After wearing and reviewing multiple products from each brand, I have decided that Brooks offers better overall comfort and performance than Asics, while Asics gets the nod for stability and durability.
Having worn dozens of running shoes across numerous brands over the years, I couldn’t help but notice that I continually make repeat purchases from two companies in particular: Asics and Brooks.
Given this proclivity for these two giants of the running world, I got to thinking: which brand is actually better?
Using my own experience, combined with some additional research and reviews, I came to the conclusion that Brooks is the way to go for runners wanting outstanding performance and truly customized comfort.
Asics, on the other hand, makes highly supportive and durable shoes. They also are a bit more diverse in their product offerings.
Read on to discover a fully nuanced breakdown of two of the most recognizable brands in the running world!
Asics at Glance
Asics designs all of their shoes with 5 key principles in mind:
- Cushioning – this helps soften the impact of each foot strike. Asics rates their cushioning from maximum (most) to light (least).
- Support – this helps ensure the proper amount of pronation when running. Asics rates its support from none (least) to extra (most).
- Ride – this describes how much you feel the ground with each foot strike. Some runners love that close to the ground feeling, so Asics rates the ride from direct (close to the ground) to plush (lots of separation).
- Fit – this is all about how tight the shoe fits around the top of your foot. It can range from tight (snuggest fit) to wide (most relaxed fit).
- Grip – this describes how the outsole interacts with the running surface. It can range from track grade all the way to trail grade.
Asics has one of the most expansive catalogs of running shoes and offers numerous products that rate high or low along each of these key principles.
If you know your body, running style, and personal preferences, there is no doubt that Asics is a brand name that has a shoe for you!
Brooks at a Glance
Brooks is a company that has evolved over the years to focus exclusively on running.
As such, they are a bit more technical in Asics in designing shoes built for and exclusively for maximizing comfort and performance for runners.
Brooks uses a couple of proprietary features around which they construct all of their running shoes:
- DNA LOFT – a soft cushioning technology that adapts to a runner’s profile, stride, and speed
- BioMoGo DNA – a performance technology that adapts to each individual runner to maximize spring and provide a balanced running experience
Although Brooks does have a broad catalog, its shoes are generally more performance-minded along these lines than Asics, which takes more of a shoe-for-every-occasion approach.
Asics vs Brooks Differences in Design
Though runners can likely find their ideal shoe when shopping for each of these brands, it is worth noting some important generalities for each company.
In my experience, Brooks tends to have the more comfortable upper.
They have a wider toe box compared to Asics. This is beneficial for me because I would say I engage in more high-intensity workouts than the average runner, so I don’t feel as constricted as my foot swells with exertion. I do have a wider foot, which may contribute to my preference for Brooks products.
I also give a slight nod to Brooks in terms of breathability. Although sweat accumulation isn’t an issue for either brand, the engineered mesh uppers of Brooks shoes really leave the foot feeling fresh.
This is another area where Brooks takes the cake.
The company’s DNA LOFT and BioMoGo technology really help create a customized cushioning experience for the runner. It really helps provide a unique combination of comfort and performance.
Asics uses Flytefoam technology in its midsoles. While the comfort, bounceback, and responsiveness are more than adequate, they aren’t quite on the same level as Brooks products.
Both brands implement rubber outsoles that provide ample traction and agility, but I actually feel like Asics performs a little better with their outsole designs.
Asics uses Asics High Abrasion Rubber (AHAR) to help maximize traction and durability.
However, what sets Asics outsoles apart is that it splits the outsole into rearfoot and forefoot in what is known as a Trusstic System. This enhances lateral stability and prevents inward twisting of the shoe.
Brooks uses rubber on the entire outsole and does not distinguish between rearfoot and forefoot. However, they do have a dual arch pod that enhances stability and promotes forefoot flexibility.
Asics vs Brooks Feature Comparison
Now that you know a little bit about how each brand generally designs its shoes, let’s take a look at how the brands actually perform in action.
Most runners can get up to 500 miles out of each brand.
However, I have found that some Brooks products start to show signs of wear in as little as 300 miles, while Asics will make it at least to 400.
For regular runners, 500 miles equates to about 6 months of use.
