The Speediest ASICS Boot
For years, it seemed like the X Fly was ASICS’ go to speed boot. According to the brand though, they were never an outright speed boot and more of a balanced boot. In order to properly compete with other speed boots, namely their domestic rivals Mizuno, ASICS released the X Fly Pro under the tag line “Pursuing sprinting to win”.
The X Fly Pro immediately slots in and becomes the top model in the DS Light series. One of the first differences from the other boots in the line is that even though it still uses a premium kangaroo leather upper, it is coated in ASICS’ MOISTECT technology in order to keep the leather soft even after being used in the rain. The forefoot also has asymmetrical stitching so that the forefoot is still flexible and while still stopping the leather from overstretching.
The foam lining inside of the boot is “ultra-low density and ultra-low resilience” so that the boot is softer and has a good fit. The topping for this liner is a soft brushed material for comfort and to help ensure the foot doesn’t move about during play.
The midfoot and heel of the boot is made up of ASICS’ premium synthetic material Micro SK. They use this material in order to keep the boot while still providing structure to the upper. It’s somewhat similar to Mizuno’s BF Leather synthetic that is used on the Morelia Neo III. The logo has also been switched to a 3D design rather than a stitched logo to make the boot look more modern.
The tongue is also different in design compared to other ASICS’ boots. It’s made of a thin material with a brushed suede-like material on the underside as well as a U-shape on the tongue to allow the laces to be pulled tighter without increasing pressure on the part of the ankle that the top of the tongue sits on. The boot also comes with ASICS’ Power Hold laces, which are quite good at keeping you feeling locked in without needing any grip elements on the laces themselves.
Surprisingly, there is no external heel counter on the boots which had previously been a standard for boots in the X Fly series. They decided that the wanted a more natural feeling heel and a normal internal heel cup in order to provide more support. The lining of the heel is also a brushed material like the rest of the boot, and this is so that the fit of the heel cup allows for a lot of flexibility in the fit. It will be interesting to see how this works during play.
The insole is the same that is used in the X Fly 4, which uses a combination of Solite (for comfort) and BDK (for grip).
The outsole is where things begin to get remarkably fascinating. First, the insole is designed to be used on firm ground, hard ground and artificial ground. Its made of a nylon resin but the forefoot of the outsole actually removes part of the resin and replaces it with a durable, waterproof mesh in order to decrease weight, which means in a 26.5cm the boot weighs 190 grams, putting it among other lightweight speed boots. One would think that addition of mesh and removal of the resin would mean the boot is overly flexible in the forefoot but this isn’t the case. The inner board of the boot is very stiff in order to allow the boot to have a lot of springback while sprinting.
The outsole was designed with the help of digital modeling and an algorithm to make sure that it is flexible and rigid in the right spots. There are also nylon ribs running through the midfoot and heel so that the outsole provides stability and support.
The studs themselves are quite exciting as well. ASICS have added a toe stud to help with toe off when going to sprint and the foremost forefoot studs are also designed to be more aggressive than the other ones in order to help with this toe off. This is done by having a V-shaped recess on the studs, similar to the X ghosted and Mercurial Vapor. ASICS calls this the “Accelerator Stud System”. The rest of the studs are similar in shape but less aggressive so that there isn’t much power loss when it comes to cutting and pushing off sideways. ASICS sees this stud layout as a mix of a cylindrical stud and a bladed, which seems to be a more aggressive version of what is found on the X Fly 4.
Speaking of the X Fly 4, the X Fly Pro isn’t replacing them rather it will be sold concurrently with the X Fly Pro being more for speedier type players and the X Fly 4 being seen as a more balanced and all-around type boot. This is interesting because a lot of people always saw the X Fly 4 as ASICS’ speed boot. The DS Light Avante is being discontinued instead. Its worth keeping an eye on how things develop throughout the year and whether wingers and other speedy players switch to the X Fly Pro. As for pricing, the X Fly Pro approaches Morelia Neo territory coming in at ¥22000 (about $212 USD).
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