by staff contributor John Silvia
With today’s running shoe industry awash with splashy neon characters, braggadocio over heel-to-toe drops, and two-hundred dollar whopper-sized, winnebago lookalikes that promise the “ultimate ride,” it’s reassuring to know that a small and understated handful of calm and quiet, do-their-job type running shoes has survived and thrived. They’ve been reliable in their fit and ride, and they’ve been the kind of shoes that while running you’ve often forgotten you had them on. Over the past fifteen to twenty years this small and understated handful of shoes has grown and steadily evolved into quite the tight-knit group of perennial best-sellers. More recently however, the catch has been that their simple-seeming nature and not-at-all-unusual looks allowed them to be overlooked by many runners, as their eyes all too easily became distracted by the new, brightly embellished and unabashedly exuberant, here-today-but-gone-tomorrow flights of fancy, more than a few of which promised something about natural running but more often than not delivered a sugary bucketload of rainbow colors instead.
The Gel-Pursue however, Asics’ newest release, avoids all that and seems instead destined to join that tight-knit group of perennial best-sellers. The Gel-Pursue serenely and deftly entered the running shoe scene with decidedly little to do in the way of loud announcement, attention-seeking bombast, or promises of “revolutionizing” the running industry. It has gone almost completely unnoticed by anyone unacquainted with run specialty, yet within run specialty the Gel-Pursue is already garnering its fair share of attention and appreciation.
The concept behind the design of the Gel-Pursue is deceptively simple--Asics removed the medial post of the stability-oriented GT-2000 and renamed the now postless shoe the Gel-Pursue. Asics then distinguished this newborn Gel-Pursue from its cloud-like older siblings, the Gel-Cumulus and Gel-Nimbus, by giving it a slightly firmer midsole and more responsive ride. Asics then complimented this simple design by giving it a simple appearance. The upper is mostly silver, with the men getting a little bit of black and red to boot and the women a little bit of purple and green. That’s it. No space-age neon, no twisty lacing system, and no whopper-sized midsole. Also no advertising, either. Asics deserves a tremendous amount of credit for releasing a shoe that functions so well while doing virtually nothing via advertising to support its release. In a way, that alone speaks louder than any neon ever could. Featuring a major star athlete wearing a flamboyant shoe on the inside cover of every sports-oriented magazine on the newsstands is one thing; quietly producing a terrific shoe, releasing it into the market, and letting the runners see (or run) for themselves and discovering how terrific the shoe really is determinedly another.
At $109.99, Asics' Gel-Pursue is one of the best values on the market. It's on the low-end of the price range, yet its performance easily out strides many of its price aggressive contemporaries. In searching for a marathon training shoe, any neutral-footed runner seeking a snug fit and responsive feel would be wise to give it serious consideration. Moreover, the Gel-Pursue pulls double-duty as an excellent and effective marathon race-day shoe, as its smooth, quick, and almost effortless heel-to-toe transition renders it a fierce competitor against many would-be rival race-day shoes.
In the world of run specialty, sometimes the running shoe that is actually outstanding is the running shoe that makes no effort to stand out at all, remaining quiet while performing well for the sake of performing well. Some runners enjoy the quick splash that’s here for today, and there’s nothing wrong with that--there was a long, long period during which white and odd shades of blue were all a runner ever got. For those keen on performance however, know that the Asics Gel-Pursue is a runner’s running shoe and after that, little else needs to be said.
The Asics Gel-Pursue is currently available at ALL Marathon Sports Locations. Click here to find the closest location to you!