When Puma launched their brand new Future Z range back in December, it must be said FFT got pretty excited. This was, afterall, the first official Puma boot designed specifically for Neymar, who the German sportswear giants nabbed from Nike back in September 2020.
Now, when you sign Neymar - for a record €25m a year, by the way - you don’t just plonk him in a pre-existing boot range (well, not for long anyway), you need a tailor-made statement boot to let the world know you mean business. That is exactly what the Future Z promised to be, and is the reason we were so excited.
Puma were kind enough to send us a pair and it was with great relish that we unpackaged the Yellow Alert version. The Future Z range comes in two main colours, the white and yellow ones typically worn by the Brazilain forward, and the ones FFT received: the luminescent yellow and black version.
If you’re a fan of an old school, no-nonsense football boot, these are probably not for you. Puma Kings they are not. They’re insanely loud and lairy, graffiti-strewn and very light. They honestly feel like they weigh as much as a birthday card.
That does have its upsides, though. These boots are made for players who rely on pace, agility and skill to beat opponents. Wearing them feels like you’re wearing a pair of socks, and FFT had the feeling, during a corona-conscious kickabout down the park, that they must be the lightest pair of boots we’d ever worn. It isn’t just the weight of them that makes them a trusty companion for the nippy and nimble, however. There’s plenty of science to back it up too.
The boots were designed with the help of staff from some of the top clubs in world football to ensure they have the “optimal” stud arrangement, including a middle stud at the pivot point of the foot to help facilitate rapid changes of direction.
The texture used on the boot’s upper also means ball control is maximised, while the Fusionfit+ material band across the laces ensures the boots hug your feet tightly and provide a smooth platform for striking the ball. Meanwhile, the knitted sock lining prevents the foot from coming loose inside the boot, even when changing directions at high speeds.
Puma claims top athletes testing the Future Z achieved, on average, a 3% improvement in 30m sprint times and, somehow, this does actually feel genuine when wearing them. They feel like a boot designed to help you chop and change at full speed and - to be perfectly honest - we just wish we could borrow Neymar’s pace and agility for an afternoon and really push them to their limits.
Downsides are limited, as you would expect from a boot which costs so much, but FFT would advise you try on a pair before buying. As with other ranges of Puma boots, a half size up might actually be a better fit than the size you normally wear. This isn’t specifically an issue with the Future Z range but it is a typical Puma boot in that regard. If you’re ordering online, we suggest ordering two pairs and trying both on as, let’s face it, there is nothing sadder than sending a new pair of boots back and waiting for a different size once they’re already out of the box.
Time will tell if the boots are durable enough to last a whole Sunday League season - we all know what some of the tackles at that level are like - as we don’t have the benefit of donning a new pair every week like Neymar. But, all told, this is a cracking pair of boots that will have your mates jealous down the park once lockdowns are lifted.
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