Reviewing a classic – or heritage – release is always an interesting proposition. Do you review them to the same standard as a more modern release? Or do you treat them as something of a novelty?
Thankfully, the Ryal Europa is all business once you take them out of the box – as soon as you put a pair of these on, you know they’re plenty capable of being put through their paces in a game.
But are they worth a throw?
Let’s find out…
Comfort & Fit – 5/5
One of the things we always try and answer in this section is, ‘what sort of foot do they fit?. However, looking back on the time I’ve spent reviewing the Ryal Europa, fit is something of a blank spot in my memory.
Why? Well, they just sort of… fit. Perfectly. Like a good referee, the fit of a good boot will allow it to go unnoticed over 90 minutes, and that’s exactly the case with the Europa.
The lacing system is wide and deep down the foot, for a fully adjustable fit, and the recommended ‘runners knot’ lacing style gives a (excuse another cliche) slipper-esque quality that most players will absolutely love.
Touch & Feel – 4/5
As you would expect from a handmade K-leather football boot, the Ryal Europa' offers superb touch and feel on the ball.
Unlike the firm leather on the adiPure IV (a boot we see the Europa' compared to often in the comments), the ‘pockets’ created by the stitching on the forefoot are super-cushioned leather, for an almost extra-sensory feel on the ball when your head is up.
Looks – 4/5
With so many players wearing colourways that boast Total Oranges, Electricites and FlupoPinks on weekend pitches at the moment (and they’re no bad thing!) the Ryal Europa' offers a breath of fresh air.
Pure black and white leather make up the basis of the boot, whilst subtle details like the integration of the Italian flag into the midfoot panel, brass eyelets and long laces give the Europa a bit of that ongoing ‘Wow’ factor to it’s detailing.
Maintenance – 3/5
As a natural leather release with a fairly shiny finish, there’s a fairly standard amount of TLC you’ll have to put into the Ryal Europa' to make sure they stay looking their best.
The perfectly glossy leather will lose a bit of it’s lustre as they come into contact with ground of any kind, but the artisan craftsmanship definitely shines through in the durability, with the soleplate firmly glued and stitched to the upper.
Oh, and the nylon laces are easily snagged and will look frayed – but given most players will replace them, that’s kind of a moot point.
Performance – 4/5
Whilst I’m going to give the Ryal Europa' a fairly high score in this part of the review – if your game is all about striking through the ball with the ‘laces’ on your boot, imagine a little asterisk hovering up there.
To expand; crossing, passing, set-pieces and all the rest of the aspects of the beautiful game that involve the instep and fore foot of a boot are just second nature in the Europa, with the snug fit, great shape and generous instep allowing for great ball contact.
However whether it was the amount of laces, tongue or shape of the vamp, going for that raw-power laces strike wasn’t quite as satisfying on the Ryal‘s as many other boots with side-offset lacing, synthetic uppers or super-thin tongues.
It’s also worth noting that the Europa weighs in at only 316g – so anyone expecting a workboot-style weight to them will be pleasantly surprised.
The traction plate used is the same style featured on many of Ryal’s boots and offers exactly the sort of grip and stability you’d expect from a twelve-stud' config.
Value – 3/5
Whilst the middle-of-the-road 3/5 is usually reserved for boots around the £150 mark, the heritage market is actually slightly skewed to a lower price range – for example, adidas top-selling Copa Mundial has it’s RRP set at £105.
So, at 129 Euros – or £108 – the Ryal Europa' is more-or-less bang in line with the rest of the names in the heritage market.
However, the Europa' earns kudos in this section for using K-Leather from Tuscan tanneries and being put together in artisan Italian workshops.
Overall – 23/30
It’s hard to argue with what the Ryal Europa' provides for a hair under £110 in terms of craftsmanship, materials and performance.
The leather and materials really are second to none, and there are very few brands that capture the old-school aesthetic like Ryal do.
If you want a break from wearing the ‘future’ of football boots when you step onto the pitch, then you might enjoying picking up a piece of their history, instead.