Thursday, December 12, 2013

Asics GT 2000 Review, OR is it!

FINALLY,  a few weeks ago I hit the 400 mile mark on the chosen shoe for 2013, my Asics GT 2000!! Now, I had all intentions of writing a review of this shoe, but as I was taking some photos of new shoes to compare the used outsole to, it made me change my mind about a review. Why? One of the most common questions we get asked in the shops is, "How do I know when my shoes are worn out?" I'd like to use my GT 2000 with 400 miles to explain how we determine if a shoe is worn out.
The first thing I noticed, while there is some dirt on the midsole and some discoloring of the upper, the shoe doesn't look that bad! This is a common theme to which I will make a few references. What I'm trying to say, even though the shoe doesn't look that bad, it was time to move on. This idea is especially important to note if you are a treadmill runner or if you run on a track.

The pics above compare the forefoot from my GT 2000 with 400 miles on the left and a brand new GT 2000 2 on the right. The most noticeable difference is the wear on the black rubber outsole.This is the first thing I look at when someone asks me about the life of their shoe or if their shoe is done. It's the most obvious sign of wear, particularly in instances where the rubber that was there to protect the shoe is worn through. Similar to a "penny" test on a set of tires, you can see the depth of the flex grooves on the left are more shallow. Now, you may be thinking, "That shoe on the left doesn't look that bad." and it's true! It really looks fine. Thus the reason why simply turning the shoe over and looking at the bottom isn't always the best method for judging the wear on a shoe. The fact that my shoe with 400 miles on it doesn't look bad does lead me to another bit of advice. If you have the means, have an EXCLUSIVE running shoe and wear other shoes around! Wearing your shoes to the gym, grocery store, or bar counts as mileage. So, you may have 400 running miles on the shoes PLUS 200 "trips to Hop City" miles, in which case your shoes will look much worse.

This next bit, I'll wander off course a bit and show you a picture of a different pair of shoes. The green pair on the left is a brand new Nike Flyknit Trainer and the one on the right is my pair with 250 miles on them. I'm using this pic to show how a midsole compresses, one of the other indications of how worn a shoe is. The easiest way to judge compression of the midsole is to compare the worn shoe to a new pair. The trained eye, one which basically looks at shoes all day (Me), can tell without needing the new pair. What I look for are those noticeable creases that indicate the decrease in thickness of the midsole, and thus, the diminishing lack of protection from impact forces and pressures associated with running on man made surfaces like asphalt and cement.

The final way to know if you need to ditch your kicks I often refer to in the store as "running indicators". "Running indicators" are things like unusual soreness, chronic pain in joints, shins, or feet, unusual fatigue and difficulty recovering. The more you run, the easier these are to identify! I have many customers who ignore the looks of the shoe, don't track their mileage at all, simply walk in say "my knees hurt" and buy a new pair! There's one big flaw with this method. If you wait til something hurts, it's often times too late. I DO NOT recommend this as a reliable method in choosing to buy a new pair. 

Just a few more tips to help with this whole process. 1. Rotate shoes. Wearing the same pair of shoes every day for running simply doesn't give them the opportunity to rebound or regain their "memory" (yes similar to a memory foam). AND a recent study has shown rotating shoes does slightly reduce the risk of injury (hey, Runner's World said it, so it must be true. Right?) 2. Track your miles! Lots of ways to do this. I'll mention a few. Use a written log, write the date of purchase with permanent marker on the inside of the shoe under the insole or shoe liner (this method works for those "same ole, same ole" runners. Same course, same miles, EVERYDAY), and/or join one of the many new running sites like my personal favorite, Nike Plus. These sites allow you to use YOUR method of choice (phone, watch, manual entry) to upload all your running info to a site to track your training. I personally like Nike Plus because it allows me to list up to 8 pairs of shoes to track. 3. VISIT YOUR FRIENDLY, NEIGHBORHOOD RUNNING SHOE GURUS AT THE TRAK SHAK!! Yes, we will tell you the truth if you bring in a pair of shoes and ask, "are these shoes worn out?". Yes, we would obviously love to sell you a new pair of shoes, but we do believe honesty is the best policy!

As for the chosen 400 mile shoe for 2013, the Asics GT 2000, I meant to review in this blog. My favorite of the 8 pairs I have had over the years in this ever popular GT series. The new to 2013 midsole design with larger Gel units in the heel and forefoot, a lower heel to toe transition (10 mm's), and Guidance Line made for a very smooth ride in a lighter weight package. Version 2 was released earlier with a few modifications, including a newer, lighter midsole material called Fluid Ride, and just having tried it on, I expect a similar performance from a great line of shoes!

1 comment:

Al D. said...

Jeff- this one of your best blogs. So useful to so many folks. I'll spread it far and wide. Glad you're still running well. See you soon.