When it comes to choosing a pair of running shoes, it’s essential to consider the wide array of individual preferences, foot types, and running priorities. If you’re on the hunt for new running kicks, you might want to explore the Asics sportswear brand, well-regarded among seasoned, long-term runners. But where do you start? We’ve consulted experts to help identify the top ASICS running shoes.
So, what should you look for in your ideal running shoe? In essence, as Ashley Mateo, a UESCA- and RRCA-certified running coach based in Denver, advises, the perfect running shoe is the one that you hardly notice while you’re running.
If you’re seeking a specialized pair for activities such as long-distance running or racing, you might benefit from features like advanced technology (e.g., a carbon plate or exceptionally high cushioning stack height), which can enhance your comfort and speed. However, it’s worth noting that such shoes might come with a higher price tag. In other cases, you don’t necessarily need to break the bank to enjoy a quality running experience.
Above all, the most crucial aspect is to find shoes that fit comfortably. Your toes should have room to move, with approximately a thumbnail’s length of extra space at the top of the shoe being ideal.
For a pain-free and comfortable run, your running shoes should actually be slightly larger than your regular shoes, as advised by Alicia Canzanese, DPM, ATC, a board-certified podiatrist, athletic trainer, and former collegiate track athlete.
There should be no discomfort from rubbing or pressure around the laces or tongue, and the heel should remain secure, preventing any unnecessary slipping. The arch support is paramount—it should feel supportive, not like it’s collapsing or excessively lifting.
In addition to a proper fit, consider other key factors such as cushioning, durability, flexibility, and responsiveness. If you plan on running longer distances, cushioning may become a top priority.
Conversely, if you’re aiming for speed, you might focus on responsiveness (the springiness of the shoe) and features like a rocker bottom or a curved sole. A lightweight shoe can help conserve energy, while more substantial cushioning can keep your feet comfortable during extended runs on rugged terrain. Therefore, think about the typical nature of your runs and your preferences in other athletic shoes.
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Many running shoes, including various models from ASICS, strike a balance between weight and cushioning, providing options that offer the best of both worlds.
Now, let’s explore what Asics running shoes excel at. According to Mateo, Asics is renowned for its reliability and durability, owing to its robust construction.
They provide more cushioning than many other brands, making them an excellent choice for those who appreciate additional support, stability, and cushioning while running, either due to their personal preference or because they are injury-prone.
With this in mind, here are some of the best Asics running shoes.
1. Best Overall: Novablast 3
If you’re in search of a cost-effective shoe that delivers exceptional performance, the Novablast 3 stands out as the ultimate choice. As Laura Norris, a CPT and RRCA-certified run coach, highlights, this versatile shoe strikes the perfect balance. It offers the right level of bounce for swift running, while its lightweight design won’t hold you back.
Furthermore, it provides substantial cushioning for added support during extended runs.
Whether you’re going for a leisurely jog, tackling intense workouts, or anything in between, the Novablast 3 is your all-in-one solution.
Mateo holds the Novablast 3 in high regard, stating, “This is among my top choices for daily training. It’s an incredibly dependable shoe that I trust for leisurely jogs, faster-paced workouts, and even extended runs.”
While it may not be explicitly built for speed, the 30 millimeters of responsive foam in the sole enable it to comfortably handle a quicker tempo. Additionally, it serves as an excellent choice for half-marathon and marathon runners seeking a cost-effective alternative to carbon-plated shoes.
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2. Best for Stability: Gel-Kayano 30
This shoe offers stability without imposing significant alterations on your natural foot strike, according to Norris. “The support it provides is perfect for runners who may tend to overpronate (where your ankles roll inward upon landing) or have low arches. It’s an excellent choice for those who prefer not to use a traditional stability shoe that significantly modifies their running gait.”
The lightweight foam in the midsole ensures that the shoe remains agile and doesn’t weigh you down, regardless of the distance you cover. The previous iteration of the Gel-Kayano received the prestigious SELF Sneaker Award for Best Shoe for Runners at All Levels, thanks to its balanced approach to stride correction and support – not too little, not too much.
