Are ASICS Shoes Good for Running?

ASICS is one of the most popular and well-known brands when it comes to running shoes. Runners have been using ASICS shoes for decades and swear by their performance, comfort and durability. But are ASICS shoes really all that great for running? Let’s take a detailed look.

The Benefits of ASICS Running Shoes

There are several key benefits that make ASICS a top choice for runners:

  • Cushioning – ASICS shoes are known for their superior cushioning technology, specifically their proprietary GEL cushioning systems. The gel helps absorb shock and reduce impact on your joints when running. This makes them comfortable even on long runs.
  • Support – Many ASICS shoes feature guidance systems like the DuoMax Support System to help control overpronation and provide better stability. This can help prevent injury for runners who need more support.
  • Lightweight – While cushioned, most ASICS shoes are also lightweight in construction. This helps prevent your feet from feeling weighed down or sluggish.
  • Breathability – Mesh and synthetic uppers provide ventilation to keep feet cool and dry during a run. This is important for avoiding blisters and hot spots.
  • Durability – The materials used in ASICS shoes tend to be quite durable, with rubber outsoles and reinforced uppers that can stand up to hundreds of miles of running without breaking down.
  • Designed for Function – ASICS shoes are designed with running in mind first and foremost. The structures and technologies are intended to provide exactly what runners need most – comfort, support, stability and propulsion.

Key ASICS Running Shoe Technologies

ASICS integrates several proprietary technologies into their running shoes that help enhance performance:

  • FlyteFoam – This is their cushy, lightweight midsole foam that provides exceptional bounce back and responsiveness.
  • Gel Cushioning – The famous gel pads absorb shock and reduce impact on joints. They are strategically placed in areas of the midsole requiring the most cushioning.
  • Guidance Line – Vertical flex grooves along the sole guide the foot through a more natural gait cycle from heel strike to toe-off.
  • Impact Guidance System (I.G.S) – Linked componentry that enhances the foot’s natural gait from heel strike to toe-off, allowing for a smoother transition.
  • Dynamic DuoMax Support System – Dual-density midsole system positioned to enhance support and stability for overpronators.
  • AHAR Rubber Outsoles – Acronym for ASICS High Abrasion Rubber, this proprietary rubber compound is extremely durable yet lightweight.
  • FluidRide Midsole – Bouncy, responsive cushioning provides an energetic, smooth ride.
  • Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL Cushioning – Strategically placed gel pads absorb shock during impact and toe-off phases.

Popular ASICS Running Shoes

Some of the most popular road and trail running shoe models from ASICS include:

  • Nimbus – Maximum cushioning and shock absorption for neutral runners.
  • Kayano – Stable support shoe for mild to moderate overpronators.
  • Cumulus – Well-cushioned neutral shoe ideal for daily runs.
  • GT 2000 – Shows with stability features to prevent overpronation.
  • Gel-Venture – Durable trail running and hiking shoe.
  • FujiTrabuco – Rugged trail shoe with aggressive outsole lugs.
  • MetaRide – Highly-cushioned shoe using GUIDESOLE technology to encourage a smooth heel to toe transition.
  • Gel-Kayano Lite – Lightweight version of the Kayano stability shoe.

ASICS Running Shoes Pros

When summarizing the key positives of ASICS running shoes, these stand out:

  • Outstanding cushioning and impact absorption – Ideal for runners with joint issues or who want a soft, pillowy shoe.
  • Help control overpronation – Features like the DuoMax Support System provide stability if you roll your feet inward excessively when running.
  • Lightweight feel – Despite substantial cushioning, ASICS shoes feel light enough for speed work and race day.
  • Excellent fit and comfort – Smart engineering and seamless upper construction mean blister-free miles.
  • Highly durable – With the right care, you can get 500+ miles out of a pair.
  • Designed specifically for running – Not lifestyle shoes trying to double as running shoes. Everything in an ASICS shoe serves a running-focused purpose.
  • Trusted reputation – ASICS is a proven brand trusted by everyone from elite marathoners to weekend joggers. You know you’re getting a quality running shoe.

