Asics GT-2000 3 Review

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Color: Carbon/Red pepper-black

Asics' marketing pitch: Introducing the lightest GT-2000 ever in its 20 year history.

Surfaces tested on: Road, ambient temperatures of 21° C/70° F

Upper: Mesh, synthetic leather, fused overlays, plastic heel counter.

Midsole: Triple density compression molded EVA foam, plastic midfoot shank.

Outsole: Carbon rubber heel, softer blown rubber in forefoot.

Weight: 339 gms/ 11.9 Oz for a half pair of US11/CM28.5/EUR 45.

Widths available: D-standard (reviewed) B-narrow, 2E -wide, 4E-extra wide in select colors.

The latest installment of GT-2000 3 is softer than before, and the fit becomes slightly more relaxed. However, it is NOT the lightest GT ever.
Asics GT-1000 3, Saucony Guide 8, Nike Structure 18, adidas Supernova Sequence 7 Boost
Cushioning, ventilation, transition
Not as stable as it used to be once, tongue slide, some might not like the stiffer forefoot.
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When it comes to Asics model updates, surprises are hard to pull off.

We were half-expecting this to happen, really. Visually, the GT-2000 update doesn’t reveal much, given the nature of Asics’ incremental refresh approach. The upper looks more or less the same, fundamentally. Looking at pictures, the midsole design appeared to have undergone a few evolutionary brushstrokes. But it is hard to tell how a shoe will behave until you put them to use.

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The Kayano 21 became softer, and so did the GT-1000 3. So in the natural order of things, what would follow next?

However, we had an inkling of how the GT-2000 3 would feel like, even before it hit blacktop. You see, we’re done reviewing the GT-1000 3 and Kayano 21 a couple of months ago, and you know what happened to both of them. They became softer to run in compared to their past selves, helped by some tinkering below the upper.

After a few runs in the new GT-2000, it became evident that we assumed correctly. As it turns out, the GT-2000 3’s claim to fame is its new, softer level of cushioning, binding it with the GT-1000 3 and Kayano 21’s repurposed mannerisms. And no, it’s not the lightweight boast splashed on Asics webpages; in fact the new GT-2000 3 is heavier than last year’s GT-2000 2 for the same size. When we first read about the GT-2000’s ‘lightest’ claim, we thought we were wrong, so both shoes were weighed -again. Same result, so this is a marketing fail. Either that, or the factory didn’t get the memo.

The upper sees some changes too, leading to a slight fit difference over the GT-2000 2. Starting today, we’re going to include an infographic which sums up the changes vs. the previous model (whenever applicable) in detail. So don’t miss it – that’s at the bottom of this review, just before the comments section.

The change in cushioning level is a sum of parts, namely the redesign of midsole stacking, foam density (midsole and insole), Gel volume and heel crash pad. The basic construction doesn’t change; two layers of midsole foam (black and white) are stacked together with forefoot and heel Gel pads embedded within. The harder density ‘Duomax’ under the arch side carries over, utilized with the intent of controlling inward foot roll.

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White foam becomes softer, the black firmer.

Foam densities have been changed on both the midsole layers. The upper portion (black) of the new GT-2000 3’s midsole becomes firmer than GT-2000 2. On the other hand, the lower midsole layer (white) gets an increased serving of squishiness.

One might be inclined to think the firmer black EVA and softer white would counteract each other and deliver zero net gains, but that’s not how this ends.

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The lower portion of midsole rests on the final contact surface – the outsole. Hence any change in its softness will impact the ride, regardless of how firm the upper layer might be.

A softer white area has a greater influence on the GT’s cushioning, because that part of the midsole is directly connected to the outsole. The GT-2000 3 sole design has multiple pieces of rubber mounted on midsole pods, so a softer base will allow better ’sink-in’ of the outsole.

The split outsole design runs across heel and forefoot, so the ‘pistoning’ effect is felt at all stages of gait cycle – starting from footstrike to transitions, and finally toe-offs.

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Bigger crash pad, combined with hard rubber pieces mounted on softer foam pods, results in a softer ride.

