Asics DS Light X-Fly K Review
The Asics DS Light X-Fly is an exciting release from Asics. The X-Fly combines a lightweight construction and a full kangaroo leather upper, giving you the lightweight feel of a modern soccer shoe, with the soft touch of a classic leather boot.
The X-Fly is easily the most comfortable lightweight soccer shoe currently on the market. Comfort is something that varies depending on the style of the boot. For example, a pair of Nike Mercurial Vapor 9s are comfortable, but not in the same way that a pair of Adidas Copa Mundials are comfortable. Its very difficult to get that lightweight feel, while still maintaining the comfort level that can be achieved from a soft leather soccer shoe, but Asics have managed it with the release of the X-Fly.
The X-Fly K features a full kangaroo leather upper, something you don’t see very often these days. If you’ve ever owned or felt a pair of Asics kangaroo leather soccer shoes, than you know what to expect when it comes to the quality of the leather on the X-Fly. The leather quality is honestly one of the best of any shoe currently on the market, and I couldn’t be happier with the upper on this boot. There’s no shortage of choices when it comes to lightweight leather soccer shoes, but other options such as the Adidas F50 adizero miCoach 2, the Puma evoSPEED 1 K and even the Mizuno Morelia Neo, don’t even come close to the quality of leather used on the X-Fly K. Not only does the kangaroo leather upper allow for a great touch on the ball, but it also makes for a very comfortable boot.
From right out of the box, the leather upper is nice and soft, making this boot ready to go from right out of the box. Give the shoe a couple hours to break-in, and the leather will only get softer and begin to mold to your feet, giving you that custom, secure fit. Again, I would like to stress that the entire upper is kangaroo leather, including the tongue. The heel is very nicely padded on the inside and is lined in suede, locking your foot in place when you pull the laces tight. The only synthetic material that you’ll find on the upper is the Asics logo, which goes across the mid-foot on both the lateral and medial sides of the boot. Not only is it there to look good, but it also serves as an anti-stretch mechanism through the mid-foot of the upper. This ensures that the boot is not going to over-stretch, making for a much better fit in the long run.
From a design standpoint, the construction of the upper is very simple, with Asics opting for a central lacing system on the X-Fly. For such a soft leather shoe, I felt like I was really able to get that ultra-tight fit through the mid-foot when I pulled the laces tight. In terms of width, I really feel like this is one of those shoes that is well suited for almost any foot type. Part of what makes a soft leather upper so great is that it has the ability to stretch and form to the exact shape of your foot, allowing anybody to get a custom fit after a certain amount of wear-time. The forefoot and toe box area of the upper is where you’re going to find the softest and most cushioned leather on the boot. From right out of the box it has a snug fit, which is exactly what you want, because they will stretch to match any foot shape or width. The mid-foot of the boot features a much thinner, slightly firmer leather, which hugs the instep of your foot really nicely when you pull the laces tight. I would say that the boot is about average in width through the mid-foot, allowing for a secure fit, while still maintaining a high comfort level. The heel, while it is fairly low-cut, does a great job of locking your foot down inside of the shoe. The extra padding in combination with the suede liner adjusts to the exact shape of your heel from right out of the box, which is great. Like I said earlier, there are different types of feels when it comes to judging the comfort of a soccer shoe, and while the X-fly might feel very light in-hand, on feet it feels like a shoe that you would guess to weigh a lot more. The X-Fly is honestly one of the most comfortable boots around.
Sizing is a little bit off on the X-Fly K, but because of the softness of the leather, it isn’t difficult to get the right fit. I wore a size 9.5US for review in the X-Fly K, which is the size that I normally wear in most Asics soccer shoes. By no means was the shoe too big for me in a size 9.5US, but being somebody that likes my shoes to fit really tight, I felt like I could have gone down to a size 9US, which is what I wear in the majority of my soccer shoes. So, if you’re looking for a tighter fit in the X-Fly K, I would strongly recommend going with your normal size. If you would like just a little bit of wiggle room at the toe, than I would recommend going up half a size.
The Asics DS Light X-Fly K has a listed weight of 7.2oz, which is very lightweight. Both in hand and on feet, the X-Fly K feels very light. While it doesn’t have that weightless feel of some other ultra-lightweight boots currently on the market, when you consider that the X-Fly features a full kangaroo leather upper, you’re still getting an impressively lightweight boot. I will always pick a shoe that weighs an ounce more if it means a more comfortable fit. The lightweight feel can be mainly attributed to the one-piece soleplate and heel counter, called the X-Fly Plate. It is undeniable that it looks very similar to the Adidas SprintFrame, used on the F50 adizero models, but I can tell you that the feel and overall construction is actually very different. Any shoe under the 8oz mark is not going to weigh you down, and considering how much you’re getting in this lightweight package, its hard not to be impressed by the X-Fly K.
