Asics vs New Balance: both are highly popular brands of running shoes. If there were ever two shoe brands to make an informed decision about, it’s these two right here
So, how can you tell which one is better for you? My advice is to start with the basics. Then, move on to what works best for you.
This post will review many of the features that make these two names legends in the shoe industry. Read ahead to learn more about the build, design, and quality of each one.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a smart move to buy the best-looking shoes on the market, nor the most expensive. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), three factors should weigh in on your decision.
Let’s take a closer look.
The lighter the shoe, the better it is for your feet. Heavy shoes make the joints in your feet work harder because of the extra strain. This means you’re more susceptible to twisting or harming your feet while running.
Plus, they slow you down. That can be a deal-breaker, especially for professional runners.
The rule is that they should weigh about 10 ounces or less. So, anything within that range should be a good pick.
The slope is also referred to as the ‘surface angle’ of the shoe. It’s the ability of the soles to contort to the shape of your feet and keep them protected.
Experts recommend smaller slopes. Why?
For starters, they reduce the amount of stress exerted on the muscles and joints of your feet. Another benefit is that they lower the risk of injuries.
Shoe manufacturers sometimes let their creativity get the better of them. They come up with great ideas for add-ons, like extra zippers, inserts, and modulation.
The problem is, while these features may look trendy, they change the way our feet sit within the shoe. Too many add-ons may increase the risk of injuries. So, less is certainly more when it comes to running shoes.
Before I get into all the details of my Asics vs New Balance rundown, let’s start with some general background information.
Asics began as Onitsuka Co., Ltd. when it was first founded in 1949 in Japan by Kihachiro Onitsuka. Then, in 1977, after merging with two other big sports gear companies, the name changed to Asics.
The acronym ‘Asics’ is actually Latin. It stands for Anima Sana in Corpore Sano, which means ‘a healthy mind in a healthy body.’
Over the years, the name Asics has become synonymous with high-performance sports. The company is best known for its snug fit and GEL technology cushioning.
While New Balance shoes seem to give off a hipster style, the company started about 40 years before Asics. It was first established by an Irish-American cobbler, William Riley, in 1906. Since then, their shoes have been used by a bevy of sports professionals and amateurs.
In comparison, New Balance running shoes are less snug and have more room, especially in the toe box. Moreover, the company focuses on padding all their shoes with Fresh Foam midsoles. They provide users with the ability to respond to the details of their running trail. Plus, these midsoles are super comfy for maximum stability and support.
The one thing both these brands have in common is that they’re in a similar price range. Generally, running shoe brands vary quite a bit when it comes to pricing. However, these two are pretty close in terms of cost. Not only that, but their prices are average compared to other high-end brands on the market.
Now, check out the Asics vs New Balance showdown in full detail.
Both the Asics and New Balance shoes consist of different construction, materials, and design. One is lightweight and flexible, while the other provides more stability and insulation.
Keep reading to find out more.
The outsole is the part of the shoe that touches the ground. It’s the hard material on the bottom designed to withstand water damage and moisture. At the same time, it should also provide a good range of protection for your feet. Outsoles are typically made of either leather or rubber.
Asics manufactures outsoles made of AHAR or AHARPLUS, depending on the model. They’re specifically designed for the outer soles because of their excellent abrasion resistance.
Both materials offer good levels of traction and some of the best durability you’ll find on the market. Moreover, that extra layer of shock-absorbers ensures your feet stay comfortable and well-supported.
Another terrific feature is that Asics uses a Trusstic reinforcement system. It’s designed to stabilize the rear and forefoot to reduce the risk of injuries.
This split outsole is also found on New Balance shoes. Yet, they use blown rubber and only on the forefoot.
Because of this blown rubber, the shoes are more comfortable and more flexible. So, as a runner, you can enjoy your runs without having to worry about pain or injuries.
Midsoles are the part of the shoes placed between your foot and the outsole. They keep your feet insulated and provide a certain amount of rebound as you hit the pavement. In addition, they keep your feet protected against anything sharp or jagged on the ground.
The Asics midsole is all about the iconic GEL technology we mentioned above. It’s been used for years in the making of their shoes to ease the strike of your heels on the ground.
Newer Asics models feature Flytefoam. It’s a lighter type of foam that delivers stability while keeping your feet well insulated.
As for New Balance, its Fresh Foam technology offers shock absorption and responsiveness at the highest levels. Not only that, but you get an incredibly cushy ride that’s both springy and super lightweight.
Their newest additions are made with a one-piece Fresh Foam midsole. It’s laser-cut to ensure a perfect, comfortable fit.
The upper is made up of all the parts that cover your foot when you’re wearing your shoes from the sole upward. This includes the heel, eyelets, and the vamp.
Asics shoes are a better choice if you prefer a tight fit. This gives the impression that these shoes run small. From my experience, it’s always a good idea to order half a size up to ensure the heel and midfoot are comfortable. By the way, this goes for any type of close-fitting running shoes, not just Asics.
The FluidFit technology in the Asics uppers helps keep your feet in place with little room in the toe box. It helps provide that snug fit Asics is famous for while allowing your feet to breathe.
New Balance shoes also feature breathable uppers. Some models are even made from knitted fabric. It feels more like a pair of soft, comfy socks rather than running shoes.
The knitted uppers offer a wide range of flexibility, especially in the forefoot. It’s the best pick if you have wide feet or if you suffer from bunions.
For the ultimate in foot comfort, there’s nothing better than Asics Flytefoam. Their shoes have a layer of gel cushioning between the forefoot and rearfoot. As a result, you get a bit more extra padding with every step.
As for New Balance shoes, you won’t get GEL technology, but what you do get is a layer of their unique Fresh Foam. This isn’t just any type of old-fashioned cushioning, it’s the top-of-the-line when it comes to foot padding.
In addition, it equips you with an impressive amount of energy return. Thus, your feet don’t just stay comfy on the road, you also get a nice spring in your step.
One of the major factors that help decide whether a pair of shoes is durable or not is how lightweight they are. Another important feature is the quality of material used in their construction. Since both these shoes are made from the highest of qualities, you have to focus more on their weight.
According to the manufacturers at Asics, runners can get between 450 and 500 miles out of their shoes. Likewise, professionals at New Balance state that you can get around 300 and 500 miles out of their shoes.
How well your shoes hold up mostly depends on two factors. The first is the type of model you’re wearing. The second is how often you use them.
Do you prefer shoes that hug your feet with no room for your feet to move around? Then, Asics is the right choice for you.
It’s particularly popular among people who have narrow or small feet. Because they’re designed to leave next to no space in the toe box, they can feel a bit tight
On the other hand, if you prefer room for your toes to wiggle, then go with New Balance. They offer plenty of latitude, particularly for runners with wide feet.
Another bonus of having more leeway is the shoes are more breathable. This feature comes in handy especially in the summer as it allows your feet to breathe during your runs.
As someone who’s tried and used both, I hope I’ve shed some light on the Asics vs New Balance debate. Both are comfy, high-quality, great-looking running shoes.
At the end of the day, it boils down to your personal preference. Use my guide and see what features you want in a running shoe. Once you find the perfect pair, all that’s left is for you to hit the trails.