Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Asics GT-2000: A Smooth Evolution

The past 20 years of my life have focused around running shoes.  For the first 18 or so of those years the changes in running shoes were incremental.  Fits improved, shoes got generally farther off the ground, softer (up until a few years back, that’s all anyone wanted).  Enter the trend toward “natural movement” (or minimalism or barefoot running) and we’ve seen a crazy amount of change in just 12 months.  Keep in mind that a year ago there were only a handful of shoes that truly fit into this natural movement category.  Now there are dozens and this will continue to evolve in the months and years to come. 

Despite all that change it’s probably not surprising that we (like most running stores) still sell far more “traditional” shoes than anything else.  The Asics 2000 series and Brooks Adrenaline continue to lead the way despite the fact that other shoes are chipping away and gaining on them.  Our goal is to get people in the shoes that will work for them, keep them free of injury, and help them meet their goals. Regarding this task we’re realists more than idealists.  We know that runners, first and foremost, want to run, and they certainly don’t want their shoes to hold them back. 

Asics GT-2000 Trail
What I really want to talk about however is how the natural movement trend in running shoes has impacted even one of our most tried and true shoes.  The latest edition of the Asics 2000 series has been in the store for about a month now.  The Asics GT-2000 series originated back in 1995 (the year I opened FootZone) with the GT-2000.  The name has grown sequentially by 10 each year (2010, 2020, 2030, etc) through the 2170.  Breaking from this pattern, they will now maintain the name GT-2000 and every year go to version 2, v3, v4, etc. 

Regardless, this is the shoe that replaces the 2170 and it seems like a winner.  It continues to be a mild to moderate stability shoe.  Like any change in a running shoe, there are people who will be disappointed but our general feedback has been very positive.  The fit is relatively low volume and secure, much like that of the 2170 (which was one of our best fitting shoes in 2012).  The two biggest changes will go un-noticed by many but they are at least notable.  First of all, the heights on the shoe have come down a tiny bit.  Asics removed 2mm of foam in the heel and forefoot bringing it ever so slightly closer to the ground (now 21/11mm vs. 23/13mm).  As a result, (and the 2nd big change) they were able to de-emphasis their midfoot support piece (Guidance Trussic System) to make the shoe quite a bit more flexible which ultimately results in a smoother ride. 

 I’m talking like a shoe geek here and just to re-emphasize, most people will not notice a difference.  However, make no mistake, these are changes brought on by the trend towards smoother riding, less cumbersome shoes and generally, I applaud Asics for their efforts (and their willingness to tweak things).  The GT-2000 and the GT-2000 Trail version are very good shoes that will give many runners happy miles.  As always, the test will be whether runners come back for another pair after they get 300/400 miles on these.  Time will tell and we hope you’ll let us know what you think.  Cheers-Teague

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