Our friends at Puma were so confident in the quality of the new Puma King Finale, they provided us with a pair in advance of the launch so we could give you the full run down as soon as they hit the shelves.
Is this confidence misplaced? Read on for our exclusive boots test of Puma’s latest in the King lineage.
NB: Apologies for the lack of the usual ‘on foot’ photos – due to the weather we didn’t get as much time on the pitch this week as we’d have liked!
Out of the box, the Puma King Finale has one of the strangest fits I’ve ever experienced in a pair of football boots, the toes and forefoot are a great snug fit but the ankle and heels are very wide, and as such are quite loose fitting.
But with this being a pair of Puma Kings that we’re talking about, this isn’t a lasting issue. As the leather breaks in and creases (which will take you about 2-3 hours) you’ll notice that every time you lace up the boots to put them on, you’re able to pull them a little bit tighter.
This is actually pretty clever on the designs part, as the looser fitting ankle means that you won’t get any rubbing under the ball of your ankle or the heel and Achilles’ – and by the time you can pull the shoe tight enough to these areas, the leather has softened up so much that rubbing won’t be a problem.
Whilst definitely an unusual feeling at first, these are certainly a boot which gets better and better with every wear. The new vamp stitching on the toe means that the toe-box accommodates every movement that your foot makes in that area exceptionally, creasing and folding along the curvature of your toes in a very organic manner.
People will be curious to know how these football boots will accommodate a wider foot; whilst the shape of the boot is definitely more welcoming for a bigger foot than the relatively narrow Puma King XL I definitely wouldn’t class them as a wide-fitting boot. So, make sure you try a pair on if you have concerns in that area.
The Puma King Finale is an exceptionally well put-together football boot. The whole package certainly seems built to last from our wear tests.
The K-Leather upper is a great place to start – whilst being billed as Ultra-Thin, there’s definitely enough substance in the upper to stop you worrying about nicks and tears from rogue studs and such.
Another nice feature is the leather heel ‘tap’. An alternative to a heftier heel counter, the heel tap locks the heel in place in the boot, without the need for high-density plastics. Whilst to some it might seem less durable, I never got the feeling that this section of the boot was in danger of being ripped away or damaged when playing.
One feature that really impressed us was the ‘Lip’ around the sole onto the Upper – over the course of our testing we noticed that this stopped dirt and mud getting in between the soleplate and upper, which is usually the cause of the two segments separating. Needless to say, playing in glorious British November we have lost many good football boots to that problem, so hats off to Puma for going a small way to remedying it.
As soon as you take the Puma King Finale out of it’s box you’ll notice that they’re really light for a pair of Kings. If you’ve been playing in the Puma King line for a long time, you’re really going to appreciate the difference on the pitch.
As mentioned before, there’s a little bit of a break in period while the leather starts to crease but this shouldn’t stop you training or even playing in them; there’s no rubbing whilst running and the ‘wide’ ankle should effect your game too much.
With the ball is where the Puma King Finale really comes into it’s own. The new rounded toe is fantastic for really getting personal with the ball when dribbling. Again, the K-Leather upper is a perfect thickness for exerting just the right amount of pressure from foot-to-ball and back again.
The vamped stitching on the toe is also great for any situation where you need to get under the ball. Lobs and crosses are second nature in these football boots, and you can create some seriously wicked backspin if you want to.
Shooting is de rigueur on the Finale – as a centre-laced heritage-style football boots, you already know what to expect. As the upper takes shape of your foot, you can get the laces really tight and drive some fierce shots in with them, but neat finishes with the instep are much easier to execute; thanks again to the nice shape of the last.
One major point of contention is Puma’s choice to add a relatively huge tongue in an age where having a tongue at all is becoming less and less common. Personally, I didn’t find it obstructive, and over the course of the testing it actually hung on pretty well – meaning it didn’t flap around annoyingly – but you can always cut it off if you’re not a fan!
The Puma King Finale is a boot that does very, very little wrong. The changes in design from the Puma King XL are astounding, especially in the toe section of the boot (which, in case you can’t tell, I’m really, really impressed with!) rather than being box-y like it’s predecessor , Puma have put a lot of effort into getting this area to be comfortable, durable and – above all – responsive.
The few complaints that I did have about the boot (i.e. the strange fit) disappeared through the course of testing. So whilst I’d say yes, you can wear the Puma King Finale out of the box and onto the pitch, you’ll really get the best out of it if you give it the royal treatment and train or go for a jog in them once or twice before you give them their, ahem, coronation.
If I’ve missed anything out or you’d like to know more, make sure you leave a comment and I’ll do everything I can to answer your questions!