Clinical Analysis of Running, Running Footwear, and Injury Prevention/Performance. The Doctor(s) of Running, using knowledge of human movement, clinical biomechanics and performance to bring you cutting edge reviews, science and knowledge.

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ASICS Glideride Review

      ASICS continues to produce its staple running shoes that many swear by for their trainers (GT2000, Nimbus, Cumulus, Kayano, etc), which have not changed drastically over the last several years. However, they are also integrating new run shoe technology into some new lines of footwear. One of those includes their GUIDESOLE technology and is utilized in the Metaride (a $250 tank), the high stack Glideride, and the "closer to traditional" Evoride. Today we are going to dive into all things Glideride and guidesole technology. ASICS markets this shoe with the tagline "scientifically proven to save energy" based on the research they've done. Let's dig in.



Specifications (per Running Warehouse --- ASICS)
Weight: 10.3oz --- (9.9oz per ASICS)
Stack Height: 35mm (heel), 29mm (forefoot) --- (31mm-26mm per ASICS)
Drop: 6mm --- (5mm per ASICS)
Classification: Daily Trainer


HIGHLIGHTS

      The Glideride is part of the ASICS advancement in running shoe technology that is working to keep them relevant in the changing landscape of running shoes. While new technology and advancement in footwear aren't always necessarily better, the Glideride and the overall components of the Guidesole technology offer a unique ride and construction that may not only produce an enjoyable ride, but have benefits for people with varying running related injuries or even limitations in ankle mobility due to fractures or trauma.




FIT

     The Glideride overall fits true to size, but is on the snug side of things throughout. The upper is a thick engineered mesh that is secure around the foot, but isn't very adaptable in the toe box given its thickness. The heel cup is very rigid and the tongue has very thick padding that certainly cushions the foot heel and top of the foot. However, this decreases the overall volume in the shoe. For those with high volume feet, you may want to consider going a half size up. I was completely fine true to size with my medium to narrow width feet. Overall this was a very thick upper that fits snug but true to size.




RIDE

   I messaged our team after my first run saying that this shoe felt like nothing I'd been in before, even compared to other rocker soled shoes that I've tested. First, when simply standing in the shoe, the aggressive toe spring and forefoot rocker made this shoe feel like the shoe has a negative drop. I bring this up because it did effect the ride.

    Let's start at the back and move forward. Landing on the heel, you will strike on a layered midsole that has a very thin amount of gel laterally sandwiched between a softer topsole of FLYTEFOAM (red in my model) and another EVA compound that was not specified (white), which is slightly firmer to the touch. The heel is very plush, and given the varying thicknesses of the two foams between the medial and lateral side of the shoe (flytefoam is thicker medially than laterally), there is a slight push of the shoe laterally. In addition to the varying thicknesses, there is a "Pac-Man mouth" or sideways "V" shape between the foams on the lateral side, which leads to easier compression on that side (I'll bring this back in the stability section).



      Moving forward you transition from the fully foam midsole to the integration of plastic plate that stiffens the forefoot. This plastic plate does assist in creating a smooth transition to a forefoot that is ready for propulsion. The foam itself is only moderately propulsive, but the shape of the rocker sole and toe spring really promotes a forward-moving feeling. From the midfoot forward, this shoe really feels like it is pushing you to your toes and moving you forward. The aggressive toe spring begins around mid-metatarsal (long toe bones that make up most of the length of the midfoot), and you'll feel the drop-off of the sole as you advance to the forefoot.



      A few anecdotal points on the ride. I really had a hard time initially with this shoe. It felt clunky, and I felt a huge "pad" under the ball of the foot. It felt like the shoe was fighting my typical gait and the "pad" that I felt and the allusion of a negative drop made it feel like I was climbing uphill to get to toe off. It felt this the entire length of my first 6 mile run in the Glideride. However, I eventually learned how to run in this shoe. I had to consciously put less effort into toe off and transitioning to my toes, and the ride really smoothed out and was quite fun. That said, it usually took me about a 1/4 mile to find rhythm, and rhythm was typically found at paces faster than recovery runs. Not everyone will have this experience, but if you try this shoe in the store and it feels strange, you may not want to give up on it right away...because once you find the rhythm, it really is an enjoyable shoe for the right runs.

SPEED

     What a strange shoe in terms of speed. Everything regarding specs says this shoe should be slow: 10.3 oz, thick upper, super-cushioned heel counter/tongue, high stack. But for me, this shoe rode best during effortful training runs to some tempo runs. At slower paces, it just felt clunky and unstable (particularly in the heel). I know many people who have had success with this shoe for recovery paces, but I couldn't find rhythm. But again, I've had some of my favorite long mild tempo runs using the GlideRide. The underfoot cushioning is great, the toe spring and stiff forefoot are fast and rigid, which gives it a fun and unique ride.



