PUMA POWERCAT: FOOTBALL BOOTS TEST

The successor to the v-Konstrukt line, PUMA unveiled the PowerCat nearly two weeks ago in a Black / White / Lime colourway.

New technology and new branding were evident as PUMA tried to intergrate engineering with comfort. Have they succeeded? This is what Kyle made of them…..

puma powercat football boots test

Comfort/Fit

The v-Konstrukt range wasn’t world-renowned for offering its wearer a phenomenal fit, but if there’s one thing that the PowerCat brings to the table that its predecessor did not, it is that professional fit.

Having shifted the emphasis away from protection and durability, PUMA has run the off-centred lacing system further down the boot than the v-Konstrukt III, stopping at a similar distance down the foot to the T90 Laser III. This extra lacing gives a really satisfying, snug fit across the top of the boot.

puma powercat test lacing

Much has been said of the wider fit of the boot in days after its release, but it’s not something that I felt was especially prevalent. This is partially due to the lacing running so far down the boot allowing for an adjustable fit, but mostly, I feel, for the design of the toe-end of the boot, which is a dead-ringer for the fondly-remembered v1.06!

Getting a team mate (who’s always found boots less accommodating to his wider feet) to try on the boot, he undid the optional top row of laces and found the boot just as accommodating as I had found it. The upper has a lot of give to it, as such, he found the boot to give a very sock-like fit, and didn’t feel the sole underneath to be too thin and unsupportive.

Comfort across the first couple of wears was also a big step forward for the range. As we mentioned in the v-Kon III test a few months ago, a combination of the loose fit, plastic shielding and treated leather made the boot stiff and unresponsive on the first few wears, which led to some rubbing on the outside of the foot and the ankle. PUMA put this improvement in wearability down to the new PowerLast system (an evolution of the AptoLast system); common sense however, would suggest it’s the super-soft leather upper and lack of plastic shielding on the outsole!

puma powercat football boots test outsole

Durability

If there’s one aspect that you’d expect the PowerCat to fall a little short of its older siblings, it would be here. The v-Konstrukt II was aimed at giving players protection for their feet, and the v-Kon III was described as ‘Tank-Like’ by many. The PowerCat'Β  is billed as power over protection, and has lost that really solid feel from the line it replaced, instead fitting like a slightly looser v1.06.

That’s not to say the PowerCat is a slouch though. The leather upper might not offer too much protection against stamps and studs, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it will rip any time soon. Coupled with the fact that the boot is nice and waterproof, it will certainly stand up to the rigors of the game.

The heel counter has also had a bit of a trim, rather than wrapping round the heel and extending to the navilcular (The bone that sits in front of the ankle) it now extends from the soleplate, cups the heel and covers the very bottom of the Achilles tendon.

puma powercat test

Feel

Playing in the PowerCat is a genuinely exciting experience, offering a combination of ideals that are rare to find. The boot is fantastically light for a ‘Power’ boot – especially a leather one. The upper is a touch thinner than the leather on the King XL, and gives a nice feel for the ball on the instep.

The 3D Power Shooting Technology (hereby abbreviated to 3D PST, for my fingers sake!) is a sharp contrast to the leather around it. Whereas the rest of the upper is soft and supple, the 3D PST is very firm – meaning a lapse in concentration can sometimes lead to the ball ricocheting of this firm surface, especially when taking a ball from height.

While on the subject of the 3D PST, this is the area that many people want to know: does it work? For once – I have to say yes, it does. The reason being is that it doesn’t claim to offer swerve, bend or accuracy; it says that if you hit the ball with this part of the foot you will get more power than you would with another boot. And the science is pretty simple, if you throw a ball onto a concrete floor it’ll bounce higher than it would off of a carpet. It’s very similar to the idea behind the CTR360’s PassPad, or even a really, really toned-down version of Concave’s choice of material.

The result is a nice big area (extended even further thanks to the offset lacing) down the front and instep of the boot, with these bizarre ‘steps’ of ridges down it, which feels very satisfying to hit the ball off – both for crossing and shooting. The odd step-like arrangement of these ‘gills’ is presumably so that the area doesn’t have to bend and crease unnaturally when the toes bend whilst running.

puma powercat 1.10 football boots test

Conclusion

PUMA has taken a big gamble on the PowerCat – they’ve dropped their focus on player protection in an attempt to take a bite out of the huge Predator/Laser market share. But in doing so, they’ve created an unusual hybrid.

