Saturday, October 4, 2014

ASICS Foot ID: How to Buy the Right Running Shoe

"What running shoe is right for me?" Biomechanical analysis finally gives us the answer.

The comprehensive ASICS Foot ID is the best way to know exactly what shoe type you need and therefore run healthy for years to come -- the most important part of running. Today we had the opportunity to experience the full effect of the ASICS Foot ID system inside the ASICS NYC Meatpacking District Store. Rachel, our 19-year-old NY Road Runners member who ran her first Half last weekend, needed a new pair of shoes for the Staten Island Half next week. This was the perfect opportunity to explore the process from start to purchase, and I want to thank Boris and the awesome team at ASICS (and Rachel!) for obliging my documentation for you.

Those are the six easy and informative steps, and we'll go through each of them here with photos and videos.

Step 1. Registration. Rachel fills out the quick form with some basic info to help the staff assess her current situation as a runner. Rate yourself from 1 to 7, with 1 being a brand-new runner and 7 being a high-mileage competitor. She put down 4. Notice how comfortable the setting is in the middle of the store, with room for your belongings.

Step 2. Prepare For Foot Analysis. Rachel took her shoes off and started applying colored marker dots to various locations on both feet, under the guidance of Boris.

Step 3. Foot Analysis. Now it was time to step into a rectangular scanning device, one foot at a time. Thick rubber sleeves are placed around the lower calf and shin, and then a towel is wrapped around the covered lower leg as a final seal, to ensure no light penetrates the box.

Now it is time to . . .

All the biomechanical analysis data is scanned and appears on the large video monitor, so you can see all the important dimensions of both feet. Watch:

First the left foot data appeared and then the right. I remember that in 2007, I went to a Fleet Feet store in St. Louis and a marathon runner who was a sales associate got down on a knee and put her index finger under my foot, telling me, "Oh, you have high arches!" Then she put me in a neutral shoe. I have been in neutral shoes -- and mostly healthy -- ever since. Today, no sales associate need put a finger under your foot.

Boris printed out what we viewed on the screen, so he could go over it with Rachel. He told her that she has medium arches and went over the pertinent data.

Step 4: Prepare for Gait Analysis. ASICS provided a pair of test shoes for Rachel to wear on the treadmill. Now it was time to run with a normal stride as video captured her footstrike pattern.

Step 5: Gait Analysis. The great thing about ASICS Foot ID is the fact you get to look at all the great new running gear while you are on the treadmill! Look at those new styles on the wall . . .

Rachel and I were joking that Boris should crank up the treadmill to where it was for the ASICS LA Marathon Treadmill Challenge last March at ASICS Fashion Island in Newport Beach, Calif. They brought the challenge equipment to the Nutribullet LA Marathon Expo at the LA Convention Center, and that's where Rachel and I marveled at the legendary Deena Kastor absolutely FLYING on the treadmill! We had never seen anyone run that fast in our lives. Took this pic:

So back to our gait analysis and a slightly slower treadmill. . . .

After maybe a minute of running, the data was sent to a screen, and Boris went over the data with Rachel and said she overpronates severely. He explained it so it was easy to understand. Watch:

Here is a closer look at the screen with footstrike visual and the analytics.

Step 6: Results. Now comes the fun part. Boris told Rachel which shoe styles are best for her, based on her running info she gave during registration (about 20 miles a week), her foot structure and her gait analysis. Keep going to the bottom and you'll see what she bought!

First we stopped at the new ASICS Lite-Show table to see the brand-new models. Want to see something really cool? The first picture is a regular look at the new display table. The second one is a picture I took with the flash on my iPhone. The Lite-Show line is all about awesome reflectivity for runners, and this is what car headlights would illuminate. Thanks for the suggestion, Boris!

Then Boris showed Rachel a pair of possibles from that table . . .

Then we went to the back wall where Structured Cushioning shoes are displayed . . .

Boris told her that the GT-2000 and GEL-Kayano 21 are her ideal ASICS shoes. So it was time to try on a few pair. First the GT-2000. . . .

Then a black pair of the Kayanos. Boris demonstrated the "Runner's Tie" -- something I did not even know about. It's a great way to lock in your laces. I'll do a separate blog post on that one day . . . .

Now it was back to the Structured Cushioning wall display. Which one would Rachel choose? See for yourself . . .

Yes, it's the new GEL-Kayano 21. And not just any GEL-Kayano 21, but from the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon Collection! Rachel chose it because she thought the color stood out and the overall look was awesome. Who knows, maybe these shoes will inspire her to run it soon. We added a pair of women's ASICS socks, and the total order was around $180. It's not cheap, but everyone wants ASICS, as you saw from my recent post showing video proof that about 66 percent of runners at Central Park races wear ASICS. It has been said that every other pair of shoes in the TCS NYC Marathon will be ASICS, but I contend it is more common than that.

Thanks again to Boris and everyone at ASICS for the thorough process, from start to purchase. The treadmill gait analysis has been around for years, but it has come a long way since I ran on two store treadmills in 2007 and was simply shown my footstrike and told what shoe I supposedly needed. Those tests were read incorrectly by unqualified (and out-of-shape) retail workers -- neither of whom realized that I had high arches -- and I went through excruciating plantar fasciitis as a result back then. If you can get to an ASICS store and want to ensure a healthy future with the right shoe type, then this is the way to go. You also can go to and go through the Shoe Finder process to find a shoe that fits your own unique ID as a runner.

How do YOU look for running shoes?

1 comment:

Brooks Running Shoes said...

Thank for this post. I read the article and also see the video that you share. Hope for get right shoes.