For this episode of which running shoe is right for you we are pitting two of the biggest names in the shoe world against each other: Adidas vs ASICS Running Shoes.
ASICS is well known for their sponsorship of many large marathons and long partnerships with athletes like Deena Kastor. Meanwhile, Adidas you might first think of for soccer. But they are coming on strong in the market now (you may have just seen that Boston marathon winner in Adidas!)
Both brands have things people love and things people dislike. I’m going to be looking specifically at the variety of running shoes and helping you to see similarities and differences to decide what’s a good fit.
Luckily in my 27,000+ miles of running I’ve slipped on a lot of pairs from both brands. So hopefully I can give you a good breakdown of the fit, feel and function.
When it comes to these two brands, I think it’s key to know that both have continued to change an adapt. So if you’ve tried one previously without luck, you might need to be willing to test a new model.
Main Differences ASICS vs Adidas
Adidas and Asics have a similar range of shoes, but a very different fit and feel. Both brands have been making massive strides recently in the carbon fiber shoe area, which is trickling down in the cushion and great feel of all their running shoes.
I break down the differences in more detail below, but here’s a quick overview:
Adidas Running Shoes
- Shoes tend to run true to size, not wide
- Huge line up of shoes can be confusing
- Frequently able to find good sales (hey that matters!)
- Shoes for a wide variety of sports
- Very well known for casual shoes and athletic wear
ASICS Running Shoes
- More narrow fit, especially in the heel and midsole
- Famous for its GEL technology, which provides shock absorption
- Seems focused on shoes to prevent injury
- Designs a variety of shoes for many different sports
I’ve worn both brands and will add some personal thoughts, along with links to detailed reviews.
Adidas vs ASICS Running Shoe Feature Comparison
Both brands have been around for a very long time and are leaders in running shoe design. They both offer various technologies to aid with comfort, support, stability, and cushion.
They differ in both fit and technology.
Here is a breakdown of each shoe based on the components buyers need to consider when purchasing a running shoe.
It’s gonna get a little TECHY…so you can just skip on down to the specific model comparison if you want, but personally if I’m shelling out $150 for shoes, I kinda want to know why.
The lifespan of shoes from both companies is fairly comparable. Though I kind of dislike that they give a 200 mile range, that’s massive. Assume that for heavier runners shoes breakdown faster and those running on the treadmill may get more life.
- Adidas shoes have a life expectancy ranging from 300 to 500 miles, or three to six months, depending on your monthly mileage.
- ASICS recommends swapping out for new shoes every 450 to 500 miles.
Determining when to replace running shoes, of course, all depends on your gait, weight, and whether you run mostly on trail or road.
ASICS shoes have a more snug fit, particularly in the heel and midfoot. Though still not as narrow as Nike. An external heel clutch delivers targeted fit and support, while the Gel technology allows for foot movement in various directions as the foot transitions, reducing heel strike.
They do have some wide models, but the average shoe is going to be a little slimmer fit. Which also means they do not have a large toe box like an Altra Running shoe.
While ASICS also features a shoe fit guide, it takes a little sleuthing to find (you’re welcome).
Adidas shoes are generally reported to run true to size. I would say they often run a bit more narrow. And they rarely offer wide widths.
This is an older, yet still very USEFUL graphic from the Huffington Post.
I forget we may not all know the lingo when talking about different components of the shoe and why they matter.
Adidas is now well known for their Boost cushioning, which is in the name of so many shoes. Their goal was to improve upon traditional EVA foam, by creating something that provided both cushion and responsiveness.
Meaning that you don’t sink in to the shoe losing the forward momentum. Since 2013 Boost foam has been their primary cushion.
ASICS uses Flytefoam technology that provides bounceback and responsiveness with each step. It gives a bit less energy return than say Brooks shoes, but the two technologies are fairly similar.
The company has been using their famous Gel technology for more than 30 years. It works well to absorb the shock with each step.
Stability Shoe Features
Adidas utilizes a denser midsole and more heel lock to help keep your foot from overpronating.
ASICS still has a more traditional stability shoe structure. They provide stability through a dual density midsole system called Duomax, which enhances support and stability. That, along with the external heel clutch allow the foot to continue its natural movement while running.
As you may know, I’m not a huge fan of stability shoes for most runners. I am not finding a big difference in brands, they are all focused on preventing that foot roll and often feel more rigid, even with a decent cushion.
The prices between the two brands are fairly comparable.
- ASICS prices range between $110 to $160
- Adidas prices range from $120 to $160
The most popular models for both brands are priced toward the higher range. Carbon fiber shoes and often trail shoes will go beyond those rates, like the Adidas Pro which is over $300.
You’ll notice that every brand offers a range and this is indeed due to a difference in technology and where they sell the shoe. They know that the big box store can sell the shoe with less in it, while the local running store needs to be best for dedicated runners.
ASICS Vs Adidas Running Shoe Models
Now that you know more about each brand, let’s look at their top models in each of the main categories. There’s no winner declared here because all are great shoes, it’s just about which one is best for your foot.
Did you notice I even said the brands in reverse order this time…seriously no favorites, I have run in both brands many different times over the years.
Stability Running Shoe
Oddly from both brands this is one of the most affordable running shoes at under $100. As a reminder these shoes tend to be a little stiffer, so if you like the price know they may not feel as amazing on long runs.
The GEL Kayano is now in its 29th iteration and known as one of the best stability shoes on the market. Great for overpronators seeking stability, the GEL Kayano is an ideal shoe for marathons.
The heel and footbed are designed to provide maximum comfort and stability, which is great for longer distances. The uppers are lightweight, breathable, and durable, making them a great choice for running in any weather. The outsole provides good grip and traction on a variety of surfaces.
Overall, these are a great running shoe and I highly recommend them to anyone looking for a comfortable and supportive running shoe. There’s a reason this shoe is one of their top sellers.
- 10 mm drop
- 9.5 oz women’s, 10.5 oz men’s
- Available Amazon, Zappos, nearly every running store
Read my in- depth review of the Kayano!
Utilizing their stable frame, you’ll find your foot less likely to fall inward. While you will still enjoy the benefit of Boost foam to provide both responsiveness and cushion.
This is not a plush cushion due to the nature of a stability shoe, but it’s comfortable.
In terms of comfort, the Adidas Solarglide also delivers. The shoe features a breathable upper that is designed to keep your feet cool and dry during long runs, while also providing a snug and comfortable fit. The shoe’s supportive heel counter also helps to keep your foot in place and reduce the risk of injury or discomfort.
Other key features of the Adidas Solarglide include its flexible forefoot, which allows for a more natural range of motion and improved toe-off, as well as its stable, supportive midfoot. Additionally, the shoe features a Fitcounter molded heel counter, which provides a more natural fit and allows for optimal movement of the Achilles tendon.
A shoe that’s made with a number of recycled materials is always an extra win.
- 10 mm drop
- 9.8 oz women’s, 11.2 oz men’s
Neutral Running Shoe
This shoe will appeal to most runners looking for a neutral fit. The inclusion of ASICS technologies like the Flytefoam and the GEL offers cushioned support with a responsive fit. Whether you’re a casual runner or a hard core marathoner, this shoe is a great choice for a daily trainer.
I like the lower drop on this shoe for the majority of runners and find it’s right in the middle for cushion. Not too much to lose your step, but enough to still feel good.
If you’re looking for similar performance with a lighter environmental footprint, take a look at the GEL Nimbus Lite.
- 8 mm drop
- 9.2 oz women’s, 10.5 oz men’s
- Available Amazon, Zappos, nearly every running store
Read my full review of the Nimbus!
Is it their flashiest shoe, no. But I like the simple look! This is often listed as one of their best long distance training shoes because it provides some great cushion with stability. The massive stack height is part of what creates the wider base for stability, but the shoe also has a stiffness to it from the “energy rods”.
The Adidas Adizero Boston features a Lightstrike pro midsole that provides excellent energy return and responsiveness. It definitely doesn’t have the same bounce and pop as the Boost midsole, so if you’re really looking for cushion head on to the next shoe.
Some runners dislike the lack of cushion in the heel and tongue. I haven’t had an issue with that, but it’s important to know if you like or dislike that fit and feel.
It has a very grippy outsole as well, so these would make for a little road trail mixed use easily (just nothing technical).
