Brooks vs ASICS – My Favorite Running Shoes, but which are best?

Few things are worse than an uncomfortable walking or running shoe. Proper footwear is important whilst doing any physical activity for safety and effectiveness.

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. I admit to finding any excuse to buy a new pair of trainers.

Two of my go-to models of fitness shoes are the Brooks Ghost 12 and the ASICS Gel Nimbus 21 which I’ve featured later.

You don’t need to own more than one pair to be considered a serious fitness enthusiast.

I’m going to compare my top athletic shoe brands and attempt to go one way or t’other. Let’s dive right into the Brooks vs ASICS showdown.

This article includes affiliate links. If you choose to purchase any of the products we have discussed in this article, we may receive a small commission.

Brooks Sport

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.

ASICS

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.

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.

trail shoesAthletic Sectors

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:

  • Running.
  • Volleyball.
  • Tennis.
  • Trail running.
  • Track and field.
  • Wrestling.
  • 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.

Durability

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.

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. This makes it a particularly low impact shoe that’s healthier for your joints and aids muscle function.

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.

Gait (Pronation)

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.

Flexibility

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).

Terrain

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.

Brooks Ghost 12 vs ASICS Gel Nimbus 21

The Brooks Ghost 12 and the ASICS Gel Nimbus 21 are two of my favorites for each brand and they are comparable models. Let’s take a look in more detail:

This article includes affiliate links. If you choose to purchase any of the products we have discussed in this article, we may receive a small commission.

Brooks Ghost 12 for Men and Ghost 12 for Women

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.

Mens

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 12 features softer cushioning in the front.

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.

Womens

If walking exercises form part of your workout routine, I feel that the Ghost 12 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.

ASICS Gel Nimbus 21 Platinum for Men and the Nimbus 21 for Women

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.

Mens

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.

Womens

I would suggest, the Nimbus 21 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 12, 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 12 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.
  • Mizuno Wave Rider 23: Its responsive with solid stability and a secure fit. The ultra-soft cushioning allows for a smooth run.
  • 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 21 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.
  • Saucony Peregrine 8: Midsole offers superior comfort to the underfoot. The level of traction is adequate for all types of terrain.

Brooks vs ASICS Conclusion

For me, both are fantastic examples, hence why in my eyes, they share first place. I admit I am biased. I’ve run many miles in both Brooks and Asics shoes. Although, to be fair I’ve run and exercised in many different shoe brands.

The Brooks Ghost 12 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 21 is a solid option for serious fitness enthusiasts and athletes. It features some of the most advanced technology, ensuring you an efficient and safe workout.

As a footnote, I feel like I should make a choice so because they have been my longest running companion brand and they’re made in the US I’m going with Brooks – there, done it.