In as much of a curveball as you're likely to get from Asics in their award-winnigest product line over the past decade (the GT Series), the new-for-2013 GT-2000 is a major update in name as much as it is in technology. The departure from the traditional naming convention (starting with the original GT-2000 in 1995, adding 10 to the number each year up through this year's 2170) will make way for a more memorable product name: going forward, version designations will simply be distinguished by a v2, v3, v4, etc. appended to the GT-2000 moniker.
As a few brands have learned over the years, radically, or even subtly changing your product names with each version can lead to significant consumer confusion, and at times can alienate users altogether. But as Nike Pegasus wearers of yore and today can attest, the Pegasus begat the Pegasus, which begat the Pegasus, the Pegasus, and the Pegasus, etc... If it's worked for Nike for nearly 30 years, it'll certainly work for the Asics workhorse.
But you're not here for a primer on shoe-naming. You want to know how the shoe stacks up to its direct predecessor, the GT-2170, and how it stands on its own as the bedrock of the moderate stability category. For our review, we'll break it down into three F's: Function, Fit, and Feel.
The GT-2000, as with every version prior, is intended to be a moderate stability option for the masses. Considering that on a daily basis, up to 70% of our customer base (and in turn Asics' constituency) has a tendency to overpronate to some degree, the moderate stability category--those shoes which typically feature a dual-density midsole comprised of a medial post approximately the length of the arch--represents the vast majority of footwear sold both in big box and specialty running retailers.
The Asics GT series has been, and by our estimation always will be, the standard by which other moderate stability shoes are measured. Though other brands may make phenomenal offerings in the category--Brooks, Saucony, Adidas, Mizuno, New Balance and the like--if you're building a shoe, there's no way your R&D department isn't first grabbing a GT and giving it a good whack with the SawzAll for a peek at its guts.
That said, the new GT-2000 plays the part very well. With a modest but nonetheless substantial medial post made of Dynamic DuoMax (a denser EVA foam than its neighboring SoLyte), the GT-2000 plays nice with slight to moderate overpronators, but falls short of the motion control category by a good bit: Brooks Addiction wearers would find the GT-2000 flexible, if not flimsy, under heavily pronating arches. Beast wearers need not apply. Note: Asics' website suggests the shoe covers a spectrum of foot types from Neutral to Severe Overpronation, which we did not find to be true.
We're going to date ourselves here, but the GT-2000 fits a lot like the GT-2100 (long regarded as one of the best versions to date), with a narrower forefoot and a rounder toebox than the previous 2170. Runners with wide-ish feet will note that a (2E) width option does exist, and will be filtering its way through our stores over the coming weeks. Meanwhile runners with moderate to narrow feet will find the shoe fits positively like a glove, with a snug memory foam heel (Asics calls it Personalized Heel Fit) and a shallower upper to make for a light, airy feeling shoe. Initial wear testing has shown models to be true to size: where the prior model ran a bit shorter than usual, the GT-2000 will fit like a running shoe should--about 1/2 to a full size larger than your dress shoe size.
Typically plush, Asics midsoles and cushioning technologies (Gel pods rear and fore, with exposed Gel in the heel) abound, making for an appropriately soft, yet springy feel underfoot. Runners with a heavy heelstrike will take advantage of the ample squish and decoupling in the rearfoot, and those with a more midfoot-strike will appreciate the Gel pods under the metatarsal heads.
Furthermore, the heel-toe offset drops down a bit to 21mm/11mm to allow a slightly more natural foot position and smoother ride for runners with more efficient form. Lastly, a split Guidance Trusstic piece (the plastic bit that bridges the heel to the forefoot) provides a better transition from heel to to toe while also allowing for a slight weight savings due to the removal of extraneous plastic. The GT-2000 weighs in at 9.3oz in the sample size, something of a feat for better cushioning and the amount of stability the shoe affords its users.
Runners using the GT-2170--or its cousins the Brooks GTS, Saucony Guide, and New Balance 860--will find the support plenty familiar, with a slightly better underfoot feel than in years past. The re-engineering of the midsole and repositioning of cushioning elements makes for a decidedly different feeling GT, but we feel runners will adapt quickly to the change and will ultimately love what has been done to the shoe. Runners who needed the more ample upper and wider midsole in recent GT versions might find the GT-2000 a bit on the snug side, but the (2E) and (D) widths (men and women, respectively) will quickly solve any fit issues. Lastly, the life expectancy of the midsole is consistent with prior versions, with most runners finding their shoes last between 300-400 miles, after which the cushioning will become suspect.