Yesterday at my health club I couldn’t help but compliment a woman’s bright yellow Nike shoes.
“Aren’t they fun?” she asked, coming closer to show me her laces. “They’ve got off-center lacing, which helps with balance.”
I think that’s what she said about her gym shoe laces that looked straight enough to me. But I guess the lacing is off-center enough not to be totally noticeable.
Oh…okay, now I see the “Asymmetrical lacing” on the ASICS close-up pic. It’s more to the front of the lacing, not all the way up…
“I’m going to look that up,” I declared to her and myself, wondering about this new trend in running and workout shoewear.
What are the benefits of asymmetrical and off-center lacing?
These ASICS Women’s GEL-Kayano 16 Running Shoe have them, with their description touting the benefits of the off-center lacing:
“Asymmetrical lacing design reduces potential for irritation and provides improved comfort and fit…” reads the Amazon.com description.
“Asymmetrical Lacing Design – The function of this new lacing system is to align the medial and lateral quarter-panels evenly on either side of the bony topline of the foot. The benefit is an upper that moves more efficiently with the foot, minimizing the potential for irritation.”
It’s interesting to read through the the customer reviews of the new off-center lacing, and see what real runners are feeling about these laces — we’re talking women and men who run marathons, here.
“Be careful of the new design of how the laces go across your foot and make sure not to tie them up high or even a little tight,” warned one woman.
What do the men runners have to say about the asymmetrical lacing?
It’s not just the women chiming in on the new off-center lacings, but also the men on this page for the ASICS Men’s GEL-Kayano 16 Running Shoe on Amazon.
“Something about this one just feels a lot better, more snug than previous versions, it’s probably the new lacing design,” writes one verified Amazon purchaser who gave it the maximum number of stars and called it the best running shoe he’s ever had.
Another one says that yes, it is an expensive shoe, but you get what you pay for — and looks like he’s happy with that.
On the customer review page for the ASICS Men’s GEL-Kayano shoes with the new asymmetrical lacing design, another guy calls them “perfect” and says that the new lace-up system looked weird at first, but he could tell the comfort difference the minute he put them on.
Of the 36 customer reviews on the men’s running shoe as of this writing, the bulk of them are positive, with 25 people giving them a perfect 5-star rating.
Nine customers gave the shoe an almost-perfect 4-star rating, and the product only has one 2-star rating and one 1-star rating, so that bodes well for this redesign.
The off-center laces seem new for health club mavens like me…
…but apparently soccer players have been enjoying this style of laces that run up the side for years.
I haven’t tried on a new shoe with the asymmetrical lacing yet, I can understand why laces that don’t hit the top bone of your foot might feel better.
It’ll be interesting to see what people think of the new lacing structure, epecially everyday average people who wear their gym shoes a lot all around the place — just like the folks who keep commenting on my post about those “Shape-Up Shoes” that some claim hurt their backs.
I’ve turned my shape-ups into gardening shoes.
My Nike gym shoes aren’t that old — I finally got rid of the ones I’d worn for years, and come to think of it, the new ones with the pink “Just Do It” swoop swoosh thing are pretty comforable for my 5Ks on the elliptical trainer.
Plus, I take them out on the bike trail at times.
“Those are nice shoes,” one woman said about my Nike shoes at the health club yesterday, before I ran into the off-center shoe lace lady. “What kind are they?”
“My size 11 boats,” I answered, because I’d just been thinking about self-deprecatingly making fun of my big feet.
“I try to stay somewhat lady-like with the pink,” I told her, and she laughed along with me.
Off-center lacing cleats for soccer players
Googling “off-center lacing” turns up a myriad of praise — not only for gym rats but soccer players as well, like these adidas Men’s F30 TRX FG Soccer Cleats.
So maybe the lacing has helped soccer players so much that running companies are now adopting the same philosophy? Makes sense to me…
About the Nike Air Zoom Total 90 Supremacy FG, it’s been written: “Off-center speed-lacing and integrated tongue eliminates internal layers to provide optimal ball feel.”
Now that off-center lacing I can see. But others are more subtle.
I wonder if this new trend will become something lots of shoe companies will adopt along with ASICS?
The first company to come up with well-supportive shoes that make my size 11 feet look smaller and daintier, you’ll be billionaires…