Shoes (Not) to Die For

I seldom post reviews on this site, but I’m making an exception. Read on to find out why.

Back in the mid-1990s, our local running store in Nevada City, California sold 130 pairs of the long-lamented ASICS Gel Moro trail shoes, with just three returns.

The Moros were simply amazing. I put 1500 to 1700 miles on each pair. They were wonderful. Stable, light, and with adequate lugged soles for rough trails. I wore them in several 50-milers, and my feet after the race were as unblemished as a baby’s. R.I.P., Gel Moro.

On Saturday, I wandered into the Metrosport store in Palo Alto in search of a replacement for my Saucony Grid Hurricanes. The excellent salesperson showed me the Hurricane 10, then the Brooks Adrenaline. Both were “very nice,” but neither of them gave me that just-right feeling.

Finally he said, “Oh, hey, there’s one other shoe I’d like you to try.” He went away and returned with the ASICS 2140, new in November.

I tested them with a quick jog in the parking lot and was very pleased. When I returned, I gave the salesman a thumbs-up and bought them. He said, “I can always tell.” I said, “How?” He said, “By your facial expression.”

I drove across the street to Stanford and ran 3 hours, including pavement, trails, and 6 x 2 minutes very hard. The 2140s did what all great shoes do: they simply disappeared.

I’m well aware that every foot is different. I have no doubt that some people will complain that the heel or forefoot is too wide or narrow, the lacing is wrong, they’re too high, too low, too soft, too hard. That’s expected.

But if you’re looking for a classic stability shoe for road and trails, please do try the 2140s. By the way, the wearer reviews at Road Runner give it a 4.9 out of 5. Not too shabby.

The 2140s accommodate my rigid orthotics much more comfortably than the Saucony Hurricanes. They’re built sufficiently low that the orthotics don’t cause instability problems. Yet they’re amazingly cushy for a stability shoe, even on cement and asphalt.

I grew disenchanted with ASICS in the late 1990s, when the Kayanos, 2xxx’s, and Gel-DS Trainers beat my legs to a pulp. After 3 hours in the 2140s, my footsies felt as if they’d been riding on a pillow.

Followup: Uh-oh, the 2140s have caused problems that I’ve never experienced before – namely, pain in the tendon just above the outside of my right heel. I suspect the cause is the soft heel of the shoes. I’m also having pain at the back of the heel, near the base.

Too bad – otherwise, the shoes are still very comfortable, although the soles have worn more quickly than I’d like. Also, ordinary Shoe Goo doesn’t stick to the soles of the 2140s. I had to order Freesole through Amazon, which comes in a much smaller tube than Shoe Goo, costs more, and the Amazon supplier took nearly two weeks to ship it.

So the 2140s are proving less successful than my first gushing review suggested, especially given their $100 price. I’ll be trying the Brooks Ravenna, Brooks Adrenaline ASR, Saucony ProGrid Omni 8, and Nike LunarGlide+, and I’ll be looking at minimalist shoes – e.g., Nike Frees, Saucony Kilkenny X-country shoes, etc.

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3 Responses to Shoes (Not) to Die For

  1. Mark Longwith November 20, 2008 at 5:12 am #

    I’ve run in the ASICS GT-2000 series, off and on, for many years. I say off and on because, as I’m sure other runners do, I’m
    always searching for the ‘perfect’ shoe. Since I began to run consistently in 2001 I’ve worn New Balance, Nike, Brooks and Saucony, but I’ve always returned to ASICS, specifically to the GT-2000 series. I’ve had the occasional problem with them (blisterering most of all), but I suspect this is due more to changes in my running mechanics than in the shoes themselves.
    I haven’t tried the 2140’s yet (having just purchased a pair of 2130’s on sale at my local sporting goods store) but I’m looking forward to doing so.

    Another positive about the ASICS GT-2xxx: they’re the best-selling running shoe on the planet and you can buy them EVERYWHERE, often at a nice discount.

  2. Mark Longwith October 10, 2009 at 7:11 am #

    Hi, George.

    Give the Mizuno Inspire a look, too. After I was finished with the GT2130’s that I mentioned in my previous post, I bought
    a pair of these Mizuno’s. The fit and performance are, in my opinion, outstanding and they are the most durable running shoes
    I’ve ever owned. After seven months of running I’m only now starting to notice that the performance of the forefoot cushioning
    is in decline. The heels still feel great. You can order a pair of Inspire’s from Running Warehouse or Holabird for about $80.

  3. runbei October 10, 2009 at 9:41 am #

    Mark – thanks for the insightful comments. I ended up ordering New Balance 769. With the masters discount at http://www.runningwarehouse.com they’re only $60 with shipping/CA tax, and from reviews at http://www.roadrunnersports.com they seem to be reasonably durable. Also, they come in 2E, and I like a roomy shoe. Will see.

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