Understanding the ASICS Running Shoes Lineup

    Asics gravity

    So you want to run in ASICS? With all their different shoes to choose from, how do you know what will work best for you? Here we will break down the ASICS lineup and help you better understand the perfect shoe for you.

    ASICS breaks their shoes into four main categories, which we will explain in short. Structured Cushioning, Cushioning, Racing, and Natural33. All of these shoes will use a lot of the same cushioning components, with the main one being GEL. GEL is an excellent material to absorb energy while still responding back to the foot.


    SpEVA – A lightweight EVA midsole material that increases bounce-back characteristics while decreasing midsole breakdown.  ASICS uses SpEVA in almost all of their models.

    Solyte– A lighter weight midsole material that ASICS traditional EVA and SpEVA. Aslo features enhanced cushioning and durability.

    FluidRide– The latest evolution in ASICS midsole technology, FluidRide provides the ultimate combination of bounce back and cushioning properties with reduced weight and exceptional durability. This material will be found in most newer, high end models of both Structured Cushioning and Cushioned models.

    FluidAxis– Anatomically correct deep flex grooves have been aligned to the joints of the foot. This innovative construction enables the shoe to recognize, adapt, and respond to the athlete’s exact load and positional change from first impact to toe-off.

    DuoMax Support– A dual-density midsole system positioned to increase support and stability. Found in lower end Structured Cushioning models.

    Dynamic DuoMax Support– Evolution of the DuoMax support enhances stability and support, with reduced weight and increased comfort. You will find this type of support in higher end models of the structured cushioning line of shoes.

    F.A.S.T. Drop– Similar to the geometry seen in racing flats, a low heel-toe differential reduces midsole weight to improve economy and encourage faster running. Heel-toe offset is 6mm.

    Trusstic System– Reduces the weight of the sole unit while maintaining the structural integrity of the shoe.


    Built for the neutral runner

    At one point in time, the three main shoes in this category were called the Stratus, Cumulus, and Nimbus. All of which are names of different clouds, and it’s no mystery why they received these names. All of the Cushioned shoes from ASICS are extremely soft and responsive as if you are walking on clouds. They have since replaced the Stratus with the GEL-Flux as their entry level shoe.

    The main thing to keep in mind when deciding which of these models to choose, is how much durability you want in a shoe. As you move up in price, ASICS puts more of their GEL into the heel and forefoot which increases mileage durability as well as the level of cushion and support. There are three models in this category:

    Asics Gel-Flux 3 resized

    ASICS GEL-Flux 3

    Best Price

    $100 – The GEL-Flux is ASICS entry level neutral training shoe. It features the SpEVA midsole material with GEL in the heel and forefoot. The added benefit to this model is that it comes in a 4E width for those looking for a wider shoe without needing to increase in price.

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    ASICS FuzeX

    Best Price
    $110– The FuseX is a brand new shoe from ASICS that combines good cushioning with lightweight. The name comes from the fact that ASICS “fused” the GEL cushioning together with the foam material for the midsole to create an uniform feeling across the shoe.

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    ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17

    Best Price Review

    $120 – The GEL-Cumulus is one of ASICS most popular running shoes. ASICS puts more GEL cushion in the heel and forefoot, which increases durability, as well as the Solyte midsole to keep weight down. Runners will appreciate the extra cushioning for higher mileage runs.

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    ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18

    Best Price Review
    $150 – The GEL-Nimbus is the top dog in the neutral category. They pair up even more GEL in the heel and forefoot, with ASICS’ most advance midsole material, FluidRide. ASICS adds additional features to the upper such as Motion Fit to allow for less pressure points on the forefoot, and a ComforDry Sockliner to help keep the foot cool by wicking moisture.

    Structured Cushioning:

    Built for the mild to moderate overpronator

    The models in this category all share one thing in common; they all use DuoMax support to provide increased arch stability for those runners that need more arch stability from overpronation. ASICS uses a slightly firmer midsole material, placed under the arch, which compresses at a slower rate to prevent the medial side of the foot (arch) from rolling in and collapsing too far (overpronation).

    The main difference between the models in this category is whether they have DuoMax or Dynamic DuoMax support. Dynamic DuoMax puts an additional layer of FluidRide foam on top of that support wedge to allow for a smoother transition and a lighter overall shoe. Moving up the lineup to a higher price points gets you more GEL in the heel and forefoot and adds the Dynamic DuoMax support. All of these shoes are built on a traditional ASICS drop of 10mm, with the exception of the Women’s GEL-Kayano that has a heel-to-toe differential of 13mm to alleviate achilles tension.

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    ASICS GEL-Kayano 22

    Best Price Review
    $160 – The Kayano has been for many years the top of the range for ASICS stability shoes. Large GEL units in the heel in forefoot allow for a lot of shock absorption, especially runners who are a bit heavy footed. The new FluidFit upper provides form-fitting comfort and the FluidRide midsole combined with Dynamic DuoMax support provide a seamless transition from heel to toe.

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    ASICS GEL-Fortify

    Best Price
    $150 -The GEL Fortify is a brand new incarnation of a category that many left for dead: the motion control. Designed for heavier set runners who need a tremendous amount of support and cushioning, this shoe has a uniquely constructed last to accommodate even the fuller of feet. It is a heavier shoe than most, but if you are a serious over-pronator and nothing else works, check out the Fortify.

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    ASICS GT-3000 4

    Best Price
    $130 – The GT-3000 is the top of the “GT” line. While the Kayano places emphasis on a cushioned, structured ride, the GT series place emphasis on the support. The GT-3000 sports GEL cushioning pods in both heel and forefoot and the midsole material is ASICS’ FluidRide.

