Puma has not been on top of their game in making football boots since quite some time. But this changed last year. The big cat made it its way into the market by introducing the puma future.
Puma took a risky decision as the market in 2018 was all about laceless boots, and Puma introduced boots which have their specialty in the laces itself. A bold move I ought to say. Nevertheless, the boots were a big hit in the market as stars Antoine Griezmann and Giorgio Chiellini introduced the boots.
Puma introduced the Future 2.1 rather quickly making the Future 18, old. The Future 2.1 is rather an upgraded and improved version of the 18’s with different colorways and a Puma symbol at the heel part of the boot. The Netfit has been improved as well because now it goes around the boot.
What is Netfit?
Netfit is a type of lacing system introduced by Puma in various types of their shoes including football boots. It allows users to change the lacing system according to their comfort and need, to provide them with the best lockdown.
About the Future 2.1
The Future 2.1 is the newest boots on the market and let me say one thing - I am impressed by the rapid progress of Puma. With the evoKnit material used in the collar, it gives the best fit and lockdown in football boots. This isn’t hyped at all if you think it is because I say this from my personal experience.
The boots are definitely comfortable for me. But I wanted to see the fit and feel on people with wide and narrow feet as well so I went down to the field with my football mates who had wide as well as narrow feet to test them out.
The fit was “okay” for the narrow footed players. The boot definitely looks appealing because of the lacing system which enables a player to change the lacing system as he/she desires but I’d recommend keeping the laces the way they are.
Technology in the boot
Puma made the boots look good. But is there something that is exceptional about them?
Well yes! The boots actually are an upgrade of the future 18. Apart from the Netfit, what I really find good about the boots is the evoKnit sock which is actually pretty snug.
The feel of the boots are a little below average, but the TPU layer and the pattern actually gives a good feel whilst shooting. Coming to the lacing system, what I really like is the strength of the Netfit. I always doubted that they were not that strong, but they are.
The soleplate is nothing really exceptional, but it does give good traction and agility. (Note: I prefer them as FG boots and not AG) these boots aren’t perfect, but they’ll do.
The future 2.1 isn’t a boot that goes according to your feet. I had to adjust my touch on the ball, my power in my passes during the match. I had to adjust according to the boot.
The overall grip was really good, but problems with the feel of the boot were noticeable. It took me time to adjust, and after that, they felt nice even though sometimes my touch was pathetic because I’m used wearing boots with Flyknit which are much better cushioned.
What I like
- The idea of the Netfit by puma when Adidas went lace-less and Puma made boots in which the laces were the limelight of these boots
- The soleplate - simple agile and good
- The price is pretty decent though a little overpriced
- The improvement from the future 18.1: the improvement shows the work done by Puma on the boots
- The width of the boot at the toe part
- The pattern of the boots for traction
- The pattern of the boots for traction and shooting
- Shooting felt good
What I don't like
- The boots don’t give such a great feel when wearing them
- The upper feels a little uncomfortable
- How the user of the boot needs to adapt to the boot (Adidas Nemeziz are #1 on this)
- Calling them AG boots which they aren’t
The future is a creative and innovative idea by Puma. But this technology is rather “raw” not entirely but yes.
The boot needs some fixtures and improvements. Although these aren’t perfect, I’d really like how Puma is going with them and improvising each time.
In a market that is obsessed with laceless boots (or at least a clean striking zone), Puma has doubled down and made a boot that is all about the laces. Puma has always struggled to keep up with Nike and Adidas, both of whom carry considerably larger resources than the big cat.
Their attempts with the Evospeed were shadowed by stellar performers in the Nike Mercurial and Adidas F50 and X lines. So what can you do if you can’t beat the big boys in a sprint? You participate in a different race altogether. Enter Netfit and the Puma Future.
What is Netfit?
For the uninitiated, the Puma Future is derived from the Netfit technology that has been a big part of Puma’s innovations over the last year.
As the name suggests, the upper is covered with a netted textile material that allows the user to create an almost infinite number of lacing variations to accommodate different feet shapes and sizes.
Sure, it isn’t a big problem with running shoes but with the hustle and bustle of a football game, there are customer concerns that the Netfit layer might rip if the loops get tangled with an opponent’s boot studs. The reality is much less scary.
The net is tautly stretched across the upper, leaving little room for loose spaces and tangles with studs. The net is also pretty robust and is able to take on intense movements and impact associated with a game of football.
How different is this from the Puma Future 18.1?
It seemed a strange decision for Puma to scrap the Puma Future 18.1 after only a few months on the shelf. The successor, the 2.1, looks like a simple facelift but there are some changes notable changes to the boot.
The Future 2.1 has less lacing options around the forefoot area. Instead, Puma has wrapped a TPU protective layer all around the base of the upper, including the forefoot area to reduce any potential wear and tear over time. While it’s not a problem for me, this limits the lacing area to just the mid-foot all the way to the area just below the ankles.
This means that the Future now has 2 very distinct textures and densities to the upper with the lacing area being very soft out of the box while the TPU-covered areas felt thicker and less plush.
