ASICS 33-FA | First Look

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ASICS 33-FA Women’s Shoe Coral/Yellow/Mint

Available February 2015. MSRP $110.00

The ASICS 33-FA uses AmpliFoam to deliver a resilient, soft ride in a low weight, low offset package.

Tech Specs

  • Stack Height: 25mm Heel, 21mm Forefoot, 4mm offset
  • Weight: 9.2 oz (Men’s size 9.0), 7.5 oz (Women’s Size 7.0)

Competing Shoes

  • HOKA ONE ONE Huaka – MSRP $150
  • New Balance 980 – MSRP $110
  • Saucony Zealot – MSRP $130

What does the 33 designation mean?

Embodied in the name of ASICS upcoming natural series, 33 refers to the number of joints found in the human foot. Inspired to create a low offset experience, ASICS infused natural running concepts into all three model designs being released in 2015. Current ASICS 33 models (The Excel33, Electro33, Super J33, Lyte 33 models) utilize ASICS Gel for shock absorption, FluidAxis geometry for smooth shoe function, a Natural33 Last for a rounded toebox shape, and varied heel-toe offsets of 6mm and 10mm.

With the 33-FA, ASICS plunges deeper into “natural running”, using a heel-toe offset of 4mm for a more level foot position. Additionally, the ASICS Gel insets have been replaced with AmpliFoam that runs the entire length of the midsole. AmpliFoam is a low density foam that provides consistent cushioning opposed to the spot cushioning of Gel, while delivering a soft ride that is unique in terms of being as resilient and durable as some firmer foams. The 33-FA follows suit of previous 33 models, by incorporating FluidAxis and the Natural33 Last.

FluidAxis under the heel (Sample shown)

What is happening with the ASICS 33 line?

The current, neutral ASICS 33 shoes, Gel-Lyte33  and Gel-Excel33, will be gone by the end of 2014. The supportive Gel-Super J33 and Gel-Electro33 will likely be terminated in June of 2015. Starting February 2015, the 33 line will be reshaped with the 33-FA, a performance-oriented 33 shoe called the 33-DFA and a maximal shoe called the 33-M (First Looks to come on these!).

Why are the new 33 shoes starting to sound like car names?

Just as the auto industry has discovered, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get names approved through the legal process of trademarking. As a result, names which are a combination of numbers and letters are easier to acquire.  In regards to the 33-FA, the FA stands for “FluidAxis”, which refers to ASICS’ X-shaped flex groove technology that enables the natural rotation of the foot while running.

Is AmpliFoam similar to New Balance FreshFoam?

While we don’t have any information on the chemical make-up of ASICS AmpliFoam and New Balance FreshFoam, there seems to be some notable differences between the two. AmpliFoam is a fairly low-density foam that still offers sufficient durability, while FreshFoam takes advantage of 3D printing to create geometries within the midsole to deliver a desired ride. That being said, the 33-FA compares favorably with the New Balance 980. Both shoes have a 4mm offsets, the same stack heights, and should be within one to two-tenths of an ounce of each other. We expect the 33-FA to deliver a softer ride, where as the 980 should feel a little firmer and faster during heel-to-toe transition.

Other than the New Balance 980 are there any other similar shoes to the ASICS 33-FA?

The HOKA One One Huaka is almost identical in weight and stack heights and while we haven’t had a chance to run in the 33-FA, we expect the Huaka to be the softer feeling shoe among the two. The new Saucony Zealot, also expected to launch February 2015, will be a leading competitor as well. Lastly, the slightly closer to the ground Brooks PureFlow would be on the edge of being in the same realm.

How does the 33-FA fit into the ASICS line-up?

The 33-FA will fill in the performance void being left by the departure of the Gel Lyte33 and Gel Excel33, while moving the 33 series towards a more natural-oriented running shoe. ASICS neutral performance trainers before the Gel Lyte33 and Gel Excel33, such as the Speedstar and Skyspeed, had 10mm offsets. The Gel Excel33 continued this trend, while the Gel Lyte33, with its 6mm offset, gave the brand a low profile option for customers.  While the 33-FA has a closer heel-to-toe offset to the Gel Lyte33 at 4mm, it will most directly replace the Gel Excel33 as a neutral, performance trainer with plenty of cushioning.

Look for the ASICS 33-FA to launch February 2015!

ASICS 33-FA Men's Shoe Blue/Black/Green

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