PUMA joined the mid-collar knitted revolution back in June 2017 with the ONE 17.1, and d’ya know what? It was alright. A solid foundation. A decent start. But now comes the time for progression. We lace up in the ONE 18.1 to see if PUMA have established their versatile silo.

The One 17.1 controversially replaced the super-lightweight evoSPEED SL. Controversial in the sense that the One 17.1 was a rather thick leather boot with a knitted sock, in comparison to a super thin synthetic silhouette. Has the One 18.1 helped make that transition smoother? Yeah, you’ve come here for answers, not questions. Let’s get to it.


PUMA are fast learners

The changes from the One 17.1 to the One 18.1 show that PUMA listen and deliver. The thick nature of the boot is gone. Calf leather? That’s gone too. Yeah, there’s some evoKnit on there, but it’s been built into the boot to make it feel more like one seamless structure instead of three separate parts.

This is the boot that the ONE series was created to be, but it took two tries to get here.


The first thing you notice on the One 18.1 is the evoKnit collar and how soft it is on your foot.  Despite the knit being a bit thicker than most of the other knits on the market, it’s incredibly soft and transitions into the boot so that it doesn’t feel disconnected from the rest of the boot. The area around your ankle sees the knit sitting fairly low, but it isn’t a negative.

The midfoot synthetic, despite all the wavy oddness shaped on the boot, is quite thin.  This whole material has a thin liner that makes sure it feels soft and your foot is comfortable inside. It’s not nearly as soft on arrival as the kangaroo leather forefoot, but it is thin enough to quickly soften up and make the boot feel as uniform as three totally different materials could ever be.

The forefoot is the typical leather dream that PUMA have been churning out for years. Soft, thin, and exactly what the doctor ordered.

One early negative is that the padding in the heel sits a bit low. Until the heel softened up, we didn’t feel as secure as we would have liked. If you decide to take on the One 18.1, just let the heel soften up a bit in training before you wear these in a competitive game.


How does it perform on pitch?

The previous 17.1 did provide comfort, but just didn’t quite feel like it represented what PUMA wanted it to. The chunkiness was a little off-putting, perhaps more psychologically than anything else, but the 18.1 has made serious improvement.

The touch on the forefoot is as blissful as kangaroo leather allows. You get the warmth and padding of leather, but thin enough to always feel close to the ball. The grooves and design make the boot look a bit thick in photographs, but the One 18.1 is deceptively very thin on every area of a boot where you’d commonly address a ball.

Striking the ball with the area where the tongue would be feels great. The evoKnit gives a nice feel when you drive through a ball, and offers a great touch for bringing the ball out of the air. We’re not surprised that PUMA have their One sponsored players located across all positions on the field, because this boot can appeal to any type of player.

The thin forefoot and feel for striking the ball will always win over an attack minded player, the touch on the ball and thin nature of the boot is going to be big with players that want to dictate play. The build of the boot is great for anybody also looking to get stuck into a tackle.


What’s happening underfoot?

The soleplate for the ONE is the only thing that has remained unchanged from the 17.1. The mix of blades and conical studs is one of the few aspects of this boot that has a bit of old-school flavour involved. While the Future 18.1 has entered into AG/FG territory, the One is still built only for firm ground pitches. The soleplate is a bit stiff though, especially straight out of the box.

So, it’s better than the previous generation?

In short, yes. The streamlining alone makes it more impressive. The One 18.1 didn’t hit the market with the flash of the Future 18.1, but it didn’t need to. For a boot that’s worn by one of the world’s most lethal strikers in Sergio Aguero, it’s pretty low key. Well, low-key in marketing noise, but certainly not in quality. The One series is firmly shooting in the right direction.


The Verdict

The One 18.1 has become a vastly improved option since the original version hit the market. Players will still question how this boot picks up from where the evoSPEED SL left off, but you need to forget about that an embrace the restructure. The One 18.1 is the proper evolution of the PUMA King for us. A soft kangaroo leather forefoot, a quality synthetic around the midfoot, and the most underrated knitted material on the market in the evoKnit collar.

Pick up the PUMA ONE 18.1 from prodirectsoccer.com