The Future 2.1 also does not stretch as much as the 18.1. Looking at the image comparison above, the evoKNIT sock on the 18.1 (on the left) extends all across the mid-foot but it seems to half that length on the 2.1 (on the right).
This makes the fit even tighter, which is especially bad news for wide footed players. I noticed that the boot is slightly heavier at 235g rather than the 210g of the previous generation and it’s noticeable when you have either boot in hand.
Raising my lace game
Do custom lace configurations really affect the lockdown and comfort of the boot? Upon putting on the boot, I realized that it was rather narrow for my moderately wide feet, even without the laces.
Most of the narrow width was around the mid-foot though I had ample wiggle room around the toebox. The reduced stretch material in the evoKNIT sock definitely made it a tighter fit than the already compressive 18.1. For a boot that sells itself to be a solution to various feet shapes, this was not a good start.
I proceeded to prepare 2 different lace configurations to both boots – one with laces looped high up my foot and the other, a more traditional pattern. What I found out was that there was no distinctive or dramatic change in lockdown when comparing both feet. Both feet were secure and there was no noticeable difference when changing directions, sprinting or striking the ball.
The touch on the ball was decent though not spectacular. With a knitted upper and its price point, I expected the upper to offer a softer, thinner touch but it felt rather plasticky as compared to other knitted options in the market. Do expect to break in the upper after a few games though it would have been good to have been softer out of the box.
One cause of concern for me was the soleplates which were said to be developed for both firm (FG) and artificial ground (AG). However, the long studs make the Future more of an FG boot rather than AG with minor stud pressure troubling me through a 2-hour game on artificial ground.
This is a very important factor to consider if you’re carrying or have a history of injuries on your joints. You don’t want to put unnecessary pressure on your feet and joints with studs that are too long.
Looking forward to future releases
The Puma Future 2.1 is a decent boot by most standards. It looks really cool, it’s got one of the best mid-cut socks in the game with evoKNIT and an aggressive soleplate for speed merchants. The Future is also one of the most creative concepts released by the big cat after struggling with boot innovations the last couple of years.
However, I think there’s massive potential for improvements. Top of that list would be an AG compatible soleplate and a more responsive upper that makes striking the ball feel more engaging. At present, it looks like Puma has found their groove again. Let’s hope the Future kicks off a new era for the big cat.
Good to know
- Taking after the Future 18.1 Netfit, the Puma Future 2.1 Netfit FG/AG might not look quite that different. Then again, the brand guarantees that this second generation soccer cleat is packed with innovative upgrades that take a player’s game to even greater heights. Not only that, but this model also lights up the pitch with a striking look that matches its game-winning performance.
- When it came down to aesthetics, the Future 2.1 Netfit FG/AG still features the same modern design that utilizes the Netfit lacing system and evoKnit collar, as seen on it predecessor. Famed as the brand’s innovative and customizable lacing technology, the Netfit allows wearers to freely loop the laces in countless ways to achieve the best fit. Meanwhile, the evoKnit sock gives a supportive fit around the ankle to allow enhanced mobility. Another Puma cleat that utilizes an evoKnit sock feature is the Puma One 18.1 K-Leather Firm Ground.
- A noticeable upgrade in this soccer cleat can be felt on its upper. Compared to the slightly thicker and plasticky feel of the first generation Future cleat, this version highlights a softer and more flexible textile base upper. This enhanced layer offers a closer ball touch alongside a more cushioned feel owing to a padded inner lining.
- The base of this soccer cleat employs the RapidAgility soleplate, which boasts of being lightweight and highly-reactive. Along with that, this innovative plate features a combination of conical and bladed studs set to supply aggressive traction on both natural grass and artificial grass.
The Puma Future 2.1 Netfit FG/AG offers comfort and softness that is felt right out of the box. This owes to its soft and flexible textile base upper. With the Netfit technology infused in its design, this silhouette promises a snug and secure fit as wearers are given the option to lace up their cleats in countless ways. This soccer cleat is constructed in a men’s version and comes in sizes 7 to 12.5. It comes in a regular width and fits true to size.
Puma has equipped this second generation soccer cleat with their famed RapidAgility soleplate. Not only is this outsole lightweight and reactive, but it is also an efficient companion on firm ground and artificial grass pitches as it delivers excellent traction and allows for ease in executing twists and pivots. This hybrid outsole employs a stud pattern that features 4-sided bladed studs working in combination with strategically-placed conical studs.
Among the highlights of the Puma Future 2.1 Netfit FG/AG is its textile base upper. The material shows impressive softness and flexibility, a massive improvement from the stiff and rigid upper of its predecessor. However, this version of the Future still adapts the innovative Netfit, a technology initially released for running shoes to enhance a cleat’s overall fit. With this innovation, the laces can be looped in infinite ways to achieve a snug, personalized fit.
Another detail that can be seen in the upper is the evoKnit collar that helps provide added support around the ankles, allowing for better mobility. This ankle sock, designed with front and back pull tabs, also facilitates easy entry of the foot.
Moreover, the Puma logo can be spotted at the pull tag and around the heel.
- Coming from the Illuminate Pack, the Puma Future 2.1 Netfit FG/AG is available in a Colour Shift / Biscay Green / Puma Black colorway.