The new Puma One 5.1 – now built for control, not speed.
Puma have done it again, refreshing their football boots after a mere 6 months. This time, it’s the ONE’s turn to get a major facelift with a completely redesigned upper. The Puma One 19.1, unfortunately, wasn’t the best boot Puma had to offer. The leather didn’t feel great in comparison to the One 1, while the forefoot felt overly wide with below par heel lockdown as well.
With the One 5.1, Puma have transitioned their positioning of the One from a speedy attacking boot, to one fit for the maestro that conducts play around the pitch. Is it enough to knock out the likes of the adidas Predator or the Nike PhantomVSN? There’s only ONE way to find out.
Ripping Up the Manual
Probably the biggest and most visible change in the Puma One 15.1 is the leather placement. While synthetic + leather combinations aren’t uncommon, Puma’s execution is.
The leather portion now spans around three quarters of the forefoot and extends all the way to the mid foot around the areas that come into contact with the ball often. The lateral side sees the introduction of “Sprintweb”, which is a reinforced mesh material. It’s a strong but lightweight material that’s meant to deliver stability when making those lateral cuts and feels similar to the “Skeletalweave” that adidas uses in its X19+.
The only part of the One silo to have survived all its iterations, the Rapidsprint outsole makes a return, as does the evoKNIT collar, both of which were one of the better performing parts of the Puma One 19.1. Having said that, Puma seem to have subtly lowered the evoKNIT collar, to form just around the ankle, which makes the boot feel like a low-cut boot.
On feet, the Puma One 5.1 has a forgiving fit which should fit most feet shapes. This is another example of their departure from the “speed boot” positioning, which are traditionally narrow. Even if it feels slightly tighter at first, the soft leather upper moulds to your feet in no time, making it feel like you’re wearing comfortable leather slippers.
Owning The Pitch
On pitch though, the Puma One 5.1 straight up feels like one of the best boots I’ve tried in 2019. Longtime readers will know that I’m a huge fan of leather uppers and the quality is right up there with the competition. The upper hits that Goldilocks sweet spot of not being overly padded or too thin. It gives you a close but dampened touch on the ball without feeling too pillowy. This comes from added foam elements to the leather which helps balance this sensation.
Controlling the ball felt great, as did grounded passes. Pinging longer balls and shooting was lovely, with the padding taking just enough of the sting away from it. This is a boot made for the classic number 10, the old school playmaker that craves the ball and wants to caress it to start the next attack.
Webbed To Perfection
And then, there’s the Sprintweb. If the leather is Manchester City’s attacking force that grabs the headlines, Sprintweb is Fernandinho, the underrated player working behind the scenes to allow the leather to become the star of the show.
The Sprintweb is surprisingly soft and pliable out of the box, yet stabilizes your foot so you don’t feel the boot giving way when making those hard lateral cuts. It also required little to no break-in time, which was amazing. Equally impressively, you don’t feel the transition between Sprintweb and leather upper on the forefoot, which was one of my initial worries of the boot.
Sprintweb’s function to reduce movement in your feet solves a modern leather boot dilemma – the overstretching of the leather.
If It Ain’t Broke…
The Rapidsprint outsole remains untouched. The flexible forefoot adds to a very natural running motion in a way would appeal to the modern midfield who covers a lot of ground. That said, I still think that the studs are still slightly too long to be used on artificial ground as there’s some clinginess when playing 5-a-side on AG.
On 7-a-side and 11-a-side game of football, where there are less quick twists and turns, the long studs did not cause much of a problem. Rotational movement was wonderful, although you do sacrifice a little bit of that bite when pushing off on a sprint.
The lowered collar is another brilliant change. It’s low enough for your ankle to feel free, yet high enough to produce a placebo effect of added stability.
It ain’t all roses and butterflies though. I did get some minor heel slippage with the Puma One 5.1. Not enough to hinder my performance, but noticeable enough from time to time.
Has Puma Finally Found The ONE?
When I first got the Puma One 5.1 in hand, I was worried that it would feel like Frankenstein’s monster. The boot had so many different materials that it could have gotten in the way of each other. Thankfully, the redesigned leather upper, Sprintweb, Rapidsprint outsole and the evoKNIT collar combine into an impressively comfortable and high performing package.
The boot feels like a comfortable, locked in pair of leather slippers which fits the needs of a modern box-to-box midfielder like me. The upper was equally at ease protecting me when I got stuck into challenges as it was when I plucked passes out of the air. Despite weighing in at 210g, the boot has a nice, balanced feel to it.
If you’re a defender or a midfielder who enjoys a protective boot that still gives you a great feel of the ball, look no further. This is absolutely the ONE for you. If you’re a speedster who likes a lightweight boot with a barefoot touch on the ball, look away.
I can’t overlook the heel slippage, but overall, the Puma One 5.1 is an impressive package. Puma have really outdone themselves.
The ONE to Rule Them All
If you haven’t realized by now, I’m all in on the Puma One 5.1. The shift from ‘speed’ to ‘control’ is a masterstroke considering how stacked the competition is in the speed category is. A leather boot with a modern and sleek design would still have an appeal in today’s market.
Make no mistake about it that this is the best boot that Puma have produced since their courageous silo refresh. It took awhile to get here, but Puma have finally found The One.