The ASICS 33-DFA2 is a great option for those looking for a barely there feeling on the feet. Although it is a very lightweight option, the 33-DFA2s still offer plenty of cushion for all the mileage you may want to go.
However, unlike the those previous two, this pair seemed to hold up better to longer distances — handling double digit runs with ease.
ASICS 33-DFA2 General Info
The ASICS 33-DFA2 is designed as a speed option to add to your rotation. With that said, can also take a pounding and higher mileages.
The 33-DFA2 is the third (and cheapest) offering of the ASICS 33 series — behind the 33-M and the 33-FA. However, each of these lines represents a different market and a different focus.
The M is an ultra cushioned model (think Hoka or Brooks Transcend), and the FA is a higher cushioned model (Brooks Glycerin or ASICS Nimbus), where as the DFA will be the lowest cushion level offered (Brooks Ghost) and meant for speed.
Upon unboxing, these shoes were honestly a little disappointing. I was expecting them to look more aggressive in the box.
However, my opinion changed the moment I slipped them on. On the feet, they looked aggressive and fast, and they felt great. Once I got out on the road and started my first run in them I was hooked.
ASICS 33-DFA2 Sole Unit
The 33-DFA2 is build on a sole of ASICS’ AmpliFoam, which is designed to be a durable and super soft foam. The material claims to increase flexibility and comfort.
From my experience with them, this material delivers all that it promised. Providing a soft and comfortable platform for my runs, while also being flexible enough to conform to my stride.
Above the AmpliFoam is the Solyte midsole layer, a compound of standard EVA and SpEVA, that helps dampen the impact of each stride.
It is a nice added cushion for each run, and helps the shoe stand up to the pounding and miles you want to put on it. On the sole ASICS added their signature FluidAxis, which are flex grooves aligned to the joints of the foot.
This construction helps the AmpliFoam material in it’s mission to adapt and add flexibility. This was something that stood out to me, as it really shined during tempo and fartlek runs.
The added flexibility while working with the slight upturn of the toebox provided a very fast turnover. The sole held up well on almost every surface I tested.
Although most of my runs were on pavement, I also took the shoes on crushed gravel, cedar trail and grass. The only place I felt at all unsure of my footing was on grass that was damp, and again on grass during a rain storm (which should be expected).
ASICS 33-DFA2 Upper Info
The upper is a seamless offering that is incredibly comfortable. The upper is fully breathable and keeps your feet cool through all kinds of runs.
However, as is true with all breathable uppers, the rain and water will quickly and easily make its way into the shoe. This is one of the major negatives of the shoe. However, in the grand scheme of things, this is a small complaint.
The upper runs true to size, although it is a wide in the toebox, the upper is shallow and your toes can/will press up against the fabric. However, the upper cradles the foot throughout, and is well designed to lock the foot in.
ASICS uses something called the Natural33 Last, advertised to mimic the shape of the foot. The anatomical shape of the last provides a secure fit in the heel and throughout the rest of the upper.
ASICS 33-DFA2 Conclusions
When I first received these shoes, I wasn’t sure what to think. They didn’t look like what I expected, however, upon the first run I knew this was a shoe I would enjoy. However, I didn’t know just how much I would enjoy them.
The first few runs I did were easy, and just tried to get a feel for them, and found them to be pushing me forward on each stride. Without realizing it, I was running 0:30/mi faster than my usual easy pace.
Maybe it was the weather, or stronger legs, but the shoes certainly seemed to play a large part in the equation. If for no other reason than my psyche, these shoes always seemed to push me forward.
These shoes were designed for speed, and they performed very well on tempo, fartleks and other speed workouts. With that said, the runs where these shoes truly shined for me where the long runs.
I was nervous about runs of 9+ miles (my cutoff for long runs when not marathon training). Most of the speed shoes that I have run in have not performed well on runs longer than 9 miles.
However, the 33-DFA2s were great for these runs. They responded well, kept their cushion and propelled me forward for the entirety of the run.
The longest I took these shoes out for was a 14-mile run, and my feet felt fresh and my legs were good as well.
Not only that, but when looking at the data, I was able to maintain a pace that I have only ever been able to hold for that distance during peak training.
I was also able to set a new PR for a 10-mile run, while taking them around Forrest Park in St. Louis.
Overall, these shoes are staying in my rotation for the foreseeable future. I have enjoyed running in them and I can see myself purchasing another pair when these have worn out.
At the moment they have about 90 miles and are going strong, and I believe they will hold up for at least another 200 miles.
But these shoes are the second-best shoes I’ve worn this season (behind the Salming Miles), and easily the best buy. With a list price of $90, these shoes are very much worth a try.
We thank the nice people at Asics for sending us a pair of 33-DFA 2 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.