Soul AseemA Product Review

So, it's been a while since I used this blog, but this carrier deserves a review dedicated to it in a blog.

Introducing - ok it's been out for a while - but still.... the Soul AseemA!

Image of a white woman wearing a small infant in the Soul AseemA carrier.  The woman is in all black and smiling while looking down.  The carrier is a blue and light bluegreen geometric pattern known as Tano by Soul.

You may already be familiar with Soul's other adjustable panel buckle carrier, the AnoonA.  The AseemA doesn't replace the AnoonA - there are some different features to the AnoonA, for example it is designed to allow forward facing and the AseemA does not.  But this is another adjustable panel buckle from Soul, and it is just as great and special as the AnoonA.  First - some pictures.

A Soul bag with the Soul AseemA peeking out, along with a Bliss pouch.  The Soul AseemA is in a Jacquard geometric pattern of a blue and a lighter bluegreen color.  You can see the pouch on the waistband sticking out.

The Soul AseemA in a blue and lighter bluegreen geometric pattern sitting folded up on the floor, with the lumbar pad off to the side.
That's right - I said lumbar pad!  This is a new feature to Soul carriers, but if you're familiar with the pad on the Lillebaby buckle carriers this is similar to that, only in a nice oval shape which would not be out of place on your stomach in a back carry if you so choose.  The pouch on the waistband is removable as well and features a wristlet loop so you could carry it easily with you wherever you go.

Image showing the snap on strap that goes around a strap on the waistband of the Soul AseemA carrier.
Now let's take a look at some of the unique adjustment features of the AseemA.  If you're familiar with the Soul AnoonA, you know it adjusts with fabric around the waistband and snaps embedded in the waistband.  The Soul AseemA has a different adjustment mechanism.  I should also mention at this point that the waistband padding itself is quite different - it is a stiffer, firmer padding more like a Tula or other standard buckle waistband.  It isn't very thick or overly bulky, but it isn't the flexible memory foam style padding of the AnoonA waistband.  Now let's take a look at the inside of the waistband.

Image of the inside of the Soul AseemA with a V of black webbing coming down to a point on the curved waistband.
As you can see in the above image, the waistband is curved, and the webbing on the inside points down like a chevron into a wide open V shape.  The panel is attached around the webbing in a loop, similar to the adjustment mechanism on the Tula Free to Grow or Lenny Lamb LennyUp - like the LennyUp this uses velcro.  But when you adjust the panel width, it moves entirely differently.  Instead of the whole panel being around this webbing, it is a section at the outside of the panel width.  When you cinch it in toward the middle the panel actually folds in on itself, allowing it to get quite narrow as it isn't gathering the entire panel against itself.  You will note in the photo above that the center of the panel is also slightly pleated at the center against the waistband - this creates a beautiful seat in the carrier.

Soul AseemA in the most narrow setting, showing the pieces around the webbing meet each other exactly in the middle.

Closeup of narrow adjusted panel showing how the fold creates almost a pocket of a seat.

Measuring tape on top of the narrowed seat showing a width of about 6 inches
As you can see, it definitely get quite narrow!  While I do love the seat, there is another even more unique feature of the Soul AseemA, and that is the way it adjusts the panel height.  For many of the adjustable panel carriers out on the market, the adjustment of the panel height affects the fit of the shoulder straps, as the panel height is incorporated into a modified Personal Fit Adjuster (PFA) on the shoulder strap.  This is the case for the Soul AnoonA, but not so for the Soul AseemA.  The mechanism by which the panel height adjusts is singularly unique, there is no other carrier that adjusts this way and it is quite special.

Image of a shoulder strap to the left, and the panel of the carrier to the right - the panel is somewhat pulled away from the shoulder strap with a gap between them.

Image of webbing emerging from the top of the Soul AseemA panel, with shoulder strap behind it to the left.

Image of the top of the Soul panel and the webbing of the panel adjuster meeting the webbing for the PFA on the shoulder panel.

It's very difficult to capture in a still image, but I've done my best - essentially there is webbing from where the body meets the shoulder strap, and that webbing section from the shoulder strap down into the side of the panel has a plastic hardware piece inside of the panel that can slide along that webbing.  So you just push down at the top of the panel along the webbing and you can slide down the whole top of the panel, that folds over on itself.  This affects in NO WAY the length or fit of the shoulder straps and very independently and easily adjusts the top of the panel.

