Asics broke out of its usual mold and tried something different with its new GEL-Quantum Infinity.
This past December, Asics unleashed its newest runner and were kind enough to send us out a pair to test. I put in just over 60 miles in the Asics Gel-Quantum Infinity and here are my personal findings.
Let’s start out with the cushion system because that was its biggest selling point: the midsole is full-length Gel. If you’ve seen the marketing video for it, you can’t help but be fascinated by what looks like a giant gummy worm twisting and rippling. It just screams squish me! And to be honest, that’s exactly how it felt underfoot.
From the immediate try-on, you have step in comfort like no other. You can feel the Gel breaking apart and snapping back together as you walk around. Then when you start running, you pretty much feel nothing underfoot at all which, to be honest, is exactly what I want. Rogue rocks or random nuts from trees in your path? You don’t even notice them. The GEL sucks them up and spits them back out.
My only complaint in this department is the GEL didn’t seem to give you any added “oomph”. I looked back on my running data, because I’m a running nerd and I keep track of that sort of thing, and I found my average running mile time increased. It’s like the GEL was also sucking up my running energy but not returning any of it to me. Then again, that could have just been caused by my experience with the fit.
Speaking of the fit, it simply was not made for me and my foot. If you’ve seen any of the videos I’ve been in with Nightwing2303, you already know I have a wide foot. This makes buying shoes of any kind a struggle. Asics sent out a size 6, which is typically my regular day-to-day size for shoes. When it comes to running, I normally go up half a size to allow some extra room for swelling and toe splay. The size 6 actually did fit me well length wise, surprisingly enough. If anything, a 6.5 might have been more frustrating to run in because the back of this shoe was constantly pulling my socks down. I can only imagine how much worse the heel slip would have been.
As for width, this shoe is narrow. Narrow to the point where after that first mile, right under the ball of my foot starts pinching. By mile two, I was counting down the minutes until I could get my butt back home and take the shoes off. I averaged four to five miles each time out for those who are wondering. That’s a lot of time spent fantasizing on being done with something I normally love doing.
Lockdown, like I eluded to in the fit, was a bit of an annoyance. I never felt like I was popping out of the shoe, but the back heel would pull at my socks. The only thing I could do to remedy this was to make sure I wore socks with heel tabs and then once I had worked up enough sweat to then stop and really wrench my socks up, they’d stick a bit better. Only then did everything seem to stay in place, but stopping to deal with sock issues is not something a runner wants to do.
Where the GEL midsole ends and attaches to the rest of your shoe is a plastic cup that runs around 95 percent of the shoe. It’s thickest in the back where your heel is and gradually gets slimmer as it heads to your toes. It’s not super stiff as there is some twist to the shoe which you can see in the performance video. At first, I thought maybe it helped cup your foot for stability, but upon further investigation, I found that it really just cupped the plush insole. I’m pretty sure the stability in the shoe is thanks to the very flat outsole.
Traction was never an issue for me. Along the outer edge of the GEL midsole is a good chunk of rubber that runs along the border. There are also small dots of rubber dispersed at key points of impact. I never had any slipping and I’ve been quite impressed with how durable its been. I typically grind right through the front outer edge (supinator problems) and this was not the case here. I thought for sure debris from the trails were going to shred the GEL but it has held up very well.
As far as materials go, the upper is a very thick, one-piece textile material. I feel this added to my issues with the fit. Between the width not being wide enough to the stiffness and low stretch of the materials, there wasn’t really any give in the upper for foot expansion. I will say that the heel is definitely padded, like a sponge, and it feels like it had been put through the ringer once I was done.
Side note: There are no reflective pieces on the shoe. Not even along the back heel. I’ve always thought of that as a running staple. Instead, they swapped it out with some gold stithing up the rear to bling this up a bit. The brightest thing on my particular pair is the Asics logo along the side, but it doesn’t reflect. As a runner who does a major chunk of her running where there are cars, I’d like more reflective material just in case.
Overall, it was a fun experience, this being my first official wear-test. I just wish my findings had been amazing. The shoe is priced at $180 and I think that’s very high. You can pick up two or three great running shoes from last year’s line for that price and consider yourself set for the rest of the year. I normally keep my running shoes completely separate from my every day shoes, and once I’m done with them, I can’t even donate them because they’re so gross.
Now that I’ve painted that graphic picture, when we were done filming for the performance review, I actually wore these while we worked on other projects for a good couple hours. These shoes were perfectly comfortable for that. So, if you like the look and you’re using them for casual purposes or a gym workout and you don’t mind the price point, then go for it. The cushion alone is really neat. I just feel like the rest of the shoe needs to be tweaked a bit to accommodate a wider variety of foot shapes.
While the cushion was a fun aspect of the shoe, something I haven’t felt before, I wouldn’t want to run in them again. Well, maybe I would, if they were wider.