- 8.5 mm drop
- 8.8 oz women’s, 9.6 oz men’s
Cushioned Running Shoe
The Asics GEL Cumulus is an excellent choice for runners who are looking for a comfortable, lightweight running shoe. The cushioning in the heel and forefoot provides a great deal of support and shock absorption, making it great for long runs and trail running.
The upper is breathable and lightweight, and the lacing system is secure and easy to use. The rubber outsole is durable and provides excellent grip on wet or dry surfaces.
They don’t consider this their most cushioned shoe, that distinction now goes to the new Superblast. I’ve only stuck with the Cumulus here because it’s still such an incredibly popular shoe and the Superblast is a unisex and maximal shoe which doesn’t always fit everyone as well.
- 8mm heel drop
- 8.8 oz women’s, 10.1 oz men’s
Rave reviews, that’s how I feel about this shoe. So many of you have told me it’s your must have. It’s a great everyday trainer for up to half marathon distances. It provides some great cushion with stability, absolutely. The slightly wider base or outsole helps to give this shoe more stability while still allowing for that cushion.
I would consider this a crossover shoe that could be used by neutral runners or those looking for pronation help. It provides really great arch support, which is a key component for preventing excess pronation.
I just started running in this shoe and the heel definitely has that bounce! The forefoot for me is lacking a little bit of cushion, but overall I can see why you all have loved this shoe for so many models.
The Boost midsole technology provides a high level of cushioning and energy return, which can help improve your performance and reduce the risk of fatigue during long runs. In other words, a nice snappy daily trainer for even longer days.
The shoe’s Continental rubber outsole also provides excellent traction and durability, making it an ideal option for a range of surfaces and weather conditions.
- 10 mm drop
- 10 oz women’s, 11 oz men’s
Checkout Zappos for a good 30-day return in case you want to test them, but aren’t sure.
Carbon Fiber Plate Shoes
Are they cool new technology, yes. Do they last as long as your other shoes nope.
So if you want to test these out use them for speed work and then race day! I don’t usually do a full write up on these shoes, but with Adidas and Nike running shoes they’ve become a HUGE part of the brand.
All right, having seen this shoe in Boston, I too was intrigued to test it out. My first run it in reminded me a lot of the Nike Alphafly. You’ve got that spring and bounce off the ground, but with a wide platform that allows you to also feel stable in the shoe.
The fit is MUCH wider than Nike, which for most will be a good thing. I did find that I had to work a bit on the lacing to stop the shoe from breaking across the top of my foot.
This is a personal preference for the enjoyment of maximum cushion shoe that also has the carbon fiber to help propel you forward…and honestly there’s a reason this is what the pro’s are racing in. It works!
Great breathable shoe that’s designed for race day from the 10K to marathon.
- 10mm drop
- 7.7 oz women’s, 8.3 oz men’s
ASICS is trying to catch up to Nike in this area and released a few shoes all at once which many folks can’t quit tell apart. The Edge is going to be the shoe with less cushion, less weight and better for those racing sub 3, etc.
This is a maximum cushioned carbon fiber plate for the marathon runner in you. It’s going to give you both that feeling of comfort over the miles along with the pop that’s often lost in a highly cushioned shoe.
Right now the Metaspeed Sky is the closest in terms of lab testing results to the Nike Vaporfly.
- Unisex in the SKY+
- 5 mm heel drop
- 5.8 oz women’s SKY, 7.2 oz SKY+
Watch my detailed video on how Carbon Fiber Shoes work.
How to Choose ASICS or Adidas?
ASICS and Adidas are two extremely well known running shoe brands, but more important than brand is the fit of the shoe.
Your gait and feet will change over time and you may need to change shoes.
This is also why I recommend rotating through several pairs of shoes at once.
And remember, just because these are two of the most well known brands on the market, there are still plenty of other shoe brands to select from if neither New Balance nor Nike has the right shoe for you.
Keep in mind that shoe design can change, even with the same model, so always assess how the shoe fits every time you replace a pair.
For more help selecting the right shoe for you, don’t worry, I’ve got you:
- Best Trail Running Shoes
- Top 7 Marathon Running Shoes
- Asics vs HOKA
- ASICS vs Brooks
- Best On Running Shoes
Other ways to connect with Amanda
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