Posted on September 11, 2014
SOCCER.COM’s new resident cleat tester Sam took the evoPOWER out for a spin and then deconstructed it. He studied, he played, and he destroyed – all to give you an unfiltered look at PUMA’s new power cleat.
PUMA advertises the evoPOWER as “being as close to playing barefoot as possible” and the first thing I noticed when lacing up the shoe was just how skin tight the fit really is, especially in the toe box and forefoot region. I have personally found some PUMA cleats too high and pointy in the toe box area (up front), however in this evoPOWER they are using a new last which is extremely low profile and conforms to your foot (especially in the toe) much better than previous models.
The close fit is very comfortable and definitely helps with responsiveness, not only when striking and controlling a ball but also running and changing direction. Although the upper material is super supple and the whole idea of the boot is to be skin tight, the shape has such a low profile that I would recommend ordering a half size up from what you would usually wear.
Another comfort aspect of the evoPOWER that rates high for me is the heel and sock liner which are padded with super soft, lightweight foam. I had no problem wearing these straight out of the box. The textured sock liner also grabs onto your sock, preventing slipping around in the heal region. The inner of the rest of the shoe is made from a comfortable, lightweight microfiber mesh that also fits in with principles of the rest of the cleat.
PUMA’s EverFit cage is visible from the outside on the evoPOWER and works with the other innovative features on the boot to again help provide that locked in, responsive feel. On the Fluo Peach version, the EverFit cage stands out on the instep in highlighter yellow, whereas the Camo version uses the same graphic (Camo) on the entirety of the outer.
The shoes also feature some ultra light memory foam pods that are built into the tongue in order to prevent or minimize the irritation that the shoe laces can often have on your foot, especially if the tongue is super thin as is the case with the evoPOWER.
The most interesting and innovative technology on the cleat is the unique one-way-stretch microfiber upper PUMA is calling Adaplite. This stuff basically allows the shoe to stretch length-ways, mimicking the arch of your foot when striking a ball and at the same time prevents any side-to-side stretch in the shoe. This provides a lock-in, responsive feel when running, changing direction and controlling a ball.
The soleplate on the cleat follows the same philosophy as the Adaplite upper in that it is far more flexible in the forefoot than other soleplates, which allows you to again arch your foot downwards while striking a ball as you would if you were kicking barefoot. While the sole is more flexible in the forefoot it becomes increasingly rigid as you move towards the heel. PUMA call this technology GSF or Gradual Stability Frame and it is design to bring some stability and protection to the back part of your foot while still allowing the front to flex.
Since the evoPOWER is billed as a power cleat, I can’t overlook how they perform when striking a ball. PUMA use a technology called Accufoam pods throughout the strike zone of the boot. The idea is that these pods create a springboard effect when shooting, providing a little extra sting in your strike. Although it is hard to measure whether my shots were more powerful in this cleat – the pods, combined with the offset lacing system definitely provide a flat, clean striking surface giving players the best chance at a crisp connection on the ball. The great thing about these pods is that they, like the rest of the cleat, are very lightweight and low profile meaning you really are getting as close to striking a ball barefoot as possible but you also get the protection and comfort on contact with the ball that you wouldn’t get in a normal speed boot for example.
Another cool detail is that PUMA stitched the Accufoam pod system onto the inside of the shoe and then laminated over with the one-way-stretch (Adaplite) upper material. This means the outer of the whole forefoot of the shoe is seamless making it 1) nicer to look at 2) easier to clean and 3) longer lasting.
Tipping the scales at only 7.2oz (206 grams), another really impressive aspect of the evoPOWER is the weight. For a boot that is clearly so focused on power, the evoPOWER is so stripped back that it almost feels like a speed boot. Looking at the professionals promoting this cleat like Cesc Fabregas, Marco Reus, Mario Balotelli and Thierry Henry – PUMA is definitely pushing the idea that the shoe is suited for a quick moving attacking player, and with good reason. If you’re worried about sacrificing speed on the field for striking power, don’t be. These do both.
The PUMA evoPOWER is a surprising and refreshing new take on the traditional power cleat mantra which had previously been developed by PUMA and many other brands as a forefoot heavy boot with large, heavily padded strike zones.
Surprisingly lightweight and very responsive, overall this cleat ticks a lot of boxes. I think PUMA has done a really good job redefining their power collection here, especially as many other brands seem to be moving away from that type of cleat. I would recommend this boot for any attack minded player looking for extra responsiveness in their strike while at the same time not sacrificing any speed around the field.
Find the PUMA evoPOWER on SOCCER.COM. What do you think? Which other soccer cleats would you like to see us take apart?
Who is Sam? Sam, a former college player, has worked in and studied soccer footwear design for the past five years.
BONUS: Want to see a true on-field demonstration of the power of the evoPOWER? Check out Balotelli’s rocket when playing Bologna.