When it comes to choices, more is always better, right? Only a month ago, Asics finally joined the US market with a full line-up of soccer boots, having successfully merged in several international markets. Up until this point, I haven’t tested any of their silos, so I worked quickly to get my hands on a pair of their most prolific boots – the Asics Lethal Tigreor.
In a similar fashion to their running shoes, finding a way to improve player performance seems to be a key focus for Asics. The inclusion of a 10mm raised heel on this release produces a completely unique fit and feel that will require adjusting from regular boots. There are also several other key areas that need to be cover, all of which are new to the market. You might find this review to be a little meatier than usual!
For testing, I wore the Pearl White/Navy colorway in a size 9US.
It is actually important to start this review by detailing the raised heel gradient, so that you understand my comments in several sections below. In the heel of the soleplate, Asics has raised the boot by 10mm. The idea is that it reduces the angle at which your body impacts the ground, reducing stress on joints and avoiding over stretching muscles right through the leg. You also start at a very different position, almost in a sprinters pose, and this creates an opportunity to increase acceleration from the right take-off position. Through its advertising campaign, Asics focus on the fact that footwear has been stagnant for the past 30 years, and this technology revolutionizes the boot. The image above details the unique shape of the soleplate, with a very visual bend through the midfoot to heel.
Asics has done a very nice job of ensuring you are getting a comfortable boot from first wear. They are designed to fit snugly while offering plenty of protection throughout. The region I like most is around the ankle, where the padding sits comfortably against the foot and produces a confident fit. The suede lining through the heel is also another area I like, as it has a slightly rubber feel that grips your ankle, ensuring it really doesn’t move through wear. Asics include their own unique insole that is soft around the toe areas, while providing a firm feel from the midsole down through the heel. This I didn’t notice so much, but it is quite possible that my focus was more on the heel gradient. Besides the heel gradient, they were very comfortable right through the first few training sessions and offered no hotspots.
But then there is that heel gradient….
So here is the thing, the raised heel is extremely unique and Asics claim it ultimately does have its benefits – but you are going to need time to really adjust to what it offers. Initially while wearing them, I had moments where I felt like Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality wearing Stilettos for the first time (slight exaggeration, but you get my point!) It is a really new and unique feeling and there is a window of re-training that you need to go through. Your standing position is very different and causes you to position yourself slightly more forward than in a regular pair of boots. All-in-all, I wore them in three training sessions before I even thought about taking them into a game. One area I encountered issues was actually striking the ball, as you end up connecting at a different angle, sometimes a little too far over the ball.
Having said all that, I am very impressed with what Asics are taking on, even if it is a controversial area. If you are up for the challenge of a new type of technology they are worth trying – just note that even after testing, I can’t back-up any of Asics claims about them improving pressure on joints etc. It doesn’t cause any discomfort, but does produce a longer break-in period as you transition.
You get a super soft K-leather upper on this release, and it creates excellent touch and feel on the ball. There is very strategic stitching right across the front of the boot, intended to allow for more natural foot movement. It upper is soft enough to allow for excellent feel, yet thick enough to give you much needed protection. I also found they felt great to strike shots in – that was, of course, once I adjusted and became familiar with the heel gradient! Once broken in, the soleplate also impresses with terrific flexibility right through the sole. It all results in a surprisingly high performing boot.
There are currently several different colorways to choose from in the range, with all of them offering pretty appealing looks. The boot I tested comes in a clean Pearl White/Navy, while there is also a darker, more subtle option available, in a Black/Pacific Blue. Choosing the right colorway comes down to personal taste.
How Do They Fit?
Length wise, they fit very much true to size. In terms of width, they are a mixed batch. When you look at the soleplate, it seems like the midfoot is extremely narrow. But, when you put on the boots you find they offer plenty of width and decent support. If you need a wide fit they are worth checking out.
The biggest negative is obviously the adjustment period to start, and to be honest I can’t see the technology working for all players. If you need a boot that works right now, these are not the right choice. My advice is to buy a pair and use them over a few weeks to sync them with your movements. Another negative is the fabric tongue – it definitely soaks in water. Some sort of synthetic would offer an improvement for future releases.
Asics claim that the Lethal Tigreor is the most sophisticated soccer boot ever built, and to be honest I really don’t argue their point! In essence, you are getting a completely redesigned boot that offers a surprising, yet refreshing, new option for players. From the heel gradient to the insole, everything about them is different. I definitely enjoyed wearing them, but you have to consider the fact that time is necessary to adjust to what they offer. Some players will benefit from them, while others might be better sticking to a regular design. The opportunity to reduce injury is definitely an appealing aspect of the boot, and it doesn’t hurt to have an extra element to help you stay injury free. But ultimately the key to avoiding injury is stretching and taking care of your body and not a boot! In terms of player position, these fit the hybrid mold and will be useful for all types of player on the field. You get solid protection, while they weigh in at a decent 9.6oz. With this type of release, it is easy to foresee Asics becoming a player in the US market over the next few years!
