Asics DS Light 5 Review
The DS Light 5 is more or less the “Speed” boot in the Asics line, offering that lightweight feel, with some extras, making this shoe one of the most comfortable lightweight options on the market. To start off, this is the only shoe from Asics that does not include the 10mm heel gradient. The reasons for this decision are unknown, but I would guess that it had to do with keeping the weight of the shoe as low as possible. What you get instead is built-in arch support, which may not seem like much, but when it is implemented in a soccer shoe, it changes the comfort level dramatically. Arch support is something that is not included in 99% percent of soccer shoes on the market, for reasons that are more or less unknown. Arch support is something that so many people would not do without in their regular or athletic footwear, sometimes paying hundreds of dollars for custom fit orthotic insoles. Asics, being a company very heavily into the running shoe market, have implemented these same elements into the DS Light 5, making for a soccer shoe that feels like a very comfortable running shoe. I found that the extra arch support gave me a little added stability, and overall just made the shoes so much more comfortable. I would go as far as to say that the DS Light 5 is one of the most comfortable shoes that I have ever worn. Whether you’re a little flat footed, like myself, or have a more regular foot type, you will definitely benefit from the extra support in the shoe. The upper is also very comfortable, blending natural and synthetic materials to create a soft feel in the forefoot, with a tighter feel in the mid-foot. The forefoot is made from a high quality kangaroo leather, offering not only a great feel on the ball, but also makes the shoe feel very flexible and soft against your foot. From the forefoot back, the shoe features a synthetic leather, providing some structural integrity for the parts of the shoe that take the most impact in terms of stretching. The tongue is a thin mesh, but actually works very well with the overall feel of the shoe. The heel is lined with a soft synthetic leather material, and is also a little higher cut, offering a very comfortable, yet solid fit, locking your heel in place when you pull the laces tight. Overall, this is one of the most comfortable shoes that I have ever worn.
As far as the fit of the shoe is concerned, Asics have taken into consideration that foot width limits some people to what shoes that they can wear, especially soccer shoes. The DS Light 5 is offered in a regular fit, the version that I tested, and a Wide Fit! To have that option of Regular or Wide Fit is a big deal, and allows anybody and everybody to get a comfortable fit in the DS Light 5. I have about a regular width foot and I found the DS Light 5 to hug the mid-foot quite nicely, while the leather forefoot will stretch and form to make for the best possible fit. Obviously, if you have had issues in the past with shoes not being wide enough, the Wide fit version is an option for a more comfortable fit. The sizing of the boot is absolutely true. I wore my regular size 9US for review, and the fit was perfect. If you are planning on ordering a pair for yourself, I would strongly suggest sticking with your normal size for the best possible fit. The DS Light 5 is super comfortable and offers a great fit for any foot type.
Given that the DS Light 5 is lightweight option from Asics, although none of their shoes are what I would consider “heavy”, one would anticipate a lightweight feel, and that’s exactly what you get. The DS Light 5 weighs in at a very light 7.8oz, and when considering how comfortable and how supportive they are, that is an impressive stat. I’m personally not impressed when a shoe has a very lightweight, but you can feel it, meaning that comfort elements were sacrificed to make the shoe that light. With the DS Light 5, you get that lightweight feel, but lose none of the comfort, which is great. If you are into the lightweight feel, but still want to be comfortable, the DS Light 5 is one of the best options out there.
The stud pattern used on the DS Light 5 is traditional to say the least. You get a very standard, conical stud pattern, similar to that of the Adidas Copa Mundial. The forefoot features four studs along the outside, three along the inside, with a single support stud in the middle and the standard four studs in the heel. The conical studs themselves are not overly long either, making the stud pattern ideal for harder surfaces. The conical studs make for a very stable feel, and also allow for plenty of freedom of movement when twisting and turning. Nothing in the stud pattern is new technology. I like the decision to go with something traditional. The stud pattern is tried and proven to work, and overall works very well on the DS Light 5.
