Gear of the Year: Road Runners

ASICS Gel-Kinsei

ASICS Gel-Kinsei     Photo: Mark Wiens

Future Shock
Ever since that heroic, fatal dash from Marathon to Athens, runners have been looking for an edge. Here's a guaranteed advantage, whether you're going 26 miles or two. ASICS's Gear of the Year–winning Gel-Kinsei adjusts to various foot types and running styles, while improving performance across the board. The shoe's Space Age exterior conceals an equally futuristic interior, with an intricate multipiece heel system that helped the Kinsei adapt to many testers' feet while softening our runs—and speeding them up.

ASICS Gel-Kinsei (13 oz) $165 www.asicsamerica.com
1. The genius of the Kinsei is an infinitely adaptable heel component that isolates and absorbs impact to reduce pronation and aid in forward propulsion. The system uses several independent variable-density gel pods that act together to minimize shock and create a stable platform.

2. Speed is goosed with the Space Trusstic System, a midfoot thrust enhancer that creates a pocket under the midsole. Translation: Stability is maintained while pressure is released, so each foot strike provides maximum forward energy as you roll toward toe-off.

3. The Spacemaster-UV mesh in the upper stretches to create a better-than-average fit. It also adapts to your foot while in motion, preventing bunching or folding, which can lead to blisters. We also like the material's breathability, which keeps feet cool and dry.

4. The forefoot gel pods are twisted—in other words, angled on two different planes—to provide the maximum response for both landing and toe-off. These midsole inserts are embedded in Solyte, a proprietary lightweight structural material with good bounce.

5. Downsides? The Kinsei could stand to lose an ounce or two, but otherwise there's little to nitpick about. Unless you mind people watching you run. You'll feel like a celebrity in these futuristic kicks; just try to remember that it's the shoes people are staring at.

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