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ASICS TartherEdge Review

In the midst of the race to create the ultimate super shoe, companies are still putting out classic and effective racing flats that are getting overlooked. The TartherEdge is a great example. This shoe rocks a vintage looking upper with a mash-up of old and new tech that creates a snappy and light racing flat.


Specifications (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 6.7oz (men's size 9)
Stack Height: 25mm (heel), 15mm (forefoot)
Drop: 10mm
Classification: Racing Flat


HIGHLIGHTS

The TartherEdge boasts a bouncier and more snappy ride than expected and is topped with a classic looking upper. Coming in at only 6.7oz, this shoe is light, and there is surprisingly enough cushion for some longer efforts as well. The construction of the shoe is solid, and the outsole is built to last. Combine durability with an effective extended Trusstic system, and you have yourself a snappy racer/tempo day workhorse.

FIT

Overall the fit of the TartherEdge was true to size for me (medium foot width). However, There were a few quirks that made the fit tricky and ultimately did effect the performance of the shoe for me (will discuss performance in later sections). The shoe fits slightly short and the toe box tapers on the lateral side a bit quickly, so I had some rubbing on the 5th digit. However, the midfoot is actually quite wide for a racing flat and the upper had some give through the midfoot, so I had a hard time locking down my foot on the platform. This did improve slightly by switching to some thicker socks, but I prefer racing in my Wigwam ultra-thin socks (so it was a bit less than ideal). So that leaves me to recommend staying true to size -- if you size up, it will be too wide...if you size down, it will be too short.

Outside of the sizing, the heel cup is rigid but of moderate width, so there was no irritation to the achilles/calcaneus. Despite the slippage in the midfoot noted above, the heel was locked down well with lacing. Toe box is overall rather roomy for a racing flat, but the taper at the top did limit the volume and room available for those with wider feet.

RIDE

The ride of this shoe surprised me. The midsole is made up of Flytefoam Propel throughout with the addition of an extended thermal plastic Trusstic System in the midfoot. The stack in the heel is a 25mm, which was plenty of cushion for longer efforts for those who heel strike, and having that much foam back there made heel strike quite bouncy once I reached race pace. Moving forward, the Trusstic system begins at the rearfoot and extends into the beginning of the forefoot, and it makes the ride really snappy. At slower paces (and even moderate tempo paces) the transition felt clunky, but it really smoothed out as the pace picked up. The forefoot is 15mm of the Flytefoam Propel with rigidity added through an outsole with minimal flex grooves and feels relatively firm during toe off. However, there is a mild toe spring that makes it smooth. The Trusstic system in this shoe combined with the 10mm drop make transitions aggressive, which was great for racing and workouts -- the shoe wants you to go fast. Given the compression of the foam through the heel, it seems to run as a 6-8mm drop more than a true 10mm drop, and you will get plenty of that traditional racing flat ground feel.


SPEED

When you have a shoe hitting sub 7 oz, you're getting a shoe that can turn over quickly. This shoe is no exception, and as mentioned above, the rigid level through the midfoot with the plastic torsion system makes transitions snappy and fast as well. It's worth reiterating that this shoe was an exclusive tempo, workout, and race day (virtual race day at this point) shoe for me given the clunkiness at even light tempo paces. With the weight and tech in the midsole, this could be a great option for a 5K-10K. I got a 5K PR while testing these (18:18 -- previous 19:20), and there was nothing about the shoe that held me from going faster...just my own fitness level. This shoe also could be someone's half marathon or marathon shoe if they are used to the low ground feel. Quick comparison, I tested these the same time I was testing the Skechers Horizon-Vanish, and even with the extra weight, the TartherEdge felt faster due to the rigidity in the transition.



STABILITY

There are things about this flat that make it stable for a neutral racing flat. First, the midfoot is actually a decent width through the outsole and it has a decent width through the toe box for a stable propulsion surface. Second, the plastic torsion system is thicker on the  medial side of the shoe, which although not felt on the foot, does provide longevity to the support under the arch on longer efforts. The rigidity of the shoe also helps, both through the midfoot and forefoot.


However, my issues with the wider upper and lack of midfoot security really threw the stability for me. With thicker socks and lacing things down, I still felt a bit of slippage on the platform. This made workouts that included turns like on the track a bit more precarious. Straight plane stability of this shoe is fine, but any turning and you decrease the stability a bit.

DURABILITY

I've used the word "workhorse" a few times so far in this review, and that is because this shoe has held up great for a racing flat. There is substantial rubber in the heel, and an even more durable triangle podular rubber in the midfoot and forefoot. The extension of the triangle pods to the lateral midfoot was really wise in creating a durable and grippy landing platform for midfoot and forefoot strikers (and even us heel strikers as we pick up the pace). You will get your bang for your buck for this shoe because it will last workouts, tempos, and races alike.



THOUGHTS AS A DPT

What I want to touch on here is a minor aspect of this shoe design that I really like. I've been seeing this trend more in the constructions of outsoles lately, but I really appreciate its functionality in this shoe. As mentioned, this shoe has a triangular pod outsole in the forefoot, but they extended it back to the lateral midfoot, which does a few things to really benefit this shoe. First, even though torsion systems tend to create a split sole outsole, this extension gives the shoe a functionally full contact outsole. The reason it is functionally full contact is because, whether you are a heel or forefoot striker (or midfoot), you land in a supinated position. Being in a supinated position means that the lateral aspect of the shoe will hit the ground first. Therefore, during the transition, or if you land in the midfoot or forward, you will get outsole contact and grip (because those little triangles are darn grippy) throughout your time on the ground. Second, as we heel strikers pick up the pace, we tend to land more forward anyway, and having the grippy outsole makes for great propulsion. This little extension adds some stability and performance to an already light and fast flat.


RECOMMENDATIONS

My biggest recommendation for this shoe would be locking down the midfoot. Given the goal of decreasing weight, it may just be synching up the material on the medial side of the foot, or adding some "lacing gymnastics" to allow for adjusting the midfoot a bit more. Second, decrease the taper or make it slightly longer. Basically....just fix the fit.

CONCLUSION

For anyone who fell in love with the classic racing flats of the past, this is definitely a shoe to check out. If you're looking for your first racing flat and aren't used to low drops, this could also be a great option to try, especially since it will last a long time and can handle some workouts and longer efforts. If you like a snappy shoe with some ground feel with a vintage look, this is the shoe for you.



GRADING

Fit/Upper        7/10 (-3 for fitting short and being wide through the midfoot)
Ride/Midsole  8.75/10 (-1.25 for clunky at HM race pace and slower)
Stability           8/10 (stable in straight plane, but upper doesn't lock foot during turns)
Speed               9.5/10 (lightweight and can get down to 5K pace)
Durability        10/10  (no wear noted yet, this flat looks great)

TOTAL: 86.5%

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 5:30-6:45 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 for their full US 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 (Nathan) have 10 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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