Time for another shoe review; this one a rare ASICS review of their current (v3) Gel Lyte33 model. I’m always on the lookout for cushioned, yet lightweight running shoes, so when the latest version of the Gel Lyte33 appeared in the local running store, Running Etc., I decided to take a chance and give them a try.
Good looking shoe
Light (bang on 7oz for my size 9.5)
Roomy toe box
Great price ($90 MSRP)
I’ve now logged a couple of hundred miles in the Gel Lyte33, and although I regularly run at least once a week in the shoe, it’s not the model I automatically reach for. I don’t hate it, but it doesn’t blow me away either. I do like the weight of the Gel Lyte33 – anything under 8oz is my typical sweet spot – and also love the fit and feel of the seamless upper which is made using a highly breathable synthetic mesh. The shoe is pretty reflective too which is great for those low-light runs which are kicking in at this time of year. Also, the F.A.S.T. heel is a snug fit, but doesn’t irritate like some of the other shoes in my current rotation.
The outsole features AHAR (ASICS High Abrasion Rubber) located in the heel and forefoot area, with flexibility coming from the FluidAxis flex grooves. Not surprisingly, the softer blue sole material is showing slight signs of wear, but in general the outsole is holding up pretty good and I would expect to get between 350 and 400 miles out of the shoe.
Although the Gel Lyte33 is light and flexible, the ride is a bit slappy for my taste – I must admit I expected more of a “Kinvara-like” experience on the run. The shoe appears plenty cushioned for a light weight shoe, but rather frustratingly, something hasn’t felt quite right on the majority of my runs in the Gel Lyte33. The 6mm drop doesn’t bother me at all, so I’m left wondering what it is about the shoe that I’m not totally enamoured with.
I’ve read Pete Larson’s review over at RunBlogger.com where he mentions a “lumpy feel behind the second toe”, but to be honest I’ve not experienced anything similar – sounds like this could be attributed to a dodgy early batch of the Gel Lyte33.
So, all in all, I’d say the Gel Lyte33 is a fairly decent shoe, but not a standout in the lightweight/cushioned category. Personally, this is a bit of a disappointment, as I really wanted to love this shoe – partly due to the weight and flexibility, but mainly due to the roomy forefoot which I tend to look for nowadays. For now, I’ll continue to run at least once a week in the Gel Lyte 33, but once the shoe is done, I won’t have any qualms about retiring it. I guess the search continues for the perfect shoe…
From the ASICS America website:
The GEL-Lyte33™ 3 gets serious about weight reduction, dropping almost two ounces for a truly lightweight natural running experience. Reprising the F.A.S.T.™ features of its predecessor, the GEL-Lyte33™ 3 is updated with a nearly Seamless Upper and Solyte® Midsole to maximize performance while minimizing weight. Built with FluidAxis™ designed for underpronators and neutral runners.
Weight: 6.8 oz
Heel Height: 17mm
Forefoot Height: 11mm
Anatomically correct deep flex grooves have been aligned to the joints of the foot. This innovative construction enables the shoe to recognize, adapt, and respond to the athlete’s exact load and positional change from first impact to toe-off.
The use of seamless materials reduces the potential for irritation and friction caused by traditional stitches and seams.
Solyte® Midsole Material
A lighter weight midsole compound than ASICS’ standard EVA and SpEVA®. Also features enhanced cushioning and durability.
Lightweight heel construction comforably hugs the foot while minimizing structural weight.
Similar to the geometry seen in racing flats, a low heel-toe differential reduces midsole weight to improve economy and encourage faster running.
A firmer Solyte® Midsole increases responsiveness and enhances the ride from contact to toe-off.
Minimal outsole material is positioned only in high abrasive areas.
Have you tried the Gel Lyte33 v3? Love it? Hate it? As always, feel free to leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.