The Gel-Lyte 33 is the newest and lightest addition to Asics 33 collection. This shoe is being marketed by Asics as a fast paced lightweight racer/ daily trainer. However, many are pairing it into the minimalist category a title that Asics seems unwilling to tag with this particular shoe. Either way the Gel-lyte offers a unique design that produces a dynamic range of motion.
Asics Gel-Lyte 33 First impressions:
Having run in shoes of the similar category I was excited to get my hands on the Gel-lyte and see what they had to offer up. The shoe is definitely light weight and airy similar to other shoes in the lightweight category. Evidence of Asics F.A.S.T technology is apparent especially in the heel department. After I was able to walk around in the shoe for a bit the overall flexibility and cushioning was very nice and what I would expect from a shoe of its caliber. It was tangible that shoe would require very little break in if any at all as the upper and midsole have a super fit and feel with no blaring defects, but time will tell.
Asics Gel-Lyte 33 Upper:
The mesh on mesh design of the Gel-Lyte offers up a unique design that is flexible, breathable and most importantly to this shoe light weight. This fine screen mesh that is layered on top of an open basket mesh allows the layers to move independently of one another. I am sure by design it was to keep the shoe lightweight and breathable. However I found that as these two layers were able to slide independently of one another it reduced the amount of friction between the foot and upper keeping my feet untroubled of any hot spots, chafing, or blisters.
Another unique feature of the Gel-lyte upper is the absence of a heel counter, a product of Asics F.A.S.T technology. In its place Asics has creatively taken its tiger stripe logo and created a welded overlay structure that secures the heel in place. This creative use of overlays helps reduce weight, but also helps make the shoe more comfortable. Welded overlays cap off the remainder of the upper that were simple yet effective providing a good secure structure to the shoe.
Asics Gel-Lyte 33 Sole unit:
The foundation of the Gel-Lyte is built from Asics Solyte foam. This also doubles as the shoes outsole with high abrasion rubber added in high use areas to help reduce premature wear. I enjoyed the foams mix of responsiveness and cushioning giving the shoe a comfortable ride. Flex grooves run the length the sole unit offering up natural flexibility and movement along with superb adaptability over uneven surfaces. The only down side to these grooves is that they do pick up rocks and don’t let go. A “guidance Line”, or vertical groove, running the length of the sole helps to improve gait efficiency, and adds to the natural movement and efficiency of the shoe.
The low-profile of the sole unit is not only in due to the Solyte foam but also to a 6mm heel to toe drop. The lower heel to toe drop not only encouraged a more midfoot to fore foot strike, but helped to create super proprioception particularly at faster paces.
Asics Gel-Lyte 33 Opinion:
Although Asics has been slow to accept the minimalist movement it sure seems that they are making an offering with the Gel-Lyte 33. What they are advertising as new technology is really nothing more that the removal of old technology. So rather than giving runners a smoke and mirrors treatment why don’t they just call it what it is?
I guess what is really important is the fact that I was impressed with the Gel-lyte and happy with the running experience they provided. The shoe allowed me to feel close to the running surface, and granted a nice natural comfortable transition and stride during speed work, tempo runs, and even longer runs as well. With its lighter weight, lower profile, and drop the Gel-Lyte is a nice addition to the 33 collection, and will hopefully excite those looking for a nice light weight racer or daily trainer.
We thank the nice people at Asics for sending us a pair of Gel-Lyte 33 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.