A leather boot that fails to deliver on comfort.
I’ve always been fascinated by the Concave brand. It’s a relatively obscure brand based in Australia which serves up some pretty interesting looking designs. Most of their boots are endorsed by players from Aussie Rules football clubs – a sport which has more similarities to rugby than actual football (soccer).
It’s also been heavily marketed as a football (soccer) boot and I finally managed to scratch my Concave itch after months of deliberation.
What is the Concave Aura+
One that caught my eyes was the Concave Aura+ which, from afar, reminded me of the good old Nike CTR360 Maestri. Concave claims that it’s built for comfort and control.
Central to that idea of control is the kangaroo leather that covers most of the forefoot while the boots transition to a traditional style synthetic mid-foot and heel counter. The mid-foot/heel counter combo is quite fascinating on its own – a comfortable inner suede lining and a, primarily knitted, material with plastic ribs that cover the surface for stability.
All of these are rounded up with a pretty thick and hard plastic attachment on the top of Concave Aura+’s tongue called the “PowerStrike” zone which aims to provide a sweet spot for when you strike the ball.
Give me an Aura of control
When putting on the Concave Aura+, I was immediately surprised at how stiff the boot was, especially around the mid-foot. That stiff sensation is further compounded by how high the mouth of the boot was. The stiff curves of the mouth were cradled just underneath my ankle and it couldn’t stop rubbing against the underside of my ankle bone as I warmed up in them.
The leather, while looking buttery soft out of the box, doesn’t feel as plush on feet. It’s not hard by any measure but it feels more tough and rugged in nature.
For those with larger toes, you can be content with the extra room around the toebox while the rest of the boot cuts an average width. I’d usually recommend going half a size down with leather boots but with that stiff mid-foot and the curves of the mouth causing discomfort, avoid the smaller fit and go true to size.
Unspectacular performance and mid-foot discomfort
With Covid19 rendering full matches impossible, my time on the field was limited to training sessions. Passing drills were the focus, perfect for a control boot. Passing and receiving the ball felt… alright. It didn’t feel special but it did its job. Pinging the ball over longer distances was unexciting as the connection felt dull. You’ll get used to the sensation quickly and you can expect the leather upper to soften up slightly as you take on more touches throughout the session.
I would have preferred a softer leather material out of the box though the tough kangaroo leather didn’t affect my touch too much. I think it’d be a great boot for the rough and tumble defender as you’ll be well protected as you dive in for a tackle on the ball.
Despite being an FG soleplate, the mix of bladed and rounded studs were surprisingly grippy on AG grounds while allowing easy pivots on the spot without any significant stud pressure. It gets our seal of approval for AG pitches.
One area where the Concave Aura+ excels is for those who love taking long goalkeeper-esque punts upfield. The “PowerStrike” zone that sits on the top of the tongue gives you extra oomph when hitting the ball hard and true. This is certainly designed with Aussie Rules Football in mind where players lump the ball high into the air, an effort similar to a goal kick.
It would have been great to see a variation of the “PowerStrike” implemented a little lower and off-centre where you strike the ball in football but unfortunately, this technology was built for Aussie Rules in mind.
The Concave Aura+, however, started becoming uncomfortable after an hour due to the ribs around the mid-foot and heel. While the idea is all about giving you stability when changing direction, its rigidity and the high mouth meant that the curves of the mouth were pressing hard on the underside of my ankle throughout the session.
This was especially prominent on my planting foot when striking the ball and also when twisting and changing direction as these involved the sides of the boot pushing up against the underside of my ankle. By the end of the session, the ankle and the back of my heels were sore and blistered.
Concave Aura+ – Not for everyone
In a bid to create an “underground” brand, Concave went with the tagline “not for everyone” which is ironic because that is exactly how I’d describe the Concave Aura+.
It was definitely built for the Aussie Rules player though I can’t imagine anyone being comfortable in these boots due to its rigidity and uncomfortable mouth area. The Concave Aura+’s starting price isn’t cheap as well. At £140 (SG$240), you can easily get 2 month old adidas Predator 20.1 colourway for slightly less though Concave’s boots go for big discounts on Prodirect Soccer.
If you’re looking to get a good value leather boot which doesn’t compromise on comfort, consider the Nike Premier 2.0 instead at a fraction of the price. The Concave Aura+ is definitely not for