Innovation is the name of the game when it comes to running shoes at the moment, and over the past year we've seen a tirade of new and creative designs aiming to improve various aspects of running. For the GlideRide that focus is energy expenditure.
The strapline delivered from Asics is that "the GlideRide shoe lets you run longer while expending less energy". A fairly bold claim that we've seen from numerous brands, whether that's through a new outsole material or the inclusion of energy return in the midsole.
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In the case of the GlideRide, that comes from a combination of responsive Flytefoam fibres in the outsole and a gel cushioning designed to allow for a soft impact and a smooth transition as you run. The other, perhaps most noticeably feature – even before you've run in them – is the curved design of the forefoot, an aspect that's more than a bit similar to the previous Asics MetaRide shoe.
We've tested the Asics GlideRide over a series of training runs and races. Here's what we thought.
Price: $115 | Weight: 290g/10oz (men) 235g/8.3oz (women) | Type: Road | Stability: Neutral/Cushioned | Heel to toe drop: 5mm | Alternatives: New Balance Rebel / Nike Pegasus Turbo / HOKA ONE ONE Rincon
The GlideRide follows heavily in the aesthetic and functional footsteps of the previous MetaRide shoe. Luckily, however, many aspects of that shoe – the majority of which we weren't keen on – have been developed for this new release.
At first glance, the shoe instantly seems more appealing than the MetaRide. It's still a chunky piece of kit and the high level of cushioning is always going to be the most visible feature, but the GlideRide manages to look sleeker and less cumbersome than its predecessor.
The other obvious feature is the curved sole design that Asics are calling Guidesole. That shape is combined with a stiff forefoot to reduce ankle flexion and provide a shock absorbent landing. When you pick up the shoe, that stiffness is extremely noticeable and even with a fair bit of force applied, the shape remains completely rigid.
That lack of flexibility also carries on the mesh upper, a thick sturdy material that incorporates an equally tough heel counter for support. Overall the GlideRide is a shoe designed to secure the foot in place and define a very specific movement pattern.
Looks-wise, we were impressed how far the GlideRide has come on from the MetaRide's overly bulky appearance, not only does it look nice but it also feels relatively lightweight for the level of cushioning and thick material it contains.
There aren't many shoes we've tested that instantly felt so noticeably different when you first put them on. That stiff rocker build instantly has an affect as you start walking in them, rolling you forwards onto the toes with every step. It's a strange feeling to begin with and one that doesn't necessarily feel good. It's worth actually just using them to walk in for a while to get to grips with the sensation.
Once you start running in them the rocking motion has a clear affect and you do feel like your feet are being forced into a position that launches you forward ever so slightly. Whether the motion saves energy expenditure, it's difficult to say, but it's clear that the rocker is more than just an aesthetic tool.
The other thing we noticed when wearing the GlideRides is that they are very stiff. The cushioned outsole is noticeably hard and when you're used to running in something soft like the Rincon, you can really feel the difference as you move further into a longer run. That stiffness is also evident in the upper, which hugs the foot tightly without lot of room for movement.
In training runs at a consistent pace, the GlideRide feel like it's doing the job. The rocker motion is still there throughout the run and you actually start to enjoy the rolling motion like a metronome. When used for racing we weren't quite so keen. The stiff, limiting feel of the shoe, and the noticeable impact don't make for a comfortable race.
If you're a fan of the MetaRide, the GlideRide is inevitably going to be worth a look, especially considering the cost is significantly lower. If you haven't tried a rocker shoe before the GlideRide is throwing yourself in at the deep end.
For some people, that forced motion will be an absolute joy on training runs and the energy efficient benefits that Asics claim the shoe has may well be exactly what you're looking. For others, the strange sensation of running in the shoes and the rigid design may be difficult to get to grips with.
It's a well made and durable shoe, and the build from upper mesh to outsole is definitely going to cover some major mileage. So if they are the shoe for you, you can expect them to last a while.