Two of my favorite brand of running shoes over the years has been Brooks and ASICS.
Both running shoe brands strive for quality in their many models to meet the needs of every kind of runner. Extra cushioning for heavy runners, more stability for overpronators, more spring for those who want to push on. Whatever style of running, you can be assured that Brooks and ASICS will have an answer.
I love running shoes. I love the way they look, the colors, how little they weigh, how they feel when you first put a new pair on – I love everything about them.
Let’s dive right into the Brooks vs ASICS showdown.
Brooks Sport, also known as Brooks Running, is an American company that manufactures high-performance athletic shoes, clothing and accessories.
It was founded in 1914 and rose to popularity in the 70s with their “White Hot” brand that manufactured athletic wear for sports such as basketball and football.
In 2001, they were at the threshold of going bankrupt. CEO of the company, Jim Weber, changed their strategy by shifting the focus to running, and it paid off. By 2014, they were a top-selling brand with a massive increase in profits.
Not only has Brooks Sport become a staple in sportswear, but they’re also known for adopting ethical and sustainable practices. They utilize eco-friendly materials and the company prioritizes donating to worthwhile causes such as Habitat for Humanity.
We’ve gone overboard if you want more on recycling athletic shoes.
ASICS, or Ashikkusu, is a Japanese company that manufactures high-end athletic footwear and sports equipment.
The company was founded in 1949 by Kihachiro Onitsuka, who started manufacturing basketball shoes in his hometown. Later on, he gained recognition for the Mexico 66 design, an athletic trainer with crossed stripes which is still on the market today.
In 1986, ASICS changed the athletic footwear game. They developed an aGEL material, footwear technology that absorbs the shock placed on the user’s foot through movement.
Not a unique idea in itself as other manufacturers adopted similar patented technologies but ASICS was early and it gelled with the fitness community.
The placement of the Gel reduces the load at the point of heel strike and enhances the transition to the front of the foot.
This discovery still dominates the trainers market today and is considered to be one of the most significant developments for runners.
Brooks vs ASICS Shoes
I came across Brooks about 20 years ago when I was no longer a spring chicken and felt I needed some protection for my feet, legs and even back from the footwear I was choosing.
Brooks seemed to me to produce the models of fitness shoes that were more suitable for an older person and not overweight but not a superlight marathon runner.
The ASICS range, on the other hand, was recommended to me when I had a little pronation issue in just one foot due to multiple strains.
Although I’ve used a number of other brands these two makes have been my go-to shoe for any fitness activity.
Activity and sportswear companies, these days, design shoes for a wide range of specific and specific physical activities.
Running shoes often “double-up” as training or casual footwear. Check out our article on running vs training shoes.
Brooks Sport offers a range of running and walking shoes that are designed for use on roads, trails and treadmills. They also have multiple models specific to sprints as well as long-distance, which includes racing flats and spiked shoes.
ASICS has a wider range of shoes that accommodate many different sports. They include:
- Trail running.
- Track and field.
- Regular trainers.
- Athleisure sneakers.
Brooks Sport specializes in running shoes. However, the variety that ASICS has to offer is very tempting, especially if you cross-train.
Both makers of shoes have models that offer great support and comfort for those of us still running or working out after 50.
When it comes to durability, in my view, Brooks has the edge. Depending on the model and activity performed, a pair of Brooks generally lasts anywhere between 300 and 500 miles.
In comparison, ASICS typically covers an average of 300 to 400 miles. The reason for a lower mileage capacity is because many ASICS models are designed to be more lightweight for maximum comfort.
Brooks provides a soft comfort due to their inventive cushioning, the shoes are designed to “hug” your feet. The midsoles contain DNA Loft (a blend of ethylene-vinyl acetate, rubber and air) and BioMoGo DNA. This results in smooth heel-to-toe movements.
In addition to their lightweight designs, you can’t forget about the iconic gel technology in ASICS trainers. It effectively absorbs shock and dampens vibrations.
As for the upper, ASICS features FluidFit technology, which securely anchors your foot. Brooks run a larger toe box that comfortably houses your digits.
Both brands make use of mesh materials. This is what makes a shoe breathable and keeps your feet relatively dry.
Pronation forms part of the stance phase of your gait cycle. It’s how your feet land when they make contact with the ground when walking or running. The movement also reduces the impact on your joints.
People exhibit one of three types of this movement, neutral, overpronation or supination (under pronation).
Brooks and ASICS feature shoes to accommodate each level of pronation.
Stability and Control
Both Brooks and ASICS incorporate rubber outsoles. Brooks shoes offer stability without stiffness thanks to the dual arch pod. Every model is tailored to provide the traction required for the activity you perform.
ASICS utilizes a TRUSSTIC system. In simple terms, it splits the rear-and-forefoot with the TRUSSTIC resin in the middle. This prevents the shoe from twisting in a way it shouldn’t according to the movement it was designed for, allowing more control.
