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ASICS Road Running Line up review

ASICS is the giant among brands. While others typically offer around 15 models, ASICS have 31. In this article, you'll learn how they're all interconnected and how well detailed and thought out each model is.

To begin with, let me remind you that I use color coding from my running shoes classification video. It's worth checking out in advance.

ASICS, unlike other brands, offers multiple balanced models. The first one is the GEL-CUMULUS 26. It features an engineered mesh upper, providing both breathability and comfort. Additionally, its FluidRide outsole ensures grip on any surface. However, the standout feature is its FLYTEFOAM BLAST PLUS foam, known for its softness and comfort. While it's ideal for inexperienced runners, some experienced ones might find it lacking speed features.

And that is why ASICS offers the GEL-PULSE 15, which shares almost the same features of lockdown, breathability, and grip. However, it incorporates FLYTEFOAM midsole material, known for its stiffness. While this provides less comfort, it offers a greater sense of control. Experienced runners may find this characteristic more appealing, as they often prefer the firmer feel of the midsole material.

We've covered soft and stiff models, but ASICS also offers a bouncy option in the balanced segment – the NOVABLAST 4. This model features the same foam as the CUMULUS, but its geometry is refined to guarantee better responsiveness. You'll notice a more aggressive bevel in the front and a jacked-up heel. The previous generation, Novablast 3, was extremely bouncy but lacked stability. In this version, the bounce is significantly reduced while additional stability elements increase the weight. As a result, the characteristics are very close to the Cumulus. That's why in the scheme, we added balanced tag, and from a segment standpoint, it doesn't quite fit into the bounce category. Therefore, it's partially green and partially yellow on the scheme.

So, here we have three balanced models, each of them is remarkable, although they may not be the fastest or the most comfortable. However, by incorporating additional elements into one of them, we can begin to expand the range. For instance, we will develop further Comfort from Cumulus. We will develop speed from Pulse and we will develop fun feelings from Novablast.

Let's begin with speed. By reducing the midsole stack height, making the upper lighter and more breathable, and tweaking the geometry to be slightly more aggressive, we get the GEL-NOOSA TRI 15. This model is highly suitable for experienced runners as it offers speed without compromising on comfort. However, beginners may find the level of cushioning insufficient.

If we further develop speed by swapping out the midsole material for a more bouncy one, we'll end up with the EVORIDE SPEED 2. This model utilizes FlyteFoam Blast, known for its extra bouncy characteristics. It offers both lightness and responsiveness. However, the additional bounce comes at the cost of stability, making it advisable for beginners to stay away from this model.

If, on top of that, we add a carbon plate and softer FlyteFoam Blast Plus foam, we end up with the MAGIC SPEED 3. With its increased stack height, aggressive bevel, and integrated plate, this model activates the SWING effect, making it extremely beneficial for runners aiming to increase their speed. However, comfort takes a backseat in this model as instability is increased. The MAGIC SPEED 3 is best suited for experienced runners with prepared legs.

But if we forget about bouncy foam and simply try to achieve speed through lightness, we will end up with the HYPER SPEED 3. With a remarkably low midsole stack height, this model offers minimal cushioning. The upper is also designed to be extremely light and breathable, ensuring optimal speed during races.

You noticed that we've categorized this model for the Speed segment. However, that is a slight mislead. ASICS have even lighter models in the range, such as the TARTHER RP 3 or the LYTERACER 5. Here's where we introduce you to the next complexity of ASICS: they have models that are exclusively sold in Japan - TARTHER RP 3, LYTERACER 5, SORTIEMAGIC RP 6, TARTHER JAPAN, S4. Japanese individuals are typically lighter, which is why they prefer less cushioned shoes. These models are great for them but may be found uncomfortable by the US population. The only model worth mentioning is the S4, which features more bouncy foam and a wider base for added stability. However, believe me, on European or US legs, it will feel identical to the Magic Speed, so there's no need to include it.

