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In the same way that no two running shoes are exactly alike, shoe brands can also differ greatly. Every brand has something excellent to offer, and they also have their weak points. This can affect your decisions when choosing your gear, in this case, running shoes.
What exactly goes into a running shoe? When choosing the right brand for your next pair, there’s plenty to consider. Running shoes have unique specifications, which you’ll need to be familiar with when making this decision.
One brand that has gained a lot of attention in this arena is ASICS. Today we’ll be looking at whether their running shoes are worth the extra mile.
What Makes a Good Running Shoe?
Although there is no perfect shoe for any runner, some research has found that various characteristics can improve running patterns. Good running shoes with these qualities can prevent injury and allow runners’ feet to move optimally for performance and comfort.
Here are 5 characteristics that can help you determine whether ASICS makes the cut for good running shoes:
Every running shoe should have some cushioning to absorb the force of impact, which happens when your foot meets the ground.
Fortunately, one of the features that ASICS running shoes are most well-known for is their proprietary cushioning, FlyteFoam. It’s designed to be lighter and more resilient than the standard EVA foam, and it gives their running shoe models like the NovaBlast a more propulsive quality.
The Gel feature of several ASICS shoes like Gel-Nimbus and Cumulus also gained much attention for its shock-absorption qualities which improve the cushioning of the shoe.
The heel-to-toe drop refers to the thickness between the heel cushion and the toe cushion, and knowing how people run can best illustrate why this is important.
When most people run, their heel hits the ground first. Running shoes with a higher heel-to-toe drop can provide more cushioning to the heel and distribute the impact load to the hips and knees. If you’re this type of runner, then a high heel-to-toe drop is better for you.
On the other hand, a minimal heel-to-toe drop is also advantageous because it encourages hitting the ground with the front or middle of the foot first. This can help prevent injuries to your lower body. A lower drop is good for those who run this way, especially if knee or hip pain is a concern. In general, shoes with a heel-to-toe drop of 6 mm or less are considered “minimal.”
Standard running shoes, such as the ASICS Cumulus 24, usually have a higher 10 mm heel-to-toe drop, making them safe picks for beginners.
It’s certainly a good indicator that the brand has several options to cater to different runners.
Another aspect to look out for in any brand of running shoes is whether they cater to different levels of neutrality. This refers to how much a person runs in the neutral or ‘correct’ position.
Neutrality is determined by pronation, which describes how the foot rolls when a person walks and runs.
Normally, the outside of the heel makes contact with the ground first, rolling smoothly before the rest of the foot lands flat on the ground. The foot then pushes off the ground using the toes all at once.
ASICS offers neutral running shoes for people who have a neutral running style. Models under the Gel Nimbus and Gel Cumulus series from ASICS are ideal for this type of running.
On the other hand, people who overpronate need stability shoes rather than neutral ones. Since the feet roll in further, only the inner foot hits the ground. The bigger toes then push off the ground for the next stride.
Those who underpronate—where the outer foot touches the ground and pushes off using the smaller toes—also need stability shoes for extra support. ASICS has a good selection of stability shoes like the Gel-Kayano series available for such runners.
One of the most important factors that make up a good running shoe is its weight. People tend to go for options that weigh less, but other factors play into how heavy your shoes should be, such as the following:
- Type of run (long distance or sprints)
- Amount of foot pain
- Body weight
- Foot arch type
- Personal preference
The latest version of the neutral Gel Nimbus was trimmed down by 19 grams in the men’s category and 19 grams in the women’s, so it’s a good pick for new runners who want a more lightweight feel.
The ASICS Noosa FF 2 is another solid pick, weighing just over 240 grams. This is a comfortable choice, especially for those training for races, like triathletes.
Lastly, a good brand will produce running shoes that have a roomy toe box.
Many running shoes on the market have a narrow toe box, which can squeeze the toes together. This increases the likelihood of soreness, bunions, and hammer toes. Narrow toe boxes also affect your stride because it interferes with the foot tripod with every step.
ASICS makes models that accommodate all foot sizes. This popular choice even has options for ultra-wide fits (4E) for all the standard sizes. The extra space is placed in the forefoot, which allows the feet to splay when they hit the ground.
Another thing that makes the Kayano a great running shoe is that it is so versatile. It was designed with stability features that support runners who overpronate. Even neutral runners have found this shoe to be comfortable.
All in all, this brand seems to have it all when it comes to the different aspects of good running shoes. No matter a runner’s foot shape, pronation tendencies, or personal needs, there’s an ASICS running shoe for them.
Other brands, such as the usual Nike and Adidas, may come to mind when shopping for running shoes. However, ASICS is well-recognized by running athletes worldwide for its quality, style, and durability.
It may not be as prominent for athletes from other disciplines and the average person, but it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re serious about running.