Asics Super J33 General Info
I have been running on and off the Super J33 since last winter, but for one reason or another I haven’t got around to write a full review of it yet (until now).
Well, the good news is that I am still running in them – let’s have a look why.
The Super J33 is a 6mm drop, gently supporting running shoe which is also pleasantly lightweight. For a $100 recommended retail price, it is a very interesting shoe.
Asics’ 33 collection is their series of running shoes that “promote natural running”. They recommend add a “33” running shoe to your rotation. The Super J33 is recommended to complement stability shoes such as their Kayano and GT series.
Asics Super J33 Sole Unit
Starting from the launch of the Asics Gel-Lyte 33-2 (these names are getting longer and longer), the shoes in the 33 collection adopt a midsole construction that includes what they call the “Fluid Axis” technology. What this means, is that there is a rather unconventional flex groove that cuts the midsole longitudinally, going from the lateral (external) side of the heel to just over the arch of the foot on the medial (internal) side.
What the Fluid Axis does, is to allow for a more natural pronation – which is the opposite of what you expect from a shoe marketed for stability. Asics provided the extra stability by adding a layer of harder foam to the medial (internal) side of the midsole.
So from one side you have a flex groove (the Fluid Axis) that allows your foot to pronate naturally, and on the other hand you have harder foam that prevents you from pronating _too much_.
Overall the cushioning is very responsive, as in your foot won’t “sink” as if it was on a mattress, but would bounce off the ground. It is meant for higher speed (some say shorter distances) than a more common daily trainer.
Asics Super J33 Upper
The upper of the Super J33 is definitely an eye-catcher, especially if like me you opted for the bright yellow/black colorway.
Color aside, it is a very interesting upper indeed. Virtually seamless, it is composed by a fairly light mesh which is wrapped by a series of welded-on overlays. Simple metal eyelets around the tongue.
The fit is typically Japanese, with a nice, wrapping mid and a more roomy toebox. I felt it held my foot decently in the front, but I was somehow left unimpressed by the heel.
The top two eyelets are inside a faux-leather strip that connects to the heel. So the tighter you lace it, the better heel fit you will have. My issue with this is that I have a fairly wide ankle and I find uncomfortable to tight my shoe laces too much. This resulted – for me – in a slippy heel, which was not too annoying, but still prevented me from a perfect fit.
Heel issues aside, I really enjoyed the upper construction that felt tight but not overbearing and the absence of seams that avoided any kind of extra rubbing issue. No blisters for me in the Super J33.
Also worth mentioning how lightweight these shoes are.
Asics Super J33 Conclusion
Overall, I really like the Asics Super J33. As I said, I run in them pretty much all winter and spring with no major problem aside from the slipping heel.
It is a pleasantly lightweight shoe – uncommon for stability shoes.
One might debate how stable it actually is. It is a different ride for sure. I did feel my arch collapsing more than with any other stability shoe – but surprisingly it did not bother me. The Fluid Axis actually made it all feel quite natural and progressive. I would feel my arch collapsing progressively during the stride and I was able to adjust the impact in order to pronate, but not too much.
As a very heavy overpronator, I am glad to have such a lightweight shoe that felt comfortable for longish runs and fast on shorter ones. I feel comfortable recommending it to my friends.
We thank the nice people at Asics for sending us a pair of the Super J33 for testing. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them