ASICS Running Shoes Cons

The downsides of ASICS running shoes include:

  • Price – They tend to be more expensive than average running shoes, costing $120 to $160 at full retail price.
  • Lack of versatility – With their stability mechanisms and pronation control, ASICS shoes work best for moderate overpronators. Neutral runners and supinators may prefer more flexible options.
  • Old school appeal – Some of the classic ASICS models look dated in today’s world of sleek, fashionable runners. But function over form!
  • Inconsistent sizing – It’s not uncommon for ASICS shoes to run small or narrow, so trying them on in-store rather than buying sight unseen online is wise.
  • Break-in time – The snug fit and structured feel means most ASICS shoes require some break-in to reach max comfort levels.
  • Too much stability – A small portion of runners report ASICS stability shoes feeling too rigid and controlling for their preferences.

Overall, the pros heavily outweigh the cons for most runners considering purchasing ASICS. A pair makes an excellent training partner for runners of most abilities.

Are ASICS Good for Specific Running Needs?

Here’s a closer look at how suitable ASICS shoes are for different running needs:

Overpronation – Excellent. Models like the GT-2000 or Kayano have stability mechanisms ideal for pronators.

Supination – Decent. Cushioned neutral models work well for low-arched supinators, though motion control features are unnecessary.

High arches – Very good. Pronation controlling features help prevent the inward rolling high arches can cause.

Wide feet – Fair. Some wide sizes are available but the general fit leans narrow. Check fit carefully.

Narrow feet – Excellent. Those with narrow feet report great fitting ASICS shoes that hug the foot comfortably.

Heavy runners – Outstanding. With their durable construction and cushioning, ASICS shoes are great for heavier runners.

Shin splints – Very good. Ample cushioning helps take pressure off shins and reduce pain.

Bad knees – Excellent. The soft gel and foam cushioning absorbs shock before it reaches the knees.

Marathons – Excellent. The Nimbus and Kayano lines have proven marathon pedigree.

Speedwork – Very good. Shoes like the Hyperspeed meet the needs of faster training.

Recovery runs – Excellent. Cushioned options are ideal for rest day jogs.

So for most running needs, from pronation control to cushioning for sore joints, ASICS has models that can fit the bill nicely. They may not work quite as well for runners requiring more flexibility or minimalism.

How Long Do ASICS Running Shoes Last?

With proper care, rotating pairs, and avoiding excessive mileage, ASICS running shoes typically last around 500-600 miles before their cushioning and stability degrade. Heavier runners or those who wear them for activities beyond just running may see closer to 300-400 miles.

Signs it may be time to replace your ASICS shoes:

  • Midsole feels flat/lacks bounce
  • Tread is worn down significantly
  • Slipping in the heels
  • Feet feeling sore/aching during runs
  • Upper is stretched out or deformed

ASICS build quality and durability does mean you can rely on their shoes to last a bit longer than less rugged, well-constructed brands. But remember even the best running shoes eventually lose their magic. Don’t risk injury by pushing them too far past their limits.

How to Choose the Right ASICS Running Shoes

With over 100 options to choose from, selecting the right ASICS shoe for your needs takes some due diligence. Here are some tips:

  • Understand your foot type – Are you a neutral runner or do you overpronate? This narrows choices considerably.
  • Consider your running surfaces – Roads, trails, treadmill? Certain ASICS models cater to specific surfaces.
  • Know your mileage – Pick appropriate cushioning and features for your weekly/monthly distances.
  • Get properly fitted – Due to variations in sizes/widths, trying shoes on is a must.
  • Read user reviews – Don’t just rely on the marketing descriptions. See what real runners say about each shoe.
  • Choose key features – Focus on the components that matter most to you whether that’s light weight, max cushioning, stability, etc.
  • Don’t overcorrect – If you are a mild overpronator for example, don’t necessarily default to ASICS’ most stability-focused option.
  • Consider supplements – Know that insoles, orthotics or supports can always fine tune fit.
  • Run far from old shoes – It’s helpful to know mileage in previous shoes as a gauge for replacements.

By carefully evaluating your needs against the technologies and design of each shoe model, you’re sure to find the ideal ASICS partner. Visit a specialty running store if possible to test out suggestions.

