DISCLAIMER: I am not saying that I depend on all these items, gadgets, formulas and stuff when I run. I can run without them. But I do believe that each run should be a quality run. I run because I want to push my limits and be better each time I hit the pavement. I run to excel, I do not jog to go sightseeing. My enjoyment is beating my time, challenging myself. That’s why I take advantage of the studies and new technology that is available, to make each run–the most perfect run it can be. Hence, these REVIEWS–
My friends know that I over-pronate when I run. Pronation is the inward rolling of the foot as you lift it from the ground upon impact. This weird gait also helps in achieving fast acceleration. But over-pronators are more susceptible to injury. Stability shoes or motion-control running shoes are built for over-pronators with a rock-solid heel support and ankle cushioning that helps avoid injuries during running. Among the best in these class of running shoes is Asics. Specifically the GT-Series. I will describe the technology and features of this world famous shoe and my personal experience trying them out at the Marikina track.
Impact Guidance System (IGS): The Impact Guidance System is a propriety technical design of Asics that makes the heel area rigid, ankles locked yet comfortable. The philosophy is to allow the foot to perform in a more natural manner when running. I found this very effective. My foot was not rolling out of control inward and I was more confident in changing lanes or sprinting from a slow pace without worrying that I might get a sprained ankle.
P.H.F (Personal Heel Fit System) : Out of the box, I was a bit concerned that the shoe appeared to be quite slim. I was accustomed to New Balance offering width sizes with their shoes. Loosening the laces and putting the shoe on felt amazing. It hugged my foot securely without being uncomfortably tight, it just molded with the contours of my foot. After removing the shoe, I noticed that it still retained the curves of my foot while expanding. I put the shoe back on and true enough, it still hugs my foot snugly. The ComfortDry sock liner does its job as well. My foot still felt cool after completing a few laps.
GEL® Cushioning System: The repetitive impact of running can damage your knees without proper cushioning. The ASICS GEL cushioning system is probably the most famous among all of Asic’s Technology. The propriety GEL-units are engineered in the midsole of the shoe. According to Asics, the GEL-unit contains mix of silicone based porous foam, a silicone GEL and a semi-solid silicone substance encapsulated in polyurethane. This offers a performance level shock absorption. I was accustomed to New Balance’s ABZORB foam based technology and running for the first time with Gel, as my running friend Apple describes it, it’s like stepping on a marshmallowy-soft substance. The bounce was awesome, no energy is wasted as each stride was so easy. I only stopped running from being out of breath not from any pain.
Solyte™ – Running shoes are always engineered to be light to lessen the energy needed to lift one’s foot. Although I would say that New Balance “mastered” the art of lightness in running shoes, Asics is a very near second place with Solyte. It used to be EVA and SpEVA but this is a new “secret” material from Asics that makes up most of the underside of the shoe. This is a mixture of durability and lightness. The shoe feels really solid and built like a trail shoe but amazingly light. As light as my 778 or felt even lighter.
AHAR® (ASICS High Abrasion Rubber) – This is the tough rubber compound used at the heavy-contact areas of the outer sole. You can see it noticeably as it appears with a different texture, this is really meant for durability than anything else. Underneath you would also notice the Guidance Line present in all 2011 Asics shoes, this encourages a more efficient gait to give a smoother ride experience. The “bounce” that Jodan and I notice that we runners achieve upon completing a perfect lap? That “bounce” was achieved even before I completed a lap, my foot was almost moving on it’s own without much effort.
Design wise, I love that almost the whole shoe is wrapped in a breathable mesh material. The high abrasive/tension areas like the lacing holes are made with leather. Some areas are accented by suede material and 3M reflectors are also found all over the shoe for night visibility. Every detail is so precisely engineered, no wonder this won Runner’s World’s Editor Choice as Best Shoe of 2011. Since I chose the black/black color option, it is a bit hard to see the intricate details and different materials used on the shoe. The blue/white color accents all the details, you can see it by clicking here.
I almost, almost wished for a Gel-Kayano 17 (motion-control shoe) but upon seeing all the reviews, awards and citations of both professional runners and experts on this shoe, I am glad I chose the GT-2160. The GT-2170 will soon be released, but nonetheless, I will enjoy and have the best run of my life with this baby.