The Puma Future Z 1.3 doubles down on lockdown.
It’s been 4 years and Puma has dished out tons of updates to their Puma Future line. It was all about the perfect fit, no matter the foot shape. We at BOOTHYPE have come to love the series, and my personal favourite has been the Puma Future 5.1.
The latest iteration involved a compression band to adapt to your foot shape, evolving from the first concept of infinite lacing options. This greatly improved the boot with an improved fit but I found the touch on the ball to feel pretty… meh.
It hasn’t taken the big cat long to improve on their Future Z again and this time, I think it is almost perfect.
Puma Future Z 1.3: Going bigger on compression
The formula of the Puma Future Z 1.3 has remained the same as its predecessor – a boot that fits most foot shapes through an adaptable midfoot. The adaptability comes from the compression material covering the midfoot and Puma has invested more on that front. The compression band, officially named FUZIONFIT+, covers the entire midfoot up to the lace area and the mouth of the boot. About two thirds of the boot is covered in FUZIONFIT+.
The forefoot and the base of the upper are protected by a thin silicone layer to protect the knitted upper from wear and tear. A new feature that comes with the layer are soft embossed spikes on the outer foot – presumably for grip during dribbles and for those outer foot passes. For all these new materials and knit, the boot is pretty light at 225g in a US 9.
Lastly, the Z shaped soleplate returns to provide maximum flexibility during those twists and turns in a high intensity game.
Overall, it’s a really handsome boot that looks way more premium than its predecessor and I feel that it’s the best the Future has ever looked with the exposed raw knit, ribbing and the texturing on the forefoot.
Endless compression: Is the FUZIONFIT+ alive???
Like past Futures (pun unintended), the boot is fairly wide so expect to go half a size down in them. The moment you put on the Puma Future Z 1.3, you’ll immediately notice the compression band doing its work on you.
For the first 5-10 minutes, I was afraid of cramping as it was just so tight. My foot was locked in but, was blood circulating in and around the foot? The answer was yes. A light jog and some warm up exercises later, the FUZIONFIT+ eased up that upper became a comfortable companion instead of a boa constrictor.
What’s fascinating was that this tight sensation remained every time I put on the boot for my playtests (I tested them a few times). It seemed that the FUZIONFIT+ never lost its elasticity. This can only be a good thing in the long term as the risk of over-stretching should be quite low.
However, I do wish that it didn’t need to readapt to my foot every time I put it on, and that it took to the shape after one or two games, instead of five. But still, the fit and compression are second to none among the current football boot selections out there. Really impressive work by Puma there.
The Puma Future Z 1.3 has a more elegant touch
One thing I didn’t like too much in the first Puma Future Z was its “cardboard-like” touch. The upper was thin but the touch felt quite dull and average. The Puma Future Z 1.3 changes that entirely. The entire upper is made from a knitted material and it’s evident when you feel the dampened sensation all round.
The knit adds to the comfy, sock-like feel and the touch on the ball has a hint of elegance thanks to the new upper. I personally like a bit of padding on my upper and the Puma Future Z 1.3 provides just that.
Trapping a ball feels close to feet but I felt that the knit provided just a bit of cushion for me to feet like I had the feathered touch of Olivier Giroud. I also felt confident with my passing and crosses as I could wrap my foot around the ball easily with that adaptive upper.
Striking was one of my favourite things to do in the Puma Future Z 1.3. The upper takes the stinging sensation out of your shot but provides you with that oomph you get from a classic power boot when striking the ball through the sweet spot. The effectiveness of the compression band also means that my planting foot was well secure when attempting to strike into the top corners.
I’m not the fanciest dribbler, nor was this boot built for nimble footed winger in mind, but it is secure when you’re travelling with the ball. The compression band keeps your feet stable in motion while the spikes on the outer foot do provide some grip when you’re looking to keep the ball close to feet. Combine that with the flexible Z soleplate and you feel mobile yet nimble on the run.
That very FG soleplate is unchanged from the past version, built for mobility and flexibility. The Z shape allows for the sole to twist and bend diagonally which is handy and you’re putting pressure on different parts of your feet when changing direction.
I’ve always liked a soleplate with a natural flex and I think the Z soleplate provides that without the drawback of being too sloppy.
The moon-shaped studs do its job in providing mobility and a solid amount of traction that should work for most play styles.
Expect the Puma Future Z 1.3’s firm ground (FG) soleplate to provide solid traction on FG while also being surprisingly pleasant on artificial grounds (AG). Though if you’re afraid of stud pressure and wear and tear on your joints, going with a turf variant should always do the trick.
Puma Future Z 1.3: Candidate for Boot of the Year
Puma’s boot refresh cycle is shorter than most, with a new concept coming out every 6-9 months as opposed to the usual 18-24 month cycle. Their boots get retired more quickly, for better or for worst.
Puma’s moved forward in leaps and bounds with the quality of their boots in the last few years and the Puma Future Z 1.3 is the epitome of that growth. It’s a shame that the Puma Future Z 1.3 will be replaced before you realise it.
I absolutely love the Puma Future Z 1.3 and it has improved on the past generation in every way possible.
Better looking? Check. Better fit? Check. An improved touch and feel? Check, check and check.
This is genuinely one of the best boots I’ve worn in years and I just hope Puma reconsiders their product cycle so that more people can enjoy the Puma Future Z 1.3. Even if you’re not a “fan” of Puma, this pair warrants at least a try in the stores. Feel that FUZIONFIT+ working on your feet and maybe you’ll think twice about buying any other boot.