STABILITY

     Stability is where this shoe misses the mark for being a shoe that I would recommend for recovery runs, mainly in the rearfoot (so if you are a mid/forefoot striker, you can ignore this). First, higher stack creates inherent instability in the frontal plane of the ankle given higher forces that are created into inversion/eversion when the shoe hits the ground. Couple that with some interesting foam configuration and the heel of this shoe was quite unstable. I mentioned the "Pac-Man mouth" shape of the foam integration above, which compresses more easily on the lateral side than the medial side. This created the sensation of a tendency to invert the ankle given the lateral compression that does indeed put the foot in a slightly inverted position (since we land posterolaterally during heel strike). This was most notable during turns and on even crushed gravel trails (which I ended up avoiding with this shoe because of how unstable it felt). The slower pace means you spend more time on the rearfoot, which leads to "hanging out" in a more unstable part of the gait cycle. However, as pace picked up, I didn't feel the instability as bad (again, I like this shoe for faster runs).



DURABILITY

      This shoe is a tank and I don't expect it to wear out anytime soon. The one area of concern would be potential earlier wear laterally in the rearfoot since there is that cutout of foam where the two midsole materials meet, but this is still to be seen. I wasn't sure where to put this in the review, but the large ravine that runs through the outsole did pick up some big rocks for me. Not an issue, just annoying at times.

THOUGHTS AS A DPT

      Much of this review integrates many "Thoughts as a DPT": see stability and ride. However, I want to touch on one piece of this rocker sole that may come as a huge benefit for certain people, and that is those with metatarsalgia, mortons neuromas, other forefoot irritations, anterior talar dome defects, or people who have dorsiflexion deficits maybe secondary to a surgery. Sorry about all the jargon there, but I'll try to explain at least some, and for those of you who have these conditions, you know what I'm talking about.

      First, this rocker is positioned more anteriorly than many of the other rocker sole shoes that I've tested in the past. The goal of a rocker sole is to mimic the natural "rockers" that occur during the gait cycle and decrease the demand on the foot/ankle by having the shoe perform the motion for you. Having the rocker more forward in this shoe places it in the position of the forefoot rocker. During a mid to terminal stance or the toe off phase of gait, your metatarsal joints, or the first toe joints, have to move into extension as we move towards push-off. At the same time, the foot is moving overall into supination, which creates rigidity through the joints of the foot. With rigidity coming through the midfoot while in supination, that means the only joints in the foot where motion can occur more easily is the toe joints. However, with the toe spring/rocker sole being so pronounced and far forward in this shoe, the demand on the toes to achieve extension is significantly lowered. Lower demand leads to less stress through a joint. So for people with metatarsal issues, this shoe could be a great option to consider.

      The last piece I want to mention is that a rockered sole is going to decrease the demand on the total amount of dorsiflexion (DF) that the ankle (talocrural joint) needs to move through. Typically the foot needs to move through 10 deg of DF for walking and significantly more (sometimes 20-25 deg) for running. When the foot moves into maximal dorsiflexion, there is also compression placed on the anterior talar dome (which is the lower part of the ankle joint that is part of the foot). For those who develop arthritis in the ankle or have had a traumatic injury that damages the ankle joint, often times the anterior talar dome is involved. With a shoe like this, particularly with the rocker sole so far forward, it could be beneficial to offload the talar dome and decrease dorsiflexion demand.

     All this said, sometimes an "over the counter" rocker sole shoe will work for these conditions, but other times it is going to take custom work to get the rocker to the right degree and in the right place on the shoe. Also, a shoe doesn't fix these problems, and there is much more that you should be doing with a DPT to help resolve modifiable characteristics of strength, ROM, and mechanics. However, a shoe can be a piece of the puzzle.

RECOMMENDATIONS

   I have two recommendations for this shoe. First, the shoe wants to go faster, but I felt the upper construction was at battle with the sole of the shoe. I'd recommend slimming down the upper in all respects and drop some of the weight. Second, let's improve the stability of the rearfoot. I know there was a lot of research done to create the sole they wanted so I'm hesitant to recommend too much, but maybe remove some of that "Pac-Man mouth" laterally to avoid so much lateral motion of the foot.




CONCLUSION

     For those looking for a high mileage trainer that sports a unique ride and likes to push the pace a bit, this is a great shoe to check out. The build and design of the shoe is biomechanically sound to assist in promoting forward progression and is a fantastic shoe for long, effortful miles. Once you find the rhythym, it is incredibly smooth and fun to run in. This shoe is a potentially great option for those with known metatarsal issues and ankle dorsiflexion deficits.




GRADING

Fit/Upper        8/10 (-2 for very thick upper, high marks for security)
Ride/Midsole  9.25/10 (high marks for unique ride, pushing the pace, effective rocker)
Stability           8/10 (stable forefoot, but quite unstable heel with stack/foam compression)
Speed               9/10 (fast for a trainer, upper fought with the sole of the shoe for speed)
Durability        9.75/10  (so far this is a tank, but good chance for asymmetrical foam wear)

TOTAL: 88%

TESTER PROFILES

Dr. Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 18:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:29:01 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 7:30-8:30 min/mile for recovery runs to 6-6:45 min/mile for tempo runs. He typically prefers shoes that provide some cushioning underfoot but still maintain a more firm and responsive feel. Current goals for 2020 are to break the 1.5 hour half marathon and 3:30 marathon. IG handle: @nate.docsofrunning

Thanks for reading!

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

***Disclaimer: These shoes were purchased at full retail price.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 35-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I have 36 miles on my pair. Our views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.


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