Asics Gel Speedstar 5 Review
The Asics Gel Speedstar 5 is a prime example of a company listening to its’ customers and creating a shoe to match the growing trend of minimalist running. For those that are not quite ready to bare all of their 10 toes, the Asics Gel Speedstar 5 may be a good launching point for those that want a little less weight in their shoes but are not quite ready to give up cushioning and springiness that they are used to from traditional shoes.
Here at AGR, we tested the women’s version of the Asics Gel Speedstar 5 for about 200 miles this fall/winter. The Asics Gel Speedstar 5 is a neutral shoe geared towards those seeking a fast trainer for speed workouts, tempo runs, and racing. In this review I will talk mostly about the women’s version, while offering some highlights about its’ counterpart.
Upon receiving the Asics Gel Speedstar 5’s, I was shocked immediately by their weight, even when they were still in the shoe box. The women’s model weighs a mere 7.3 ounces, while the men’s model comes in a tad higher at 8.9 ounces, making them Asics’ lightest trainers. After opening the box, I was further awed by their appearance, as the model I tested features a bright pink upper with only one black accent, the Asics logo. The upper is made from one solid piece of polyurethane layered over mesh with hexagon shaped cutouts. The upper is free of any stitching or synthetic overlay which helps to reduce weight. I found the upper to provide a nice wrap around my midfoot and mild support as well. Despite the upper being 100% mesh, I did not find it all that breathable despite doing much of my running in cooler temps. This may be due in part to the presence of the polyurethane. I found that these shoes kept my feet rather dry while running in sloppy wet/snowy streets; a trade off I am willing to take considering the season.
The Asics Gel Speedstar features a rather roomy toe box despite looking rather narrow when glancing down. I wear a size 9.5 and found that the length was quite generous in the toes, maybe a half size too large even. The added length did not affect or bother the remaining fit of the shoe or its’ performance, but is something to keep in mind when checking them out. I found the heel cup size and volume of the shoe to be about average, not too big and not too small.
These shoes have a close to ground feel, while still having a heel height of 21 mm. The heel to forefoot drop is approximately 10 mm, which allows for a easy heel toe transition without being overly abrupt. For those seeking shoes that reinforce mid or forefoot striking, these shoes are not for you.
The midsole features Asics lightest compound, Solyte EVA to provide ample cushioning when I took them out for a 14 mile run around town. The outsole is comprised of Asics High Abrasion Rubber in the heel region and DuraSponge in the forefoot area. The combination provides for an extremely flexible shoe that does have some degree of springiness as well.
Asics markets the Asics Gel Speedstar 5 as lightweight trainers perfect for shorter bouts. I, however, have found myself turning to the Asics Gel Speedstar 5 for 10kms to 10 mile races here in Colorado this winter and am excited to see how they perform during higher mileage races. With a low price tag of $89 and excellent performance thus far, I feel that the Asics Gel Speedstar 5’s are worth a trip to your local running store to check out. Available January 2011.