Asics vs. New Balance vs. Merrell Forefoot to Midfoot Running Shoes

New Balance 890
The New Balance 890 are light, fast and has enough cushioning for pavement. This shoe falls in the mid to forefoot running category at 9.7 ounces, the light weight really lets the legs cycle through strides freely. The heel to toe rise is about 12mm which may be kind of steep for some people. The NB890 is up there in my top 3 shoes for everyday runners.

Asics DS Sky Speed 2
The Asics DS Sky Speed 2 are also a top 3 shoe. They are light, fore-foot support shoes that has a cult following of sorts. Runners who are fans of this shoe are incredibly loyal and for good reason. In the tradition of Asics Gel Cushioning and with light breathable upper mesh material they tend to win over runners who are familiar with Asics quality. The Kayano 17s are good however the DS Sky Speed 2 edges them as a performance shoe.

Asics Blur 33
The Asics Gel-Blur 33 have won their way into my top 3 everyday runners. These shoes have no heel to toe rise. They are claimed to be around 9.8oz (I found them to be closer to 11ozs)  and with stitch-less uppers (they actually have some stitching). However they happen to have a unique gel cushioning which may or may not be for some runners. I found them to be unique and extremely comfortable, some say they feel like Nike Free shoes. They have a soft gel sole which I've never really felt before and makes them interesting. They do fit snugly around the mid foot with socks on but are true to size in length.

New Balance Minimus Pavement
From New Balance are the Minimus Road and Trail whose outer tread material is made by Vibram, the company that makes the Five-Fingers. With essentially no heel to toe drop, they come in many different models customized for trail, pavement and everyday performance.

Asics Rush 33
In return, Asics is answering with the Rush 33 which are a bit of disappointment. The upper mesh is not really breathable compared to the Blur 33 while it does have a minimal and stiffer tread. This is my least favorite shoe out of the ones mentioned. But if you're looking for a stiff sole and shoes with no rise they are worth a look.

From Merrell are the Barefoot Glove and Barefoot Trail Glove. These are super light minimalist shoes, designed with little cushioning and no heel to toe drop like the NB Minimus to achieve a nearly barefoot experience without going barefoot.

It seems to be the consensus that running a couple times a week in minimalist shoes may improve form and may help strengthen the foot, ankle and knees. However, keep in mind the body needs to adjust and if you feel unnatural pain to rest and heal when changing from traditionally cushioned to minimalist shoes specifically if you run distances in them.

1 comment:

  1. There is actually a heel-toe drop in the asics gel blur33. In fact, it is a 10mm drop. Asics did a study to observe whether a zero-drop sole was better than their standard 10mm drop and found that it really did not effect running effeciency, so they decided to not take the risk of experimenting with a new sole when they already had one that worked perfectly well. You can find this information on youtube if you search "asics 33"