The boot has all the pedigree of a speed boot; the upper of the v1.06, the soleplate of the v1.10 and the lightest K-Leather this side of the Wave Shinken II.

They’ve intentionally dropped one of the best ‘power’ features of the v-Konstrukt line – the DuoFlex technology, which incidentally is similar to the Powerspine on the Predator_X.

But despite its unorthodox background, the PowerCat is a great boot. Light, comfortable straight out the box, and arguably the best-looking boot that PUMA has made since the King XL; the PowerCat has plenty going for it.'Β  The 3D PST might not be to some people’s tastes, but it is an effective alternative for those who miss the classic raised ‘rings’ of the T90 Laser range, or are disappointed at the ‘low-profile’ nature of the Predator_X’s swerve technology.

My only fear for this boot is that it will be dismissed as too lightweight by people who favour ‘Power’ boots, and get bypassed for the v1.10 by players looking for a PUMA speed boot.


24 Comments

  • this boot is the most comfortable boots that I’ve worn other than Predator Powerswerve.

    I have very wide foot but still fits me perfectly without hurting or blisters.

    Touch and feel for the ball is great with this boots due to the soft kangaroo leather.

    Power is incredible, with 3D PST, it provides you with lots of power behind every shots. This boot can surely compete with Predator X in Power. However, swerve and accuracy is up to your skill, 3D PST doesn’t seem to support you with swerving and accuracy. Notwithstanding, this boot is amazing to kick with.

    By the way, it was a really good review of this boots.

  • very quick review. This seems a quite solid and interesting boot.

    One question: where exactly is the 3D PST located and does it help with tackling and a little protection? Is it just a chunk of plastic in the boot or something more interesting?

  • martincillo – Apologies – that’s a little misleading on my part, whilst it lacks the carbon fibre shank and see-through section that the v1.10 has on it’s insole, the stud configuration and shape of the sole plate are almost identical. Thanks for pulling me up on that!

    Kuuku – It’s the series of ‘steps’ made of firm plastic (like the old rings on the Laser I) that run along the top of the foot and partially into the insole – I’ll put up a picture for you in the morning!

    mugen – I’d say that they run pretty true to size as they’re very adjustable; but I have very regular feet- perhaps if Alyusha’s out there he can stop by with some more advice on how they are on his wide feet?

  • Hi ben – quite simply, the weather has been so appalling that we struggled to get any decent images of Kyle looking anything else apart from a drowned rat!

    It’ll be back to normal next time.

  • excellent picture of the boots kyle. thanks! awesome boot. I think I will get them in FG to complement my SG boots. They seem terrific.

  • i was just thinking, if this 3D PST works by having a higher rebound rate, doesn’t that mean that it would be harder to control the ball with that part of your foot? it’s basically the opposite principle to what Nike have developed with the CTR that cushions impact

  • hi kyle~
    i have some question to you!!
    maybe it is heavier than v- series, right?
    so how many grams they weight??
    thx to this nice review
    waiting your answer

  • Hi Kyle,

    I think that was a really great review – unbiased and definitely personal!

    I’ve got semi wide feet… but so far I’ve fit fine into standard King XLs and V-Konstrukt IIs, both 11UK… so would I fit an 11UK PWRCAT?

    Also, does the PST take much feel away from the ball? (I know you mentioned concrete vs carpet…)

    Cheers πŸ™‚

  • Morning Karl!

    I think if you fit into those other boots, the PowerCat will also fit you – the upper’s got a lot of give, so you should be fine!

    As for the PST – I wouldn’t say it takes too much away. The really firm areas are only along the bones of your big toe (if that makes sense) so you probably don’t control the ball with that area to much.

  • That’s great Kyle, cheers πŸ™‚

    My season-old Konstrukt IIs look like they still have a few months life in them (and I hope they do!!!), but once they give way, will definitely give the PWRCATs a good try πŸ™‚

    It’s just their price is kind of off putting at the moment…

    Cheers πŸ™‚

  • I managed to get a pair of these before the start of the season for ÂŁ50.

    It turned out to be the best sporting purchase I’ve made. The most comfortable boots I’ve ever worn, and with technology that does exactly what it claims.

    Great boots, couldn’t reccomend them more.

  • That’s great to hear Jack πŸ™‚

    I’m actually finally getting a pair for my birthday πŸ˜€ Although I’m a bit disappointed that by now, the white/blue colourway has run out on PDS!!

    So going with the yellow ones instead πŸ˜›

    Yellow boots.. Hmm…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *