“When you find the right one it will change your life.”
My friend could have been talking about almost anything, but she was talking about finding the right running shoe. Life-changing? It’s a bold claim. But maybe there’s something to it?
My default method of buying running shoes has generally been to go to Decathlon and choose something a shoe on the basis of it being vegan. So far, so unscientific.
After becoming a regular runner (slow jogger…) I found a great route round the docks where I live near Canary Wharf. Over the year, as well as picking up some mileage, I saw the cygnets from a family of swans grow from tiny balls of grey fluff to mature adults, I saw many a sunset over the striking skyscrapers, I also saw the hideous reflection of myself lolloping along, reflected in the glass windows of the modern office blocks.
It’s not an experience I’d wish on anyone.
One of the many things I learned from this unholy vision is that I am a little flat-footed – ungainly arches that slap the gorund. It’s quite hideous. I’d switched to a more minimalist-style running shoe after discovering I have a forefoot strike, and with less ‘drop’ (cushioning at the back) I had actually found the style easier to shuffle in, but my cumbersome gait, coupled with the roll inwards of my left knee (more about this to come in another article…) clearly demonstrated I needed much more support.
The funny thing about running is how you start because it’s so cheap and you don’t need equipment, and somewhere down the line you start lusting after tracking watches and other gadgets. Investing in a reasonable pair of shoes if you are going to be putting in a few miles makes sense though. With this is mind, I trotted down to Asics, purely because one of my running partners has churned out multiple marathons in Asics shoes and highly recommends them.
(A quick note about Asics – most of its shoes are vegan, with the exception of ones with an ‘L’ in the product code. This makes it easy to avoid animal skin, if you are so inclined).
After a gait analysis and look at my arches (which were slightly less flat than I initially thought) the consultant felt I needed a pretty supportive shoe, which led me to the women’s GT2000-3. This shoe is anything but minimalist. Comparing it to my previous New Balance pair, it is weightier, chunkier, and over an inch longer. That’s a lot of shoe.
This trainer is good for outdoor terrain – specifically road running (I would probably look for an additional dedicated shoe if I were planning to do a lot of trail running). The support and fit make it suitable for decent mileage.
This design (and its updates) works for runners with a normal or slightly over-pronated arch, who need a bit of extra support. It has dual density foam in the midfoot section which provides this support.
To be honest, my first run did feel a bit weird, with the extra shoe meaning I felt like I was going to fall over my own feet at points. But the upside to this was the delicious cushioning on my sole. Each strike felt well-protected. By the end of 10km, my feet felt good, no aches or rubbing, even though the shoes hadn’t been broken in yet.
This is partly because the fit is good – something many reviewers agree on. Asics tends to cater to what it calls a ‘medium’ foot, and I found the space in the toe box, the grip round the midfoot, and the fit of the heel very comfortable. It wasn’t too tight anywhere, but wasn’t slipping off my heel, either. It’s also due to the construction – there are no uncomfortable or large seams to create blisters.
The fabric is very breathable, making for a more hygienic piece of footwear, and finally, while I haven’t owned the shoes long enough to test this out myself, according to both Asics and a number of other reviewers, the tough sole means the shoes are very durable.
Probably my smallest concern is the aesthetic of the shoe. Mine are bright (bright) pink, which was the only colour available when I bought them. Many people have praised the vibrant colour way of this design, so that’s something to bear in mind if you like your footwear to be noticed.
Overall, I look forward to racking up some more kms in these shoes, but am feeling pretty confident about the fit, support, stability, and durability of the GT2000-3.
Note: I bought these fairly recently, but I believe the current upgrade of these is the GT2000-5.