Asics vs Brooks: The Comprehensive Comparison

With the rise in running shoe companies and different brands and spike in popular running shoes, selecting the right pair of the shoe can be a challenging effort.

I conducted detailed research for Asics vs Brooks running shoes based on running in both types of shoes for many years.  Hands down they offer the best running shoes. 

By far, these are the two most popular running shoe companies

Here are the four biggest differences:

  1. Sizing: Brooks has a slightly larger toe box than Asics. Asics tend to have a tighter fit.
  2. Support: Asics focuses on padding in the midfoot & heel where Brooks focuses their support throughout creating better stability for runners.
  3. Durability: Runners should expect to get 300-400 miles out of their Asics shoes and Brooks tend to last up to 400-500 miles.
  4. Comfort: Many runners have shared that Asics are more comfortable than Brooks due to the patented GelTechnology.

Digging into these specific details, here are some quality features you should refer to while selecting.

Asics or Brooks Running Shoes: The Biggest Differences:

Brooks are widely known as having a larger toe box whereas Asics tend to have a snugger fit in both the toe box and through the lacing system.

The tightness you will find in Asics shoes is specific to the midfoot and heel areas of your foot.

On the other hand, Brooks shoes generally recommend that you size-up a half a size (upon your dress shoes) when purchasing a pair.

Brooks is now implementing an Engineered Air upper mesh, which is more smooth and breathable compared to Asics.

You will also notice that Asics offers a Fluidfit which helps support your foot through materials including elastic and mesh.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20 Red/Gold/Ebony 5 B (M)

Stability

 Over the last few years, Brooks running shoes have started too close in on Asics running shoes in regards to stability through the heel to toe-off.

The reason being, Brooks offers more stability. Apparently, different shoes work for different people...go figure! 

For the longest time, Asics was known for its GEL Technology’s stability and Cushioned sockliner’s interior comfort.

Over time Brooks has really made the interior of their shoes significantly softer than Asics (in my humble opinion). Does that make them the best running shoe? It's debatable but stability is an important that most runners look for. 

Overall these two are offer the best stability running shoes on the market. 

ASICS Men's Gel-Nimbus 22 Running Shoes, 11W, Glacier Grey/Graphite Grey

Durability

Compared to the lightweight Asics, Brooks carries the heritage of high durability with a protective running shoe for many runners, and now even more so due to the new DNA Loft Midsole, which has proven to be plush, protective, and resilient. 

What I have also found is that Brooks shoes vary in weight, which means that some are lighter than others however the durability remains the same. Overall, the Brooks offers more lightweight shoes than most brands.

Overall, Brooks has some of the most lightweight shoes out of all of the brands. 

You will find it unresponsive and stiff during the break-in period, whereas Asics only provides a decent feel of support without quite as much durability.

Not to discourage you from considering Asics though, because it offers maximum foot and arch support in the long run.

Based on my experience, I tend to get 300-400 miles out of my Asics Gel Nimbus or other Asics running models before they begin to wear down and offer less cushion and support. Asics shoe’s durability will depend on your personal running mechanics and gait cycle. 

My pair of Brooks Ghost are closer to 500 miles. In comparison, both have very durable material and the foundation of the shoe is shock absorbent - making your run very comfortable. The Ghost are a really good training shoe so it makes sense the level of durability. 

Heel-to-toe, both shoes offer a solid, comfortable running shoe for runners. I have generally felt like the transition in Brooks shoes is slightly smoother than in Asics.

I also felt as if I have better traction and movement with Brooks blown rubber outsole over Asics when it comes to wet surfaces or tight turns.

Comfort

 Brooks running shoes provide a comforting, soft, and smooth ride to neutral runners while Asics provides a quiet ride coupled with maximum protection from the rugged road for long runs.

After breaking the Brooks in, they are very responsive to what my needs are and were plush for a long period of time.

I attribute this to Brooks’ DNA Loft midsole and Omega Flex Grooves, which contribute to plush yet responsive ride that most look for in a daily trainer.

The arch support of the Asics seemed to be firmer than Brooks initially. When I was training for my first marathon I did it in Asics.

The Asics running models offer GEL technology and Flytefoam feel firmer and offer slightly more support than the standard Brooks DNA midsole foam. However, once I got closer to race day, I made the switch to Brooks.

ASICS Men's Gel-Nimbus 22 Running Shoes, 6M, Carrier Grey/Lime Zest

 Both shoes will offer you great comfort so you can focus more on your running time, distance and workout rather than comfort and durability. 

Are you a runner who likes long runs or short runs?

Depending on your answer to the number of hours you run, you can settle on either Brooks or Asics.

Brooks Men's Ghost 13, Deep Cobalt/Grey/Navy, 12.5 Medium

Cushion

 Overall, both are VERY cushioned and comfortable to run in and the mesh and uppers are consistent on both - quality made.

 Both shoes provide maximum cushioning for your feet in that; Brooks and Asics running shoe brands both feature and engineered upper mesh with no-sew overlays for a complete structure that adds support to your toes, midfoot, and forefoot.

The Asics shoes are coupled with fluid-fit on the upper interior to anchor your foot in place while Brooks has 3D compatible overlays printed on the top interior to provide  a complete structure and support to your toes just like in Asics.

Brooks now also provides a two-color knitted upper for enhanced breathability and softness. This is comparable to Asics’ EVA sockliker, which also seeks to provide a sleek and cushioned internal comfort.

ASICS Men's Gel-Nimbus 22 Running Shoes, 7.5M, White/Sunrise Red

Midsole

 This DNA midsole is specific to making sure you have enough support during runs on all terrains. 

