Everywhere you turn, it’s easy to find a shoe review for every shoe brand and model on the market. You can find reviews from professionals, self-proclaimed experts, shoe enthusiasts, coaches, Chris MacLeod, and from the brand representatives. Recently, Asics gave us an opportunity to take a shoe and slap it on one of our training members in order to get some raw, non-tech-speak feedback. One of our training members, Dana Foster, sat down with Coach Jimmie to discuss her findings.
First, a little word from our Asics Rep, Jared Carson.
The update to the Gel-Excel33 3 has several updates to it, making it, in my opinion the best version of all! First, the shoe has a completely new last to it, we call our Oblique last, creating a snugger fit in the heel and midfoot, while providing plenty of room in the toe box for a more natural feel. Second, we’ve incorporated our FluidRide midsole, creating a nice balance between soft and responsive while offering super smooth ride. And to top it off, this version comes in an ounce lighter than its’ predecessor! Great option for someone looking for a lighter shoe but something that still offers plenty of protection.
Now, let’s move on to the interview with training member Dana Foster.
CJ: Hi Dana, before we get into the shoe questions, let’s learn a little bit more about you and your training.
DF: Ummmm, okay.
CJ: We know you took a little break from Rogue, but give us a breakdown of what made you initially sign up with Rogue, and ultimately what brought you back.
DF: Honestly, I joined because of a Groupon offered for the intro class in January 2013. I ran a little on my own before, but I didn’t have the knowledge and skills I needed to stay in shape and train properly. I ended up falling in love with Rogue and the positive, encouraging environment it provides for the members. I kind of felt a little hole in my heart when I left and decided to join again in October 2013. I also really want to beat Dr. Tuggle again in a 10K. (giggles) The first time I beat him was in 2009, and we’re due for another competition. I know this go around, with my Rogue training, I’ll not only beat Tuggle, but I’ll put the smack down on him!
CJ: (laughs) That’s AWESOME! We won’t share this with Dr. Tuggle, and let it be a surprise as you blow past him to the finish line. What program are you current in? What are your goals for your current program?
DF: I’m in the spring 2014 half-marathon group, and one of my goals is to run a race longer than a 10K. I’m currently signed up for the Austin 10/20, which I think will be a good first “long race” to have.
CJ: Awesome! Goals are nice because they provide you with a target, and once you meet them it allows you to reflect where you were when you started versus where you are once you achieve them.
DF: Very true. I like having goals because they keep me accountable for my training, and give me something to work towards.
CJ: What is your favorite workout, and why?
DF: Call me “Dana Bobby”, because…
CJ: (interrupts) She’s making a left turn!
DF: (laughs) I wanna go fast!! I love speed work, so straights and curves are my favorite quality workout.
CJ: I can see where that would be your favorite workout. Especially since, word on the street is you like to high-five your Coach at every turn! It also came to my attention that you loved the time your Coach had y’all running backwards during the curve portion of the workout.
DF: (laughs). Yeah, I’m not real sure about that, on either account. He’s off my Christmas card list after that backward running experiment!
CJ: You’ve indicated that you will be running the Austin 10/20 to cap off your current training program. Have you glanced ahead as to what you’ll do after the 10/20?
DF: The 10/20 is right around the corner, but yes I have started to look beyond that race. I took last summer off from training with Rogue, but don’t want to feel like I have to start all over again so I’m planning to sign up for winter half-marathon training and find a race to go complete.
CJ: There you go! The nice part about winter half-marathon training is it gives you many options in terms of a program completion race. You’ve got San Antonio, New Orleans, Dallas, BCS, and a slew of other races that the training block can get you ready for.
DF: BCS? I could easily go run with the Aggies (laughs).
CJ: To date, what has been your most exciting accomplishment during your training?
DF: I actually have two. In May of 2013, I ran my fastest 5K at 27:38 and on Saturday, February the 22nd I ran my first ten miles EVER! I did a little dance at mile six (see below) because I knew I’d make it to ten miles and was so happy.
CJ: Fantastic! As your Coach, I’m proud to get to be part of that.
CJ: Okay, now let’s dive into the shoe. Sometimes it’s difficult to move out of a brand/ style of shoe, as we all get comfortable and maybe fear change. Were you nervous about trying a shoe outside of what was working for you? Were you hesitant?
DF: Yes and no. Most of the time I’m willing to try something new, but I do really love the current shoe I run in. I’ve been in that brand/ model shoe the entire time I’ve trained with Rogue so they’re kind of special.
CJ: Knowing you are an efficient runner, talk a little bit about the mid foot cushioning. Is there too little? Is there too much? Or is there just the right amount?
DF: At my current mileage demands, the shoe offers just the right amount of cushioning. As my feet are getting stronger, I like the lighter aspect of the shoe.
CJ: Share with us your thoughts about the shoe in terms the upper material, the room in the toe box, and the responsiveness of the shoe.
DF: The upper material of the shoe appears to be lighter than my current shoe, and it allows for increased flexibility. There’s plenty of room in the toe box so my feet never feel like they are scrunched up. It took me a few runs to get used to the quick reaction I get in terms of responsiveness, but I enjoy the fact that I feel speedier while running. Is speedier a word? Don’t tell anyone I’m a teacher (laughs).
CJ: Would you say the shoe works well for your long runs, as well as your quality workouts?
DF: I prefer the shoe for quality workouts and runs less than 8 miles because of the minimalist feel. I could see it appealing to runners who want to work on their speed or training for a 10K. As my feet become stronger, the shoes might feel better on the longer distances I just have a little more work to do to get there.
CJ: Let’s be honest. Although the aesthetics of the shoe shouldn’t really matter, from a style perspective what do you think?
DF: The shoes definitely make a statement with the bright colors, but that’s one of the characteristics I like the most. Bright shoes make me want to JFR!
CJ: Gotta make a statement, right?
DF: (laughs) Yeah, I want a shoe to be functional, but a pretty shoe is nice too.
CJ: No doubt!
CJ: Did you find any negatives about the shoe? It’s okay if you have some. Sometimes it’s okay to call someone’s baby ugly (laughs).
DF: Not my baby, or course! If I have to give a disadvantage about the shoe, I’d say the material is a little thin for me. I’m afraid I might wear them out sooner than later. It’s still early, so I can be swayed away from this feeling, but as of now this is what I’m thinking.
CJ: Anything you’d like to see Asics change about the shoe?
DF: I think Asics put out a quality shoe that, like all products, will appeal to some people and not to others. It get’s the job done, and I’ve really enjoyed my time in them thus far.
CJ: So, here’s the toughest question of the day. Would you recommend the shoe to others? Why or why not?
DF: Absolutely! Like I said, I do believe it will wear out faster as my mileage increases, but it would be perfect for runners just starting out or those who want a quality workout shoe.
CJ: Well, Dana, I really appreciate you not only test driving the shoe, but for taking a little time to offer your thoughts and opinions. It’s refreshing to get a viewpoint from someone who is not necessarily in the “business”.
DF: Thanks Coach!
CJ: Can I get a high-five?
DF: (blank stare).
DF: Let’s see how my race goes (laughs).
CJ: Any last words before we conclude?
DF: I’m Dana Foster, I test drove the Asics Gel-Excel 33 V3, I like to give my Coach high-fives, and I am Rogue.
Well, there you have it. An honest, down to Earth shoe review from a Rogue training member. Swing by Rogue, try the shoe and see if you agree or disagree with Dana. Until next time.
Like what you hear from Coach Jimmie? Join him for the Into to Running this May in Cedar Park for only $39.