The original Maestri was released to much acclaim two years ago, resulting in rave reviews across the entire footballing community! Now, two years on, Nike have released the third version of the Maestri. Featuring a complete overhaul of the design, Nike have introduced a completely new emphasis on their control boot. But have Nike done too much to an already successful boot?
Design – 4/5 – One of the best looking boots on the market – Sleek and stylish
In my opinion, Nike have excelled from the first Maestri, right through to the Maestri III in terms of design. Boasting that ‘two-tone’ design, Nike have been able to implement a wide variety of different combinations that range right across the colour spectrum. The pair I am reviewing employ the Black/White/Crimson colourway, and boy do they look good.. The dimpled upper makes the boot look extremely soft from right out of the box, and the Nike tick has been extended on the medial side to good effect, following the design cue of the Nike Mercurial Vapor VIII. Perhaps the most interesting design aspect of the boot is the ‘ACC’ indicator (It stands for All Conditions Control, more on how it performs later). On the heel, you can see the letters ‘ACC’ and beneath that is a little strip of paper that changes colour in the wet. A little useless in terms of practicality (surely you know when it’s wet without having a boot tell you?), but it’s something that adds to the appeal of the boot.
In terms of the colour scheme, the ‘Crimson’ is most definitely not red, but instead more of an orange. I think it looks good, and the Black and Crimson compliment each other well. The Nike tick remains on the toe of the boot, but the instep of the boot has completely changed. It now features these raised strips of rubber that certainly look futuristic in design, but as with the ‘ACC’, we’ll evaluate how it performs later on in the review.
Comfort – 4.5/5 – No doubt one of the best on the market, as has become the norm with the Maestri range
I’ve tested the Maestri III on turf and grass, and for the first time EVER in a football boot that I’ve worn, the comfort aspect has remained the same on both surfaces. Whereas with previous boots, I experienced more rubbing on turf, that is absolutely not the case here which is absolute full credit to Nike – top marks on that front. I feel the major contributor to the Maestris comfort success is the new fit. The Maestri III mimics the tight fit of a Vapor, but remains padded like a Laser. This combines to excellent effect, with the boot hugging your foot yet still cradling your foot from hard challenges.
The soleplate, despite being thinner, combines with the insole to ensure there is absolutely no stud pressure no matter what surface you are wearing them on. However, you have to consider that I have a narrow foot, and wider footed people may struggle with stud pressure on turf. This is purely down to the stud design, but in practice, it’s unlikely to hinder you. But as well as this, lets not forget the little lines of stitching that Nike have implemented on the upper to allow the boot to bend naturally (picture below). For a synthetic, this is a god send as I’m used to feeling that little unnatural pinch when running in synthetic boots. There is absolutely none of that here.
So how do they fit? Well, the last Nike boots I tested I complained about the toe being a little long (Nike remedied this effect in the Seaweed colourway), this time however they fit quite small. In fact, for me they fit absolutely perfectly in terms of length, and when the laces are pulled tightly they fit perfectly everywhere. So for comparisons sake, I wore an 8UK in these and they fit very similar in length to Adidas boots. Perhaps half a size up from other Nike boots if you wear them snugly.
Performance – 4.5/5 – Fantastic performance, Nike have yet again pulled out one of the top performing boots on the market with the Maestri III, and this is what really sets it apart from its competitors
One of the biggest changes Nike implemented on the Maestri IIIs is the new upper. Nike call it ‘Kangalite 2.0′ and compared to past editions of the Maestri, it is hugely improved. People may be a little concerned with the stiffness out of the box (it was kind of an unnatural stiffness), however once you wear them.. This opinion changes instantaneously. The upper literally creases and bends just like leather, very premium leather at that. Touch feels natural and assured, primarily down to the thinner Kangalite used by Nike on the Maestri III. As well as this, the upper adjusts to your foot shape pretty much immediately, allowing for that classic ‘bare-foot’ feel usually reserved for very thin synthetics. I’m not sure how Nike have improved the upper so drastically from past Maestris, but it really is something to behold in terms of performance.
