An Allrounder’s Boot
One of the lesser well-known boots of the international boot industry are the boots that Umbro Japan produces exclusively for the Japanese market. Umbro in Japan is actually licensed by a company called Descente so therefore the have freedom over what is created for the Japanese market. Because of this fact, Japan has had access to the wonderful Accerator series for years and the newest boot is carrying on that strong legacy.
Fit and Feel
From the first wear, the Accerator Pro has what can be described as a normal shape. There is nothing to get in the way of the foot and it only takes a couple of sessions to fully break in. While the kangaroo leather is not the nicest to come out of the factories in Vietnam, it is still soft and is well balanced. Meaning that it is thin enough to have a nice touch on the ball but still has a bit of cushioning that is expected from leather boots.
Surprisingly, the giant UGT (Umbro Grip Technology) Grip pad on the instep is not noticeable on the inside of the boot so there is no awkward feeling on the foot in this section. There is also some padding in the inside of the heel and there is also some brushed heel liner located towards the bottom of the inside of the heel area. This is an interesting choice because normally brushed lining on the heel is located higher up the heel area. It is possible that this choice was made in order to grip the lower part of the heel to better keep it locked in but there was no noticeable difference versus boots with the normal set up. Not that it gets in the way, either.
The insole is something that is an obvious upgrade over a lot of boots. Umbro teamed up with the Japanese insole company BMZ to produce the insoles on the Accerator Pro and it works a treat. They are more cushioned than other insoles but not overly so. Since BMZ is known for their differing approach to insoles, like having extra support on the cuboid and calcaneus bones (which they call the CCLP Theory), something similar is also seen here. The insole has an ever so slight raise towards the part of the foot in front of where the heel sits. It does take a little bit of getting used to but becomes comfortable quite quickly. There is also some grip on the top layer of the insoles as well, which helps keep the foot from moving about.
In theory, this CCLP (Cuboid Calcaneus Leverage Power) theory is supposed to help with things like reducing pressure on the heels and knees, help keep a proper posture when playing, help give arch support without needing to raise the arch of the insole itself as well as several other features. While not everything can be quantified without digging deeper into data, the insoles do make the boots feel different from others during play. Aside from all of the tech and data the went into the creation of the insole, they are comfortable and again a step up from the average insole one might find in other boots.
Another piece of tech that the boots have is that material called GAINA which is underneath the insole and is supposed to dissipate heat from surfaces like artificial grass during the summer. The tech is from a team up Umbro does with JAXA (Japan’s Space Agency) that JAXA uses to help keep it’s astronauts cool. Unfortunately, it is not quite summer here so this particular piece of tech could not be properly tested. However, based on some testing done by Kohei’s Blog, it does seem to keep the feet up to a couple degrees Celsius cooler than boots without this tech. So, there is some proof to Umbro’s claims about this tech.
As far as sizing goes, the Umbro Accerator Pro runs about a half size long. I personally went half a size down to accommodate for this and the fit was excellent.
Touch and Dribbling
One of the biggest pieces of tech on the boots comes into its own here. The UGT (Umbro Grip Technology) control panel is the giant blue piece located towards the rear of the midfoot of the boot. And there is a good amount of grip available. The piece is slightly indented into the boot and even though the surface is fairly flat, it provides excellent grip in wet conditions, making it another piece of tech on the boot that works. It does take just a little bit of getting used to but because the panel is designed to flex and move with the foot, it begins to feel more natural than expected.
Dribbling in the boot is more straightforward. This is because of the kangaroo leather forefoot is on the thinner side versus a classic kangaroo leather boot. It makes the boot feel a little bit shaper and enables it to have a bit of a closer touch on the ball. It is not super special or anything, but it is nice that with as much tech as the boot has, Umbro did not overcomplicate the k leather forefoot.
Passing and Shooting
As part of the UGT grip panel on the boot there is a raised section located just to the rear and underneath of the main control panel that does help provide a bit of oomph when hitting sidefoot passes in the boots. Like the rest of the grip panel, it does not take a long time to get used to.
Interestingly, the boot feels great to curl the ball on. It is difficult to pinpoint why, but some claims from BMZ might offer an explanation. One of the benefits of the whole CCLP theory for insoles that BMZ uses is that in enables the ball to be hit better since the foot sits in a better position in the boot.
And there does seem to be proper benefits. The Accerator Pro is certainly not promoted as a power boot, but the boot is great for hitting shots in. Every single time the boot is used to hit a long ball or take a shot, there is a noticeable bit of extra power on offer. Again, this might actually be down to the insole and the benefits it provides. When combining the fact that the boots offer a good feel on the ball, allows for a good feeling when curling the ball and that the ball can be hoofed about means that the boots are excellent for hitting long range passes or shots from all over the pitch.
Overall, the boot outperforms expectations here and it is a pleasant surprise to see it do so.
These surprises also continue when it comes to the grip and sprinting in the boot. While the soleplate seems fairly simple, it works on multiple surfaces with no issues to speak of. One of the biggest revelations is that the boot has wonderful springback when sprinting. Again, this is a control boot, not a speed boot. But there is a secret inside of the boot. The reason for the springback is because of a material called KaVRO, of which Jay from BOOTHYPE has a great explainer on, is a material that functions similar to carbon fibre. In effect, the material helps provide that great sprinback effect and means that the boots feel faster than one would expect.
The outsole itself is quite standard in comparison with the rest of the boot but it is worth noting that while these boots are listed as hard ground boots, unlike other internationally available Umbro boots, the studs are longer and even work well on firm ground. Also, a small detail but it is always appreciated when the bottom of the studs have texture as I find this helps with grip on harder surfaces.
Also, as a personal side note: I have found that I appreciate rounded studs a lot more than I used to. While bladed and triangle studs have their place, rounded studs are still the safest option, especially if you are prone to knee and ankle injuries.
The reason the subtitle for this review is “An Allrounder’s Boot” is because the Accerator Pro works for multiple situations with no problems. The boot is full of tech that works, while still being simple enough in a lot of ways so that the tech only enhances performance rather than inhibiting it. The boot takes little time getting used to and afterwards what one gets is a boot that rises to and surpasses expectations. One of the most interesting boots to come from the Japanese market and hopefully in future it will be available in a wider release.
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