running shoes

Asics Gel GT 2160 Review

Reviewed April 2 - 2011


asics gt 2160 reviewAfter our testing, we were very pleased with the performance of the Asics GT-2160.  This is a classic trainer from Asics.  This is a very popular model because it doesn’t cost as much as similar models in the Asics line, like the Kayano Series, but still provides excellent support and durability. 

This shoe is ideal for a mild to moderate overpronaters.  The newest addition by Asics to the GT-2160 model is the Guidance Line.  On the bottom of the shoe, there has been a curved path carved through the center of the tread path.  This line helps runners improve their gait cycle.

Because some of the bottom of the shoe has this curved Guidance Line carved out, it also makes the GT-2160 lighter than any of its predecessors. 


1. Features, Shoe Type and Weight

  • Shoes type
  • Features
  • Weight

Shoes type. This shoe is designed for stability.  We call this model a “trainer”.  It might be lighter than previous versions of the Asics GT-2160, but it still is heavier than racing shoes like track spikes or racing flats.  You can wear this shoe for your distance runs every day.

This shoe is designed for people who are neutral, moderate over pronators, and even severe pronators.   The Asics GT-2160 is definitely not for someone with a high arch.  This shoe is not for someone who under pronates or supinates. 

Features. We enjoyed a lot of the different features that were included in this new Asics model.  We’ll try to break down the “shoe terminology” so it is easy to understand. 

First, the Guidance Line helps runners with the “gait cycle.”  The term gait cycle means how your foot hits the ground and then how your leg carries the foot through until it hits the ground again.  If you are running and your foot repeatedly strikes the ground at an odd angle, that can put too much pressure on different parts of your leg such as your ankles, shins, or knees.  A poor gait cycle leads to injuries.  The Guidance Line helps guide your foot in the correct path as it hits the ground and then rolls forward and pushes back off the ground.

Another nice feature is the added comfort to the GT-2160.  The forefoot is constructed with a softer mesh-like material.  It keeps your feet snug and in place, but it still breathes well and feels smooth. Asics calls this material ComforDry Sockliner.  One more nice soft touch is the PHF (Personal Heel Fit) memory foam which wraps around the entire upper heal as well.  This keeps your ankle from rubbing up against any hard edges. 

Weight. The total weight is 11.7 ounces for the Asics GT-2160.  This is a lighter shoe for a trainer, as most trainers weigh between 12 and 14 ounces.  You should be aware that the weight of this shoe is based on a size eight men’s. 

One of our shoe testers wears a size 12, so the larger shoe will obviously weigh more than 11.7 ounces.

Even though this shoe is light compared to other training shoes, this doesn’t make the Asics GT-2160 a racing flat.  The Asics GT-2160 still provides excellent support and control for consistent training.

Features and Weight :


2. Wear and Comfort of the Asics GT 2160

  • Wear Comfort
  • Getting Ready to Run

Wear Comfort. This shoe feels really nice when you slip it on.  The added foam (Personal Heel Fit) around the heel collar instantly gives you the sensation that you are slipping on some nice shoes.  The soles of the shoe almost feel too squishy and squashy.  This is because some lighter foam was added to the soles of the shoe. 

Compared to more expensive models, the Asics feels luxurious.  Don’t get too caught up with this pillow like feel.  This foam tends to break down and flatten quickly after repeated use of the shoe.

The GT-2160 is similar in design to the Kayano, but this foam is in place instead of the harder Gel in the Kayano.  The Gel Kayano 17 lasts longer, but this squishy foam breaks down quicker.  Does this mean that the 2160 isn’t durable? 

Not at all. 

It just won’t have this foam feel for very long.  One feeling that doesn’t go away is the mesh fabric material that wraps around your forefoot area.  This is called the ComforDry Sockliner.  You can wiggle your toes and see the mesh move like a web around your foot. 

It’s very comfortable, and makes you never want to take off the shoes no matter if you are running or just walking around at home or work.

Getting Ready to Run. The shoe slides on nicely and it laces up just as easily.  The tongue of the shoe didn’t slide around as we tested it.  We always suggest that you run the laces through the center slit on the tongue.  This helps ensure that it won’t slide out of place. 

Comfort/Getting Ready to Run :


3. Stiffness/Flexibility, Stability and Traction

  • Stiff or Flexible
  • Stability
  • Traction

Stiff or Flexible. The 2160 by Asics provides a wonderful feel as you run.  It has a very wide and stable base throughout the bottom of the shoe.  The shoe doesn’t flex very much as your foot strikes and rolls off the ground.  The arch on this shoe is made of some very strong clear plastic.  The only place where the shoe really has some give is right at the forefoot. 

