The PUMA King is a boot steeped in heritage. A boot that’s entrenched in World Cup history and that has graced the feet of titans of the game, like Pele, Maradona and Eusebio (as pictured below).
It is now tragically under-represented among top flight footballers. So has this decline in popularity come about because of a reduction in quality? No way!
The Puma King XL is, without exception, the most comfortable boot that PUMA have in their current range. Looking at the boot you can see how well they leather’s been treated; it’s pulled taught at the stitches and is unbelievably soft in the panels around the foot of the boot.
A feature that I feel is worthy of note is the way PUMA has integrated the heel counter into the boot. Obviously dedicated to the understated and ‘clean’ look of the boot – but at the same time realising that a heel counter adds to comfort and safety – the counter is almost seamlessly hidden by texturing and colouring the plastic to look and feel like leather.
In terms of fit, the boot has a more narrow fit than other classically-styled boots available at the moment, fitting more like the first adipure. That said – the King retains the full-length centred lacing that has since left the adipure line, so unless your feet are really wide, you’ll be able to loosen the boot to accommodate.
The King XL has all the durability you’d expect from a classic leather boot. Whilst not as tank-like as its stable-mate the v-Konstrukt III, its all leather-upper will almost certainly take all the knocks you can throw at it.
Thanks to the onset of the British winter, I’ve had the opportunity to give the King’s a run out in some pretty damp conditions over the last two weeks; so I can also vouch for the boots holding up in the wet. The soleplate is integrated well into the rest of the boot, and there’s no ventilation of any sort, making them a solid choice for the winter.
As I mentioned before, the King XL’s upper has obviously been crafted with a lot of time and care from the team at PUMA. The leather is so supple you can see the creases in the panels even when the boot is not being worn. So as you can probably imagine, in terms of first touch and passing it’s up there with the best.
One design feature that’s a little odd is the leather panel that runs from the toe up to the lace eyelets. Presumably there to add durability to this often stood on area of the foot – it gives the boot a flat surface on the top, going against the very supple, rounded feel that the rest of the boot has.
This feature is something of a double edged sword; on one hand the flatter surface on the top is something that is lacking from the likes of the Tiempo Legend and adipure lines, and in my opinion gives the boot a nice big area for hitting volleys and controlling the ball.
On the other, whereas many other classic boots are rounded and hug the shape of the foot, the King XL loses that natural feel when hitting the ball with the laces.
The Puma King is an icon among boot lovers and designers, and after playing in these it’s easy to see why. It, like the Copa Mundial, takes many of its design features from a time before gimmicks and designing boots for particular positions. As such, it’s a boot that’s at home anywhere on the park, especially the midfield. The soft upper is great for a natural touch on the ball, whether receiving, running with or passing.
If you’re after any technological advances, the King XL was never going to be the boot for you. The Velcro tongue is probably the most ‘modern’ feature on the whole boot! It’s about putting an emphasis on getting the basics right before innovation.
My one criticism is the area around the laces being flat. It’s obviously a key area for strikers when shooting and defenders when clearing the ball, which is why I’m sticking with my recommendation for midfielders – but then, the team at Concave would argue that a large flat area on top if the boot is exactly what you need for great contact with the ball.
So depending on what your view on this debate is; this could well influence how much you feel that this could be the boot for you.