Asics GEL 3030 first impressions:
Being an over pronator, I am always willing to give a stability shoe a chance to impress me and I was excited to try Asics’ sleeper stability model; the Asics GEL 3030. Until I received this test pair I’d never even seen a 3000 series shoe in the flesh much less had a chance to put a pair on the asphalt. The GEL 3030 fills a special niche in the running shoe market as it is aimed at the late stage over pronator. Late stage over pronation refers to the tendency of some runners feet to continue inwardly rotating even after the heel has left the ground. This can be identified by excessive callousing on the medial aspect of the big toes.
The GEL 3030 features some simple but neat methods of slowing down the big toe and giving it something good to push off from. My test pair came in an above average looking color way consisting of silver, black and red and I wasted no time in seeing if the 3030 delivered on its promise to help lock my forefoot onto the pavement.
Asics GEL 3030 upper:
Although the GEL 3030 is priced lower than its stablemate, the GEL Kayano, Asics still engineered a good deal of comfort and many of the features found on the flagship Kayano. The upper seems crafted to fit a medium volume foot and was one of the nicest fitting uppers I’ve tested. The arch area is locked down by the Asics tiger stripe logo and an additional overlay on both the the medial and lateral aspect of the shoe. Asics uses a medium weight mesh on the balance of the upper. I did notice that this mesh was warmer and not quite as breathable as some other shoes I have tested. Nevertheless, the upper is certainly quite well constructed and provides a welcoming environment for the foot.
Asics also uses their Biomorphic Fit panels on the 3030. These are flex panels located in the arch and medial and lateral forefoot areas. This design allows for less irritation in places that the foot moves the most and is a feature that Asics reserves for their finest shoes. The tongue is of a medium thickness and the eyelet row is ever so slightly off center as Asics believes this method reduces lace pressure and friction on the top of the foot. Rounding out the GEL 3030 upper is Asics standard OrthoLite style sock liner.
Asics Gel 3030 sole unit:
As with every other Asics stability class shoe, the GEL 3030 is founded upon a firm wedge of DuoMax medial posting which travels from heel to forefoot. This construction technique makes the medial midsole less susceptible to the crushing forces an over pronators foot can generate. The rear foot and fore foot are bound by Asics Space Trusstic shank that allows for added torsional stability and balanced flexibility.
The GEL 3030 is built on a combination last that uses Solyte 55 in the heel to improve stablity. But Asics doesn’t stop there with the GEL 3030. This shoe actually features another device to help slow down the late stage over pronators big toe. A Dynamic Forefoot Cradle travels the entire length of the shoe and serves as an added foundation for the great toe to spring off from. Asics top shelf SoLyte midsole form supplies the cushioning in the rest of the shoe.
Also included is a serving of Asics storied GEL heel cushioning that is remarkably similar to that found in the GEL Kayano.
The outsole features blown rubber in the forefoot and Asics AHAR+(Asics High Abrasion Resistant) carbon rubber in the heel. The GEL 3030 also sees fewer flex points carved under the big toe and deeper channels under the lateral aspect of the sole to further shore up the surface area during toe off.
Asics GEL 3030 opinion:
Running in the GEL 3030 was a unique experience. The shoe feels like a light stability shoe in the rear combined with a stiffer, more controlling fore foot which I imagine is what Asics was going for. I conducted my testing on both asphalt and treadmill runs and the shoe runs smoothly, quietly and without any clunkiness.
The upper fit beautifully on my foot which is decidedly average in width and height. I had zero heel slippage or hot spots. However, the upper is a little warmer feeling as I mentioned earlier so thin socks might be a good idea in the summer when training in the GEL 3030.
The Dynamic Forefoot Cradle does put a little more beef under the big toe and it is noticeable but not intrusive feeling. I would have preferred a touch more height in the arch but I am a notorious fan of an aggressive arch profile in a shoe. On a couple of runs I did notice a little medial calf tenderness afterwards. This happened on my right foot only and usually indicates that a shoe is a tad weak in the heel for my foot. If Asics decided to move the DuoMax post back a bit farther it would probably relieve this issue.
Honestly I’m quite torn on my opinion of the Asics GEL 3030. I definitely enjoyed running in the GEL 3030 but there were a couple of things I would change. For all of its positive attributes I simply desired a little more arch height and a bit more heel stability. However, it is certainly a competent, comfortable and well built shoe but it ultimately left me wanting for a little more.
If you are a GEL Kayano or GT series fan, the GEL 3030 is an underrated and uniquely designed shoe that definitely deserves a chance to be run in.
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