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.”
With FlyteFoam, we were able to have a super lightweight midsole that also gives enough cushioning and durability for the average runner. That was really our goal with FlyteFoam – to bring that feeling of fast to everyone.
ASICS Global Senior Product Line Manager
Once ASICS perfected FlyteFoam technology, Geraets and his team had to decide which shoes would be the perfect fit. So they went back to thinking about you – the athlete. What kind of runner would benefit the most from FlyteFoam?
“You have to see the shoe as a whole in order to say it’s the right choice for a certain type of runner,” Geraets explained. “FlyteFoam is only one component. We can also play with the geometry and stack height of that midsole. The more FlyteFoam you have underfoot, the more comfort and protection you have. By altering that level, we can make shoes right for certain runners.”
The ASICS FlyteFoam Trio does exactly that, matching FlyteFoam cushioning with unique features that make each of the three shoes the perfect fit for a specific type of athlete.
“The DS Trainer is geared a little bit to the more high-level runner,” Geraets said. “It has a lower midsole height and a propulsion plate designed to add more bounce and encourage forward motion. Because of the midsole height, you’re closer to the ground and it feels more direct and fast. It also has the DuoSole outsole for grip that helps you run faster. So that whole package is geared to a faster, more serious runner.”
“The Noosa is a shoe originally made for triathletes,” Geraets explained. “It’s always been the shoe built to handle all three elements. Keep in mind that when you’ve biked over 112 miles already, your body is really tired and you need a shoe that’s going to give you really great protection. For the Noosa, we decided to have a much higher stack height, so there’s more FlyteFoam underneath the foot to protect you from impact.”
“The DynaFlyte is really the fast, lightweight shoe for everyone,” Geraets explained. “A lot of other lightweight shoes in the market are made for elite runners, but we want to give that feeling of fast to everyone. The DynaFlyte delivers.”
We look at the consumer. It starts with them. Who’s going to use this shoe? What are their needs? Then, through design and development, we come up with solutions. And FlyteFoam is the solution for a lot of consumers.