Nike’s Maestri soccer shoe line has been a rousing success to say the least, and they did it through comfort and function coupled with simple yet appealing color design. It’s interesting to note, though, that the best colorways have contained some element of white color on the boot, whether that means at the heel as with the black/red/white scheme or at the forefoot as with the white/black/tour yellow scheme. In my mind, the Gold Cup colorway was a dismal failure. It was drab, unappealing and, well, looked cheap. Nike is having another try at the dark color scheme with the new “Metallic Platinum with Black and Blue Glow” colorway, and it’s a vast improvement from the Gold Cup.
The problem with the Gold Cup colorway was the gold color. To put it bluntly, it looked like someone spray painted their soccer shoes. The “metallic platinum” of the new colorway is spot on, however. It pops out without being too lustrous or obnoxious. It works extremely well with the blue and black elements of the boot as well. Starting from the forefoot, you have this platinum color extending back to the arch of the foot, where it gives way to the familiar black, which in turn gives way to the black heel. The big toe has a blue Nike Swoosh while the outside of the foot boasts a Swoosh in the same color, straddling the platinum and black elements. The inside of the heel is all black, save the blue touch plate, while the arch of the foot has a black touch plate.
I really don’t think there’s an element I dislike in this colorway. It isn’t mind-blowingly appealing, but it isn’t boring, either. It grabs your eye without demanding attention, and it has clear focus points. It may not be of the highest order in style, but it is absolutely tasteful. This colorway may fail on another boot, but it perfectly complements the functional aspects for which the boot is known.
Of all the functional aspects, the most noticeable are the dampening pods on the outstep and the touch pads on the arch, but they are not my favorite parts. Yes, they increase touch consistency and create a better first touch, but for me, this boot is about comfort, stability and durability. The comfort is realized through the combination of an insanely cushy insole and the soft grasp of the kanga-lite leather. The sole of your foot will be cradled by the insole (not coddled), which offers firm support as well, while the top of your foot will be held by the soft yet sturdy kanga-lite. Time and time again, people come to the shop and tell me how comfortable the Maestri boots are on their feet, and I agree whole-heartedly. There’s also a slip of felt fabric over the heel, so blisters will be minimized. The felt might wear down to the point where it causes slight discomfort, but I don’t really see that as coming up too much; I haven’t had anyone complain about the felt yet.
Stability comes into play with the soleplate and cleat positioning. The soleplate is flexible without being weak. You won’t have any issues stopping or starting, nor will cutting and turning be an issue. The trio of cleats arranged in a circular fashion underneath the balls of your feet allows for great agility while the outer cleats allow you to plant and dig when needed.
Finally, the durability is created by the combination of the kanga-lite and the soleplate. The kanga-lite alone is a durable synthetic, with a surprising thickness given its light weight. Then you have the soleplate bonded to the shoe, but the tension points are not at the seam between the two elements. Factor in a resistant heel cup, and you have a Sherman tank in terms of durability.
Given the tasteful new colorway and the superior design and construction of the boot, its success is no wonder. The $179.99 price tag is practically a steal if you’re playing regularly; shoes of this same caliber can reach into the $200 range. Even if you don’t like this colorway, make sure you check out the Maestri line. You’ll love it.
Written by: Kris Dyer, contributing editor, soccerprose.com
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