Nike revolutionized the boot market with the introduction of a control boot. The CTR360 forced Adidas into a Predator LZ and snagged hundreds of players away from their boot and sold them on a boot built to aid your control on the ball and with your passing. Nike introduced a boot into a void that the engineers for Nike felt needed to be filled, and players everywhere have flocked to it. If the Predator LZ would have entered the market without the CTR360, it would have been heralded as a genius move by Adidas. However, Nike have made sure that the standard is massively high in this relatively young type of boot, so it has caused many boot fans and fanatics to already pass harsh judgement on the LZ.
In this article we will take a look at the hugely successful control boot produced by Nike all the way from the top to the bottom, letting you know all the differences in this silo within every tier. We know that everyone can’t go out and and drop big bucks on the Maestri II, but we want you to be as informed as possible when you walk into your local boot store or when you are prepared to order online. We hope you have enjoyed the ‘Inside Look’ series so far, and we hope the second offering of this article is as helpful of the first.
This boot silo is one of the few in Nike’s most recent boots that has a significant cosmetic and technological difference from tier to tier. The cosmetics seem similar at first glance, but you will notice significant differences from tier to tier as you get closer. I will make sure to point out all the differences within this article, but I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed with the purchase of any boot within this silo. There are also many colorway releases already on the market, so we won’t have as much ability to compare as we did in the Mercurial silo, so we will mostly focus on cosmetic differences within tiers instead of within different colors. We will also be avoiding the Maestri II Elite as they are practically impossible for the average person to obtain, but if you somehow have the opportunity or if you are just curious, the biggest difference is that it has a carbon-fibre sole plate and a T90 III-esque sole plate…but just ask a question in the comments.
The Maestri II
The boot was a one of a kind release that completely changed the face of the boot world. The upper was a brand new type of synthetic that was only used on the CTR360 before the release of the T90 IV, now known the world round- Kanga-Lite. It was touted as a blending of Kangaroo Leather and Nike’s high quality synthetics. A synthetic that could give you the feel of leather, with the ability to prevent an extreme amount of water-uptake. It changed the market. It had some stretching forgiveness that is usually reserved for a leather upper, and it definitely allowed Nike to use the synthetic to be able to include all of the technology without having to make it seem like the add-ons were just attached later.
The comfort of the Maestri II is extremely highly touted. Once it is broken in, it is so padded in the heel and in all the right places in the forefoot that it truly provides stellar comfort. The only issue some might encounter with comfort is the thin profile that Nike has since included on the T90 IV, as it will be a very painful break-in period if the middle of your foot is a bit wider than most.
The soleplate is unlike anything else on the market (unless you look underneath an Umbro Geometra…but since Nike owns Umbro, I don’t think that counts). It has three studs in the middle of the forefoot shaped in a circle (360) meant to provide great traction when attempting to turn in any direction. I have heard some people having issues with that set-up on turf as it sometimes tend to catch and prevent easy, quick movements, but they work great on natural surfaces. You also see some stability pieces on the midfoot taken straight from the T90 III that definitely gives some great stiffness to the middle of the boot, and a typical four-stud configuration in the rear of the boot that provides good traction for a boot that is normally praised for the gear on the top of the boot- but the boot should be praised for the soleplate as well.
Some would see this boot having a negative because it is on the heavier side of things as we move farther into a society that demands lighter and lighter boots. I do not feel that it is an issue, and with all the tech on this boot, it doesn’t seem like they could make it any lighter. The durability is great, the colors work well, so any negatives would only arrive from personal preference. I do feel that the narrow profile will scare some players away, but that also can’t be seen as anything too negative.
The technology on this boot is mostly placed within two triangular memory foam pads near the toe box on this boot and the ‘pass pad’ on the instep. The foam pads also have a little bit of a pattern on top of them so that they can provide friction on your touches. The instep ‘pass pad’ on the Maestri has fins (similar to the T90 III and IV) to add spin to any passes made with the instep, and below the fins is a piece of rubbery plastic that is supposed to absorb with passes received on the instep. Although I’ll always preach the fact that no boot’s tech will greatly help your game, this boot has so much going on that the price tag is worth the placebo effect alone.
