The Foundation of ASICS’ Success in Japan
The DS Light series and its offshoots like the Acros and the X-Fly are one of the biggest reasons why Asics does so well in the Japanese market. From the outside, these two models, plus the Ultrezza AI, are the dominant models in the brand’s lineup. Although these models do sell very well, the actual top seller for Asics is the standard DS Light model. This boot is everywhere here. Much like the Mizuno Morelia, almost every single team has at least one or two people rocking the standard DS Light. One might wonder what makes them so good.
It has been recently updated towards the end of last year and released after the turn of the year. The new model has not only built upon the accomplishments of previous models but has increased sales. The new model’s focus is “Off the ball” support.
Like previous DS Light models, the newest edition is available in regular, slim, and wide lasts. This is part of the reason why the DS Light is so popular, since it fits a variety of foot types. The kangaroo leather has been updated to include a high-density, high-structured foam so that the stitch less forefoot keeps its shape. This foam frame is placed asymmetrically in order to improve the fit. Lastly, the foam is also designed to prevent over-stretching and help the leather keep its shape.
A microfibre material is used for the rest of the upper in order to help it not only keep its shape, but to also help with stability. The ASICS logo is thermopressed on to the upper to help provide extra structure to the outside and inside of the midfoot. The underside of the upper is lined with a soft microfibre material for comfort. The last has been changed so that there is less pressure on the pinky toe since there was complaints from players about the fit of the previous model.
The heel counter has also been made stronger in order to lock the heel in and has a more premium soft brushed material in order to be more comfortable and the brand even redesigned so that the mouth of the boot is softer and doesn’t “bite” into the ankle and the heel. Even the lacing set up has undergone some changes by cutting little V’s down the side of the eyelets which helps provide better lockdown. They kept the extra lacehole at the top, which allows you to make a runner’s knot.
On the bottom, there has also been a lot of changes. Part of the new update was the new FuzeGEL shock absorption from the back of the midfoot to the heel. This was created in order to stop the foot from feeling as tired while making movements during play. The crowning achievement of the FuzeGEL is the new gel material in the heel itself. It is designed to sit in the heel itself, which has eliminated the need for the sometimes awkward 10mm heel lift that differentiated ASICS’ boots overseas. The gray part of the soleplate is made of a harder resin to improve durability of the studs and the soleplate as well, while still maintaining the support structure.
In addition to all of this, the soleplate has been conceived to have more of an upward curve in the forefoot so that it is easier for toe-off. And of course, being a standard-type boot you get twelve rounded studs on the boot and plenty of rivets to increase durability.
All of this together makes a great boot that can be used for anyone on the pitch who wants comfort, support and a boot that just works. These normally retail for 14,300 Yen ($133 USD), but many places have them for around 11,440 Yen ($106 USD) which means that they almost hit that golden $100 price point. Considering all of the tech and thought put into the boot, the price makes them even more enticing. Adding everything together means that its understandable why the DS Light is so dominant in the Japanese market. If you get a change to grab a pair of these, it is worth your time and money to check them out.
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All images credit: Kemari87/Kishispo