Puma, in recent weeks, has been building up to something big. The brand has announced the capture of Mario Balotelli with a fantastic (literally) headline-grabbing mystery boot colorway and has since been teasing a brand new addition to their footwear lineup. Puma have some big names under their belt already but it was perhaps four of the biggest in Marco Reus, Cesc Fabregas, Thierry Henry, and Balotelli himself that were on hand to launch the new power and accuracy boot.
Through research, the sportswear giant has come to the conclusion that, per a press release, "studies show that a bare foot generates a more powerful kick than a booted foot through non-restricted flexibility. However, players experience a loss of control and accuracy over the ball due to the natural contours of the foot." This is, of course, a problem for professional and amateur footballers alike due to the constant need for increased power and accuracy.
To combat this, the evoPOWER boot features a new innovation that Puma simply abbreviate as GSF. GSF, or the Gradual Stability Frame, is a spine that runs down the boot's outsole and allows the foot to safely bend both ways, allowing the movement to be "as close as possible to the biomechanics of the bare foot and replicate its natural power.
Puma say that the power generated by the foot in conjunction with the Gradual Stability Frame is enhanced even more by the Adap-Lite upper that "only stretches vertically" and with AccuFoam. These are inserts in the upper which, on contact with the ball, create an even more even striking surface for the foot.
Puma tested the new technologies with a number of independent experts as well as with contracted athletes, Barcelona's Fabregas and Dortmund's Reus. Their test feedback was instrumental in the boot's design and feel, ultimately shaping evoPOWER into what it is now.
Speaking about the boot in Puma's press release, Fabregas said:
"Taking inspiration for a football boot from an actual foot sounds like the most obvious thing in the world, but in all the time I've spent in football, it's the first time I've heard of this being done. When you try on these new boots, they are actually quite different to what we have worn before. They are so much more flexible; the way they bend with the natural shape of your foot really helps you to shoot harder."
Balotelli would add:
"I'm new to the PUMA family, and the football boots they produce were one of the reasons for me signing the deal. The evoPOWER boot impressed me from the first day I tried it in training, I hadn't really seen a boot like it before. What PUMA say about it is true, the flexibility helps create a better contact with the ball and generate really good shooting power."
evoPOWER drops for public consumption on the 1st of February. I wasn't at the Barcelona launch event but am very excited to give the new tech a thorough test in the coming weeks. The boot will be worn by the aforementioned four players as well as Yaya Toure, Nemanja Vidic, Dante, and a whole host of other Puma athletes.