“ Brand: Asics / Sport: Athletics / Running / Type: Shoes „
Fitness is something that I view with a healthy sense of suspicion. Just in case you doubt me, I tell you this: over the course of the morning and, indeed, as I write these very words I've managed to strip the inside of my mouth of both skin and sensation by determinedly working my way through a bag of cola cubes. Every so often, though, I feel I should offset my natural tendency to sloth with a bit of lepping around the living room in the name of exercise. To that end, I bought the Wii version of 'My Fitness Coach' (which is electronically taught by a character called Mya, or, as I've come to fondly think of her, 'Fitness B*tch'). This game is actually a pretty good workout and incorporates roughly half and half aerobics with weight training and a bit of yoga and Pilates work. Some of the poses and activities require you to jog on the spot, side-step or to balance on one foot. Additionally, quite a few of the weights exercises require you to adopt a 'plie' stance and I was finding that this was causing my feet to cramp up in an alarmingly painful way. I decided that this was the fault of my cheap trainers rather than years of inactivity and got straight onto Amazon.
I opted for Asics trainers for no other reason than that I knew they were very popular with runners and highly regarded for being both comfortable and supportive. The pair I got were the 'Asics Gel 100 TR Ladies Cross Training Shoes' because these offered support for the kind of activities undertaken in a gym environment, rather than just for running. Now, let's make things abundantly clear: I have never darkened the doors of a gym and probably never will. Gyms are full of sweaty people who know far too much about carb/protein ratios and who use phrases like 'in the zone' without a hint of irony. However, there wasn't a shoe marketed for 'those who want to fanny around doing a few weights and star jumps in their living room whilst being shouted at by a digitalised image' so these were the next best thing.
Most Asics trainers look nice enough to be worn with an ordinary outfit. These do not. These look like a failed attempt to make orthopaedic shoes look trendy. They are big, chunky and startlingly white, with the Asics logo in black down the outside of the shoe. The sole is quite thick and substantial - not quite platform level but certainly more sizeable than a 'normal' trainer.
~*~Sizing, fit and effectiveness~*~
I'd happened to read that Asics sizes normally run quite small and so I opted for an 8 rather than my usual 7. It's just as well I did as the 8 is a perfect fit so the 7 would've been miles too small. This is worth bearing in mind if you're going to be buying online and it'd be wise to make sure the website has a good refunds and exchange policy in the event of incorrect sizing.
Despite their chunky appearance these trainers don't feel too weighty or massive when on; certainly not any more so than ordinary trainers. They feel very supportive underfoot and the sole seems to be quite ergonomic, in that supports my arches, toes and heels really well allowing my feet to cope effectively with the kind of impact that comes from aforementioned lepping about. Since I've worn them I haven't experienced the cramps and painful shins that I was getting when wearing ordinary trainers. The upper is synthetic leather that doesn't make my feet feel sweaty or rub painfully when doing repetitive aerobic activities. The laces pull taut and stay that way for a 45 minute workout which is good for fit people but bad for lazies like me who use 'tying laces' as an excuse to have a breather. The heel and ankle area is quite raised and I was initially worried about the heel cushion digging into the back of my ankle, but that hasn't been the case. Rather, this part of the shoe is snug and supportive and keeps my ankles in the right position when doing yoga poses.
The gel part of these shoes isn't obvious in any way - it's not as if you put them on and feel parts of the shoe are squishier than others - so I can only surmise that they're buried deep within the thick sole. Wherever they're hidden, they seem to do their job pretty effectively as they absorb the impact of hopping, star jumps, step work and everything else that Fitness B*tch makes me do without passing on any of the stress to my feet, ankles or knees.
As you'd expect with Asics trainers, the shoes are well made with no sign of loose stitching or poorly machined seams. The laces are holding up well despite being regularly attacked by two mad kitties who view laces as an enemy that must be mauled. The interior of the shoe looks almost brand new despite six months of frequent use (although I just wear them for my workout, rather than all day long) and the outers are as blindingly white as the day I got them, despite my best attempts to scuff them up a bit.
Beyond the fact that they're a bit ugly and clodhopper-esque, not really. I rarely wear these outside but when I have I've noticed that they don't grip well on my patio, and are particularly slippy if the flagstones are wet. They are grand on both carpet and wooden floor, though, which is really what they are designed for.
~*~Price and availability~*~
I got mine from Amazon for around £30, although the price seemed to vary a great deal depending on the size - the 8s were almost twenty pounds cheaper than the 7s whenever I bought - so it's worth shopping around for the best deal.