I took advantage of Eurosport‘s Black Friday sale (and a random gift certificate) and ordered some new cleats.
Don’t get me wrong- I love my Diadora Morphos. Love. I love that I can replace individual studs if one gets damaged. Love that they’re so soft and broken-in. Love how they fit. They’re like an extra layer of my foot, even if there’s 2 pairs of socks and an ankle guard between the boot and my skin. I love that they’re so cool and were really innovative. (An explanation of the Morpho’s innovation.) I love that I have 2 pair (though one’s in “wet field only” setup, since that pair doesn’t have much life left.)
But they’re over 10 years old, and the tiny cracks appearing in the sole indicate that 2 practices + 90 minutes of play a week might be too much for them now, that maybe it’s time to bring in a stand-in for one of those events. After looking through my options, I settled on Diadora Stile K. I thought about the Maracana, but I wasn’t thrilled the women’s version when I tried it on before Spring season, and I wasn’t sure about getting the men’s version. Also considered what Eursport said was the “women’s Stile“, but the only significant difference I could find was that the women’s was made of calf leather, the men’s of kangaroo. And the women’s didn’t say which sizing convention it uses (unlike all the other women’s shoes.) I didn’t want to have to return shoes for sizing, because I know how Diadora fits, and how well they fit me. I thought it was weird that the same shoe, in the cheaper version, was labeled “women’s”, the more expensive (with semi-hidden laces) was labeled “men’s.” Like the women’s don’t need to be as good? Maracana is the same across the men’s/women’s versions, why not the Stile?
Anyway, I ended up with the Stile shoes. They arrived right before practice, already laced, so I tried on both new and old cleats, to make sure the new ones fit right, since I figured they’d be a little stiff when new.
I was surprised by how shiny they are! And how much my old cleats need a good cleaning/feeding. Initially the boots were stiff, but 10 minutes after putting them on, they relaxed into nearly the same fit as my old ones, and they didn’t change more during practice (I do need to relace them- I like the way my old ones are laced.)
Once I got to practice, I was surprised again by how light they are. So light! My feet felt like they could fly! With molded cleats, I don’t need all that extra metal in the studs, and the lightness of the shoes certainly showed that. I thought runners were crazy when talking about the tiniest weight of a shoe, since I’d never noticed that before. I mean: who cares how much less this shoe weighs over that shoe? Yeah, you’re carrying it for 26+ miles, picking it up a million times, but it’s not that much weight. And now that I’ve felt how the weight can change my play: I don’t think they’re crazy any more. Definitely makes a difference. (Still don’t notice it in running shoes, though.)
Conclusion: I like these shoes. I might get to love them after relacing them and putting them through a few more practices. But a few more practices after that, the Morphos will go into semi-retirement, for practices only. Maybe they’ll take on Morpho status in my head, but right now, I’m not ready for them to.