PUMA latest weight reducing tactics saw them wrap their new release in an extremely high quality leather... but will that be enough to let the evoSPEED SL Leather outshine its synthetic counterpart?

Why create a leather version? Isn’t the SL supposed to just be ridiculously light?

Even though it isn’t in the same realm as the synthetic’s weight, the leather PUMA evoSPEED SL is still astoundingly light. Sitting at 5.3 ounces, the leather evoSPEED SL is still an impressive release. With a quilted pattern on the upper that has leather enthusiasts fawning over the boot without even getting them in hand, the only question will be if something this light can still have the feel of what all players will be hunting for. The journey to see whether this boot can do more than simply look appealing was one that we were only too glad to begin.

While we could go on about the look of the leather, how does the rest of the boot look?

The stitching and quilted look of the leather is about the only thing that differentiates this boot from the standard release. A large “PUMA” callout and the Puma Formstripe let you know exactly what brand created these, and the colorway is the same as the standard SL’s look. The same soleplate with the odd three stud heel completes the evoSPEED SL, and it is difficult to tell if this boot is meant to look as futuristic as possible (to match the “SL” moniker) or have a classic feel (to go with the leather). With it being Puma, we’re thinking “as futuristic as possible.”

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Has the addition of the leather taken the comfort to the next level?

Where the standard SL release could get away with any level of comfort (come on...101 grams!), the leather version was going to have to meet a higher standard. From our first encounter, however, the boot had us a bit worried. In order to give the boot any type of shape, the leather is a bit stiff right out of the box. That stiffness carries over for your first wear and it had us all wondering if the great look of the quilted leather was going to be the only thing we found to be “beautiful” on this boot. This is also going to factor in whether you are going to want to use the boot straight into a game or practice, as we would definitely advise a break-in period. Luckily, the boot and the leather, very quickly after that first outing, come good.

By the second time we laced up the leather evoSPEED SL, the boot started to showcase an amazing comfort. For a boot that is so lightweight, we were constantly amazed at just how comfortable the boot was every single time that we laced it up. The only thing that is tough and took away from the comfort is if you wear such an odd stud pattern on a hard surface. If you aren’t playing on a high quality pitch, the three studs in the heel could create some issues with stud pressure.

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We did have issues with the heel not having enough structure and it getting squished down when you were a bit too quick to try and slide your boots on. Merely an issue that adds a few seconds to putting on your boots, but it is not too surprising from a boot that attempted to be so lightweight and shave off any of the heavier aspects. While that shouldn’t be a problem, the soleplate is definitely built to last while still having some surprising flexibility. We can definitely see why the “Ten-Game” sticker did not work its way onto the soleplate for this boot.

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Does the evoSPEED SL Leather perform?

The first experience with the ball at our feet had us completely surprised with how much this boot feels like it has that classic leather padding you’d expect from a boot that would be much heavier and made with a much thicker leather. The speed boot aspect had us always feeling light on our feet, and we always enjoy that 90th minute feel when your boots still feel weightless. While the speed boot aspects don’t appeal to everyone, the feel that the leather give is going to be for anybody that enjoys a quality football boot. Bringing the ball out of the air gives you that soft padded warmth a leather boot is known for, receiving the ball on your instep and passing from the instep might be on par with any boot we’ve ever used, and the boot really allows the leather to form to your fit.

We did have one slight issue with when we were striking the ball on the tongue. The synthetic tongue doesn't provide that consistent feel with the upper but it doesn’t make a huge difference because of how lightweight everything has to be, but striking through a ball on the laces does have bit of a stark contrast. The tongue is thicker than what we see on the standard evoSPEED SL and it is still a high quality piece on the boot, but it seems like it would have just completed the overall package a bit with a leather or leather-like tongue.

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Is there any reason why you shouldn’t buy a pair?

The PUMA evoSPEED SL leather is an incredible experience that allows Puma to have one of the most complete lineups in the market. Brands are always attempting to be able to blend “speed” with “leather,” but rarely does that combination ever feel this good. This boot has the ability to appeal to so many different players looking for so many different aspects within their boots that, although it won’t get the press and support it should, the evoSPEED SL leather would be perfect for anyone. The bar for super lightweight leather options has certainly been set. 

The price point does sit below where most brands put their flashiest and most jaw-dropping toys, but it is still a bit outside where most of us place our budget for our next pair of boots. However, if you are hunting one of the highest quality boots currently on the market, the SL leather is not going to disappoint anyone that takes the leap. No revolution. No collar. No problem.

Grab a pair here.