Umbro GT Pro
I picked up a pair of Umbro GT Pros after my venerable pair of Tiempo Legend's sole plate fell off. Umbro is a brand that has been around for decades, and the only major football company based in England. In recent times, I haven't had a high opinion of its boots, but I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised by the look, quality and fit of these boots.
The upper is made of the same Teijin leather that features on Nike's Vapor boots, and it's soft on your feet with a decent touch. Nothing can compare with K-Leather, but this synthetic is more than adequate and I don't notice the difference compared to my old pair of Legends. The black fading in orange color on these is class, and gives them an aggressive look.
The upper also features the Umbro A-frame technology, which means the tension on the laces is set to hit higher on your foot. This means the boots hold in place better, and keep your heel in place for the whole match. This is a feature I really like as I wear size 13 and it can be difficult to find a pair that hold to my foot properly. There are also two touch pads on the inside of the toes which are a new feature for Umbro, and help you catch the ball in the wet weather.
The insole of the boot is Poron polyurethane, and has to be one of the most comfortable insoles I've ever had. In fact, the whole boot is very comfortable on your foot. I don't feel the cleats at all when I am running down the pitch, or shifting direction quickly on the run. The interior of the upper is also padded, especially around the heel, which is great considering the tight fit of the A-frame. There's also a sock liner, so your feet don't get damp.
The sole plate on the pair I bought is meant for hard ground, but with the long conical studs, I find it's fine for soft ground as well as the mud doesn't stick to them. The plate itself is extremely flexible and has more than one line splitting the forefoot studs. This means there is more than one point at which the boot can flex allowing for more natural stability on the run. It is double-stitched at the front and rear in addition to being thermally bonded the whole way around, meaning they'll last for some time.
Overall, they are good looking, durable and comfortable. I'd recommend them to anyone who wants a quality pairs of boots at a reasonable price.
Matthew Wall is the editor of www.soccerprose.com