2014 - Asics vs New Balance vs Brooks and more

I ran 500 miles in few months this year and put some miles into some shoes. It's been 3 years since my first examination of Asics vs New Balance and my observations haven't changed. This time I'm adding in Brooks and Merrell Barefoot shoes into the mix.

Asics use gel soles with some of their Blur series using light, supple foam. Uppers are still ample and high quality. 
New Balance uses their Abzorbz Foam technology with light, durable fabrics in their newer and light shoes.
Both still do the job well, both offer a range of supportive to neutral running experiences. When comparing their newer lighter offerings, they become similar in many ways.

Asics still provides subtle gel-cushion, protective shoes with lighter than ever materials while keeping their snug wrap around feel. The latest Asics Kayano 20 are light, supportive, and probably the best rendition of the Kayano I have ever tried and I've been a fan since the Kayano 16s. I have a problem with pronation so after about 120 miles the cushioning became lopsided. I'd recommend these for 150 miles of running. Might last longer for those with less pronation or suppination (landing on the outside of the foot). They are on the higher end of shoe prices but the technology speaks for itself. You can often find last year's models on clearance. They still make the ultra cushioned and supportive Cumulus and Nimbus for those with a need for more cushioning.

New Balance 890s are still a public and triathlete favorite with a generous heel and nice mid-to-forefoot rake. I'm more of fan of the RC1400 and RC1600v2. These are minimally cushioned, flatter, neutral running mates. They do come in a little narrow so you'll need to try them on. I found them to be ultra light, provides just enough cushioning (my best 1/2 marathon of 1:46.43 was in the RC1400), and they are more neutral as they don't have an aggressive heel-to-toe rise. It's subtle and feels natural.

This year I ran 208 miles in a pair of Brooks Cadence 2. They are into their 3rd version of the shoe and they are cushioned, light, and the integrated tongue is great so it never drifts to one side. These shoes lasted me about 200 miles on pavement before I had to stop wearing them. The tread was still decent but again with my weight bearing on the outside of the foot, it wore it down at about 175 miles into them. Fresh and new, these are a great set of shoes and I can see why people love Brooks.
Brooks Cadence 3
Merrel Road Glove 2

Recently I started running in Merrel Road Glove 2 minimalist shoes. Been loving it, only running about 12 miles a week.

Merrel Trail Glove 2

I also ran the Wild Wild West Marathon/50k (3rd oldest trail marathon in the USA) in a pair of Merrell Trail Glove 2.

New Balance RC1400 Glow
I'll be running next week at the Dumbo Double Dare at Disneyland (10k+1/2 Marathon) in a pair of New Balance RC1400s (the glow in the dark ones).

So go out there, try on some shoes. Have fun and let your feet and body be happy.

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