(*boots supplied for review by Asics)
bryan can you please respond to me ! If i wear sz 11 superfly, 10.5 adizero leather, 11 adipure IV and size 11 laser's (synthetic), 11 puma king finale… what should I get in these ? (I have a rather wider foot , I'm flat footed, and like a nice tight fit so i can stretch the boots 🙂
They fit very similar in lenght to the adiPure so my recommendation would be a size 11.
Don't mean to butt in but your sizing seems off, if you're a 10.5 in leather adizero you should be about a 10 in adipure IV.
The foot does not need a raised heel, when was the last time you thought that wearing a female's heels would be good for running? I feel much more comfortable in a flat or very slightly raised heel. I recommend people to stay away from these shoes as they interfere with the bodies natural stride and movement. It could cause injury in some people.
Have you even tried them out?
I cannot wear anything with a heel higher than 7mm. It is well known in the barefoot/natural running communities that heel gradients are problematic with the body's natural movement. Running in straight lines is not so bad, but stopping and mainly moving side to side with a heel lift causes problems. I am a midfoot striker (if you don't know what that is look it up) so I cannot wear these, but if you are a heel striker (improper form yet the most popular form) then you might like these. High heels however would seem like a great idea for a goalie, because he doesn't move as much and it makes him a little bit taller.
Here is a link about proper form: http://youtu.be/7jrnj-7YKZE
When you're running at a good pace or sprinting, you're not really getting any heel strike, as you're propelling yourself off the balls and toes of your feet. The heel might come into play while walking or jogging, when you have more control over your stride, and if the heel decreases fatigue from those movements so that I can use that energy for sprinting, then I'm in favor of the raised heel as a benefit.
When I wear these, the biggest benefit I feel is the quickness of the initial step from the standstill and when changing direction, one, because the raised heel puts your body in a more aggressive, forward-leaning position at the standstill, and two, because these boots actually have small traction studs on the toe like an American football cleat. I think they feel rock-solid both when starting quickly and when stopping abruptly as well. They offer great protection, especially for a wider foot, and the less fatigued your feet are, the longer you can play at a high level.
I definitely needed a half size up from my adipure IVs though. I wear a 9.5 adizero F50 leather, a 9.0 adipure IV, and I definitely needed a 9.5 in this shoe, as the raised heel pushes your foot forward a tiny bit inside the boot. I also prefer to wear socks with a little more thickness and protection.
I understand that you are saying that the raised heel forces you to be on your toes, that is good. But you should be doing a front or midfoot strike even when your shoe doesn't have a heel lift. I would say that these shoes might encourage proper form but for the people that already have the right form these shoes would feel weird and have the potential to cause injury. And yes, when you are sprinting you shouldn't notice the heel. But you will when walking, standing, and jogging.
I don't disagree with any of that. I have a midfoot stride as well (really tires my legs out to land on my heels all the time), but my point was that even though you notice the heel at first when walking, standing, or jogging, I don't see how that's an injury risk. You have complete control over your stride during these movements, and it's really very difficult to injure yourself while walking, standing, or jogging if you're an active person.
I really don't feel less stable because of the heel lift during any movements, in fact, I feel much better and safer performing many athletic movements in these than I do in many other cleated footwear because of how they are designed and built. I'm not going to abandon barefoot/minimal training, but for competition, these are really great.
Agree with Victor. These will probably end up weakening your lower leg muscles, like calves and Achilles. Kind of like playing in a cast. They force you to use a proper mid/fore foot strike without forcing you to use the muscles that are needed for it.
Cannot disagree more with you. I have played in the Lethal Testimonial for the past 5 months. As a midfield/defender, I noticed NO negative effects. In fact, my knees, ankles, and feet hurt less after playing in the ASICS. As a comparison, I switched back to my Nike Legends for one game but will not make that mistake again.
Exactly the point, its hard to wear anything else once your muscles and tendons have been weakened and shortened by the cast. Your feet hurt less because you're not using your muscles. These types of injuries creep up slowly, you won't notice them until your Achilles suddenly ruptures one day in a year or two.
great review! I had high expectations of the cleats and it seems they measured up. Do you think you will be reviewing any more asics cleats?
More to come – Lethal Stats currently in review
Honestly, I have a pair of Tigreors and I never really noticed the heel was raised. It's only a measly 10mm for goodness sake. You probably wouldn't even notice if you weren't told.
It depends. I can tell the heel's been raised only because I use shoes for running that have a heel lift of 4-7mms. When you've been in those for a long period of time (at least several months), 10mm is a fairly drastic change.
10mm is 1cm that is a heck of a lot, check your tape measure if you think it isn't.
As another poster said, last time I checked women find heals of any type uncomfortable. There is a reason only Asics do this, because it doesn't work!
And do you have anything to say about the little nubs/bumbs on the toe area of the sole plate?
