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Asics GEL Uncovered

April 25th, 2013

Asics GEL technology has been with us since the mid-1980′s, and millions of runners rely on it for cushioning and shock absorption. But what the heck is this stuff? Turns out, this squishy silicone-based compound is more complex than you might think.

We recently took apart an Asics GT 2000 to see what we could find out about Asics’ best-known cushioning technology. Here’s the skinny:

Diagram of Forefoot and Heel Gel Units

Heel Unit

The GEL in the heel of the GT-2000 closely matches what you would think simply by looking at the outside of the shoe. The visible GEL on the outside of the shoe is part of a cohesive piece that moves toward the center of the shoe, where a circular unit of the gel sits right under the heel.

Compared to the visible window in the midsole, the amount of gel actually decreases as you move closer to the center of the shoe. This makes sense, since the GEL here is meant to cushion heel impact forces, and during a typical heel strike, the lateral edge of the heel lands first.

The composition of the GEL in the heel is unique to the heel and is designed to disperse high impact forces and give a cushioned feeling. According to Asics, there are actually a variety of different GEL compositions and densities, depending on the shoe’s intended use. The GEL we uncovered in the GT-2000 is a bit different than that used in the Kayano or Lyte33, for instance. Read more…

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