The next model is a variation of the Magic Speed, but with increased cushioning and stability – the SUPERBLAST. It features a higher stack height and wider base to ensure comfort and predictability during your run. These enhancements make this model more appealing for slightly less experienced or heavier runners. However, they do come at the cost of added weight and bulkiness.

The next two models are the fastest in the range - the METASPEED EDGE PARIS and the METASPEED SKY PARIS. They feature even more bouncy foam – Flytefoam Turbo Plus. Additionally, a carbon plate and aggressive geometry ensure the most efficient swing effect, while a weightless upper delivers unmatched breathability. However, the downside of these models is low stability, low durability, and low comfort. The difference between them lies in slightly different geometry. The Edge is most beneficial to people who have a high cadence, while the Sky is for people with a wider step. If you're unsure which type you are, pick SKY, they are more fun.

The METASPEED EDGE + and the METASPEED SKY + are simply worse versions of previously mentioned models. They feature heavier and less bouncy foam, yet you pay the same price for them. It's unclear why ASICS keeps them in the range.

With that said, speed section is over. Now let's come back to CUMULUS and cover Comfort part.

If we increase the stack height of the incredibly soft foam FLYTEFOAM BLAST PLUS, we get the GEL-NIMBUS 26. The upper is also enhanced to provide better comfort. This model is particularly well-suited for larger runners who are just starting their journey in running. However, these improvements come at the cost of added weight and bulkiness. You will hardly be able to race in it.

Nimbus has a variation that focuses on sustainability – the NIMBUS MIRAI. The previous version, NIMBUS LITE 3, focused on sustainable materials, while this one has been specially designed to be recycled at the end of its life. Unfortunately, in terms of running characteristics, it is only a disadvantage.

The GT 2000 12 is similar to the CUMULUS, but with the addition of a 3D GUIDANCE SYSTEM. This means the base is slightly wider, the side walls are a bit higher, and additional stiff elements are introduced in the midsole to ensure better stability with every step. These enhancements are excellent for beginners to ensure they have better control, but they also make the shoes heavier and less dynamic.

It's worth noting that the GT 2000 previously belonged to the Support segment, but now it has eliminated the distinct wedge on the inner side, which is actually a positive change. However, if you are a fan of the previous version, there's a small hint: they are still available in biggest sport retail stores. ASICS hides them under different names such as GEL-ROADMILES, GEL-ZIRUSS 7, GEL-GLORIFY 5, and GEL-KINJO. Retailers aim to sell at full price. To ensure consumers won't find better deals online ASICS rebranded the old versions with new names. It's a trick, and I want to make you aware of it.

If we add a wedge to the GT2000 and also increase the stack height, we will get the GEL-KAYANO 31. These are the most protective and comfortable running shoes, making them the best choice for larger runners with problematic legs, significantly reducing the chances of injury. The wedge is complemented with a 3D GUIDANCE SYSTEM, forming a 4D GUIDANCE SYSTEM. However, these improvements make the shoes heavy and bulky, so they are not suitable for racing.

On the other hand, if we add a wedge called LITETRUSS and reduce the stack height, we get the GT-1000 12. In theory, this should make the shoes lighter so that runners with overpronation can run faster. In reality, such runners are better suited to models like the Gel-Pulse or Gel-Cumulus. However, we should not forget that ASICS is a Japanese brand. Perhaps for lightweight Japanese runners with overpronation, they will be a match.

The next model is the GEL-KINSEI MAX, a development of the Novablast. It features an insane stack of Gel, which is probably the best shock absorption material available. Here is a proof. Additionally, it features a more comfortable upper and a stability plate. All these improvements make it akin to a limousine in terms of comfort. However, running is not always solely about comfort. I believe they are made more for daily life wear.

Finally, The GEL-EXCITE 10, GEL-CONTEND 8, JOLT 4, PATRIOT 13 and DYNABLAST 4 models represent the budget-friendly versions of their counterparts mentioned earlier. While they may utilize slightly less breathable and bouncy materials, they still maintain their status as solid running shoes.

And this is the final lineup scheme for ASICS. Every time I create such a scheme, someone asks me about trail models. Trail running shoes will be covered in a separate article. Please be patient.