A classic boot is updated
When the Pantofola D’Oro Lazzarini’s were revealed to be getting an update using the new soleplate found on the recently released Superleggera’s, I was one of quite a few people who were excited that Pantofola D’Oro was adding a modern soleplate onto one of its most popular and iconic boots. Having previously worn the original Lazzirini Ks, I was looking forward to playing in the upgraded version that was made lighter and with a more responsive soleplate.
Fit and Feel
From the first time you put the Lazzarini SLs on your feel, you can immediately tell the quality of the artisanal leather that Pantofola D’Oro is famous for. I was originally a little hesitant with these boots because for several years Pantofola D’Oro somewhat lost their way and were producing boots that many people found subpar compared to what had been produced in years past. The fact that the leather is so high quality on these boots shows that Pantofola D’Oro are back on form and back to producing fantastic leather boots. For me, Pantofola D’Oro boots have always fit me well and if you are thinking about getting a pair, I highly recommend going half a size down from your usual size since the leather is so soft and will stretch and mold to your feet. Many modern boots don’t allow you to have such a personalized fit, even after breaking them in. Pantofola D’Oro’s boots are one the exceptions to this rule, but not the only ones.
That upper feels so nice and comfortable from the get-go is probably one of the reasons why the heel is such a big letdown. Even though Pantofola D’Oro has been around for years and have plenty of experience making boots, I cannot understand why they still don’t seem to know how to make boots that have proper fitting heel cups. They are overly wide and there is almost no padding to speak of. About 20 years ago, this would have been more acceptable. Heck, even 10 years ago this was somewhat ok. But now at this time ever boot should have at least some heel padding. I am not being hyperbolic when I say that even the Mercurial Vapor 13s have more padding that the Lazzarini SLs. It feels like your heel is being kept in place by some hard cardboard and its really disappointing given the quality of the rest of the boot.
To end this section a (somewhat) positive note though, the new soleplate feels like such a step up that I’m not sure Pantofola D’Oro should ever use any other plate ever again. This is me saying this I was someone who loves the HG plate that Pantofola D’Oro has used for years. The new SL plate just gives that much of a smoother ride and there is some support to the soleplate now. I would like to add that I am somewhat disappointed that the soleplate is not stitched to the upper and there aren’t even any rivets. The boot is still durable but seeing either one of those two things makes the boot feel more special.
Touch and Dribbling
The Lazzzrini SLs are excellent boots when it comes to the feel on the ball. The softness and plushness of the leather provides a fantastic feel that only a classic leather boot like this can provide. However, because this is still a classic leather boot this does mean that will not get the sharp, on your foot sensation like a synthetic boot or even a modern leather boot. Rather, this is more like an old-school trequartista, allowing you to play some lovely passes and cross-field balls while at the same time having a think enough leather to allow you to not only take a tackle, but to also go into battle if you so choose.
Like I mentioned above, because the leather is thicker than what is found on most boots these days, I wouldn’t exactly call this a great boot for dribbling like some sort of “bumblebee”-like winger (shout out to JayMike at Unisport for that one). At the same time though, the uniformity of the leather and its softness allows for you to a pure feel on the ball with no surprises to get in your way. Essentially, this means that time after time you can expect the same touch with these boots and I have to admit, the consistency here is really nice.
So, since there is the new SL soleplate you might expect there to be more grip in the Lazzarini SLs but because of the simple conical stud layout, its nothing overly exciting. It is a much lighter soleplate for sure, but the soleplate still feels traditional. It isn’t bad but any means at all but its not going to knock you off your feet or anything like that. I personally would have also like to have seen at least one more stud in the middle of the forefoot for some extra stability. This isn’t to say that the boots are unstable at all, but since the size of the studs a bit smaller than your traditional stud, I would have liked to see one more. Overall though, the soleplate won’t wow you, but it will definitely be a solid, if unspectacular, performer.
Passing and Shooting
You can somewhat reference the touch and dribbling section and apply it here since there is nothing over the top about these boots. For some people that might be a bad thing but, one the other hand, it is nice to have a boot with no shooting elements, no gimmicky additions to upper, nothing to take away from how excellent the leather feels on your foot. The Lazzarini SLs are still and old school boot. At the same time, having that old school feel can be really nice when your spraying passes everywhere, or when you’re having a shot at goal. Again, the uniformity of the leather is a bonus for me and goes a long way towards making me quite happy with its performance.
Even in wet conditions, I found the leather to be a solid performer and although it does soak up some water, it wasn’t enough to be an annoyance. Anyone who’s feels like modern boots leave you feeling a bit “disconnected” from the ball will be more than happy here. What I mean is that sometimes with modern boots and all of their additions to their uppers, it feels like something has been lost when shooting or passing the ball. So, it is nice to return to a classic leather boot and have a more natural feel on the ball again.
Sure, the Lazzarini SLs harken back to an older era that some might say has been long gone and isn’t something that we necessarily need to revisit. However, I am of the opinion that it’s nice that boots like the Lazzarini SLs exist. I’m sure this comes of a bit of “old man yells at cloud” but there are people out there for whom these boots are perfect.
I know several people who open detest modern boots and something like the Lazzarini SLs are perfect for them. I would also have loved to be one of those people who can openly recommend these to people and tell them to at least give them a shot but…until the heel is fixed and we start seeing more padding add I’m going to hastate to do so. Do that, and I think that Pantofola D’Oro will have a real “Golden Slipper” on their hands.
What are ya’ll’s thoughts? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments.
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