Football boot playtest review: Under Armour Hydrastrike II

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The next football boot to go through the rigorous Sport-locker.net playtest is the Under Armour Hydrastrike II

We’ve been pretty impressed with the American brand’s attempt at cracking the mainstream football boot market, and this could be their breakthrough year.

Here’s what Aaron Coates thought of them:

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When a package recently got plonked on my desk with a note from the Sport-Locker ed reading “If they’re good enough for Michael Dawson…” it’s fair to say I was a tad confused.

Not knowing whether to take this note as a compliment or an insult, I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the box and a new pair of Under Armour Hydrastrike Pro II footy boots, in glistening pearly white colourway, were screaming at me to be tested.

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Under Armour is a growing brand in on the UK football scene, more widely known for their baselayers, which are incredible. However, their newest set of boots have geeks like me intrigued, as more top level players are publicly swearing by their product.

Initial thoughts as I laced up for the first time – pleasantly surprised! There’s no getting away from the fact that these instantly feel like a ‘defenders boot’ (and a defender I most certainly am not)

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But they’re light, don’t feel like they need a massive amount of breaking in and genuinely a massively comfy boot! Initial feeling, before I’ve even kicked *mis-controlled* a ball: what a lightweight yet solid boot.

Stereotypically you’d associate a ‘defenders boot’ as being clumpy and well prepped for a big welly into row-z. Hence my surprise to discover that, on first impression, they don’t conform to this negative stereotype, not one bit!

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In swotting up about this boot, my initial impression of the light weight nature was instantly vindicated when I discovered that Under Armour have made this boot an astounding 35% lighter than their previous set of boots, weighing only 223 grams!

The most surprising thing about this is that they haven’t neglected any of the technology commodities that have come to be expected of a modern boot. This model boasts both a 4d foam inner sole and impressively, H20i Water intelligence.

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Which in layman’s terms means that (unless you’re full on wading through puddles) the technology stops the boot from consuming water, making your socks wet and most importantly, making the boot heavy.

Ideal for a rainy Sunday morning, then!?

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‘So how does it rank when a ball is kicked then,’ I hear you ask? Well, with my foot feeling like I’ve made a well calculated landing on a memory-foam mattress, the boot felt great. The front toe-box section provides a big surface area to make a sweet connection with the ball and the K-leather composition makes for a nice cushioning when controlling it.

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I’d say though, the stand out feature, which is what I think attracts players like Michael Dawson to the boot, is its incredible grip and traction on the underside. In comparison to leading other-names (bearing in mind that I play-tested on both 4-g and grass) it was incredible how much stability I found I had on the turn and didn’t once feel in danger of ending up on the deck.

I say this again however, as a striker with experience of running at people as opposed to people running at me, but I would be confident it would more than do the job there also.

In terms of a slight negative, as mentioned previously the toe-box is quite wide so I feel it would suit a certain type of player more than another, ie defender over striker. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this though. After all, many other top brands are beginning to design different variations of essentially the same boot, as each variation looks to suit a different type of player.

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All in all, it’s a completely affordable, comfortable boot that I can see being a real success. I would hope Under Armour get the recognition as now being up there in terms of brands to consider when looking to buy a new pair of boots.

The minimalist design really works, there’s no unnecessary gimmicks or clunky bits of plastic getting in your way and it feels like it’s really going to last a good few seasons!

A good buy if ever I saw one… Now to get that mud cleaned off, I far preferred them pearly white!

What do you think of the Under Armour Hydrastrike II? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

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