Closeup image of white woman wearing brown skinned baby doll in the Soul AseemA - you can see the top of the panel is folded at the side by the strap.  The PFA's on the shoulder strap are let out completely.
What this means is that the padding on the shoulder strap is not shortened just because you need to use the carrier in newborn mode.  Speaking of the padding on the shoulder strap, let's compare the padding on the Soul AnoonA and Soul AseemA - again the padding on the AseemA is more like a typical buckle carrier - it is that pillowy padding, not like the memory foam of the AnoonA.  Although the length of the padding on the AnoonA and AseemA is almost identical, functionally (particularly in newborn adjustments) the padding on the AseemA extends farther over your shoulder and this allows a more comfortable fit for most larger wearers.

Closeup of Soul AnoonA padding on top of Soul AseemA padding.

Image of Soul AnoonA padding lining up almost exactly in length with Soul AseemA padding

This image represents the length of padding on the strap that would extend past the Soul AnoonA in newborn mode

This image demonstrates the length of padding that extends past the AnoonA if the AseemA is in newborn mode with fully tightened PFA's 
The two would be the same length with the AnoonA in fully extended panel and with the AseemA in tightened PFA mode - but the AseemA would extend as far as the last image with extended PFA's.  It makes a much more comfortable fit for those with longer torsos, larger wearers, anyone who felt they had any issues with webbing cutting into their side or armpits in the AnoonA will get a better fit with AseemA.

Image of white woman wearing Lush Soul AnoonA (purple) and facing away from the camera.  You can see that the shoulder strap padding ends right in her armpits, and the straps are being pulled into her armpits.  The straps could have been loosened and chest clip tightened a bit to pull straps closer to each other, but the chest clip cannot go any lower and the angle of attachment to the body panel on the carrier would still pull the webbing at that tight angle with no padding.  
Image of white woman wearing Soul AseemA and facing away from the camera.  You can see the padding extends down farther on her back than in the Soul AnoonA photo.  The chest clip rides a bit lower on her back, and the webbing isn't being pulled aggressively into her armpits.  You can also see the lumbar support on her low back.
Before I get into more of the practical wearing photos, let's take a look at some more of the geeky measurement photos.  We've seen that it it's narrowest the carrier is about 6" where it meets the panel - this of course is straight flat measure, and it does have some give to allow a deeper seat as suits baby at that size.  The height of the panel in short mode is roughly 13.5" , although this can be slightly modified by folding the padded neck support down as well.

Image of the Soul AseemA with measuring tape on top of length of panel showing about 13.5" length

Image of Soul AseemA (this is in extended mode) showing panel height of about 18"

Image of Soul AseemA (this is in widest setting) showing panel width of about 18"

As you can see from the additional images above, the fully extended size is about 18"x18" which is quite amazing, because the Soul Toddler is about 19"x18.5" tall - so that is truly a toddler sized panel!  I will also note again that while I measured flat, the panel does have the pleats at center, and it also has some nice seaming on the panel that in full width adds to a deeper seat.

Image of Soul AseemA leg padding and a nice curved seam across the body panel near the side.
The waistband measurement of the Soul AseemA was a bit tricky for me as the waistband is curved, but I did my best to measure inside of a fully tightened waistband - it also has some overlap in fully tightened mode.  Note that petite users may need to remove the lumbar support to get the best fit.  I believe that the Soul AseemA should fit at smallest a measurement of about 27" - this may mean sitting more toward the hips on someone very petite.  The fully extended waistband seems to fit close to 60".

Image of a fully tightened waistband on the Soul AseemA with some overlap of soft fabric under the buckles.
 There is also a feature of padding under the point at which the strap attaches to the panel - this is new from the AnoonA.  Also the shoulder strap is able to be tightened at that point OR the point at which it attaches to the end of the shoulder strap padding - meaning you can tighten from either side or in either direction.
Image with a white hand holding a strap where it attaches to the panel with a buckle, showing padding under the buckle clip and webbing at either side of the attachment.
So - you know allll of the details now - let's see how it fits.  First some images with a doll and a baby.
White woman smiling down while wearing infant in the Soul AseemA

White woman smiling at camera while wearing infant in Soul AseemA

White woman smiling down while wearing infant in Soul AseemA - image is closer and straight on to show seat.

