Yasuda has been slowing making waves in Japan ever since it relaunched through a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2018. Their YX-2018 and YX-2019 series have started finding their way onto the feet of players around Japan including a few professionals. The old school style of the boots was down to the classic soleplate construction as well as a full kangaroo leather upper. With launch of their new Innovator series, Yasuda have modernized their boots to an extent in order to make them more functional and given what they have changed, it seems like they might have succeeded.
Headlining the new launch is the top of the line Innovator Pro. Staying with a full kangaroo leather upper and while still being made at their factory in Japan, Yasuda has nonetheless made some upgrades to their line. The classic soleplate has served them well, but the brand has switched to a modern TPU soleplate construction for their newest model. This allows them to greatly reduce the weight versus the previous models and also allows for a more flexible soleplate. The new flexibility and weight loss is also down to the brand changing the insole board on their boots as well because the insole board is normally the heaviest part of boot.
The second thing Yasuda has done is given the boot a diet. There is a lot less volume in the boot in order for it to fit “modern players’ feet”. This is obvious just by looking at the boots, as the silhouette is a lot more sleek. They have also switched from using a suede heel liner to using a new “anti-slip” liner. Personally, I like the suede or faux-suede lining when they are included on boots so it will be interesting to feel how the anti-slip liner works. Along with the anti-slip liner on the insole, Yasuda also changed the insole to a thinker material made out of polyurethane as well as leather in order to make the insole grip the sock better while still being rigid enough to hold up over time.
Earlier I mentioned that the shoe is full kangaroo leather but the insole and the shoe tongue actually use cowhide. Yasuda says that the reason for this is that cowhide grips the sock better than a kangaroo leather does. The shoe tongue also uses pigskin in combination with the cowhide for durability. They obviously want to make sure that they can keep up with some of the popular brands when it comes to making sure the foot feels secure in the boot. It really does give the feeling that the brand has done their homework with what could be improved over the previous models. The pricing is pretty good too, coming in around 19,800 (about $179).
Lastly, the other new boot in the series is the Innovator Pro Ex which only uses kangaroo leather in the forefoot and an artificial leather for the rest of the boot but still features an improved soleplate, even though it is not made of TPU. It also retails for 13,200 yen (about $119). While this is definitely different quality versus the top of the line model this boot has to be mentioned because Yasuda is launching a subscription service for this model that they are calling Excel Feed. How this will work is that for 2,980 yen a month (about $27) Yasuda will exchange your boots for a new pair every three months. Part of the reason they are doing this is because Yasuda says that not everyone call also spend so much on a pair of boots upfront and by using this service, you will end up getting four pairs a year for the price of three. There is also a premium plan for 5,960 yen (about $54) a month that gives your eight pairs a year for the price of six and every three months they will exchange two pairs of shoes.
Yasuda is also starting this service in the hopes that good football boots can be provided to places and programs around the world in lower income areas. Another part of this program that I really like is that the returned boots will be processed as part of the company’s plan to adhere to the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDG). It seems like they will especially focus on figuring out how to get the boots into the hands of players in developing nations by working with an NPO in order to directly give them the boots. It is an ambitious and admirable goal and it is nice that a company, no matter the size, is striving for something like this.
The boots and the subscription service will be launched starting in September of this year but you can pre-order them now.
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