Striking the ball is responsive, with the new soleplate being thinner, yet harder than past Maestris. It’s now far easier to pull off those little snap shots and in terms of striking, they remind me of the old Adidas AdiPower Predators a lot. That in itself should speak volumes, they feel like a Power boot when striking the ball. Which is surprising, because the weight has been hugely reduced by Nike for this release. My pair weigh in at 225 grams (UK8) and they feel super lightweight in your hands, surprisingly so considering their actual weight. Couple this with the tighter fit and Nike have really created a boot that could be worn by speedsters who are looking for a little bit more substance in their football boot.
But we’ll move onto perhaps the most important aspect of the entire review. The ‘ACC’ coating. Basically, Nike have coated the new Kangalite 2.0 with a special mixture which claims to offer identical ball control in both wet and dry conditions. Does it work? As with every football invention, it’s hard to tell. It certainly does feel quite grippy and leather-like in use, which can only be assessed as a major positive. Interestingly, it’s not actually a noticeable coating. Instead it just feels like it’s part of the material, meaning it should last a long time. This feature will be rolled onto every single Nike silo over the coming month, so it’ll be intriguing to see how this technology transfers across to other Nike boots.
Passing in the boots is a dream. While it’s not as easy to ping off long passes like in say, the Vapor VIII, for example. I still felt comfortable striking the ball whichever way I chose. I put this down primarily down to the snug ‘bare-foot’ feel, as well as the low toe-box. Moving onto the new instep design, the 3D passing technology. This is perhaps my only real negative with the boot. It does definitely fit a wider range of feet like Nike claim. But (and it’s a big but), its more of a hindrance. While playing with ‘tackier’ balls, the ball often stuck to the pads when dribbling causing me to stumble and lose the ball. Over time I’ve managed to wear them down, but for any dribblers out there it may be a nuisance if you’re playing with a lower quality football. Which is a shame as the super-soft upper really feels great while dribbling the ball.
Nike’s newly redesigned soleplate is something special in my eyes. The old stud configuration proved a bit of a problem when wearing on turf, but the new ‘conical’ style means the Maestri III is really effective on any type of ground. Accelerating felt assured, with little chance of slipping, and twisting and turning was an absolute joy due to the added grip that this pattern creates. And by grip, it’s a good grip. Not the type of grip that leads to injuries.
Holding the boot in your hands, it feels lightweight compared to past Maestris, yet still retains that extra protection that tends to be expected with slightly heavier boots (compared to speed boots of course). This in itself makes the Maestri III seemingly a perfect boot for pretty much any midfielder and defender. I’ve been stood on several times and compared to Vapor VIIIs (where I received a bruised toe just from striking the ball), it’s definitely a pleasant aspect of the boot.
Value – 3.5/5 – Average price, but solidly built so should last you some time
The new Maestri retails in at £155 (or £160 for soft ground), which is seemingly the ‘ordinary’ price now for Nike and Adidas football boots. For this reason, it’s perhaps slightly difficult to credit the Maestri in this aspect. However, they do feel very solidly built. So far I’ve worn them in pretty harsh conditions and they’ve held up admirably, minus some scuffs on the upper from heavy challenges. So far, I’d expect these to last at least a season with proper care, which is a pleasant change from recent releases. In the box, you receive a normal string bag which is the Nike norm.
Would I recommend these? Absolutely. I’ve rated the boots really very highly, which perhaps is testament to how good they are. No matter what position, I could see this boot being effective for every single player on the pitch. It has seemingly been improved in every single way compared to the Nike CTR360 Maestri II, and is definitely an early contender for football boot release of the year. I can’t really see how the boot can be improved with the next release, so I’m intrigued to see how Nike go about it. Nike are really getting back to form with football boot releases at the moment, despite dominance from Adidas over the past couple of years.
Design – 4/5
Comfort – 4.5/5
Performance – 4.5/5
Value – 3.5/5