Probably one of the most exciting and unpredictable brands in the football world at the moment, there’s a real sense of ‘rooting’ for them as a new brand with big ambitions entering a hugely competitive marketplace.
After getting things off to a good start with the Skreamer, we’ve put the new Gambler through it’s paces to see if they can keep up their impressive run of form.
Comfort & Fit – 3/5
As with the Skreamer, the Warrior Gambler is an exceptionally accommodating boot with a true-to-size fit.
The toebox is reasonably narrow (again, like the Skreamer) so people whose feet are wider in the toes might find an issue with the Gambler’s shape in that sense, but a deep, side-offset lacing system allows for a good level of adjustment.
Whilst the Wild Card tech mesh quarter and Royal Flush liner are both winners in the comfort stakes (offering a delightfully soft, sock-like feel to the rear and middle of the boot), the heel cage does cause some rubbing and needs about an hour of game time to really break in.
Feel & Touch – 4/5
Warrior have really nailed this aspect of the Gambler – the vinyl-finish synthetic forefoot might not be grippy on it’s own, but the clever use of zones give the Gambler a reliable contact on the ball that certainly isn’t hampered by it’s upper.
The Gambler’s low-profile fit also helps the boot strike a nice balance between being lightweight and packed with tech – it’s the Swiss Army Knife of the boot world.
Looks – 4/5
Another boot that’s not going to be to everyone’s taste, I’m giving the Gambler an above-average score for sheer insistence on being anything but boring.
The chequered tech-mesh offers up a unique aesthetic, whilst the swooping lines of the Safe House cage and heel counter contrast to great effect.
Maintenance – 2/5
As always with a boot this busy, there’s a lot to look after. The Gambler employs a huge variety of materials and components, and each will require a little TLC to keep looking their best.
One thing I’d like to put at the heart of this section is using the Gambler on artificial surfaces: I’d hoped that the ‘Loaded Deck’ FG outsole’s 17-blade configuration would give me a boot that I could use on both firm and artificial ground.
However, the Ace Plate pass-pad on the step seemed to be susceptible to letting debris in, so after extensive testing I ended up with a little more soleplate separation in this area than I’d like – I’d definitely recommend only using the Gambler on natural ground.
On the plus side, the Wild Card tech mesh held up in wet conditions, keeping my feet dry and minimising rubbing.
Performance – 5/5
A boot packed full of features on a lightweight chassis isn’t an easy trick to pull off, but now Warrior have both the Skreamer and the Gambler as examples that they can produce great-performing boots.
The low-profile fit and side-offset lacing create a deft, lightweight feel which is a big contrast to the loaded feature set.
On the lateral side of the boot is the Outsider Zone, which shares much in both ethos and execution to the pass-pads on the first two CTR360’s for a padded feel on the ball.
The High-Roller zone offers a Wave Ignitus level of aggressive forefoot ball contact for players who like to really add unpredictable dip to their shots, and the instep’s Ace Plate ' is a little like a strike-zone for your passes: not so thick as to feel unnatural with a good level of purchase on each pass.
Value – 4/5
Warrior seem to be positioning their products under the market average price – and as a new brand I can certainly respect that decision.
At well under that £150 benchmark for a top-tier ‘statement’ boot, the Gambler presents an exciting feature-set wrapped up in a great design.
Overall – 21/30
I’ve no doubt some will see the Gambler as something of a novelty; considering the boot’s great batch of innovations, attractive price-tag and eye-catching looks before buying something from their usual brand.
But that’s ultimately their loss, as the Warrior Gambler is a hugely impressive release that offers up a completely different type of ‘control’ boot to the CTR360 or Predator LZ.
If you’re after something lightweight that still packs the features of a heavier boot – the Warrior Gambler would be a perfect fit for you.
Just keep it off the artificial turf.
Sizing ” True to Size
Upper material ” Vinyl forefoot with mesh midfoot and quarter
Weight ” 235g, UK size 9.5
Forefoot width ” Average
Midfoot width ” Average
Arches ” Fairly Narrow, medium arch height.
Absolutely stunning boots