One caveat is that I have noticed people tend to wear Asics more than Brooks for purposes outside of running. Brooks aficionados have a tendency to reserve their Brooks for the track. Therefore, although I have found Asics to be slightly more durable, they may appear to wear out a bit faster in calendar time due to this more general use.
We touched on this briefly when discussing the upper, but I find Brooks to provide the more comfortable fit, especially for people who like to amp up their running sessions. The wider toe box is a big difference maker for people with wide feet.
However, if you are a runner who likes your shoe to feel a bit more snug, then you may prefer Asics. Many runners note that the external heel clutch found in many Asics shoes gives them a more secure fit.
As is the case with most runners, I find that the DNA LOFT and BioMoGo DNA technology offered in Brooks products provides the best cushioning possible.
Asics is famous for its Gel technology that has been around for decades, and its Flytefoam does offer a nice balance between comfort and responsiveness, but it’s just not the same form-fitting sensation that you get with Brooks shoes.
Stability and Support
Both brands provide some outstanding stability features, so it’s hard to pick a clear winner in this regard.
Brooks designs their shoes to provide support for your natural gait as opposed to “fixing” the way you run. To achieve this end, they use Brooks GuideRails technology to allow your hips, knees, and joints to flow through their natural course of motion.
Asics shoes feature a dual density midsole system known as Duomax which enhances support and stability. Along with the external heel clutch, Asics shoes keep runners’ feet stable and following a safe and natural path with each stride.
Both shoes run true to size.
However, due to the wider toe box, Brooks will typically fit better on people with wide feet, while Asics may be the preferred choice for those who want a snug fit.
There is a greater range of prices among Asics shoes.
While the most premier Asics running shoes will cost upwards of $180, there are many Asics products starting at around $50.
Brooks, on the other hand, tends to be a bit more narrow in its price range. As a designer of premium running shoes, you are unlikely to find a Brooks product for less than $100, with the majority of shoes checking in around $150.
Asics vs Brooks Top Shoes
Both Asics and Brooks offer dozens of shoe options. To help narrow down our comparison, let’s do an apples-to-apples comparison of each brand’s top performers along with certain metrics.
Performance: Asics MetaRun vs Brooks Hyperion Tempo
The MetaRun offers all of the same features for which Asics is well-known: Flytefoam midsole, split outsole, and heel clutch technology.
However, what makes this shoe great for race day is that it features an Ortholite sockliner to make socks optional while mitigating moisture buildup. It also has an innovative impact guiding system to enhance the runner’s natural gait between each foot strike.
The Hyperion Tempo is the premier performance shoe for a brand known for its outstanding performance.
Extremely lightweight and responsive with performance geometrics technology, runners note that running somehow seems to get easier the fast they go in this shoe.
Winner: Brooks Hyperion Tempo
Stability: Asics Gel Kayano vs Brooks Adrenaline GTS
The Gel Kayano is one of the oldest and most well-known shoes produced by Asics.
It is an ideal solution for long-distance runners because of its overpronation features that keep the foot from rolling too far inward during foot strikes.
Likewise, the Adrenaline GTS is one of Brooks’ signature shoes, having been around for more than two decades.
It is known for being the best road running shoe offered by Brooks, as it has slightly more arch support than most Brooks products to help reduce the impact of running on hard surfaces.
Winner: Asics Gel Kayano
Cushioning: Asics Gel Cumulus vs Brooks Glycerin
Asics amps up its Flytefoam midsole in the Gel Cumulus. In addition, a more robust rubber outsole provides a more forgiving strike against hard surfaces.
The Glycerin is Brooks’ most well-cushioned product. In addition to the ever-present DNA LOFT midsole, this shoe has an Ortholite sock liner to make sure that the foot is resting as naturally as possible during every running session.
Asics vs Brooks: Our Final Verdict
At the end of the day, for those runners wanting the best performance and comfort, Brooks makes the premier running shoes on the market.
However, if you are wanting a more diverse and durable shoe, then Asics will more likely have the shoe that fits the bill.
Ultimately, though, it is hard to go wrong with either of these leading running shoe brands, so find your ideal pair and hit the trail today!