Maintaining Your ASICS Running Shoes

To get the most miles and performance out of ASICS shoes:

  • Rotate pairs – Letting foam rebound between uses reduces midsole breakdown.
  • Wash insoles regularly – Sweat and dirt leads to earlier deterioration.
  • Replace insoles – Swapping factory insoles for fresh ones extends shoe life.
  • Air dry – Never use heat to dry shoes to avoid adhesives and glues breaking down.
  • Tighten laces – Prevent heel slippage and upper stretching by lacing snugly.
  • Watch tread wear – Once lugs are badly worn, it’s time to replace.
  • Limit water exposure – Water can break down adhesives and materials.
  • Retire old shoes – Relegating them to walking or casual use past their prime as running shoes.

ASICS vs Other Major Brands

How do ASICS shoes compare to other major athletic brands when it comes to running?

ASICS vs Brooks

  • Cushioning: ASICS Gel and FlyteFoam vs Brooks DNA AMP and BioMoGo
  • Stability: Comparable with options like GT-2000 vs Adrenaline GTS
  • Durability: Advantage ASICS
  • Traction: Comparable road and trail options
  • Fit: Brooks may fit more true to size

ASICS vs Saucony

  • Cushioning: ASICS Gel superior for shock absorption
  • Stability: Saucony Guide vs ASICS GT-2000 comparable
  • Weight: Advantage Saucony
  • Versatility: Saucony models run the gamut from minimal to maximal
  • Durability: Advantage ASICS

ASICS vs New Balance

  • Cushioning: ASICS Gel and FlyteFoam edge out Fresh Foam
  • Stability: Comparable stability model options
  • Traction: New Balance has wider trail offerings
  • Fit: New Balance wider toe boxes accommodate more foot types
  • Style: New Balance has retro/fashion appeal ASICS lacks

ASICS vs Nike

  • Cushioning: ASICS Gel and FlyteFoam competes with Nike React and ZoomX
  • Speed: Advantage Nike
  • Durability: Advantage ASICS
  • Brand recognition: Nike dominates
  • Price: ASICS models tend to be more affordable
  • Fit: Nike fits narrower in general

For serious runners looking for performance, cushioning and stability, ASICS can hold its own against any competitor. The brand stacks up well across the board.

The Takeaway: Are ASICS Running Shoes Right for You?

ASICS shoes have earned their reputation as being some of the best, if not the best, running shoes on the market today. With their innovative technologies and focus on both cushioning and stability, ASICS is able to cater to a wide spectrum of runners.

While they may have some downsides in terms of style, sizing and price, overall ASICS represents quality, durability and comfort that is hard to beat. For runners who overpronate or have joint issues, they are an exceptionally good choice. Even neutral runners can find great shoes in the ASICS line.

Do some research to understand your needs as a runner. If qualities like superior cushioning and support match up with those needs, invest in a pair of ASICS shoes. Take them for a test run – chances are you’ll notice right away how smooth, comfortable and springy ASICS shoes feel beneath your feet. With the right model, ASICS can take your running to the next level.

FAQs about ASICS Running Shoes

Where are ASICS shoes made?

While ASICS has factories in many countries, the majority of their shoes sold worldwide are produced in Vietnam and China. Some higher-end models are still made in Japan.

Where to buy ASICS shoes?

ASICS are sold at running specialty stores, major shoe chains, sporting goods stores, department stores, and online retailers including Amazon, Zappos, Running Warehouse, and directly from ASICS.com.

Do professional runners wear ASICS?

Yes, ASICS sponsors many elite runners who race and train in their shoes including the ASICS Marathon team with athletes like Shalane Flanagan and Kenenisa Bekele.

Are ASICS true to size?

It’s somewhat variable depending on model, but many ASICS shoes do run small/narrow so trying them on before buying is highly recommended. Consider sizing up if between sizes.

Can I use ASICS for the gym/cross-training?

While designed for running, ASICS cushioned trainers work very well for gym activities like using the elliptical, stationary bike spinning classes, and low/medium impact strength training. Just avoid heavy lifting in them.

Are ASICS good walking shoes?

Their ample cushioning, support and durability make ASICS great walking shoes for exercise walkers or those on their feet all day. Consider a model with Gore-Tex for wet conditions.

What is the Nimbus shoe?

It’s ASICS premium neutral cushioned shoe ideal for long distances. It uses extra FlyteFoam and Gel in the rear and forefoot for maximum shock absorption.

What is the Kayano shoe?

It’s ASICS top stability shoe for overpronators, utilizing FlyteFoam, rear and forefoot Gel, and their DuoMax support system. The Kayano has been around for over 20 years.

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