3. Best for Cushioning: Gel-Nimbus 25
The Gel-Nimbus 25 provides an incredibly plush and cloud-like running experience due to a combination of factors. Notably, it boasts a higher stack height, with 40.5 millimeters of material between your foot and the ground, surpassing its predecessors.
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Moreover, it maintains a lightweight construction and incorporates responsive cushioning in the midsole, similar to the Novablast. Additionally, the shoe features a softer outsole, a newly introduced breathable knit upper, and an overall reduction in weight.
As Mateo aptly describes it, “It’s so wonderfully soft and cushioned that it feels like your foot is receiving a warm embrace throughout every step of your stride.”
4. Best for Speed: Metaspeed Sky+
Both Norris and Mateo highly recommend this shoe for race days and intense workouts when you’re aiming to increase your pace. As Mateo enthusiastically notes, “The midsole foam exudes remarkable resilience and weightlessness, complemented by the inclusion of a carbon plate and a dynamic rocker design that instills a sense of invincibility.”
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She personally achieved her current half- and full-marathon personal records while wearing this shoe. Despite its minimal 5-millimeter heel-to-toe drop, the shoe delivers an experience reminiscent of a racing flat while offering substantial cushioning with its 39-millimeter stack height.
Norris particularly emphasizes this well-cushioned, yet not excessively elevated, shoe as an excellent choice for runners who perceive other carbon-plated shoes as too unsteady.
5. Best for Trail: Trabuco Max
If your goal is to embark on extended off-road running adventures, the Trabuco Max emerges as an excellent choice. With its generous high-stack height, featuring 28 millimeters of cushioning beneath the heel, it promises enduring comfort, effective shock absorption, and essential foot protection, allowing you to traverse diverse terrains including rocky surfaces, roots, gravel, and muddy paths.
What’s more, the outsole is equipped with strategically positioned lugs that facilitate reliable traction, whether you’re ascending or descending, ensuring a secure grip on the ground in any direction you choose to explore.
6. Best for Long Distance: Superblast
Imagine if the Novablast and Metaspeed, both well-regarded by our experts, were to combine their qualities to create the Superblast. “The midsole merges a substantial portion of lightweight and responsive foam, with a soft, buoyant foam on the lower layer.
Surprisingly, despite its towering 45-millimeter stack height, there’s no instability; the lower foam layer effectively bolsters the upper part, and the sidewalls gently cradle the foot, resembling a secure bucket seat,” explains Mateo. While there’s no carbon plate, Mateo’s own experience with this shoe reveals that the adhesive bonding the two foam layers imparts rigidity without introducing excessive stiffness.
As she puts it, “You might not experience the exact same propulsion as with plated shoes on fatigued legs, but this versatile performer adeptly handles extended, easy runs as skillfully as it does on race day.”
7. Best for Mid-Distance: Glideride 3
For those dedicated to half-marathons, the Glideride 3 stands out as an excellent choice, as it effectively blends responsiveness with cushioning, precisely what’s required for a 13.1-mile race. The curved rocker bottom ensures seamless propulsion with each step, while the midsole’s cushioning offers a lively rebound without burdening the shoe with excessive weight.
According to Norris, “This shoe has the remarkable ability to make both easy runs and recovery jogs feel effortless and fluid, even when your legs are fatigued. Furthermore, it’s entirely suitable for longer runs, thanks to its substantial cushioning.”
8. Best Lightweight Trainer: Metaracer
The Materacer is an incredibly lightweight offering from Asics, tipping the scales at just 5.5 ounces. Ideal for high-speed track workouts or the intensity of race day, this featherlight shoe imparts a sensation of almost vanishing atop your feet. Its design seems to effortlessly propel you forward, thanks to the inclusion of a carbon plate and a shaping that encourages a rocking motion.
With its Guidesole technology, your ankle joint remains steady, helping you conserve energy as you run. Furthermore, it distinguishes itself from certain other Asics alternatives by featuring a less cushiony sole, a characteristic that often translates into greater speed.