Keeping in line with outsole design updates on the GT-1000 and Kayano, the heel crash pad is now shaped differently. It is bigger, and now vaguely resembles a half-oval shape instead of the sort-of-triangle design from the year before.

As a result of this change, a deep flex groove cuts across the heel width. This helps splay the heel area much better than before, and hence making the cushioning feel softer upon footstrike.

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Visible heel Gel area sees an upside compared to 2013-14.

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The new GT-2000 3 (right) might appear higher in stack heights than old gen GT-2000 2 (left), but that is simply the raised midsole wall doing its thing.

And while at it, the visible area of Asics heel Gel has become bigger, cranking up lateral softness. A few might notice the GT-2000 3’s heel to sit higher than the previous version, but our read is that the stack heights remain unchanged.

Though the picture above shows otherwise, the cosmetic increase is due to higher midsole walls designed to accommodate the new plastic heel counter on the upper.

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Forefoot outsole geometry looks familiar. Softer blown rubber chunks glued on midsole. But the ‘Guidance line’, the groove which runs along the center, has become wider.

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A wider groove allows for better splaying (and of course, transition), and consequently increasing cushioning levels.

Forefoot also comes through as softer, though not to the same extent as heel. Besides the softer midsole base, we also felt an increased splaying action of the ‘Guidance line’ groove. In the GT-2000 3, this is wider than what used to be, hence making the forefoot more conducive for splay.

This can also be seen as Asics’ way of compensating stability loss; a wide guidance line also keeps the foot better centered during transitions.

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Forefoot becomes stiffer and more work to bend, as the firmer black foam swoops downwards in a ‘V’ shape.

There is decreased flexibility as the firmer black foam extends downwards at a ‘V’ shape just around the flex area. If you found the GT-2000 2 stiff, the new shoe is even more so.

This might be good news or bad. Fast pacers might actually find the stiffness productive for quick transitions, while others might find this to be more work for their feet.

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Insole design is a carry over.

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Same insole design, but we found the GT-2000 3’s foam to be softer.

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No change here, move along.

In our pairs (GT-2000 2 & 3), we found the newer insole to be slightly softer than before. Foam used seemed less denser and puffed compared to GT-2000 2, and blankets the already softer midsole with an extra dimension of padding. The strobel (SPEVA55) carries over exactly, no updates on that one.

Once you switch between the current and previous version of GT-2000, the increase in softness is instantly noticeable. More pronounced in rearfoot, where the softer foam, more Gel and crash pad splay play together to deliver cushioning. And one can’t help thinking what cost might this have on stability. The new GT-2000 3 definitely loses some of that stable feeling which was a part of GT-2000 2, as the midsole gets depleted of firmness.

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Even the Duomax insert loses a bit of firmness.

You also have to know that the previously very-firm ‘Duomax’ medial post hasn’t been spared the magic dust of softness; it loses some of its firm feel when compared to GT-2000 2.

This is the general direction in which Asics seems to be headed. The Kayano 21 for example, is supposed to be a motion control/support shoe. But if you run in the new Kayano blindfolded, there is absolutely no way you would have guessed that to be Asics’ premier support shoe. Instead, you’d be given to believe that you were wearing a plusher and softer version of the Nimbus.

While this approach is sure to net Asics a larger population of neutral runners, it has the potential to isolate old time stability loyalists.

If one wanted a firmer and stable ride, the way would be either to downmarket to a GT-1000 3, or pick a hardcore stability shoe like the 2015 Gel Fortify, among many others. The Kayano 21 and GT-2000 3 can barely be classified as stability shoes. At best, they offer some level of motion control, but that’s as far as they go.

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Taking design cues from the latest Kayano, the GT-2000 3 (right) now comes with an external heel counter.

The GT-2000 3 tries to restore some balance by bulking up the heel counter. It now comes with an external, molded heel clip similar to what’s on the new Kayano, replacing the internal stiffener. The black midsole walls rise up slightly to wrap the base, and like we mentioned earlier, makes the heel look thicker.

