Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Asics Gel Tarther Review

The Tarther is making it's US debut this year, previously only being sold in Japan. However while Japan is usually famous for their love of minimalist shoe styles, I'd peg the Tarther as a more conservative flat. It's a great lightweight shoe for someone looking to do more running in flats ,but too intimidated by the more minimalist Asics Gel Hyperspeed 4's, Asics Piranhas, or Adidas AdiZero Rockets.


It actually ties the Hyperspeed's for weight at 7.2oz, but there are some key differences to notice. First, it has a very rigid arch support structure. Personally I like my shoes as flexible as possible so I'd avoid this, but for someone transitioning from a heavier, even more supportive shoe, this might be a good place to start. Second, the bottom forefoot of the shoes uses a harder material often used on racing flats. While it saves weight compared to rubber I've always found these types of grips to make an annoying noise early on, and wear out much quicker than a more traditional bottom. It might work well for races but if you're looking for an everyday flat to wear as a trainer keep this in mind. Lastly, the heel to toe difference is very noticeable compared to the Hyperspeeds - the Tarther sports a 9mm difference compared to the Hyperspeed's 5mm drop. Again if you're a minimalist runner who likes as much achilles & calf flex as possible, you'll probably want to look elsewhere. However if you're looking at this as a transition shoe to get you ready for less support, or you'd like to stay on the cautious side, this might be the perfect shoe for the job. I see this as a middle shoe between switching from trainers to Hyperspeeds. 


Pros: Lightweight (7.2oz)


Cons: Hard tack instead of rubber for the grip.


Pros & Cons (depending on who you are): More arch support than the average flat, and a medium heel to toe differential at 9mm.


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