Raised heel sounds like a recipe for trouble. Raised heels aren't doing anybody any favors for stability.
I have wore my Asics Testimonials (not the Lethals but the older design) for years now! I really love the reliability in this company. My running shoes are the Gel Numbus' so I think I will invest in a pair of these right away!!! My foot is medium to narrow…would you recommend ordering a half size down due to the wider mid-sole? Or would ordering true-to-size be the way to go? Thanks for this review…I have been waiting for you to post it since you posted having received them in the mail!
I would say stick true to size – the midsole feels like a medium to start but has the ability to stretch out. I imagine with a narrow/medium fit it won't stretch out as much.
Thanks for the update!
how durable do they look because I have a VERY wide foot and i probably wont be able to try these on before buying them so i need a pair of cleats that can stretch to fit me.
FYI, ASICS has released a model in wide recently. Check them out on soccer.com
My next boots for sure. The asics range has a massive following in Australia.
Could someone confirm whether or not the heel is padded/lined?
Only with the rugby league set because they don't know any better.
I wonder how did you strike the ball with this??
If my old coaches ever caught us not on the balls of our feet we had to run laps in the first place. So why would a soccer player ever stand flat footed to get the benefit of the heel gradient? It seems like ASICS doesn't understand soccer very well with these. I don't like them.
Hope I can win this..
the worst part is the raised heel… the design is pretty ugly in my opinion
have you heard of the asics ds light 5? it just came out, claims to be 7.8 oz, kangaroo leather, and no HG 10 mm. seems like the real deal but no one has tested them yet
That light can only mean using a very very thin layer of kangaroo leather. Are you sure you want such a thin layer that would offer very little protection? If you have ever been studded you would stay away from such light weight shoes in my opinion.
Here's my experience with the 4's… I have a wide foot and my right knee tends to be pretty sore and achey the day after a game. I scored some Tigreor 4's on eBay for a decent price ($90 USD with shipping). I'm 30, an avid runner, and I've played soccer twice a week since I was 10 years old.
I ran a bit in them to break them in, and they felt pretty good, but as Bryan said, weird at first. I didn't double-sock as I normally do, and I didn't get any blisters or rubbing at all. I've owned countless Nike, Puma, Adidas, Lotto, etc and I've ALWAYS gotten blisters at first wear. This was my first shock regarding the ASICS. With my Tigreor's It felt like my knees were always bent, and never locked like in my flatter cleats. Bryan is correct, your weight shifts forward, so you feel a little more agile as well.
Basically, I found them to be much like my Adidas AdiPure IV's for fit and feel, but thankfully they fit MUCH wider on the sole of your foot. Sure, the AdiPures can stretch, but the soleplate is only so wide! Shorter front studs is a plus for harder surfaces, but the ASICS have a wider soleplate that accommodates my wide foot with no stud pressure. The K-leather on the ASICS Tig 4's (like my AdiPures) is super soft and great for a first touch and playing passes from the midfield, which is where I play most.
Here's the best part: After my first game with these boots, my "bad" knee wasn't even sore the day after. I couldn't be happier, so I'm sticking with these ASICS and the heel gradient and I don't see myself going back to my old AdiPure 4's or even my fav backup Puma 1.12's.
what size did you got in the asics ? same size as in the adipures?
I won these kicks on your Ebay sale. Absolutely LOVE THEM! That’s all.
I had these for over a month now and I can honestly say that these are fantastic shoes ( I collect cleats so I have tried a lot of cleats btw). The quality of the boots is great and the fit is superb, it just huggs your foot but still feel very comfortable and like some other people mentioned I didn't get any blisters either and I wore these straight to a game without really breaking them in! (and i am blister prone) . About the 10mm heel gradient; honestly its not as dramatic as the reviewer says, you will get used to it after 10 minutes (if you even notice it) i only play in grass though (which is what these are intended for. I play winger most of the time and usually wear speed boots but i've been wanting something more comfortable and honestly these haven't held me back at all. Very recommended!
I bought a pair of these for my son about 2 months ago. He was experiencing pain in his heels around the achilles tendon. Wen to the Dr and they said it was caused by a a combination of his age (11) and the super hard ground we have here in west Texas. She recommended more padding in his shoes to help. We went through a variety of inserts and heel cups to get him some relief but nothing worked. It was getting to the point where he was struggling to get through a game without pain. I remembered seeing these reviewed on Soccercleats101 and thought what the heck, its worth a shot. They have been a Godsend! The pain in his right heel is completely gone and the left one is very minor. He wasn't thrilled with the styling but he loves the shoes anyway because he can play his favorite game without worrying about his feet hurting. I highly recommend these to anyone experiencing achilles or heel pain. He didn't have any issue with the 10mm gradient nor did he have any issues with striking the ball. Thanks Soccercleats101 for keeping us informed and thank you Asics for making a product that actually helps!