Why do you run?
Are you training for a marathon? Trying to maintain your fitness in the offseason? Looking to improve your 40? Do you have your sights set on a new PR this track or cross-country season? Or do you just love it?
These are the questions that ASICS asks every time they approach designing or making improvements to a running shoe. And for them, there’s no wrong answer. No matter what motivates you to lace up each day, ASICS wants to be there with the right shoe to meet your needs.
ASICS Global Senior Product Line Manager, Jork Geraets, gave us an inside look at how ASICS carefully crafts each of their shoes to provide that perfect fit.
As the product line manager for running, Geraets is responsible for setting up each season’s line from start to finish, ushering each shoe from the original concept phase to the final pair you find in each box.
“At ASICS, we’re always looking for ways to improve,” Geraets explained. “We really look at all the details in the shoes and try to make each version a little bit better than the last.”
The list of details Geraets and his team have to consider when creating each shoe is a long one. They think about the varying types of runners and their needs, and then match those needs with the materials they put into each shoe.
For example, the shoe a marathon runner needs is going to be much different than the shoe worn by a high school football player out for his weekend run.
Geraets and his team are always keeping these runners in mind when looking for new technologies and improving the ASICS running shoe line. They want to make the perfect running shoe for you.
Despite all their differences, Geraets knows there’s one thing that all runners have in common.
“Weight is something that, for the runner, is really important,” he said. “It’s one of their key buying reasons. So we’re always looking into materials that can make the shoe lightweight while also keeping the same cushioning and durability standards.”
Lightweight shoes are nothing new – just look at racing flats. Some weigh in at only three or four ounces. But, in the process, these shoes sacrifice protection and comfort and wear out quickly. Geraets explained why that happens.
“If you take a really detailed look at a midsole under the microscope, you basically see a lot of midsole cells. When you add a foam agent, the cells blow up. These bigger cells are much more lightweight, but the downside is that as the cells get bigger, their walls are getting thinner. This has a negative impact on the durability of the shoe. So, we’re looking at how we can reinforce the cells while still keeping them light.”
So, the ASICS team went to work, testing different materials in an effort to find that magical balance between weight and strength. The result? ASICS FlyteFoam.
“We came to synthetic – partly Kevlar – fibers that, when added to the mix, basically reinforce the cells. The result is that you keep the same bounce without adding weight.”