[dropcap]Asics[/dropcap] are back on the market and making the ultimate statement with their latest DS Light X-Fly K release. Combining lightweight with a K-leather upper, this is a boot that pushes the boundaries of comfort and speed. Rather than playing off some unique technology, Asics stick to the basics on this one and the overall traditional make-up of the boot produces a much more positive result than we have seen on some of their other recent releases. In fact, these boots have their very own style that really doesn’t compare to many other boots on the market. Without spoiling things, I can tell you the end result in testing was positive, extremely positive. Keep reading to find out just why.
You can pick up a pair in the K-Leather version right now from Soccer.com.
They actually look much better in person than they do online. The leather is super soft and I was surprised at just how light they are. Immediately, I took to examining the stitching along the forefoot of the boot. It splits on either side to create a ridge effect in the center. Very unusual. The ankle seems to have a very low graded curve that might produce a slightly different fit. The soleplate lifts into a heel cup, but it looks like it might dig in.
Loving everything about these out of the box. Think Tiempo meets Copa Mundial here, they are flexible and almost molded right out of the box. The X-Fly soleplate is made of a Solyte Polymer compound that offers a loose feel without taking away from stability. It is actually designed to even out pressure distribution equally through and this plays true since it is combined with low-profile conical studs. Something I really like about the boot is the suede lining that sits just inside the boot. If you have ever encountered that annoying sliding feeling inside a pair of boots rest assured you won’t with these. It is like have a layer of soft, foam covered sandpaper that catches your sock and holds you in place!
Asics has a reputation for comfortable and consistent running shoes – these are another example of how they are able to transcend that over to soccer footwear.
Did you ever watch an episode of “The Bachelor” where you are 100% certain he is going to choose the brunette and send the red-head home, only for him to keep both and send the blond home? A slap in the face, right? Well that is what these boots are – a slap in the face out of left field that has you wondering what just happened. I’ll be honest, I took one look at these after release and decided there and then not to pursue a pair for testing. A few weeks I happened to have a chance to get a pair and decided – “why not”. Well, after several weeks with them, I am extremely impressed and this particular Asics boot has found a place in my back-up bag.
So what is so special? It starts with the K-leather upper and the odd stitching across the forefoot. First, the actual leather feels buttery soft and folds under your touch. Then the layered stitching adds several padded regions that offer a quality feel on the ball. It reminds me of the stitching seen on the adiPure III or the Stadio Primato. Sometimes the right type of stitching can take a boot to another level. What is different about these is the fact that the stitching leaves an odd, raised panel region in the center of the forefoot. For me, it is what makes the boot look extraordinary weird and is probably the primary reason I discarded them before seeing them in person.
Next up is the studs and the design Asics employ. Each stud features 3 grooves that give it a sort of golf stud style design. I can’t confirm that this plays a role in a better level of traction, but what I can tell you is that the low profile of the studs produces a really stable feel and they are an excellent boot for chopping, cropping and turning on artificial surfaces. That is actually where I think these perform best.
The Heel Design
There is definitely a different shape about the entire heel region of these. You can automatically tell the that contour of up along your Achilles has been trimmed down, while the region around the ankle bone has been elevated ever so slightly. It produces a nice comfortable fit right around, partly in thanks to the foam lining just inside the boots. Then there is the heel counter, which comes up around your foot. I was concerned initially that it would rub as it has a slightly sharp feel about it. But thankfully, it contours well and never caused any problems. I am interested to hear how players with a thin heel find this – if you have worn them and encountered any issues, let me know in the comments!
How do they Fit?
If you have ever worn an Asics running shoe, these actually fit in a very similar fashion. Length wise, they are very much true to size, while width wise they offer an extremely generous fit. Wide fitting players can definitely add these to the list of possible options, especially if you loosen up the bottom few laces. One other note here, because of the shape of the soleplate you get some support through the arch that might help out some players!
Applause for Asics
Seriously, Asics is a brand that should be competing on the soccer market as they have a proven reputation for producing darn comfortable running shoes. They know how to create a shoe that fits right and provides the right feel through a long run. When it comes to soccer boots, I am yet to test a boot that matches the expectations I have for the company and as a result, my views have been pretty critical at times. In fact, I think the HG10MM technology is a bit of a joke and I won’t ever approve of its use in boots even if it has been proven effective in scientific research.
This is type of release that gives encouragement for Asics and proves they have the ability to make in-roads on the market. Combining lightweight with a K-Leather upper and a solid level of performance and comfort is no easy task. I applaud them for what they have achieved with this pair.
And after all is said and done, these are the not the perfect release. First off, there are some durability issues with the upper to soleplate joining. I noticed the lip pull up slightly right at the front of the boot. I’ll be monitoring this more over time to see it degrades further. The other negative is the price point. I understand that they compete with other boots that feature similar traits on the market, but if they were less expensive I could see more people trying them and really experiencing the positives they have to offer. I feel like a lot of people are going to miss out on simply because of price.Pick Up Your Pair of Asics DS Light X-Fly >>
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: Asics has elevated their status by keeping things simple and producing a comfortable, efficient boot in a more stable package. There is nothing complicated about these!
Category: Definitely a Speed boot, with a touch of Heritage thrown in.
Weight: A superlight and highly impressive 7.2oz.
Would I Buy Them: Before testing them, no. But having tested them, I would absolutely seek out another pair. The price point is a bit of a bitch, on sale they would be a great purchase.
Player Position: This is a pretty flexible boot that has the demeanor to suit most players on the field. I can see defenders using them simply because they offer comfort and nice K-leather upper. Then attacking players can benefit from their lightweight nature. Naturally I am a winger, but I’ve been wearing them and really enjoying the performance while playing up front lately.