When you combine the advanced technology in the midsole of the Brooks, as well as their rubber outsoles and mesh upper, you’ve got yourself a pretty flexible shoe.
The flexibility in the ASICS derives from the TRUSSTIC system, yet this also keeps it sturdy where needed. The gel midsole design makes it responsive (compresses and firms up in sync with your movements).
Both brands feature soles that provide enough traction to make it suitable for indoor (treadmill) and outdoor training.
Value for Money
As we’ve seen, Brooks Sport and ASICS are high-performance brands. They incorporate some of the most advanced and intricate technologies in their designs to optimize your training.
Each brand does appear to sit towards the upper end of the price scale. Despite this, given the consistent quality and reliable ride, plus taking into consideration everything I’ve covered, I would have to say, it’s money well spent.
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Brooks Ghost 13 vs ASICS Gel Nimbus 23
The Brooks Ghost 13 and the ASICS Gel Nimbus 23 are two of my favorites from each brand and they are comparable models. Let’s take a look in more detail:
In my opinion, the Brooks Ghost provides a high degree of comfort. This is mostly thanks to the DNA Loft in the heel and BioMoGo DNA cushioning throughout the midsole.
It results in a soft and plush ride and increases responsiveness, which is ultimately healthier on your joints. This doesn’t mean to say that the feeling, whilst running, is particularly springy.
In the sole, the DNA Loft crash pad ensures a softer landing at the rear of the shoe. The Ghost 11 lacked sufficient cushioning in the forefoot, and Brooks took that into account. Now the 13 features even more cushioning in the front and softer than the Ghost 12.
3D Fit Print mesh in the upper allows for more flexibility and breathability, ideal for extended or intense use.
The responsiveness, sufficient ankle support and lighter design meet the demands for both sprinting and long-distance. The traction of the outsole is dependable and makes it suitable for both indoor and outdoor training.
If walking exercises form part of your workout routine, I feel that the Ghost 13 could be too soft for this activity. Walking requires a stiff heel since it’s more heel-bearing.
The men’s and women’s models are the same in terms of features. The only difference being the size guide and color/pattern options.
This shoe features some of the most advanced technology in the midsole. The ASICS incorporates two types of FlyteFoam technology. The Propel increases bounce for a more effective stride, while the Lyte reduces impact and cushions the overall ride.
The Guidance TRUSSTIC System enhances midfoot support. Not only does it provide more stability, but it increases gait efficiency.
The GEL Technology Cushioning Systems in the rear-and-front foot absorbs shocks and vibrations. It also allows for more movement during transitions in your workouts.
One of the coolest features of this shoe is its reflective material, allowing you to be visible in low-light and safer on the roads.
I would suggest, the Nimbus 23 is cut out for both short and long runs. The traction of the sole is sufficient enough for treadmill training or wet road running. However, much like the Ghost 13, it doesn’t have adequate heel support for use as a walking shoe.
Another downside is that this footwear comes with a premium price tag. Although, keep in mind that you’re paying for some of the most advanced technology in running shoes.
The only difference in the men’s and women’s shoes is their size options.
Other Comparable Training Shoes
If you’re not quite sure whether Brooks or ASICS is a good fit, the manufacturer’s New Balance, Mizuno and Saucony offer similar models:
Brook Ghost 13 alternatives
- New Balance 880V9: Suited to runners looking for a training shoe. Built for high mileage, it’s a neutral ride with decent responsive cushioning for that extra support.
- Saucony Ride ISO 2: A neutral running shoe offering reliable comfort and a dynamic fit. It’s both durable and versatile, making it suitable for short and longer runs.
ASICS Gel Nimbus 23 alternatives
- New Balance M490V2: A reliable trainer with efficient cushioning and support. It’s more affordable too.
- Mizuno Wave Inspire 15: Has a lightweight design and is suitable for long-distance runs as well as cardio and resistance training.
Brooks vs ASICS Conclusion
For anyone to choose an outstanding brand as a favorite is very hard. Everyone is different and running shoe designs, even within models, can change noticeably.
But if you’re looking for brands of shoes and their model offerings then Brooks or ASICS will meet most people’s needs especially running comfort, stability and durability.
I’ve run many miles in both Brooks and Asics shoes from interval training to full marathons and both have got the job done . (Although, to be fair I’ve run and exercised in many other shoe brands).
The Brooks Ghost 13 is ideal for runners of all levels. Whether you’re pounding the track or the treadmill, this shoe will provide ultimate comfort, support and will go the distance.
The ASICS Gel Nimbus 23 is a solid option for serious fitness enthusiasts and athletes. Although not as durable these ASICS runners feature some of the most advanced technology, ensuring you an efficient and stable workout.
As a footnote, I feel like I should make a choice, ASICS vs Brooks running shoes so because they have been my longest-running companion brand, they’re made in the US and are definitely more durable I’m going with Brooks – there, done it.