The Best of the V-Series
When Puma originally released the V-Speed series before the 2006 World Cup, one could argue that it started two things: the slimming down of speed boots and trying to find the limits of how thin an upper material can before completely losing any durability. Along with the Mercurial Vapor 3, the Puma V1.06s also brought carbon fibre boots into the mass market. For many people though, it also brought boots that didn’t have the greatest of durability as well, though for me I never had any problems. The following year, Puma began releasing the V1.06 with kangaroo leather uppers. And this is our focus today.
The V1.06 K is one of those boots that still looks modern even today. The kangaroo leather equipped with a carbon fibre soleplate and speed boot styling made it stand out from the crowd. This was something that wasn’t offered by almost any other brand at the time, which made it even more of a rarity. The upper is quite soft, even by today’s standards. With almost no stitching in the upper as well, it allowed the boot to freely mold and adjust around your feet, that I would say it was one of the earliest “sock-like” boots that was produced.
It is because of this soft upper that the ball touch is brilliant and gives you almost a barefoot sensation, which as many of you might know, is not common with leather boots. Many leather boots are designed to give you more of a plush feeling on the ball, but since the leather is so thin on the V1.06Ks that plush sensation only occurs ever-so-slightly. One of the concerns with a lot of leather boots is whether over-stretching will occur. With the original pair I owned I did not have any issues, which is one of the reasons I bought a new pair, but I won’t deny that it is a possibility, especially if your feet are on the wider side.
Another interesting part of these boots was the lacing system that was more off-centered than almost any boot since George Best’s Stylo Matchmakers from the 70s. Some people do have issues with off-center lacing systems as sometimes they force a specific fit in the shoe and can cause weird bulging or gaps in some areas. In my experience, I didn’t, and don’t, have any issues with the lacing system on the V1.06s even though other boots that have similar lacing set-ups have given me problems before.
As with many boots from the mid-00s, there are some issues that nostalgia often makes us forget about. For one, the before-mentioned lacing system often forced too tight of a fit on the front of the ankle and caused markings and bruises for some people. Another issue that the boots had/have was/is the heel counter. While the canvas (knit?) models didn’t have many issues in this area, the adhesive used to bond the heel cup the back of the boot is quite weak and comes away easily from the upper. While playing in the boots, this isn’t very noticeable, but it is still concerning. The fact that the leather on the upper is so soft could also be another cause of the heel separation since the internal heel counter is not strong.
Despite the issues listed above, I still think it is worth remembering these boots for what they brought to the market. When these released, many brands were already moving or had already moved towards synthetic only offerings for their speed boots, so it was a breath of fresh air seeing something like this on the market. The V1.06 K was also more durable than its brother boot which for many people was somewhat surprising. I would argue that during the 10th anniversary of the Puma V1.06 series 3 years ago, Puma should have either released these as well or released these instead. Personally, I would love to see a recreation of these or at the very least, see these as a base from which to design a modern pair of boots. After all, kangaroo leather and carbon fibre? Fantastic.
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