Asics Gel-Ikaia 7: A sturdy backup running option

Asics Gel IkaiaSearching for an affordable backup pair of running shoes, the Asics Gel-Ikaia is a safe bet.

Experts say you should retire a pair of running shoes when they reach the 500-mile mark. I’ve found some of mine tend to tail off noticeably around 350 miles.

Surprisingly I’ve never had two pairs of road running trainers on the go at one time. So this led to me hunting down a decent backup I could use on rotation with my main pair, themselves just a few months old.

The Asics Gel Ikaia 7 is what I settled on. Early impressions from their outings are good. Notably I can’t recall a pair that has been so comfortable from the get-go.

While this one sounds a little like a well-known Swedish shopping giant, there are endless lines of Asics gel shoes. There’s the Gel Kayano, Gel Venture, Gel Nimbus, Gel Excite. You get the gist. I found mine for just under ?30.

They are supportive, particularly through a sturdy midsole. Taking a size 11.5 UK (US 12) they don’t feel too heavy and like they’re slowing me down too much. A light and airy mesh upper is also welcome in the current warmer temperatures.

While I spend some time on trails, the road takes by far the heavier percentage of my yearly running. Therefore I usually go for trainers that are well-cushioned.

In the case of the Ikaia’s, once the gel cushioning kicks in, the heel support on impact feels nice and bouncy. Even though I’m just over 6ft tall, I find they provide a little extra height as I run. Asics Gel Ikaia

Some runners will be put off by the chunkier sole. But for a neutral gait runner like me, sometimes functionality feels better over the shoe being too lightweight. However, what is robust for me may prove clunky for others. That’s why there’s so much choice available in running shoes.

The Ikaia 7 can make a worthy gym trainer too. And while I’ve tested them out on hard trails, they’re not really cut out for this.

Despite being an ideal stability shoe, the nature of rocky, uneven trail running means after a short time they start hurting the soles of your feet. Stick to smooth road surfaces then.

In speedier terms they don’t match up to my other pair (Reebok Forever Floatride’s), and I wouldn’t plump for them on a race day. But as a choice to stretch out your No1 pair, they’re a comfortable option at an affordable price.

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