.

Having said that the 1.4 is undeniable in its quality, but PUMA may have created its own problem here. PUMA have built such a powerful stable over the last few years that we are left wanting more, were we pleased? Absolutely. But were we blown away? Not quite, but that's a massive testament to the quality of PUMA that such an impressive boot could leave us wanting more. If you are still hesitant on the brand, now is the time to check out anything they put their name on.

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