The ASICS brand commands a cult following with just a handful of models that many a fast runner swears by. Now, with me, very few of their silhouettes sit right. Somehow I just feel that I run slower in them. Safe and snug but still something seems to be out of step. That in no way detracts from the legacy of their shoes which have been on the feet of many a marathon winner since decades. 

Well, recently ASICS put on the market a new revolutionary shoe, one with many firsts to its credit. It combines foam and gel but then it doesn’t just stop there, it further divides the foam into two types, FLYTEFOAM Lyte ensures comfort, absorbing the landing impact while FLYTEFOAM Propel help to launch us forward with more energy.

The gel in the heel further serves to cushion against heel strikes. But here’s the best part, the entire sole unit is mid-heavy in shape, i.e. like the legs of a rocking chair. This “rocker” shape makes it darned difficult to do a heel strike in first place and encourages a mid-foot stance, the kind that most running coaches will wish their students to strive for. It’s not the first time that such is being seen on a shoe but it is quite a novelty on a running shoe.

If you inspect closely, you will see that the soles don’t meet the shoe body at the arch area and then again you will spot a tiny hole at the back of the shoe in the centre of the rear-heel. This, as I was told, would allow air to first ingress and then compress a bit before being shot out of these two hoes thereby providing a virtual air cushion to further soften the ride. Combined with the curvature, this would contribute to reducing leg fatigue which can be crucial during long runs.

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The knit uppers are pretty standard and ASICS gets them aptly right but for some reason, I’d suggest sizing down half a size because they seem to run a bit roomy and not necessarily true to size.

I like the black and red colourway with the gold accents, good street-wear quotient too. With all this technology at play, the shoe isn’t the lightest on the market. It is however certainly close to among the priciest. But then ASICS running tech as also brand equity were never to be compromised. 

I did a good many runs with the pair and here is my honest take: the shoe works provided you go fast, or faster than your regular LSD. At low speeds, it feels sluggish and almost being dragged behind. But pick up the pace and suddenly you find that rocker landing and motion come into play, the cushion makes the ride overall lighter and you seem to pick up speed almost effortlessly. Without meaning to compare, it has a very similar DNA like the Nike Vaporfly with the carbon plate but this here is achieved without using the same proprietary construction. 

To conclude, it makes going fast a much easier proposition. With a host of ASICS’s new tech all tidily fused into one shoe, this is one very covetable albeit pricey running pair to go after.

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