by John Schrup
I know. I had to.
The GT series has been one of the most popular running shoes across the globe for more than a decade. It’s like a Toyota Camry, except shoes. Never flashy or remarkable other than the consistency, with a minor tweak here or there. ASICS are finally forced to change what once was the archetypal stability running shoe due to market pressures to go lighter, leaner, blingier. Okay, let’s not use the word change, because that’s for politicians; instead let’s use the word “repackage.”
Back in the day, or 1996, one of my all-time favorite shoes, the ASICS GT 2020 was the shit. Ugly as all get out, at least by today’s standards—it was all white with just enough of the black accenting so that it didn’t look like the shoes you wear when you go get your Luann at the Luby’s over there. I can’t really remember what I liked about them, because those were the “Are you gonna finish that drink?” years. I remember feeling very fast in them, that they fit right on the money and it was the first pair of stability shoes I ever had, because some dude in the running shop back home looked at my flat ass feet and told me I needed them. So, yeah. Pretty sure it was mostly the fit that I liked, which ASICS promptly screwed up with the 2030 when they narrowed the toe box. Remember those? With the blue and yellow.
Anyway, I forgot about the 2020’s for years, ‘til round about ’01-’02 or thereabouts when I got a pair of the Puma that were bad to the ass. The Complete Pryde II or something like that. It was basically the 2020, with the Puma logo and it was navy. I loved the shit out of that shoe. I don’t know why you needed to know that, but there you go.
Over the years, BA (Before Adrenaline) the GT series became the number one shoe on the planet. All those years we believed that we needed stability shoes because we were told by people who were thought to know stuff. As a general rule. Like, more than 75% of the population wore stability shoes. But because ASICS tends to respond to the market on the, you know, slow side, and people started asking for and buying into the new generation of running shoes, the GT lost some street cred.
Which brings us to now: The GT 2000. The lighter, more colorful 20whateverweareatnow. ASICS removed some weight—good, good—and made some midsole/outsole changes that make them feel a bit smoother, but it is really more of a repackaging than a change. It’s kinda like the forty-something regular to average guy who gets divorced and then the next time you see him he’s wearing skinny jeans and a Count Chocula tshirt or some shit. The pair I’ve been wearing—no, the shoes, not the jeans—is lime green with some red, is pretty unASICS-like, so that’s good. The fit is the best part of these bad mamajamas. Glove-a-licious. New welded overlays make for a light, snug fit. They’ve retained some of the responsiveness that made them favorites among the faster crowd—at least, at one time—except now you can really feel the pillowtop they’ve added to the midsole. So it’s got nice step in feel, but once you get running, they’re decently responsive. Still feels like I’m wearing KISS boots though. (Maybe that’s a better analogy: Once top of the charts rockers get rebranded for their reunion tour!)
Anyway, if you’ve been a fan of the GTs, you’ll be an even bigger fan of these. ASICS knows better than to mess with something that’s worked well for so long, but recognizes that everything changes and the time for a change is now, and by now I mean like 5 years ago. I know tons of people who swear by the GTs and they’re going to see this model as the best of the bunch.