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    ASICS GT-2000 4

    Best Price Review
    $120 – Very similar to the GT-3000 but without the FluidRide foam midsole, the GT-2000 is a great option for runners who need moderate stability – supported by the Dynamic DuoMax dual density posting and all cushioned by rear and forefoot GEL pods. At an excellent price is what ASICS defines their “support bread and butter”.

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    ASICS GT-1000 4

    Best Price Review
    $100 – The little brother (or sister) in the GT family, the GT-1000 has constantly received the praise of all the reviewers in our team that tested them. At a very interesting price, this shoe provides great stability – thanks to the traditional DuoMax system and the bouncy spEVA midsole foam material used. The GT-1000 also incorporates GEL units at the heel and forefoot.

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    ASICS GEL-DS Trainer 21

    Best Price Review
    $120 – The lightest shoe in this category, the DS trainer is an extremely nimble stability shoe that is mean for fast training or mid-distance racing for over-pronator. A lighter-weight DuoMax system and a seamless upper give a “barely there” feeling to this incredible trainer.


    Developed for those looking for a more natural run

    The Natural33 series is the newest category from ASICS and follows their ideology for minimal footwear. Getting its name from the 33 joints in each foot, the Natural33 series allows for increased flexibility, a lower heel-to-toe differential and a lighter weight platform. Unlike a lot of minimal running shoes, the shoes that ASICS have created all have a significant amount of cushioning and are by no means considered “barefoot”. When we look at the different options in this category, it’s important to remember that the overall running experience is designed to be different than that of a traditional trainer.

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    ASICS 33-M 2

    Best Price Review
    $120 – The 33-M is the Maximal cushioning offering from ASICS. Built on the “33” last as the rest of the shoes in this series, the new platform and updated “Amplifoam” technology deliver the plushiest ride ever in an ASICS shoe.

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    ASICS Super J33 2

    Best Price
    $100 – The mild support shoe in the 33 line. This shoe is meant for mild overpronator that want to experience a natural ride, while training the natural stability muscles that are lacking. Weighting in at only slightly above 7oz, it is a refreshing option for overpronators to be able to run in such a lightweight shoe.

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    ASICS 33-DFA 2

    Best Price Review
    $90 – The DFA-33 is the most natural of the 33 line. It’s a great lightweight everyday trainer that stimulates the muscles in your feet to work as one.

    Special Editions:

    For runners who want to try the latest and greatest improvements in shoe technology

    There are some running shoes in the ASICS lineup that could probably fit into other categories, but that we prefer to consider separately. Although good running shoes in their own merit, we believe serve more as a showcase of the most recent advancements in material and geometry engineering.
    Some runners dismiss these as “fashion shoes”, but the reality is that each time these shoes are released, they find a nucleus of runners who love them and their feedback allows ASICS to incorporate some of those technologies in the future to the rest of their lineup.
    Prices for these shoes are often higher than the rest of the lineup and the market – but they are not aimed at the price-sensitive runner.

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    ASICS Metarun

    Best Price Review
    $250 – At an incredible $250, this shoe is the result of ASICS trying and develop a running shoe without any of the usual limits of material cost and engineering times. Introducing five completely new technologies (FlyteFoam, Adapttruss, Jacquard Mesh, MetaClutch, and X-GEL), it was released in limited edition only.

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    ASICS GEL-Kinsei 6

    Best Price
    $200 – The original concept shoe from ASICS, it turned heads when first released 6 years ago for the outrageous price and look. But it managed to gather supporters along its course because it’s back for the 6th consecutive year. Seamless upper construction, completely decoupled heel and the use of ASICS most advanced foam materials, it offers a very plush ride.

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    ASICS GEL-Quantum 360

    Best Price Review
    $170 – The Quantum 360 derives its name by the 360 degrees application of GEL across the sole unit. The construction of a special, modified trusstic system guarantees the torsional stability of this running shoe.

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    ASICS GEL-Quantum 180

    Best Price
    $130 – Little sister of the Quantum 360, the 180 has a similar sole construction as the 360, only for half the length of the foot instead of the full length.

    Racing and Triathlon:

    Lightweight shoes for maximum performance

    All those miles run in training eventually lead to the big event. Be it a local 5k, an Olympic distance triathlon or a full-blown IronMan race – you have trained hard and you want the right tool for the special day.
    Racing shoes are usually about their low weight, flat offset (differential between the heel heigth and toe height) and a comfortable, breathable upper to possibly be worn sock-less. Here’s what ASICS has to offer.

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    ASICS GEL-DS Racer 11

    Best Price Review
    $110 – Racing version of the GEL-DS Trainer, the Racer is exactly what the name suggests: a lightweight shoe for distances 5k to half marathon, also working well for overpronators thanks to the DuoMax support. Less than 7 oz. of weight.

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    ASICS GEL-Hyperspeed 7

    Best Price
    $85 – Even lighter than the DS Racer at only 6oz., the Hyperspeed 7 is a racing shoe with an excellent value for money ratio.

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    ASICS GEL-Noosa Tri 11

    Best Price
    $140 – Characterized by a very “in your face” looks, the Noosa Tri has some triathlon-specific solutions such as an upper that is meant to be worn sock-less, elastic laces and a loop on the heel for fast on-off during transition.

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    ASICS GEL-Hyper Tri 2

    Best Price
    $100 – The Hyper Tri is the triathlon version of the Hyperspeed. Also weighting only 6 oz, has elastic laces and a heel loop to help with T2 times.

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