The Trequartista II
The boot has one of the biggest upper changes from tier to tier that we see in most of Nike’s releases. There is no Kanga-Lite option on the Trequartista, and it is a complete synthetic upper on the second tier of the CTR360. The shedding of the Kanga-Lite does drop the overall boot weight from 10.6 oz (Maestri II) to 9.4 oz (Treqartista II), but there is less forgiveness in the boot if you are hoping it will stretch. The synthetic does seem to provide a little bit thicker surface when you are getting a touch on the ball, but it is barely noticeable and it still feels like a proper upper for a boot that is supposed to aid control
The comfort on the Trequartista II is nearly as great as in the Maestri. Nike have padded this tier almost as much as the Maestri, and the only issue that some may find is with the narrow profile that is seen on the top two tiers. It does have less forgiveness for those with somewhat larger feet than the Maestri, but the third tier Libretto is only slightly wider, so if you are always having issues with narrow boots, this whole series may give you issues.
The soleplate on the Trequartista II is almost identical to the Maestri with one cosmetic difference and a few slight changes in the studs. The back two studs on the Maestri are a different color than the others while the back two studs on the Treq II are the same colors as the rest of the studs on the boot. The midfoot stability ‘bars’ that are on the Maestri II and the T90 III are less pronounced, but still slightly present in order to provide decent midfoot stability. There is also less color involved in the soleplate from the Maestri to the Treq, but that is purely cosmetic.
Nike Trequartista II’s technology is similar to the Maestri, with a few noticeable differences that would be expected in a take-down model. The fins are no longer present on the instep ‘pass pad,’ but the pad is still there to help absorb any extra speed on a pass. The memory foam pads seem almost identical to the pads on the Maestri, but touching them shows a little less of a raised pattern on the pads, so the friction caused will be less. I honestly couldn’t tell if there was any difference in the foam itself, as it seemed nearly identical.
The Libretto II
The bottom tier of the CTR360 range, but a quality release nonetheless. The upper is the only model in the silo not made of a synthetic. It is a full-grain leather, and that makes the boot have a few major cosmetic differences. Because of the full-grain leather, a lot of the tech and the pieces added to the boot look stitched on instead of being part of the overall package. The leather does have a nice feel to it, and it reminds me of some of the lower tiers of the Tiempo range in its quality. The amount of stuff added on does bring the weight to around 9.8 oz, but if you want a leather boot from this silo, then this is the only option you will have. Nike have attempted to make it seem like a synthetic, but after some use, the leather qualities will be obvious.
The comfort on the Libretto isn’t even close to the top two tiers. I will say that it provides more ‘fat-foot’ forgiveness and the leather will certainly stretch more than the other tiers, but the padding inside the boot that made the Treq and Maestri so comfy is much less pronounced on this boot. The irremovable insole on the Libretto is also a little harder than the insole on the other boots, making this boot a fair bit less comfortable until it is fully broken in. Be aware that your first few outing may be painful, but the leather will eventually mold to your foot and the comfort will get better. (Oddly enough, the women’s Libretto seems more comfortable to me, but I didn’t spend any time inside the women’s version)
The soleplate on the Libretto II is very similar to the Trequartista, with the only big difference being that the studs closer to the forefoot are less bladed than on the Treq. That may affect the amount of digging in that you get when trying to push off if you are playing on harder surfaces since the blades may not pierce the ground. Besides that, there is a typical stiffness encountered with bottom-tier boots so that doesn’t help the break-in time on the Libretto.
The tech with the Libretto is extremely trimmed down. The foam pads now just seem like two areas of slightly thicker leather and a very slight pattern stamped on top of them, while the instep ‘pass pad’ almost seems like it was super glued to the boot after it had been made. You still get the feel of having something that is meant to aid your instep passing, but when comparing the Treq II and the Libretto II, the ‘pass pad’ seems a little less stable on the boot. It is still obvious that it is a member of the CTR series, but you definitely get the feeling that Nike had placed so much tech on the top two tiers, that they had no clue how much or how to include on the bottom tier.
Nike blew the boot world up with the introduction of the CTR360 and the massive following this boot has garnered is a testament to that. We hope this Inside Look article was helpful for you, and we hope you look forward to our next IL article that will take on Nike’s power/accuracy boot range: the Total90 IV. Do you agree with our assessments? Do you have any of these boots and how do you feel about them? Could we provide you with anything else to make sure you are informed as possible about these boots?