So you want to run in ASICS? With all their different shoes to choose from, how do you know what will work best for you? Here we will break down the ASICS lineup and help you better understand the perfect shoe for you.
ASICS breaks their shoes into a few categories, which we will explain in a minute. All of these shoes will use a lot of the same cushioning components, with the main one being GEL. GEL is an excellent material to absorb energy while still responding back to the foot.
Built for the neutral runner
At one point in time, the three main shoes in this category were called the Stratus, Cumulus, and Nimbus. All of which are names of different clouds, and it’s no mystery why they received these names. All of the Cushioned shoes from ASICS are extremely soft and responsive as if you are walking on clouds. They have since replaced the Stratus with the GEL-Flux as their entry level shoe.
Asics has recently divided their cushioning range into two separate “silos”:
- Road: here you will find your traditional Asics running shoes, with their very familiar construction and soft cushioning. They are meant for serious training and the logging of lots of miles.
- Fast: this is a new line for Asics, with shoes that are lighter, more deconstructed and with a snappier, more responsive feel. They are meant for the runner that wants a versatile shoe that can take them from the gym/treadmill to the road and that won’t look bad with a pair of jeans.
Cushioning – Road
Road is their premium, high-mileage minded footwear for daily training.
The GEL-Nimbus is the top dog in the neutral category. They pair up even more GEL in the heel and forefoot, with a combination of ASICS’ most advanced midsole materials, FluidRide and FlyteFoam. ASICS adds additional features to the upper such as Motion Fit to allow for less pressure points on the forefoot, and a ComforDry Sockliner to help keep the foot cool by wicking moisture. ($$$)
The Pursue is the entry level of the road cushioning category. It provides good cushioning thanks to the Fluidride midsole and Gel units both in the heel and the forefoot and has a certain stability to it that is meant to help runners during their long runs to maintain their form when fatigue kicks in. ($)
The Asics Gel Flux 5 features reliable cushioning, stability, and responsiveness at an affordable price. They are a neutral running shoe that is best for daily training. The breathable upper will keep your feet well-ventilated while the outsole ensures the shoes are durable. ($)
Asics Gel-Fortitude 7
The fortitude is a entry price, quite heavy shoe made for runners with flat feet or high volume feet to accommodate custom-made orthotics. ($)
Cushioning – Fast
In this category you can find Asics running shoes made for faster training runs or for raceday. They are lighter than their “Road” counterparts and with cushioning that emphasises energy return over shock absorption.
The Dynaflyte was the first regular shoe in the Asics lineup to introduce FlyteFoam. We loved this shoe when tested and recommended it as it combined light weight and great cushioning. This second version improves the upper fit through the use of a softer engineered mesh. ($$)
Built for the mild to moderate overpronator.
Structured Cushioning – Road
The models in this category all share one thing in common; they all use DuoMax support to provide increased arch stability for those runners that need more arch stability from overpronation. ASICS uses a slightly firmer midsole material, placed under the arch, which compresses at a slower rate to prevent the medial side of the foot (arch) from rolling in and collapsing too far (overpronation).
The main difference between the models in this category is whether they have DuoMax or Dynamic DuoMax support. Dynamic DuoMax puts an additional layer of FluidRide foam on top of that support wedge to allow for a smoother transition and a lighter overall shoe. Moving up the lineup to a higher price points gets you more GEL in the heel and forefoot and adds the Dynamic DuoMax support. All of these shoes are built on a traditional ASICS drop of 10mm, with the exception of the Women’s GEL-Kayano that has a heel-to-toe differential of 13mm to alleviate achilles tension.
The Kayano has been for many years the top of the range for ASICS stability shoes. Large GEL units in the heel in forefoot allow for a lot of shock absorption, especially runners who are a bit heavy footed. The new FluidFit upper provides form-fitting comfort and the FluidRide midsole combined with Dynamic DuoMax support provide a seamless transition from heel to toe. ($$$)
Very similar to the GT-3000 but without the FluidRide foam midsole, the GT-2000 is a great option for runners who need moderate stability - supported by the Dynamic DuoMax dual density posting and all cushioned by rear and forefoot GEL pods. At an excellent price is what ASICS defines their support bread and butter. ($$)
The little brother (or sister) in the GT family, the GT-1000 has constantly received the praise of all the reviewers in our team that tested them. At a very interesting price, this shoe provides great stability - thanks to the traditional DuoMax system and the bouncy spEVA midsole foam material used. The GT-1000 also incorporates GEL units at the heel and forefoot. ($)
Structured Cushioning – Fast
As for the cushioning category, Asics introduced stability shoes that are meant for faster efforts and race day.
