A handcrafted dream
Many thinks to Adler, who provided the boots for review
With the relaunch of the brand, Adler is leaning heavier on its handcrafted platform. The brand is showing that every detail matters while being tech-packed does not always mean good. Unlike other classically styled boots however, this does not mean that there is no tech in the boots at all. The KaRVO midsole is a game changer in more ways than one and a few things here and there make the Yatagarashu a must try boot.
One of the first things that is noticeable when the Yatagarashu is pulled out of the box is just how soft and supple the leather is. It is on another level and is softer than even the Morelia II from the first wear. Equally as impressive is the quick break in time. The boots only required one session to feel ready to go for a match. The leather takes the form of the foot well, but at the same time, there has not been any overstretching. There are plenty of stitch lines to help reinforce the upper and help prevent overstretching from happening.
Another plus point for the Yatagarashu is the lockdown. The laceholes are made in a zigzag pattern which is helps improve the lockdown, as does the additional lacehole located next to the top of the tongue, which allows for the use of a runner’s knot. This allows the boot to have more lockdown in the heel area as well. The laces also run deep which allows for plenty of adjustment throughout the boot and also means that the boots fit a majority of foot types, even if your feet are on the wider or the narrower side.
Speaking of the heel, it is cushioned seemingly the perfect amount. There is not too much cushion to where the boot feels bulky, nor is there too little to where the heel needs to get used to it. This is normally one of the problem spots for classically styled boots as there tends to be almost no cushioning in the heel at all. But the Yatagarashu does not suffer from these issues. The opening of the boot also has nice cushioning on the sides which means the entire opening of the boots feels welcoming to the top of the foot. This, in combination with the soft leather, means that the boot is extremely comfortable throughout the upper.
The KaRVO insole also has a function here which is to help provide support to the entire foot. Many pros use carbon fibre in their boots in order to achieve support and the KaRVO in these boots has the same role. Talking of the support, the heel cup is solid and does not flex about like many other classic boots, meaning there is a lot of stability and support in the heel.
There are two insoles that come with the boot as well. The insole that is in the boot when it comes out of the box is comfortable and has some good support without being overly thick. However, the real star of the show is the second insole that comes with the boots. They are made by a Japanese insole called ReaLine and are designed to provide more support to the foot and arch without adding additional bulk. There is a raised support section through the part of the insole where the midfoot rests and a small indentation for the heel. In theory, the insole is designed to work with the biomechanics of the foot and to help reduce stress not only on the feet, but on the joints in the legs as well. In practice, if you have weaker arches, they do take a little bit of getting used to but are excellent once you do. There seems to just the right amount of firm support without feeling too cushiony, as can happen with some types on support insoles.
As far as sizing goes, I went a half size down because the are a full leather boot and while they might be slightly snug for some, they do form to the feet quickly and they soon felt like the perfect size.
Touch and Dribbling
One of the great things about a soft, full kangaroo leather boot is that there are no gimmicks involved when it comes to the touch. The upper of the Yatagarashu is excellent in this regard. The leather is thin in the midfoot and just the right amount of cushioning in the forefoot. Thus, unlike a lot of classical leather boots, the upper does not feel bulky and is more in line with what one expects of a modern all leather boot. So, unlike other boots in this category, the Yatagarashu makes one feel fleet of foot and nimble with your touch, if that makes sense.
Dribbling is also a dream in the Yatagarashu and it can be argued that this boot is now top of the class in the leather boot category when it comes to it. The slightly cushioned forefoot means that there is just enough to provide a little bit of dampening when on the ball but not to the point that it feels deadening. While some boots do definitely get close to a barefoot sensation, the Yatagarashu probably feels the most natural of any boot tested.
In combination, both the touch and dribbling make the boot stand out from the crowd. These definitely are not an old school boot, in spite of the looks, because there is a real modern leather boot performance to be found in the Yatagarashu. The double stitched forefoot provides and uniform feel on the ball and means that no matter where you like to control or dribble the ball, the boot lets you do it with no surprises.
Passing and Shooting
However, there is a surprise when passing a shooting the ball. The inclusion of the KaRVO midfoot means that there is a solid base for the foot to use as backing when hitting the ball. This is not noticeable for quick, short passes, where the leather functions in the way that one would expect. But rather for those longer, cross field balls, the KaVRO provides the foot a solid platform to stop it from over flexing when hitting the ball.
This is also where the ReaLine insole has a contribution as it does feel as hit the ball can be hit with more oomph when using the insoles. Part of this seems to come down to the way the insole raises the midfoot, but this also seems to be an effect of the foot having proper support.
So, when it comes to shooting, it is another spot where the Yatagarashu stands above a lot of its competitors. Since the boot also weighs less than majority of classical boots, it does not feel like you have bricks on your feet that might slow down your reaction time with shooting and long passes. It is just an boot awesome for this. It performs beyond expectations and makes you feel like you have a secret weapon because a boot that looks like this on the surface does not seem like it would perform like that. The KaRVO really makes a difference.
Which brings us to the KaRVO midsole’s function when it comes to grip. Because there is a shank in the midfoot for additional support, it also provides a good amount of springback, which feels like it helps push the studs more into the ground, providing more grip. This may just be a mental thing but there did seem to be a difference versus previous Adler boots that have been tested as the soleplate itself is the same.
The soleplate was described as previously: “Again, solid performance without being anything groundbreaking. But like I have argued before, you don’t always need something to be mind-blowing in every way. The layout performs well and provides a decent amount of grip and good amount of stability. The before-mentioned extra performance you get from the studs in terms of dribbling and shoot does mean that I like this stud layout more than other ones I have used.”
While it should be noted that the previous complaint of the midfoot being too flexible has been solved with the addition of the KaRVO midsole and the midfoot shank. Basically, Adler listened to what it’s customers had to say and made a very positive change.
One more thing
The laces are fantastic. They are made in Japan by a company called Itogo. They use the traditional craft of braided cording which allows for a tightly-bound lace that keeps it shape through play. This also means that the lockdown does not loosen up during as can sometimes happen with other classic and even some modern leather boots. A smart addition to the boot that makes it feel even more premium.
We might be looking at the best new leather boot in some time. At the very least, it is one of the best classically styled boots on the market and performs more like a modern leather boot, despite its looks. Some smart additions, like the KaRVO midsole, ReaLine insoles and Itogo laces make the entire package a more exceptional proposition than one might expect. It is a like a sleeper car. Looks like a normal classic boot but is hiding some great pieces of tech that not only help the Yatagarashu keep up with modern leather boots but surpass them. What a brilliant boot.
The boots are now available to buy directly from Adler by clicking the link here
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