Comparing Brooks vs ASICS really comes down to proprietary technologies, fit, and feel. They’re easily among the most recognizable brands and for good reason: both make exceptional running shoes for various running styles and body types.
Both brands are known for their quality and offer a variety of models to suit different needs like overpronation, cushioning, and various styles of running.
And don’t worry, just because I share a last name with one brand doesn’t mean my opinion is biased. ;)
The Main Differences Brooks vs ASICS
Brooks and ASICS offer similar features and models for all kinds of runners, from the casual runner to extreme marathoner to the flat-footed or high-arched. I break down the differences in more detail below, but here’s a quick overview:
Brooks Running Shoes
- Wider Toe Box
- Exclusively designs running shoes
- Science-driven to accommodate rather than correct gait
ASICS Running Shoes
- More narrow fit, especially in the heel and midsole
- Famous for its GEL technology, which provides shock absorption
- 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.
Brooks vs ASICS 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. Where they differ most are in the fit.
The following breaks down 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.
- Brooks 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.
Brooks uses two different technologies to maximize breathability. The first is their Engineered Mesh, a woven material that provides stretch and structure. The second is the Fit Knit that provides a sock-like fit that also allows for comfortable movement.
ASICS Ortholite Lasting material provides a plush underfoot cushion while managing moisture build up from sweat, allowing for maximum breathability.
Brooks shoes have a wider toe box, which makes them a great choice for runners with wide feet or bunions. The brand recommends that buyers go up a half size from their everyday shoe.
ASICS shoes have a more snug fit, particularly in the heel and midfoot. 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.
While ASICS also features a shoe fit guide, it takes a little sleuthing to find (you’re welcome).
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.
Brooks uses two types of cushioning in their designs:
- DNA LOFT – Soft cushioning, that adapts to a runner’s profile, stride, and speed
- BioMoGo DNA – also adapts to runner’s profile, stride, and speed, providing a more balanced experience with a bit of spring.
ASICS uses Flytefoam technology that provides bounceback and responsiveness with each step. It gives a bit less energy return than 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.
Brooks refers to individual running gaits as the “Run Signature.” Rather than “fix” the way someone runs, Brooks technology helps to stabilize your stride based on how you naturally run.
They put runners into two different categories: Neutral and Support.
Brooks GuideRails technology allows hips, knees, and joints to move naturally, offering support when needed. Neutral runners may only require them to kick in when their stride is off.
ASICS shoes 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.
The prices between the two brands are fairly comparable. Brooks prices range between $100 to $160, while ASICS start at a slightly higher price at $110 to $160.
The most popular models for both brands are priced toward the higher range.
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 Brooks 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
The GEL Kayano is now in its 27th 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.
Read my in- depth review of the Kayano!
The brand’s most popular road running shoe (GTS stands for go-to-shoe) just turned 20 and comes in a swath of colors. This supportive shoe is best for a medium to high arch, and is part of the cushion line.
This was one of the very FIRST shoes that I bought at a running store! I thought it was so incredibly cool my name was on the shoe…ha!!! But yes they were super duper bright white (as you’ll see below).
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.
If you’re looking for similar performance with a lighter environmental footprint, take a look at the GEL Nimbus Lite.
Read my full review of the Nimbus!
The Ghost offers smooth transitions and soft cushioning for road running and is best for those seeking neutral support. Runners’ World has awarded this shoe several Editor’s Choice Awards.
I personally was so intrigued by those awards that I snagged myself a pair last year and they are nearing the end of their life, but have served me very, very well.
The other similar shoe I’ve used is the Brooks Levitate and you can see my full review here.
Cushioned Running Shoe
The generous FlyteFoam provides ample cushion and the shape accommodates a wide array of foot shapes. Additional rubber on the outsole offers extra durability.
The plushiest model in the Brooks line features plenty of DNA Loft foam, plus the Ortholite sock liner. Despite all the cushion, the shoe remains fairly light at 9 oz and has a 10mm heel drop, encouraging speed and comfort.
More About Brooks
Believe it or not, Brooks started out in 1914 making ballet slippers and bathing shoes. Since then, they have made everything from baseball and football cleats to roller skates.
It wasn’t until Frank Shorter won the marathon at the 1972 Munich Olympics that Brooks considered limiting its focus. The first running shoe debuted in 1974 and their most popular running shoe, the Adrenaline GTS first hit the market in 1999.
In 2001, Brooks decided to focus solely on running.
They introduced the Transcend in 2013, a shoe that used new biomechanics technology to create a GuideRails technology, allowing runners to run naturally without trying to correct their gait.
The Seattle-based company is also well known for its commitment to sustainability and giving back. Brooks donates time, gear, and money to companies that align with their values around diversity, equity, and inclusion and staff receive paid annual volunteer time.
More About ASICS
Founded in 1949, by Kihachiro Onitsuka in Japan, ASICS is an acronym for the Latin expression “Anima Sana in Corpore Sano” (“healthy mind in a healthy body”).
The company released a basketball shoe in 1950, followed by running shoes in 1953. Among those running shoe products included the Onitsuka Tiger, still a popular shoe today, though mainly used as a casual shoe as opposed to a marathon shoe.
Today, Asics designs a wide variety of shoes including: running, tennis, volleyball, wrestling, and golf.
Fun fact: Nike was founded to sell the Onitsuka Tiger shoes in the US. After visiting Japan in 1963, Phil Knight was impressed by the high quality and reasonable prices and asked the company to represent the brand in the US. Anyone else read his book and find all of this fascinating?!
How to Choose the Best Running Shoe?
ASICS and Brooks are the two most popular running shoe brands on the market, but more important than brand is the fit of the shoe.
Your gait and feet will likely 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 Brooks nor ASICS 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 5 Marathon Running Shoes
- Skechers Running Shoes review (you might be surprised!)
- Best Running Shoes
- Minimal or Maximal Running Shoes: Which is Right for You?
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