Asics are one of the newest of the major sportswear manufactures on the rugby scene, but have wasted no time at all in catching up on the international stage.
Kit provides to both the Springboks and the Wallabies, they are now beginning to implement their extensive athletics expertise onto a new range of sports gear. Utilising their Institute of Sports Science in Kobe, Japan, they have just produced two of the most impressive rugby shirts for this years Rugby World Cup.
Upon releasing the new Springboks range, Asics made claims of launching their most technologically advanced rugby shirt to date after spending time with the team to find out what mattered to them.
The result was a shirt that is now 70 grams lighter with a lowered grip area on the chest to improve ball retention. The rest of the shirt however has been designed to be as slippy as possible to try and help the likes of Bryan Haban and Willie le Roux slip through the grasps of their opponents.
The problem is, it all sounds quite impressive, but we hear so much marketing spiel from sports brands that it’s hard to know what actually matters. We therefore got out hands on the new Springboks shirt, and a pair of the Asics Lethal boots.
They say first impressions count, and this is certainly true for the new Springboks shirt. Upon opening it up, I was first concerned that I may have been sent some of the new training gear rather than a test rugby shirt. The jersey was so light, it was more like picking up a cotton tee than a top designed for withstanding 80 minutes of intense test rugby.
It’s fair to say Asics have done an incredible job of creating a shirt that doesn’t feel stiff, or tight around the upper body. Although hardly a major issue for elite level athletes, it will definitely make a for a more comfortable experience for the supporters wearing it.
Asics have also produced a range of rugby boots designed for the specifics of different positions on the pitch. The plush padding of these new boots is a huge bonus, ensuring that they are comfortable from the first wear, ensuring you don’t have to wear six pairs of socks the first time you use them.
I’ve got to say, on this showing I will be paying much closer attention to the Asics range of rugby gear in favour of some of the more traditional rugby brands given the comfort of the shirt and boots I tried.