PUMA puts superstars to the test

PUMA put some of the best in the game to the test last Friday at the evoPOWER launch event held in Barcelona, Spain. With legendary Frenchman Thierry Henry hosting, Cesc Fàbregas, Marco Reus and Mario Balotelli each took the evoPOWER for a test run. PUMA set up an elaborate faux stadium setting and had the superstars test their power and accuracy while wearing the new evoPOWER cleat.

Portuguese attacking winger, Luis Boa Morte was also on hand to give his insight into the power of PUMA’s newest cleat.

Luis Boa Morte Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 1.09.23 PM

As a crowd of media, industry folk and contest winners from around the globe looked on – Balotelli, Fàbregas and Reus were asked to line up and take their most powerful and accurate shots. Henry joked, “my money’s on Mario.” Though Balotelli did end up with the most powerful strike, Reus showed incredible accuracy, and Fàbregas won the group challenge.

PUMA’s product manager Pascal Van Essen was also at the event to give attendees further insight into the creation of PUMA’s new power cleat. According to Van Essen, PUMA has been developing the evoPOWER since 2010. He explained that four years ago, PUMA started with a very simple idea – to look at the human body and maximize that already fantastic machine. He continued, “the angle when you kick barefoot is much greater than the angle when kicking with a shoe.” This was the driving force behind the development of the evoPOWER – to mimic the power of a bare foot.

According to PUMA, Cesc Fàbregas and Marco Reus have both been intensively involved in the development process of the evoPOWER. At the event, Fàbregas said, “I’ve been testing it for two months. I’ve really enjoyed it and I’m happy now that I can wear them in a proper game.”

Later, in an interview after the main event, Fàbregas continued,”Taking inspiration for a football boot from an actual foot sounds like the most obvious thing in the world, but in all the time I’ve spent in football, it’s the first time I’ve heard of this being done. When you try on these new boots, they are actually quite different to what we have worn before. They are so much more flexible; the way they bend with the natural shape of your foot really helps you to shoot harder.”

Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 1.09.45 PM

In an exclusive SOCCER.COM interview Reus said, “It’s an incredible new boot, I’ve been playing in it for one week now and it’s always very important that I get feedback from the boot; that it’s very tight and gives me a really good touch.”

We also couldn’t resist the chance to ask the German superstar what he thought about facing the US in group play in Brazil. Reus was complimentary, saying, “The US has a strong team, even if maybe not that many of their players are world famous. They have really strong team spirit. Obviously, they play under Jürgen Klinsmann and you can see his style; he is working very eagerly with them to prepare them for tournaments. At the end of the day, everyone will see who’s best on pitch.”

During the event, Balotelli kept it simple with a short repsonse to the cleat, “I’m very happy. I think it is the best shoe.” But afterwards, he elaborated adding, “I’m new to the PUMA family, and the football boots they produce were one of the reasons for me signing the deal. The evoPOWER boot impressed me from the first day I tried it in training, I hadn’t really seen a boot like it before. What PUMA say about it is true, the flexibility helps create a better contact with the ball and generate really good shooting power.”

Designed to mimic the feel of barefoot kicking, the evoPOWER is PUMA’s most advanced cleat to date and utilizes a new microfiber upper material that is extremely thin, lightweight and flexes in just one direction. This new evoPOWER upper has PUMA’s Accufoam pods that cushion impact and focus power. PUMA has also inserted a new Gradual Stability Frame (GSF) spine into the evoPOWER’s outsole to let the cleat flex both ways, so that the shoe can mirror the biomechanics of a bare foot and replicate its natural power.

Since Friday’s event, Manchester City star Yaya Touré scored and got an assist against Cardiff City in his first appearance in the evoPOWER.

Manchester City v Cardiff City - Premier League

In Italy, Mario Balotelli struck a game winning penalty kick for AC Milan while wearing the new colorway (he’s previously worn his own “Stampa” newsprint version and a camo version). And Marco Reus scored for Dortmund in a friendly match against FC Kaiserslautern wearing his new  evoPOWER cleat.

1. FC Kaiserslautern v Borussia Dortmund - Friendly Match

What do you think? If put to the test, how would your strike measure up against these power players? 

The full line of PUMA evoPOWER gear will be available worldwide on Feb. 1, 2014. The cleat is available now on SOCCER.COM.