The Umbro Stealth Pro was a bit of a shot from left-field from Umbro. After having such success with it’s back-to-basics Speciali, and receiving huge plaudits for their ‘Tailored by Umbro’ football kits, the last thing anybody expected them to do was to release a synthetic-upper, carbon-fibre sole, modern boot.
Was this gamble a success for them? Read on to find out!
The Umbro Stealth Pro has such a serious sounding name, doesn’t it? ‘Stealth Pro’. But don’t let that fool you – these boots are some of the most easy going I’ve ever tried on when it comes to fit.
The synthetic upper has a nice ‘spongy’ feel to it, that’s not entirely dissimilar to a frictionless version of the Kangalite on the CTR360 in it’s light and airy feel.
On top of that, the low profile cut on the Umbro Stealth Pro means it all sits very far down the foot in comparison to most boots – which means that it’s very unintrusive and unassuming. Even if you wear the bulkiest of ankle guards with your shinnies, it’s unlikely the Umbro Stealth Pro will ever feel like it’s in the way.
The lacing on the Stealth Pro is centred down the middle of the boot, couple this with the aforementioned low-profile cut, and the not only boot gives an exceptional fit across the top of the foot, but it wraps the inside of the boot close to the instep of your foot.
Whilst this is great for most – when I let my team-mate try out the boot for a session, he found that his wide feet made the boot feel ‘stretched’ around his feet, almost like the sole of the boot wasn’t wide enough to contain his feet, which was very off-putting.
So if you have wide feet and are considering the Stealth Pro, it’s a definite case of ‘Try before you buy’, as it seems the Stealth Pro isn’t too accomodating.
Just looking at the Umbro Stealth Pro, you can see the areas that will score it highly in this area!
The external heel counter is the most substantial I’ve seen on a boot in some time, and it is very, very solid. This heel counter also does more than just keep the boot rigid against any clips against that area of the foot – it also keeps your feet in position when sprinting and turning, which not only prevents wear and tear on the inside of the boot, it also prevents wear and tear all over your feet!
The upper on the Umbro Stealth Pro has a distinctly laminate feel to it, as such it’s definitely plenty waterproof, and the poron liner (which has started to appear in more and more football boots) ensures that the boot copes with heat and sweat effectively on the inside too!
I had got the opportunity to test the boot in it’s FG sole-plate – which was another hard-wearing part of the Stealth Pro. The sole is made up of solid plastic for flexibility and also with a partial carbon fibre sole, mostly under the heel and arch of the foot. I’m guessing that Umbro only kept the carbon fibre in this part of the foot and in the heel so that they didn’t have to treat it to make it bend with the foot – like Nike had to on the Elite Series.
The benefits are obviously that it keeps costs down – but also that the boot has a very strong ‘spine’, it’s at it’s hardest in exactly the place where it needs to be.
The Umbro Stealth Pro sets itself out to be something of a solid all-around boot, with benefits in many areas. For example, the carbon sole keeps the boot strong and supported under-foot, but combined with the light synthetic upper and low profile fit, the boot feels really light on your foot.
Another benefit is the upper; in dry conditions, the soft, light upper gives a really nice feel when doing just about anything with the ball: taking the sting off a pass, slotting a through ball with the instep or hitting a strike off the top of the boot.
Sometimes when you get a synthetic upper, it feels like you’re playing with a pair slippers wrapped in cling-film. But Umbro have got the level of cushioning in the upper just right, which means that even on their first 90 minutes, these boots should slip seamlessly into your game.
One downside to this, otherwise great upper, is the age-old problem of the slippery synthetic in the wet. Whilst, kicking, dribbling and sprint in the ball were absolutely fine – there was the odd occasion where, when receiving the ball at an awkward height, it would slip across the top of the boot, where I would expect a leather boot to offer a little more control.
Umbro’s Stealth Pro has a strange sense of harmony working for it for a boot that never really announced it’s intentions as a ‘speed’ or ‘power’ boot. It’s lightweight comfortable, and would probably be happy at home on the feet of any player at any position – in short, it’s a fantastic all around football boot.
If you’re after a boot over the summer, and value comfort over just about everything else, I recommend you give these a try on. As long as you’ve not got wide feet, there aren’t many football boots on the market more ‘out-of-the-box’ comfortable than these.