Asics has already shown us that they can produce safe, lightweight, fast-feeling trainers. So what happens when they try to introduce a natural, not-quite-but-almost-minimalist feel to their shoes?
Disappointing results, if the Asics Gel-Neo33 is any indication. The shoe’s unique engineering offers certain advantages, but not the lightweight, natural ride for which it was designed.
The Neo’s midsole may resemble that of the Nike Free, but don’t expect the same flexibility. This shoe offers little more bend than the standard Cumulus, Nimbus, or 2160. I’m hoping that this is a result of the surprisingly stiff medial post, and that the other shoes in the 33 line are a little more yielding.
But the 33-style midsole isn’t without merit. Its flatness allows it to make contact with the ground along its entire length. This means a stable, smooth ride. It also makes for great road feel.
Supercool, especially in the Blue/Limeade colorway.
The Neo’s upper is meant to lock feet down, but it does its job just a little too well. It takes lots of tinkering with the laces to keep the shoe from pinching the bridge of the foot. This is far from the barely-there feeling that performance and minimalist shoes usually provide. Once the laces are properly adjusted, though, rest assured that they will not slip.
This shoe also seems to run a little narrower in the toebox than most Asics. Longtime Asics wearers may have to go up half a size to fit into it.
The Bottom Line: The Neo’s weight and fit lands closer to a standard trainer than the performance shoe it’s meant to be.Share on Facebook