Lotto, the pioneer of laceless boots, is back with a bang.
Think about laceless boots and you immediately associate them with adidas. But little do many know, adidas was not the first to produce a laceless boot. The actual pioneers were Lotto with the Lotto Zhero Gravity in 2006. The Zhero Gravity was Lotto’s make-or-break move to regain relevance in the football boots category that was getting dominated by Nike and adidas.
It broke them and the days of the Italian boot went down together with the popularity of the Italian Serie A. The Zhero Gravity was said to be a ham-fisted product which was uncomfortable and super hard to put on. The experiment with synthetics also seemed to betray their roots in handcrafted Italian leather boots.
Close to 15 years later, Lotto is making another play to be recognized again (ironically, alongside the resurgence of the Serie A). Can Lotto be a household name again with the introduction of their Lotto Solista 100 III Gravity?
A grounding on the Gravity
The Lotto Solista 100 III Gravity is Lotto’s flagship boot with a name that’s too long and confusing. “Lotto Solista” refers to the name of the silo. Technically, “III Gravity” is also the name of the silo, with this being the third of the laceless “Gravity” boots. Why did they not call it the “Lotto Gravity III”, I do not know. The “100” series are the top grade laceless variant, while the “200” and “700” are the mid grade and low grade takedowns respectively.
For the sake of this review, we’re going to just call it the “Lotto Solista”.
The boots are developed to be speed boots that makes you feel light on your feet. It’s made from a fully knitted upper with a thin layer of silicone coating to protect the surface. The silhouette does remind me of one of adidas’ earlier laceless Ace models with its supposedly high volume mid foot. It’s a quite a decent looking boot as well with a heather effect on the gun metal grey upper and I really like how the mid-cut collar looks.
Gravity wants to bring me (lock)down
Lotto’s focus with the Solista is all about lockdown. So much so that they provide you with extra 2mm insoles to help you fill out the boots if need be. That’s very considerate since laceless boots don’t provide options to customize the fit.
A word of caution on putting on the Lotto Solista. They’re a mother freaking pain in the ass to put on. This is especially due to the heel counter which is slightly tilted inwards and the taut knit across the tongue area. Putting on and taking them off with slightly damp socks is doubly hard so please use the shoe horn provided to assist your feet with the process.
But once your feet are in, they stay locked in. I was thoroughly impressed with the lockdown of the Lotto Solista. It wraps your feet tightly and evenly and they do a better job of it than some laced boots. You may also notice a slight bit of pinching around the heel area though that sensation never feels uncomfortable when you start your game. The supposedly high volume mid-foot stretches out to look more sleek than bulky on feet.
The boots are very snug all round and I would recommend you go true to size if you have slim or average width feet. Unfortunately, due to the construction and shape of the boot, I wouldn’t recommend getting the laceless Lotto Solista 100 III Gravity. Perhaps go with the laced “200” instead.
The Gravity has its ups…. and downs
My first steps in the Lotto Solista felt just… right. The upper softens up almost immediately and it’s got a comfortable, slightly padded feel. Your feet are tightly cocooned in the Solista even when you make quick cuts and break mid-sprint. While the boot is marketed as a speed boot, only the lockdown has carried traditional speed boot features. You don’t get the razor sharp close contact on the ball and neither do you get an aggressive or springy sensation with the soleplate usually associated with speed boots.
The slightly airy, padded touch, was pleasant when receiving the ball at pace while it also helps to take the sting out of a well-hit strike. I don’t have a problem with the touch but for the life of me, it just doesn’t feel very engaging. Perhaps the silicone layer dulls the senses a little too much when in contact with the ball. It’s a shame because the knitted material is genuinely soft and if they took the Puma Future 5.1 approach by only partially coating the knitted upper, it could have made the touch closer to feet.
That soleplate is also very flexible in the forefoot and mid-foot with very short rounded studs all around making this FG soleplate feel more like an AG one. I would greatly recommend this for AG surfaces as it’s not aggressive at all and promotes mobility and a free sensation, just like a classic Lotto boot.
For those expecting the traction or response required of a speed boot, you can give this a miss.
It won’t let you down, but it doesn’t float my boat
Technically, the Lotto Solista 100 III Gravity is a very good boot. Excellent lockdown, soft upper, good looks and a low price tag. However, I can’t help but feel that a more engaging touch on the ball would have given the Lotto Solista some X-factor and made it much more fun to play with.
Despite my feelings towards the touch, this is still a very good step forward for Lotto who has been in the doldrums for years. They’re embracing modern knit tech but their traditional roots still show with their unresponsive soleplate. It’ll take time to embrace change fully but I give credit to Lotto for trying.