Back from the dead
Yasuda was originally founded all the way back in 1932. They were a very popular sports brand that gained a lot of popularity in Japan in the 1980’s and 1990’s. However, the company went bankrupt and folded right before the start of the 2002 World Cup.
Fast forward to last year when the brand was revived through a successful crowd-funding project brought the brand back to life (full disclosure, I contributed to the crowd funding campaign). With the completion of the campaign, the brand released it’s first boot in over 15 years, the YX-2018. Yasuda is back again with a new boot this year, the YX-2019.
Starting the upper, the boot is full kangaroo leather and it’s one of the softest out of the box uppers I have ever felt. The leather feels extremely supple and there is almost no break-in time required at all (more on that later).
There is not too much in the way of tech specs for these boots, but there’s not really anything wrong with that in my opinion. The boot is exactly what it should be, a classic leather boot. The one thing that can be noted about the boot is the sole plate is designed to help absorb pressure using a stud style Yasuda calls “Fuji-san” because the shape is reminiscent of Mount Fuji. The insole is also fairly basic, nothing really to write home about.
The build quality of the boot is also another big positive for me. The boots are handmade in Japan and they feel as if you will be able to rely on them for several seasons, at the very least. The soleplate seems like it was completely fused to the upper. Being a leather boot though, there will be some slight separation over time.
The boot has a nice comfortable package to play and surprisingly the touch on the ball is quite nice and the leather itself isn’t too thick but thick enough to feel like you can take a couple of heavy tackles in them. Passing and shooting in the boots also feels smooth and I would argue better than most classic leather boots on the market. This also means that there are not a whole lot of surprises when it comes to shooting. Having a thinner leather upper means that your foot feels close to the ball, although it’s not going to feel like a synthetic or knit does. The lack of surprises to the upper isn’t a bad thing though, because I think its nice to have a boot that does exactly what you expect it to do. As I mentioned before the break in time was super easy. It took maybe 15-20 minutes and almost felt like the boot was ready to go for match day. Of everything I would say that the break-in time was the part of the boot I was most impressed with.
However, as easy as it is to break in the upper the sole plate is a different story entirely. I understand the reasoning behind using a classic soleplate in its appeal to the older generation of players but the thickness, the weight and the stiffness of the soleplate ultimately holds the boot back. It’s by no means a bad soleplate, but given the softness of the upper, for me personally its kind of a let-down. This could have been solved by simply adding a few grooves into the tooling. At the same time, I’m also a person who prefers more flexible forefoot so this might be different from person to person. I understand that the tooling (soleplate) of the boot is the most expensive part of the boot to create but I think they should have taken the risk and created a more modern plate.
The other part of the boot I feel that holds it back is the heel. It has a very nice suede lining but even though it’s not as low as it looks the big problem is it’s a wide heel and it doesn’t really curve and cup your heel in the same way to other classic boots or modern boots do. What this then causes is the heel to be not as well locked in as you might like. Adding to this problem is the fact that the laces holes don’t come as high as I would like. Again, this is more of a personal preference and in fact I’ve seen many players these days who don’t even lace up the top lace hole so for those people the location of the lace holes on these boots will probably be to their liking.
Currently, they are only available directly from Yasuda’s website, but they do ship internationally. Another thing that I like is that even though are they are only making one boot right now; Yasuda has six colours available. Other than the white/black pair that I got, the whiteouts and the blackouts are excellent looking. I also highly recommend that you go true to size because although these boots are leather and will stretch, it is not enough to want to go down half a size. Yasuda also adds a spare pair of laces for every boot as well, a nice touch.
Overall the boots are a great, classic, package. If you are looking for an old school boot that is high quality and will make you stand out from the crowd, I highly recommend these. If the small issues the like heel and the tooling were changed, then this boot would easily become my go-to boot because of the build quality and the softness of the leather.
Boots don’t need to be overly complicated. Sometimes what seems simplest can be the best. There’s nothing wrong with boots packed with tech, but boots like the YX 2019 should always exist not just because they are classic, k-leather boots but because the show that quality can still overcome tech. It is just a shame that these boots have just a few things holding them back, because otherwise they are easy to recommend.
Even you want a pair for yourselves visit https://yasudafootball.com/online/ (fair warning the website is entirely in Japanese currently).
But what are ya’lls thoughts on these? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to share this with your friends!
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