Review by Stein Langlie
The GEL-Lyte 33 is my first shoe from Asics. In the past three years I’ve been slowly moving in a more minimal direction but I wouldn’t call these shoes minimalist. However they are fairly light and only have a 6mm heel-to-toe drop. I purchased these shoes because 1. Lehigh Valley 2012 marathon was approaching and I needed options, and 2. my plantar fasciitis was flaring up a bit and I needed to get something more plush into my shoe rotation.
These shoes fit into the “Asics 33 Collection”, comprised of several shoes that share technologies and some features.
What Asics says about the Lyte 33 running shoes
Lower, Lighter, Faster. With new Featherweight ASICS Speed Technology (F.A.S.T.) the GEL-Lyte33™ brings new meaning to the ASICS 33 Collection™. This exciting addition is not only the lightest model (8.6 oz. men’s, 6.8 oz. women’s) but also the most flexible. With the GEL-Lyte33™, runners can now experience running at the speed of Lyte.
- Solyte® Midsole Material: A lighter weight midsole compound than ASICS’ standard EVA and SpEVA®. Also features enhanced cushioning and durability.
- Guidance Line®: Vertical flex groove decouples the tooling along the line of progression for enhanced gait efficiency.
- AHAR®: Acronym for ASICS® High Abrasion Rubber. Placed in critical areas of the outsole for exceptional durability.
- Rearfoot GEL® Cushioning System: Attenuates shock during impact phase and allows for a smooth transition to midstance.
- Weight: 8.6 oz
- Asics’ promo video says that “…this is their lightest, most flexible shoe in their 33 collection but without sacrificing the fit, cushioning or support that tends to be the price you pay for most natural running footwear.” Of course, as they say, it all comes down to “F.A.S.T” or “Featherweight Asics Speed Technology!” Wow, that’s some awesome marketing lingo!
With the seamless upper construction, firm but supple cushioning, and snug fit these shoes feel great. The Lyte 33 is fairly flexible and doesn’t motion-control your foot. The 6mm heel-toe drop is just enough to encourage a slight lean without forcing a heel strike. I tend to land “flat” in these rather than on the ball of my foot. With the segmented sole and pliable midsole material these shoes are flexible and feel fast. I’ve been wearing the Lyte 33 when my feet are feeling a little fatigued “from yesterday” or if I know there is going to be some serious downhill pounding. The GEL cushioning is also ideal for dry and slightly rocky trail conditions like a gravel double-track or rail-trail – but I wouldn’t wear them in muddy conditions or on a lengthy single-track run.
Rocks gets wedged into the Guidance Line groove in the sole on almost every run – I keep finding them when I take the shoes off. The “AHAR” or High Abrasion Rubber is not on the outside edges of the shoe, but rather the inside. Since mid/fore-foot strikers tend to land on the outside edge (anecdotally anyways) it seems to me like the “AHAR” should be on the opposite edge of the shoe. These shoes feel great but I wish they had a slightly wider toebox/footprint and the stack height was a bit lower.
I almost wore these to the Lehigh Marathon but with only about 10 miles in them I played it safe with the Kinvara 3. Looking back I’m certain the Lyte 33 would have worked great for the marathon. I wore these shoes for a local 10K and they worked out great. So far these shoes have 77 miles on them with runs ranging from five to twelve miles. At 8.6 oz I personally wouldn’t call them “featherweight” but they are pretty light and feel good. And, while I think “natural running” represents more of a marketing message than a truly minimal shoe I have to admit that these shoes feel good on my feet. I will keep the Lyte 33 in my rotation for a while.