The X-Fly features a slightly modified version of the stud pattern used on the Asics DS Light 5. At its core, this is a simple conical stud pattern, which is personally something that I’m a big fan of. In the forefoot you’ll find four studs running along the lateral side, with only three stud on the medial side and one support stud placed right in the middle. The studs themselves vary in length, with the shortest ones being closest to the toe, with each stud after that increasing in length. The varying stud lengths really puts you on your toes, allowing you to feel the grip under your feet. All of the studs are conical, but instead of just being perfect circles, there are three individual cutouts on each stud. To be completely honest, I couldn’t feel any difference in the way that this particular stud shape performed versus studs that are just perfectly round. The studs themselves penetrate the ground really well, allowing for plenty of grip when pushing off, and because the studs are round, you have plenty of maneuverability once your foot is planted. Something that I love about the X-Fly is the flexibility of the soleplate. Since the soleplate is so flexible through the forefoot, the boot moves with your foot, not only giving the shoe a very natural feel, but also allowing for as many studs to be in contact with the ground as possible when twisting in turning, which means better traction. The simplicity of the stud pattern is nothing that hasn’t been done before, and for that reason you know exactly what you’re getting with the X-Fly stud pattern. If you’re into conical stud patterns, than you’ll feel right at home in the X-Fly.
Many will argue that kangaroo leather is the ultimate upper material for a soccer shoe, and when it has been implemented like it has on the X-Fly K, its hard not to agree. Like I said earlier in the review, the leather quality on this boot is fantastic. The leather in the forefoot of the boot is the perfect thickness, providing an incredibly soft touch on the ball. If you’re looking for that classic leather touch, than look no further than the X-Fly K. The leather through the mid-foot is a little thinner than the rest of the boot, but still really soft, making the touch on the ball across the entire foot really clean. This is a classic, high quality leather soccer shoe that just happens to be lightweight. If you’re looking for a premium kangaroo leather soccer shoe, lightweight or not, the X-Fly K is a phenomenal option.
Striking the ball in the X-Fly K is nothing that you wouldn’t expect. The soft leather upper provides the perfect amount of cushion between your foot and the ball, making for a very controlled feeling impact when striking the ball. The tongue on the boot is a little on thinner side, so striking the ball with the laces will not be as cushioned as it will on the rest of the boot, but the feeling and responsiveness is still great. While the soleplate is very flexible in the forefoot, there is still plenty of stiffness through the mid-foot, giving the shoe a solid feel when making harder strikes on the ball. The upper is free of any kind of striking elements, leaving you with a very clean striking surface throughout the entire upper. If you’re looking for a no nonsense striking experience, you’ll get it here.
For the most part, the X-Fly K is relatively protective. The weak spot on the boot from a protection standpoint is the top of the foot, mainly because the tongue is the thinnest part of the upper. Other than that, the natural padding of the leather upper should provide some pretty good impact protection should you get stepped on. There’s lots of padding as well as an external plastic heel counter at the back of the shoe, which should absorb most of the blow should you take a kick to the heel. In comparison to other soccer shoes in this weight range, the X-Fly K is relatively safe. If you want to be lightweight but don’t want to give up too much protection, than the X-Fly K might be the shoe for you.
The downfall of so many lightweight soccer shoes is durability. When building a shoe of any kind to be as light as possible, structural elements of the boot have to be thinned out and trimmed down, which is not the best when it comes to building a shoe that is going to last. Unlike so many other lightweight soccer shoes out there, Asics have not skimped out on quality at all. So many lightweight leather soccer shoes out there feature leather uppers that I wouldn’t really categorize as “premium”. The X-Fly seems to be built so solidly and all of the materials used feel really high quality. You can tell that Asics was thinking about durability when building this shoe. The upper is even riveted to the soleplate at the toe, which is something that you just don’t see anymore. If you’ve ever owned an Asics product, soccer or not, than you know that they make some very high quality products, and the X-Fly is no different. One thing to note is that the X-Fly K features a natural leather upper, so some maintenance is required in order to keep the upper in optimal condition. Keep in mind that the firm ground version of the X-Fly K is designed for use on firm natural grass playing surfaces. Using the firm ground X-Fly, or any firm ground shoe, on artificial grass/turf will have a major impact on the durability of the boot, and will severely shorten the lifespan of your shoes.
Everybody gets excited when a new lightweight kangaroo leather soccer shoe gets released, but I don’t think that any of them have been executed quite as well as the X-Fly K. If you take into consideration that the entire upper is made from a premium quality kangaroo leather upper, the quality fit and comfort of the boot, the incredible touch and the lightweight construction, its hard not to be interested in the X-Fly K. Asics has built a reputation on making high quality soccer shoes, so I was expecting the X-Fly K to be good, but not this good. I realize that Asics is a brand that most would not turn to when it comes to soccer shoes, but trust me when I say that these are some fantastic boots. If you were thinking about picking up a pair for yourself, then my best advice is to go for it.
|Comfort/Fit||10 out of 10|
|Weight||9 out of 10|
|Traction||8 out of 10|
|Touch||10 out of 10|
|Shooting||8 out of 10|
|Protection||8 out of 10|
|Durability||8 out of 10|
|FINAL SCORE||61 out of 70 or 87%|