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ASICS® GEL Technology

Eastbay Copywriter, K. Nelson | Date: 08/28/2013

ASICS® RearFoot and ForeFoot GEL® Cushioning System works to absorb the shock the foot experiences while running, which in turn, produces a more comfortable ride.

Here at Eastbay, we have the latest in shoe technology and know that the right shoe can be the difference between a good run and a great run. However, based on our wide variety of shoes and confusing technical jargon, figuring out which technologies work best for you is often a difficult task. In this article, we'll break down the ASICS GEL Cushioning, a technology used in many of ASICS' running shoes for supreme cushioning and support. While not all runners may benefit from this technology – like barefoot runners and minimalist runners – ASICS GEL technology has gained a large following among the running community.


Lightweight Evolution
Asics Gel Technology
In 1987, during their quest for a lighter running shoe, ASICS developed the Freaks Jogging Shoe, the first shoe to utilize gel technology. This gel replaced the traditional EVA Sponge midsole, making the shoe lighter than its predecessors, paving the way for the variety of gel-infused shoes that exist today. This silicone-based gel absorbs shock by dissipating vertical impact and dispersing it into a horizontal plane. Placed at points of maximum impact, like the forefoot and heel, gel systems provide more shock absorption than most traditional EVA midsoles without sacrificing the stability of the shoe.


Technology Explained
ASICS GEL cushioning technology comes in two parts: ForeFoot and RearFoot. The ForeFoot system is a relatively small unit that is circular shaped and is about the size and thickness of a half dollar. This ForeFoot unit is placed under the first metatarsal, or ball of the foot, allowing it to sink lower than the other bones of the feet. This allows your foot to have a more natural movement while creating a more flexible fit, offering a more comfortable gait, and helping your foot spring forward. As mentioned above, it also helps to minimize impact from sheer forces by dispersing them across a wider horizontal plane, reducing stress at the point of impact.


The RearFoot GELCushioning System is located at the heel and is designed to lessen high impact forces when the heel hits the ground. The gel is thicker around the lateral edge of the heel because, typically, the edge of the heel will strike first, so it generally needs more support and cushioning. The gel, while absorbing shock, also gives a cushioned feel for a more comfortable ride. The heel unit is unique to the shoe and takes into account its intended purpose, which is to aid a range of runners, therefore resulting in different compositions and densities.


Accommodates Range of Gaits
ASICS puts different levels of cushioning in each of its shoes depending on the gait pattern, or foot pronation, that occurs in the feet of each individual runner. ASICS describes pronation as, "how a runner's foot rolls laterally between footfall and toe-off." The company goes further by describing each type: "Underpronation is when the foot rolls outwards, overpronation is when it rolls inwards, and a neutral pattern is when little rolling occurs." Pronation is a natural movement that helps to reduce shock at the heel when it makes contact with the ground. Taking into account your running style when selecting a shoe will increase comfort, running efficiency, and contribute to decreasing the risk of injury. Some of the most popular ASICS running shoes are the GEL-Cumulus® running shoe and GEL-Nimbus® running shoes, which are suited for underpronators to mild overpronators because both have a stable platform to create a comfortable ride, reducing shock transmission throughout the foot and leg. ASICS also offers shoes for severe overpronators, like the GEL-Kayano®. Find out your running style by reading Running: Analyzing Your Gait! No matter your rate of pronation, ASICS ForeFoot and RearFoot GEL Cushioning System is sure to have created the right shoe for you.
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