The DS Light 5 upper uses a combination of natural leather and synthetic materials, and the final product is pretty good. The forefoot area is made up of very high quality kangaroo leather, and while there isn’t a ton of leather, about the same amount as the Adidas F50 adizero miCoach, I like that they included on the upper. While the upper does feature kangaroo leather, I definitely would not categorize the DS Light 5 as a shoe with a classic leather shoe. The mid-foot of the shoe features a slightly padded, synthetic material with somewhat of a unique finish. It is a little bit thinner than the actual leather portion of the boot, but still blends fairly well. The synthetic mid-foot gives the shoe a little bit of a thinner feel, like you would expect from such a lightweight shoe, but definitely is no where near feeling like you’re barefoot. One major thing to note is the tongue. Whenever you have a central lacing system, the tongue has a major effect on the overall feel of the shoe, and the tongue on the DS Light 5 certainly is different. I’ve said it before, I personally am not a fan of mesh tongues, and the DS Light 5 uses easily the thinnest mesh tongue that I have ever seen on a soccer shoe. The single layer mesh tongue offers next to no cushioning, which I surprisingly liked, offering a feel that actually works very well with the rest of the shoe. This makes for a great feel when juggling and controlling the ball, but that’s only if you like that barefoot feel. That’s what so unique about the touch of the DS Light 5 is that it has the three different feels. The leather vamp offers a nice padded feel, where the mid-foot offers a thinner, lightly padded feel and the top of the foot is reminiscent of being barefoot. Surprisingly, the upper works, and suits the shoe really well.
Striking the ball with the DS Light 5 feels great. The thin tongue gives you that barefoot feel when striking the ball with the laces, where as the instep, or strike zone, features a slightly more padded feel. It is also worth noting that the soleplate offers plenty of stiffness. I was pretty impressed by how solid the mid-foot felt when striking the ball, considering the light nature of the boot. The higher cut ankle area also allows for a more solid fit, keeping your foot locked in place when striking the ball. Overall, one of the more solid feeling, lightweight boots on the market.
The DS Light 5 is tricky when it comes to protection, offering protection in some spots, and next to no protection in others. As far as your toes are concerned, having that nicely padded kangaroo leather should provide some solid protection should you get stepped on, but if you take a hit a little higher up the foot, you won’t be nearly as protected. There is also a solid internal, plastic heel counter, to protect from kicks to back. Overall, this is not the most protective shoe on the market, but considering that these are on the lightweight side of things, the protection that you get, is about on par with other lightweights on the market.
For such a lightweight shoe, the DS Light 5 feels very solidly built. The quality of the shoes from Asics is one of the best on the market. In terms of comparing the DS Light 5 to other lightweight shoes on the market, I would definitely put my money on the Asics to last the longest. The leather used is very high quality and the synthetic mid-foot will prevent the shoe from over-stretching, allowing the shoe to keep its shape for longer. If you need a lightweight shoe that’s going to last, the DS Light 5 is a great choice. Keep in mind that the DS light 5 uses natural leather on the upper, meaning that some maintenance is required to keep the upper in optimal condition.
I almost didn’t know what to make of the Asics DS Light 5. Out of all of the shoes in the Asics line, this one definitely comes across as the most “low-profile”, which is part of the reason why I think this shoe gets overlooked by so many people. After wearing the shoe, I can honestly say that this is probably the most comfortable lightweight shoe on the market, offering a very unique combination of materials, to create a feel that is unique to the DS Light 5, not to mention the arch support, the option between two different widths, a classic stud pattern and quality feel overall. If you’re on the market for an alternative to some of the other “speed” boots on the market, and would like to be as comfortable as possible, than I would strongly recommend taking a look at the Asics DS Light 5.
Comfort/Fit 10 out of 10
Weight 9 out of 10
Traction 8 out of 10
Touch 9 out of 10
Shooting 8 out of 10
Protection 8 out of 10
Durability 8 out of 10
Final Score 60 out of 70 or 86%