by Ian Ennis – Umbro cleats have never been a big staple in my cleat bag. It is not that I had not heard great reviews about the cleats from the Double Diamond or was familiar with the professionals that wore them but my old habits were hard to break. I jumped at the opportunity to test out a couple of pairs when I got the chance from WorldSoccerShop.com.
The first pair of Umbro cleats to arrive was the Umbro UX-1 Concept. I opened the box and was pleasantly surprised. The colorway was striking with the purple and neon yellow combination but the innovative design of the 1-piece upper made from Armor-Tex with rubber webbing in key zones of the cleat to aid in control and power.
Armor-Tex is, according to Umbro, 40% stronger than Kevlar, and waterproof and breathable ideal for various conditions without losing on performance.
The sole used a combination of 8 forward placed conical and 4 heel located blade studs will help provide reliable traction on both natural and artificial surfaces. I was really impressed with the overall feel of the cleats. They seemed like they were one of those underrated boots that only a few cleat-savvy people know about. I couldn’t wait to try them on and see what they could do.
The Umbro UX-1 Concept weighs in at 9.8 ounces which makes the target player a defender or defensive midfielder.
Putting on the cleats for the first time I notice some major things. I usually wear a size 12 in cleats and found that these ran a little large in comparison. I would recommend getting a half size smaller from what you usually purchase in other brands to keep your consistent fit.
All that being said, the cleats were very comfortable. They fit snuggly on the top of my foot although they were a bit wider near the sole.
I ran around on a field with them, just warming up before a game of pickup with some friends, and noticed that they hardly needed breaking in. They had one of the more natural feels of any cleat I’ve ever owned. Every movement back or forth was comfortable. I didn’t feel any unnatural rubbing when moving, so my worries about blisters were pointless.
The cleat’s sole is made of TPU and I could tell that the studs were arranged to give superior traction. I was playing on a combination grass and dirt field and didn’t find any problems with the cleats. My feet kept up with what I wanted to do and I didn’t slip any more often than normal. Turning wasn’t a problem either. When a through ball was played, I could turn and accelerate with no slipping whatsoever.
The cleats had an amazing touch for their first time out. My passes went where they were supposed to, my first touches stayed at my feet, and my shots were on target. Umbro is very proud of their Armor Tex, which keeps your foot safe from tackles and has the flexibility for touch. After early testing, I am a fan. Overall, the touch is better than expected.
The durability was the only major downfall of these cleats. I wore them one game and they started to split from the top of the instep to midway to the toe on the outside of my right foot. It got so bad that the cleat itself began separating from the studs. This was after one wear and it was extremely disappointing. Umbro bragged that this was their “toughest cleat ever” and I would sadly have to disagree.
Admittedly, this completely synthetic upper with rubber webbing is somewhat new to Umbro. Their wheelhouse has always been a high-quality leather cleat. The Umbro UX-1 Concept definitely got high marks for the comfort and performance but failed in the durability category.
Umbro is on the right track with this cleat and feel it has potential but they need more testing to justify the $219.99 price tag.
Do you wear Umbro cleats? What do you like and dislike about them? Have you worn the Umbro UX-1 Concept? Send us your review?
The Umbro UX-1 Concept cleat is available at WorldSoccerShop.com