Surprising in many ways
The Acros was somewhat overshadowed by other Asics releases when it was launched. While Iniesta’s Ultrezza boots were (rightly) making waves, the Acros quietly went about becoming the most underrated boot of the year. Asics took what was great about about the DS Light X-Fly SLs, namely the soft synthetic and the value for money it provided and improved on the formula. They didn’t need to throw out the kitchen sink or completely reinvent the boots, just adding the Acros Fit cage across the boot, which makes for a much different and improved experience.
Fit and Feel
This is where the most noticeable changes have occurred from the DS Light X-Fly SLs. The added Acros Fit cage has made the Acros fit more snug in several places around the boot. For me, this was most noticeable in the forefoot outstep as well as across the middle of the forefoot. It was interesting feeling the first few times because a lot of boots on the market tend to have a little bit of extra volume through the forefoot so that the boots can fit a variety of foot types. But the Acros Fit cage, combined with the deep lacing system, allows you to get the adjustment your foot needs whilst feeling more locked into the boots. It just feels right when its on your feet, and I would love to see this idea incorporated into other boots. Basically, because of the locked in feeling the Acros gives you in your forefoot, you’re not relying solely on the only the laces to give you lockdown, as is the case with other products on the market.
The insoles and the stud layout combine for a super comfortable ride and I was surprised at how quickly the bottom of my feet felt comfortable while running around in these. The faux suede liner in the heel is nice touch as well and gives a lot of lockdown in the heel without torturing your feet in doing so. In my first session I had some hot spots on both heels, but they had softened up by the second wear. The cushioned heel broke in quickly, which I am not used to in synthetic boots. It was a nice surprise.
The synthetic won’t be competing for any “Best of” awards but despite that, its surprisingly soft from the get-go. The Acros Fit cage softens up a little bit but doesn’t lose its shape or form over time. Normally this might be an issue, but in the case of these boots it means that you don’t lose the great lockdown. The one drawback of the boots is the sizing itself. Normally for Asics boots you can go a half size down because they fit slightly long. In the Acros, my normal Asics size felt too snug and while a half size up (i.e. true to size) fit much better overall, there was a pinky finger’s worth of space at the end. If the boots were leather there’d be no issues, but as it is this is something that Asics needs to improve on the next model.
Touch and Dribbling
The synthetic isn’t overly thick on any place on the boots, including the Acros Fit cage. What this means is that you get the nice thin sensation that older Mercurials and F50s used to provide. Since your foot is so locked in the Acros, your foot will exactly where you expect it to be when taking a touch. What I mean is that you won’t suffer a loss of sensation on the because there isn’t a part on the boot where they feel loose. The boots don’t have any sort of added grip on the upper besides it feeling slightly rough to touch so they can be a bit slick in wet conditions. If you have played in synthetics from around 7 years or so ago, you’ll be familiar with the feeling. This isn’t a knock against the boots since if you’ve got a good enough touch it won’t matter but it does make me wish there was a bit more to the upper. Though I will admit that this would probably make the price a bit higher.
Which brings us to the Acros Fit cage. As I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t lose shape or get too soft over time. While this is great for the lockdown and fit, it does mean that the touch suffers slightly as a result. The cage isn’t soft or made to absorb rebound like you would find in the Mizuno Rebulas since the system is there to provide lockdown and hold your foot into place. Again, if you’ve got the touch, it won’t matter much but if you’ve gotten used to an internal cage foam like many modern leather boots have, you won’t find the same thing here. But there are some benefits to the solidity of the Acros besides the lockdown.
The soleplate that is equipped on the DS Light Acros is the same soleplate that has been/is found on all of the boots in the DS Light X-Fly series. It isn’t a bad thing that they haven’t changed the soleplate, per se but its not really groundbreaking. The flip side of this that the soleplate is solid and provides great grip on firm ground and artificial surfaces. Since the studs are shorter than you’d find on many other boots you get a very comfortable ride even on very hard ground surfaces and AG. I also didn’t feel any drag at all on artificial pitches so this boot is a good recommendation if you switch between both.
Because the studs are shorter, a very muddy pitch will be an issue. However, I played in snow and in really wet and soggy surfaces and had no issues with the grip to speak of. The soleplate is really a great workhorse. It’s also stiffer than I was expecting it to be. The Acros won’t give you the springback like a Mercurial would but many other boots don’t and it’s nice that there is some spring in your step with these. Since it’s an Asics boot, they are great and comfortable to run in without sacrificing much of anything. Similar to the thoughts I had with the Concave Halo+, there’s a nice “balanced” feel to the soleplate, which again aids with sole rolling the ball and the like.
Shooting and Ping
Above, I had mentioned that since the Acros Fit cage doesn’t soften up too much over time, it might be a problem when it comes to touch. On the other hand, this means that boots feel excellent when hammering and pinging the ball. Shooting is these boots feels great. The solidity provided by the cage and the soleplate means you get that classic sensation that many other synthetic boots used to be able to offer. You can absolutely smash the ball in these and the boots, intentionally or not, are a great striker’s boot.
This also means that those long crosses and cross field pings also feel great. The Acros has the cage system on the part of the forefoot used for shooting and for crossing which means you also feel the boot against your foot. There’s not much loss in the transition of power from your foot to the ball. Like the soleplate, shooting in the boots isn’t revolutionary but they are reliable. A great choice for some cracking long rangers. Since many of our pitches have closed, I didn’t get as much time shooting in them as would have normally liked, but what chances I did have made me impressed with the performance of the boot when shooting the ball.
The Asics DS Light Acros is a boot I can sum up as solid and reliable. Through testing, there were no issues with the boot in terms of blisters or quality issues. This shouldn’t be surprising given that it’s an Asics boot but at the same time I don’t think reliability is as common in today’s market as one might think. It’s a pro-level boot at a great price, around $150 US Dollars (16,500 Japanese Yen). The soleplate is riveted to the upper, which is quite rare these days. It isn’t the best synthetic boot on the market, but the price, lockdown and shooting performance helps do a lot of the leg work. The excellent lockdown is something that you’d normally only find in much more expensive boots. They secondary lacehole that’s near the top of the upper also deserves a shout out because it allows you to make a runner’s knot to give you even greater lockdown in the heel. The boot’s performance allows it to punch above its weight and if you’re looking for a boot that has the feeling you’d get from an older Mercurial or F50, or even you’re wanting some great lockdown and a left-field choice, the Acros won’t let you down. Its thoroughly deserving on the “Underrated Boot of the Year” Award.
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