Image of the back of white woman wearing Soul AseemA - can see comfortable padding length and lumbar support pad

Image of another white woman wearing the same white infant in the Soul AseemA (her baby) - hands are placed lovingly on the panel.

Closeup of infant sleeping in the Soul AseemA carrier

White woman with arm lifted to show padding coming down nearly to meet the carrier in the Soul AseemA - this is in infant setting with PFA's fully loosened.

White woman with arm moved up to show padding length coming down still to midline of her body, although not as close to the panel.  This is with Soul AseemA PFA's fully tightened.

As you can see both myself and my friend Amanda had a very comfy fit with her 2 month old newborn.  It was fantastic to try with a real baby and see how comfy - and obviously very comfy for baby as he fell asleep and remained asleep as we tried the AnoonA as well, and switched wearers to have him in the Soul AseemA.  Isn't newborn wearing lovely?  Amanda also was not happy with how the AnoonA sat on her body, feeling it cut into her under her arms and across her body as it came to the front of the panel - but was very comfy in the AseemA.  She is tall like myself.

Now for the real test of any adjustable newborn-to-toddler carrier - is it REALLY ok for a bigger baby/child?  Well - I can say - the AseemA IS.  With a few caveats - let me note that of course for my tests I was using my 4 year old - she is in 5T clothing, some 6 items but 5T fits very well. She's about 41" tall and similar in pounds.  Probably much larger than you would expect to use any newborn to toddler carrier.  I found that in the two times I attempted a back carry, I couldn't really keep the panel height up.  It's possible this is user error, as I am not typically a buckle carrier user, on the back I make heavy use of the "hold and bounce" method to get kiddo deep into the seat, and I am wondering if not being able to get the panel up high in one movement without first friction against the body caused the panel to adjust downward while I was loading her into the carrier.  Both back carries resulted in a low panel, lower than I would feel is really safe although it was fine for the short duration of our carries.  This may not be a factor at all in say - a two year old.  But something to keep in mind that it may be possible for bigger kids to adjust the top of the panel if they catch wise, or if you have a hard time getting a high panel/deep seat in back carries. Unfortunately I seem to have misplaced my other photos of the other back carry, but you can see it here in this cell phone selfie, that the panel is pretty far down her back and she is LEANING.

Image of white woman in sunglasses wearing white preschooler on her back in the Soul AseemA - the panel has adjusted low on the preschooler's back and it is below her shoulder blades as can be seen from the side.  Both look pretty happy in spite of this.
I was skeptical if this carrier would work for us until I tried it in a front carry.  I could see at that point that it was likely some user error on my back carries - some flaw in my execution that didn't allow me to get the full panel up her back - because even though she leaned a little in front, the panel height didn't move too much, and you can see in these photos that it is quite high.  In fact I think it bunched JUST a little for her to get her arms out.  Her legs are well supported in a knees higher than bum position, and lo and behold - the lumbar support. WOW! Hey! That was great!  I have been a little dubious of lumbar supports but in combination with this carrier - I was amazed at how comfortable the front carry was for us.

Blurry image of white woman wearing preschooler on her front in the Soul AseemA - you can see knees are higher than bum and legs are well supported.

White woman wearing white preschooler in Soul AseemA on her front.  The seat looks pretty good, legs are well supported although they extend from the panel there is still a knees higher than bum position created by the deep seat of the carrier.  You can see the panel height extends all the way to the child's armpits easily.

White woman and preschooler smile at the camera from a Soul AseemA front carry - the image is from the side.  You can see chest clip is nice and low in the back and padding extends well over the shoulders to under the arm.

White woman giving a shocked smirk at the camera as her white preschooler shines a flashlight in her eye while being worn on the front in the Soul AseemA.  You can see again the shoulder strap padding and chest clip extend well over the woman's shoulders and back, and the lumbar support pad can be seen curving against the woman's low back.
All in all I can wholeheartedly recommend this carrier for newborn to toddler and beyond!  The adjustments are simple and intuitive, the panel and waistband shape create a beautiful seat, and the lumbar support really works.  The shoulder padding length is very comfortable for a larger wearer such as myself, and you don't sacrifice any comfort in the shoulder straps in order to carry a small baby.  I would say this carrier is a resounding success from Soul - as long as you can manage the panel height not adjusting down with a very large wearee.  Happy babywearing!

**I received this product from Soul in exchange for my review, there is no other compensation and the opinions are my own**