Whether by coincidence or design, two very similar looking running shoes got high profile launches over the past month. Both are fitted with the Boa System, which has been a mainstay on cycling shoes for quite some time now and is now just starting to make its appearance on running shoes. We take a look at the similarities and differences between the implementation of the technology by ASICS and New Balance.
It’s not difficult to see how two different brands arrive at similar styling, given the trend for shoes with cleaner lines this season. However, they do use different approaches to help the long distance runner achieve the best over long training sessions.
The New Balance FuelCore Sonic carries some similarity to the older NB Vazee Pace, and while the brand does not state that it is a successor, it’s simpler to think of the FuelCore Sonic as a new take on the same philosophy. The shoe’s closure uses a large flap to pull over the top of your foot, with the Boa wheel fitted low on the outside. The exposed cords are short, and most of the load distribution is taken up by the flap, which is suitably flexible to give you a secure fit.
The ASICS Dynamis looks a little more traditional, with the Boa cords going over the uppers in a standard lacing configuration. Like the FuelCore Sonic, it’s a bootie fit design, which means there isn’t a separate tongue to annoyingly shift around. Despite the thin securing cords, the Dynamis can be comfortably tightened without undue pressure over the top of your foot. The upper material does a great job of distributing the load from the lacing cord without any discernible hotspots.
While it’s obvious that rotating the Boa wheel will tighten the lacing cord down, undoing it is actually even simpler. The wheel pulls up with a click, disengaging the ratchet gears and allowing the cord to simply loosen. The thin thread-like material is officially called TX4, a blend of polyester and Dyneema, the strongest fibre in the world. Expect the shoe to wear out before the laces do.
The FuelCore Sonic features a 6mm drop, against the 8mm of the Dynamis. While the Dynamis is specifically designed for neutral to mild over pronation, the FuelCore Sonic is more neutral.
Both shoes rely on synthetic foam midsoles to do the heavy cushioning work, and there is very little to separate the performance of New Balance’s Revlite and ASICS’ FlyteFoam. The FuelCore Sonic does feel faster on the account if its lower stack and drop heights, thought the Trusstis System running the length of the ASICS shoe gives it a plenty if structural stability for something so light. Unusually, there is a Gel logo stamped at the bottom of the ASICS Dynamis, but no discernible Gel pad can be seen on the product, and press literature also does not mention anything about Gel cushioning.
In use, the FuelCore Sonic feels like the faster shoe, but that doesn’t mean the Dynamis isn’t up to scratch. The wider lacing pattern of the Dynamis feels more conducive to a better fit, and for over pronators, the visible DynaTruss medial support place beneath the instep keeps your foot from rolling inwards too much.
This pair is the first in a long line of upcoming running shoes to be fitted with the Boa System, and other brands like Underarmour have also adopted the fastening technology for this season. Things can only get more exciting from here.