It bends just a bit as you roll forward and push off the ground.  Because of the ComforDry Sockliner, your foot feels as if it is wrapped in a silk cocoon.  This makes for a nice comfortable ride, even on longer runs. 

Stability. The base of this shoe is wide and flat, almost like a platform.  This is great for running on roads or sidewalks that are relatively flat, but if you are running on the side of a road that pitches to the side, it can be a bit disconcerting. 

You don’t want to be running and have your feet hit the ground at an angle every time.  There isn’t much curvature from the inside of the shoe, to the outside, so stick to flatter surfaces. 

asics gt 2160 shoesTraction.  If there was one gripe we had with this model is the lack of traction on the Asics GT-2160.  Asics took out a long narrow path on the outsole, which is the Guidance Line, but this doesn’t add and more grip to the shoe. 

There isn’t much but a flat rubber surface left where there is outsole.  Our traction test shows that using this shoe on wet grass or a slick trail is a recipe for disaster.  There simply isn’t much there to grab and hold on the bottom of this shoe. 

You can still run all day any day with this shoe on concrete or asphalt.  You won’t have any problems with traction then.  They also will be perfectly fine on gravel paths.  Just watch out if there is any moisture on the ground when you run on blacktop, grass, or trails.  You’ll end up skating out there!  Don’t even think about using these for running on snow!

Stiffness, stability, traction :


4. Running Performance

  • Running Easy
  • Running Moderate
  • Sprinting

Running Easy. First we jogged at a speed of six miles per hour, or ten minute mile pace.  At this speed, almost all runners strike with their heel first.  The shoe felt great at this pace.  The support and cushion at the heel, was wonderful. 

It also felt excellent as we pushed off from the arch to the forefoot.  It does take a bit of the bounce from your step away because it borders on being almost too soft and squishy. 

Don’t forget that this feeling will wear away as you work these shoes in.  This softer foam will flatten out after repeated use.

Running at a Moderate Speed. The shoe still felt great going at a moderate pace of eight miles per hour, which translates to 7 minutes and 30 seconds per mile.  The shoe has great balance and we could feel the difference in weight at this speed. 

Although it has a wide base and provides a great deal of support and comfort, it still was light and comfortable at a moderate pace.

Running near Top Speed. We had to step off the treadmill and perform this last series of tests.  It’s not wise, by the way, to run really fast on treadmills because you can’t slow down when you want to. (Just try to stay sprinting while hitting the stop or slow down button on a treadmill!)

When you are near sprinting, your body naturally starts to have your foot strike the ground towards the front.  Your heel doesn’t even touch the pavement.  At this speed, the Asics GT-2160 didn’t feel that great.  The shoe has a natural roll from the middle of the forefoot to the tips of the toes. 

This is designed for running slower so your foot cycles nicely as you run.  When sprinting, this difference in thickness from the forefoot to the toes was noticeable.  For most runners, this won’t ever be a concern.  For a track runner who is doing some faster intervals, we suggest slipping on some racing flats instead of wearing this trainer for near-top speed workouts.

Heel Drop. The heel drop on the Asics GT-2160 is 12 millimeters.  That means the heel is 12 mm higher than the forefoot.  This shoe is designed for a typical runner who strikes the ground heel first. 

This statistic is only important to runners if they are trying to run with a midfoot strike pattern.  If you run with a midfoot strike, the Asics GT-2160 is not for you. 

Running performance of the 2160 :


4. Summary of the Asics GT 2160 Review and Alternatives

  • Summary
  • Pros and Cons
  • Alternatives
  • Where to Buy

Summary. The Asics GT-2160 is perfect for a neutral or over pronator who wants a proven training shoe.  It is ideal for someone who runs often on paved paths.

If you like running on the trails or grass paths, this shoe doesn’t have good traction.  It isn’t the highest priced Asics model, but it still costs around $100.  It feels very nice at an easy or moderate pace. 

This is great for almost all distance runners.  We don’t recommend this shoe for sprint training.

Our verdict :

- Excellent Support
- Very comfortable around the whole foot (heel down to the toes)
- Lighter than a typical trainer
- Durable
- Great for Neutral to Over Pronators
- Perfect for easy to moderate paced running

- Poor traction
- Not ideal for Supinators (Under Pronation)
- Not ideal for sprint training (Running on your mid-foot or forefoot)

Alternatives. If you want the same feel as the GT2160 but also want some more traction you can check out the Pegasus 27.

Takes you to Zappos for some of the best selections for this model and other Asics models

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