At an incredible $250, this shoe is the result of ASICS trying and develop a running shoe without any of the usual limits of material cost and engineering times. Introducing five completely new technologies (FlyteFoam, Adapttruss, Jacquard Mesh, MetaClutch, and X-GEL), it was released in limited edition only. It is a great Kayano alternative for marathon racing. ($$$$)
Racing and Triathlon:
Lightweight shoes for maximum performance
All those miles run in training eventually lead to the big event. Be it a local 5k, an Olympic distance triathlon or a full-blown IronMan race – you have trained hard and you want the right tool for the special day.
Racing shoes are usually about their low weight, flat offset (differential between the heel heigth and toe height) and a comfortable, breathable upper to possibly be worn sock-less. Here’s what ASICS has to offer.
Asics Gel-Hyper Speed 7
Even lighter than the DS Racer at only 6oz., the Hyperspeed 7 is a racing shoe with an excellent value for money ratio. ($)
Easy and Special Editions:
For runners who want to try the latest and greatest improvements in shoe technology
There are some running shoes in the ASICS lineup that could probably fit into other categories, but that we prefer to consider separately. Although good running shoes in their own merit, we believe serve more as a showcase of the most recent advancements in material and geometry engineering.
Some runners dismiss these as “fashion shoes”, but the reality is that each time these shoes are released, they find a nucleus of runners who love them and their feedback allows ASICS to incorporate some of those technologies in the future to the rest of their lineup.
Prices for these shoes are often higher than the rest of the lineup and the market – but they are not aimed at the price-sensitive runner.
Asics Gel-Kinsei 6
The original concept shoe from ASICS, it turned heads when first released 6 years ago for the outrageous price and look. But it managed to gather supporters along its course because it's back for the 6th consecutive year. Seamless upper construction, completely decoupled heel and the use of ASICS most advanced foam materials, it offers a very plush ride. ($$$)
Asics Gel-Quantum 180
Little sister of the Quantum 360, the 180 has a similar sole construction as the 360, only for half the length of the foot instead of the full length. ($$)
Asics Running Shoes – Technologies
SpEVA – A lightweight EVA midsole material that increases bounce-back characteristics while decreasing midsole breakdown. ASICS uses SpEVA in almost all of their models.
Solyte– A lighter weight midsole material that ASICS traditional EVA and SpEVA. Aslo features enhanced cushioning and durability.
Flyte Foam – Introduced late 2016, it’s the newest Asics technology. It’s an improved foam material that weights up to 55% less than the average foam on the market and has special characteristics that make it particularly “springy”.
FluidRide– The latest evolution in ASICS midsole technology, FluidRide provides the ultimate combination of bounce back and cushioning properties with reduced weight and exceptional durability. This material will be found in most newer, high end models of both Structured Cushioning and Cushioned models.
FluidAxis– Anatomically correct deep flex grooves have been aligned to the joints of the foot. This innovative construction enables the shoe to recognize, adapt, and respond to the athlete’s exact load and positional change from first impact to toe-off.
DuoMax Support– A dual-density midsole system positioned to increase support and stability. Found in lower end Structured Cushioning models.
Dynamic DuoMax Support– Evolution of the DuoMax support enhances stability and support, with reduced weight and increased comfort. You will find this type of support in higher end models of the structured cushioning line of shoes.
F.A.S.T. Drop– Similar to the geometry seen in racing flats, a low heel-toe differential reduces midsole weight to improve economy and encourage faster running. Heel-toe offset is 6mm.
Trusstic System– Reduces the weight of the sole unit while maintaining the structural integrity of the shoe.
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