ASICS Ultrezza 2 AI Sustainable Review

Tech and support

The original Ultrezza was a step in a different direction for ASICS. A tech-heavy boot, that focused more on support was a boon for anybody wanting a more solid boot without compromising on performance. With the release of the second edition of the Ultrezza, ASICS has looked to build on the foundation built by the original. In a lot of ways, the brand has succeeded with one misstep along the way.

Fit and Feel

The initial release of the Ultrezza was similar to most ASICS boots in that the boots ran around half a size long. I initially ordered a half size down in the Ultrezza 2 but this time, the fit was too tight. So, the sizing has now changed to true to size. The flip side of this meant that I could try the recently-released Sustainable model. As a side note, I found that the leather on the Sustainable to be slightly softer out of the box over the regular release.

With the sizing issue solved, straight out of the box the fit was exactly what I have come to expect from ASICS: it is really good. The shape of the boot follows the foot really well and you can immediately feel the support that is in the boot. And with the way the lacing system is set up, it means that there is a lot of adjustability for different foot shapes. The boot is also slightly wide (but did not cause me any issues), and combined with the lacing system, means that the Ultrezza 2 is a great option for people with wider feet.

There is also plenty of padding to be found on the heel that combines well with the FLYTE FOAM and the 5mm lift found at the bottom of the heel. This not only eliminated heel pressure, but also meant that the boot feels great while running (more on this later). The brushed material used on the heel is soft to the touch and despite how stable the heel as a whole is, there has been no issues with blisters and it felt comfortable from first wear. Along with this support, the midfoot provides great lockdown and the fit is solid, but it never feels constricting or over the top.

So far, so good. But there is a major component that feels like a step backwards from the initial model of the Ultrezza, which is the leather. The leather on the Ultrezza 2 is stiffer out of the box than the originals. The originals had this nice, cross-stitched pattern that helped the leather break in easily and feel softer from the first wear. While I understand that ASICS most likely changed the way the leather was made on the boot in part to make the overall look more modern and sleek, it feels like it was a mistake. I imagine that during the testing process the designers at ASICS noticed that the leather was bunching up weird while playing and that’s why those grooves were added.

Even with those changes, I did have a teammate ask if the forefoot was synthetic, which is not a good look. It took a couple of sessions for the leather to break in. I understand that I was not going to get Mizuno’s level of leather quality, especially since the Ultrezza is not made in Japan, but I still expected better. After a couple of sessions this was longer an issue but was still hoping for a bit better.

Touch and Dribbling

This is one of the places where the Ultrezza 2 shines. The midfoot was surprisingly adept at controlling the ball considering the composite SANDWHICH SPAN WOVEN is primarily designed for support. It has a bit of cushioning which meant that there is a good number of aids for control.

Even though the leather is stiffer to begin with, once broken in it provides and nice, soft touch on the ball. Interestingly, even though there is not much friction on the leather forefoot, it works surprisingly well in wet and dry conditions. There were no issues with the ball sliding off the foot and I felt confident receiving passes and making quick touches.

The interesting stud layout is great with rolling the ball around the bottom of the foot and since there are a good total number of studs on the forefoot, it means that you can really get a good amount of control with them. Since I personally like to soleroll, drag and control the ball with studs, this was a benefit for me. I also appreciate that the studs were not all sorts of different heights to be “dynamic” or something so there was good consistency with the touch on the bottom of the boot.

Passing and Shooting

The soleplate makes a big difference for long passes and shooting as well. The back four studs combined with the supportive soleplate means that the boot has a solid foundation for hitting the ball. I find that with some boots, having an overly flexible midfoot and heel means that you lose some power when shooting and hitting long passes. I noticed that with the Ultrezza 2 I was able to get some solid power.

This is in spite of the fact that there is no external heel counter. But since the heel is designed for support and stability, it does allow power to be generated with the foot because the heel feels so locked in. Same with that strong midfoot that keeps the foot firmly planted in the shoe. Having a good fit really benefits the player when it comes to aggressive actions with the ball.

Although the leather is not really the star of the show with this boot, it still serves it purpose and provides a slight cushion when hitting the ball. It is not as soft as a Japan-made leather boot so the feeling on the ball will not be as mesmerizing, but it still does what it is supposed to do.

Grip

Probably the standout part of the boot for me, the soleplate is supportive, comfortable and surprisingly responsive. There is even a good amount of springback to be found in the forefoot. The X Guidance X-shaped groove was a positive experience that help provide ample grip in all sorts of situations, while the strong TORQUE TRUSS meant there was no weird bending in the middle of the foot.

Another positive for the soleplate is that it performed well and on every surface I used it on. Wet grass, wet artificial grass, dry pitches, hot and dry artificial grass, the Ultrezza’s soleplate took everything on with ease. There is a slight concave design to the bottom of the front studs that helps to absorb pressure when playing on artificial grass, which helps with its overall performance. Like mentioned previously, the studs are similar sizes in the forefoot which means the boot never feels awkward when running.

Something else I noticed is that the soleplate also has a slight upward curve to the forefoot, similar to what is found on the X Fly Pro. This allows the foot to be in a more “ready” position when going to make a sprint. Speaking of running, these are probably one of the most comfortable boots to run in and ASICS’ being a top running brand shows in the way the boot is while running. A very smooth, comfortable and supportive ride.

A quick word

About the sustainability aspect of the boot. It is great, but we need more of this and again, ASICS should have made this part of the initial release. Read my tech breakdown of the boot for more.

Conclusion

The ASICS Ultrezza 2 AI is a step forward in many aspects for the series. The revamped soleplate, heel and midfoot add a good bit to the support and responsiveness of the boot. It is slightly let down by the initial feel of the leather out of the box but if ASICS can just tweak that leather slightly, they’ll have a real winner on their hands. At the same time, I can easily recommend this boot to anyone who has any type of foot issues or is prone to pain in their feet, knees or hips while playing because of the support the boot provides. It also can take a beating when going into tackles and you can come out the other side with no issues. More people should look towards the Ultrezza 2 for their next boot and hopefully it will only increase in popularity because ASICS is (mostly) going in the right direction for this series.

What do you think of the ASICS Ultrezza AI 2? Please share this with your friends and make sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook!

じゃあね!

aglockhart

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