Friday, October 23, 2009

Product Test and Review: Puma King Classic Top di

The fine folks at have once again asked for my razor-sharp product analysis. This time, it's something a wee bit more important than a t-shirt. The item in question this time around is the Puma King Classic Top di. Yes, it's the boot revered across the globe for its simple lines, supple leather, and all-black no-nonsense approach to the game. But how would it fair under the Sanford microscope?

First of all, the guys at are no dummies. They sent me two shoes, one for each foot. This greatly facilitated the testing process.

I'll admit it was a bit difficult to pick the new, crisp-looking cleats out of the box instead of my worn-in, comfortable current shoes. But it had to be done, and the switch wasn't nearly as difficult as I imagined. The Pumas slid on with ease, and my size 11 1/2 versions fit quite well. I have wide feet but the Classics didn't pinch a bit.

The first things I noticed, however, were the laces. I prefer thick and long (that's what she said. sorry. couldn't help it.) laces, but the Pumas have thin laces that don't allow you to wrap around the cleat for extra support. And if you tie normally, you're left with too much lace. A no-man's land of laces, if you will. So, I double knotted and stuffed the extra string into the laces that were tied through the eyelets. That seemed to work OK.

My first test session on turf was great. It's that longer turf with the little rubber pebbles. The studs handled the turf without any problems, and within five minutes I forgot I was wearing new shoes and was bagging goals for fun. (ed. note: goal part not factually correct). But seriously, it's not every day you can put on a brand new pair of cleats and have them become ingrained to you and the pitch so quickly. And they gave me far more traction than turf shoes or cross trainers or all those other weird shoes that are supposedly made for turf. These didn't stick in the ground or hold me up at all and I felt like I could turn on a dime.

My next session with the shoes was on grass. Again, they performed admirably, with plenty of traction and solidity. The soles quickly loosened and became flexible. The leather began to loosen up a bit and felt great on the ball. I really felt like they were giving me that extra bit of contact and control when I was trying to work the ball into tight space. Better yet, I looked bad-ass in my all-black boots. The grass was fairly firm so I can't say how these cleats would do in the muck, but their performance on tight surfaces was excellent.

Given the negative of the laces, I'd give the Puma King Classic Top di a 9/10 and would jump on these for my everyday boot. Most places list these around $120, which isn't top-tier expensive but ain't cheap either. But it is a price I would gladly pay knowing the quality of the equipment. And guess what? At, they are currently available for $112 with free ground shipping. -Sanford

Soccer Cleats


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