 Although both Brooks and Asics provide good support behind the heel, Asics has robust heel counter to firmly lock your heel down called an External Heel Clutch, which is an exoskeletal structure that wraps the heel for a secure fit, with a new X-shaped structure lined with memory foam for a personalized fit and anchors your heel in place as your sport.

Also, its midsole is coupled with sturdiness to offer you maximum midfoot cushioning for your preferred running shoes.

Brooks vs Asics - Asics has great midsole cushioning with additional super DNA to protect your feet from the rugged terrains or regular ground you may encounter as you run.

This is coupled with a Segmented Crash Pad that flexes with the foot, offering customized cushioning and stability for a smooth heel-to-toe transition.

Brooks Men's Ghost 13, Deep Cobalt/Grey/Navy, 12.5 Medium

Transition

 According to the shoe tests lab report finding; Asics is cushier that Brooks in the forefoot and the heels with the difference being greater by approximately twenty percent.

Meaning if you prefer a relatively soft ride, the Asics will be a better choice compared to Brooks.

However, this does not mean that Brooks running shoes will not offer you a smooth ride because like we earlier said, Brooks equally provide your feet excellent foam support.

It is the same assumption that different runners will prefer different levels/types of cushioning from Brooks and Asics, so your best bet is to try on a couple of pairs from both brands for best success.

Keep in mind Brooks  are perfect for neutral runners and Asics have often been known to have some of the best support running shoe models. Both are clearly top of the line running shoes. 

ASICS Men's Gel-Nimbus 22 Running Shoes, 7.5M, White/Sunrise Red

Rubber Outsole

 The exterior of your running shoes must be of significant consideration given that running involves a lot of terrains from smooth to rough transition.

The rubber outsoles of Asics and Brooks differ in a couple of ways; Asics features a primary traditional outsole with a rift of separation between the rearfoot and forefoot whereas Brooks has an outer sole that offers full anchor contact throughout your sporting activities.

 You can, therefore, expect to receive a smoother transition from heel-strike to toe-off when you wear Brooks compared to your sporting events in Asics.

Brooks Men's Ghost 13, Deep Cobalt/Grey/Navy, 12.5 Medium

Asics shoes have most recently been equipped with ASICS High Abrasion Rubber (AHAR), which is placed in critical areas for added traction and durability.

This is in comparison to Brooks Blown Rubber, which offers a nice blend of durability, responsiveness, and flexibility.

But remember, both outsoles have designed horizontal flex grooves (solid foam) to assist in the extra flexibility of the shoes.

The shoes are stiff or firmer for women and at the same time, they provide an equal amount of stiffness and flexibility.

I would look at your running gait, as this may impact the durability of the shoe. If you tend to wear out a certain part of shoes, buying either one of these might not solve your problem.

I don't believe a stride impacts the durability of the shoe as long as you are not dragging your feet with every stride.

ASICS Men's Gel-Nimbus 22 Running Shoes, 7.5M, White/Sunrise Red

Pricing and Affordability

 Well, some Asics are easier on the wallet than others, Whereas, looking at the Brooks website you can find a wide price range too. Brooks rolls out some limited edition shoes where it is easy to drop $250+ on a pair.

Sometimes they even have specials not found anywhere else.

Brooks and Asics both make quality shoes in a standard “affordable” price range of $100-$120, which offer all the quality features of each brand without any extras frills, so it is worth it to take a look at those models.

If you have the money and tend to buy shoes that are neutral, go for Brooks but if you are looking for a supportive shoe with great “all-around” value, consider purchasing Asics.

Both shoes work well for beginners and long-distance runners.

ASICS Women's Gel-Nimbus 23 Running Shoes, 11W, Grand Shark/Digital Aqua
  • Multi-directional engineered mesh upper is soft and breathable and stretchy
  • Lace up closure for a secure fit with a stretchy midfoot panel that hugs the foot and offers better flexibility
  • ORTHOLITE X-55 sockliner

Fitting

Fitting is an individualistic issue for all runners, as shoe brands like Brooks and Asics can vary in fit and feel due to the plethora of different models, but here is my opinion.

Quite frankly both Brooks and Asics fit well, I switched from Asics to Brooks and will never go back and others have done the opposite. It's all personal preference.  

Besides, Brooks offers more stability and cushioning which prevents injuries on impact and gave me better balance compared to Asics. At the end of the day Brooks fit more comfortably to me.

I pointed out in my Brooks Revel review that the ankle cushioning was exceptional in my new pair. Something that I did not feel when I bought Gel Nimbus.

Conclusion: Brooks vs Asics

Answer: If you are shopping for a supportive racing shoe with a solid midsole that is relatively lightweight and can offer you a smooth and soft ride, Brooks running shoes could be what you are looking for.

The good news is you have a lot of options. Amazon or their website are the best places to find the widest selection.

On the other hand, if you are looking for maximum cushioning while you run above anything else, coupled with excellent support and protection from the rough roads when enjoying your long runs, settle for Asics.

Each brand might be better for one runner over another.

The running shoe’s weight depends on its size. Some product lines of Asics are lighter than Brooks and vice versa.

So based on your preferences, shoe size, running gait, and biomechanics, select the right running shoe for yourself by carefully considering comfort.

The better cushioned may equate to the better shoe and cushioning for your feet.

Runners who are just getting into their training plans while breaking in their new shoes might have different thoughts as the shoe seems stiff.

That's a byproduct of the newness of the shoe, not the training. As you continue to run in your Asics and Brooks shoes then you will notice they form to your feet better over time.

Both Brooks and Asics offer stability and cushioning for high mileage and long runs, but the difference comes in when a runner has to settle for what works for the feet.

Heel-to-toe, you are getting a quality shoe regardless of which one you choose. I think you will love either option, it's just a matter of which one you think fits your needs.

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Last update on 2021-03-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API