Does this add stability? A bit of a placebo, we’re afraid. From a functional perspective, the internal counter of GT2K-2 did as good a job.

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Reflectivity is the casualty of the new heel design, dropping a few levels from the 2013-14 GT.

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The external heel counter has the foot position move slightly rear-wards, opening up some toebox room. Collar padding is plush and comfy.

However, the plastic clip does impact overall upper fit, and happens to be one of the two upper changes worth of note.

The new external heel construction has a lesser tendency to push the foot forward.The counter sits further rear from the foot compared to the relative closeness of the internal heel stiffener. This helps the foot to sit further out in the rear, hence opening up some room in the front.

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Toe bumper has been raised higher this year. Synthetic leather has a brushed metal texture, and features the only frontal piece of reflectivity.

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1) Mesh change and change of overlay pattern position. 2) Synthetic leather toe bumper is extended over toe box. 3) Tongue is shorter.

For the same size and width as the previous GT, the refreshed GT-2000 3 comes through as a shoe with slightly more room right at the front. This is despite the redesigned toe bumper, which now extends further over the toe-box.

Speaking of which, forefoot is the second area which sees a minor fit change. The fit is snug in standard D width, similar to how the GT-2000 2 felt. That said, there are a couple of upper design changes which affect forefoot fit.

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1) Overlay pattern change, opening up some room. 2) Redesigned midsole stacking in forefoot 3) Larger visible Gel unit and higher midsole walls.

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1) Overlay pattern change, opening up some room. 2) Redesigned midsole stacking in forefoot 3) Inclusion of plastic heel counter.

In GT-2000 2, two different overlays – synthetic leather and welded overlay covered the small toe on the lateral (outer) side. This year, that overlay is reduced to a single layer of synthetic nubuck fused over mesh. This eases off some of the top down pressure on the small toe.

The same thing is repeated on the medial (inner) side, where the overlays (which cross over the big toe base) are moved towards the back.

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The medial side-only lining seen on the GT2K-2 is still a part of the upper, except that it has large holes in it, most likely for ventilation.

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Regardless, the GT-2000 3 still remains a shoe with a snug forefoot, with not much room to splay. Fortunately Asics offers four widths (B, D, 2E and 4E) in a few countries, which affords a desired level of forefoot space.

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New mesh looks cheaper than what was used on the older GT. Some of the forward overlays have been changed to synthetic Nubuck with print details on them.

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Ungusseted tongue, and a bit shorter than GT-2000 2. Slide happens.

Aesthetic and structural core of the upper remains more or the less the same. Mesh with overlays, an ungusseted tongue, standard lacing. Materials are changed, with the mesh now looking thin and unquestionably downmarket. A thinner mesh helps breathability, but the quality doesn’t befit a $120 shoe. Synthetic leather has a brushed metal texture, somewhat similar to Nimbus 16. Reflectivity has been reduced on the heel, and the tongue is a bit shorter than GT-2000 2. Midfoot wrap and arch support was average on the GT-2, and that trait carries over here.




That is pretty much the long and short of the GT-2000 3. And if you were to ask us how it compares with the lower tier GT-1000 3 and premium Kayano 21, that can be easily summed up. The Kayano 21 feels nearly twice as cushioned and plush, but with a much snugger forefoot fit. The GT-1000? Similar fit, but with less pressure over the small toe. The GT-1000 is much firmer to run in, but feels a bit lumpy in places.

(Disclaimer: For this review, solereview bought the shoe at full US retail price.)

Looking to upgrade your old GT-2000 2  to the latest version, but not sure how the 2015 model compares? We can help here. The following infographic is a ready-reckoner for what changes you might expect in the new model vs. old. To make this more fun, we’ve put in a system of percentage match, which calculates a weighted average for a set of attributes.

A higher or lower match percentage is neither good or bad. The % number just tells you how similar or distanced the new shoe is from the previous version. Total match % is a result of weighted averages.

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Got something to ask? The comment section is open, and as always, solereview will reply to every question posted.

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