although produced by asics, a great athletic company (their name is an acronym for anima sana in corpore sano after all), they are like many other businesses in their industry that produce some mass-market 'lifestyle' type of footwear. i'd venture to say that the gel galaxy 4 falls into this category.
previously i'd posted that i bought these shoes at the local value village which is a favourite haunt of mine [note: i am an avowed thrift-store junkie] - and therefore i have no idea what kind of life they lived prior to settling into my running closet. what i wanted to purchase was a pair of shoes that would (a) have a little more material to them to protect my feet during the heaviest winter weather (we can often see 15-25 cm snowfall accumulation on any given day, and down to -30°C windchill temperatures); and (b) have decent enough traction to cover the tundra-like terrain without the use of additional gripping devices. and it just so happened that on the day that i dropped into the store, these were on the men's footwear shelf:
they aren't the prettiest things ... so what made me add them to the rotation? here's just a quick rundown of key features for me:
- upper construction - this was definitely top criteria in selecting another shoe, especially from the second hand store. the overlays, the toe bumper, padded tongue/ankle/heel sections - lots of added protection against the elements. remember, i was looking for something to help me specifically with winter running.
- outsole design - it's kinda funky, don't you think?
looks a bit like a fossilized ancient squid or something ... but its precisely that off-kilter pattern and texturing, combined with the transverse forefoot flexlines that made me think that this would work in terms of providing decent traction while allowing a forefoot striker like me to still work the shoe as i needed to.
- weight - the shoes are essentially clodhoppers for me. at a little more than 11oz. in size 10.5, they're almost twice the shoe that my merrell road gloves are. it's almost like having these on your feet:
so why does this work for me? well, i knew that i would be selecting heavier shoes based on the kind of protection that i wanted ... but i also intended to use this particular pair of shoes for recovery runs (right now mondays and fridays for no more than 12km each outing) - and so it's in part helping me to stick with the discipline of not pushing too much on my easy days while still providing a good workout for my legs. keeping the turnover rate high while feeling like i've strapped weights to my feet makes me at least believe that i could be running faster.
- visibility - while i'm not entirely sure that the asics logo design on the side of the shoes is reflective, it does provide sufficient enough contrast over a large enough area that makes the shoes noticeable while running in the early pre-dawn darkness.
- sizing - beggars can't be choosers, especially when it comes to second-hand shopping. but these shoes i found in a 10.5 which provided ample enough length and surprisingly decent toebox width - no scrunched pinky toes here. the fit set these shoes apart from a couple of other pairs of runners i was able to find at the same store.
- pricepoint - now this isn't fair to be sure, as i purchased them used ... but for asics footwear, i think that these shoes would have be regular retail for about $59. i managed to pick them up for $12, and they were still in fantastic shape. their durability has held up for me (through ice, slush and salt), and so i feel like i've gotten excellent value for money.