High quality athletic shoes can make or break your fitness regime. Whether you’re working out regularly at the gym or going on long runs every morning, you want shoes equipped to handle the strain. The best athletic shoes support and cradle your feet while still being lightweight, easy to use, and ultimately comfortable.
Nike and ASICS are two of the top manufacturers of running shoes and other athletic footwear. Both have high-quality construction and dozens of available designs. Both companies make billions of dollars per year and have stores in dozens of countries worldwide.
So how do the shoes tend to differ? Does one company have a manufacturing advantage over the other? We’ve compared different ASICS and Nike shoes to get a sense of each company’s priorities.
ASICS is a manufacturer of athletic shoes that creates dozens of different shoes to suit different purposes. The majority of ASICS designs use a tried-and-true approach with just a few innovations, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel. Since the designers tend to be more conservative in their ideas, ASICS prioritizes the comfort and support of the wearer. ASICS shoes have a certain aesthetic appeal, but they aren’t as high-fashion as some other brands on the market.
Nearly every pair of ASICS shoes integrates a layer of gel cushioning into the midsole. Some runners prefer the feeling of gel cushioning due to the support it offers, while others prefer air cushioning because of the bounce-back. For some runners, it’s hard to tell the difference between air and gel cushioning.
ASICS sometimes designs for a different clientele than Nike. While Nike prefers to appeal to the average athlete, ASICS designs shoes that are optimized for runners with different foot issues. For people with wider feet, ASICS has more athletic shoe design options than nearly any other brand on the market. ASICS shoes are sized about the same as Nike shoes, but they tend to run wider.
ASICS creates affordable footwear as well. The company’s running shoes tend to be significantly less expensive than Nike shoes of similar quality. This means that they’re the best choice for athletes who are shopping on a budget.
Nike is one of the most successful shoe companies in the world. The brand prioritizes innovation, so they’re constantly creating new technology to suit different people’s needs. Nike shoes are among the most technologically advanced available, and the designers try to use innovative methods rather than relying on tradition.
This means that shoes made by Nike tend to have a much wider range in design. Some are experimental and might not be popular on the market. Others are upgrades on classic sneakers. Most Nike shoes rely on foam and air cushioning instead of gel cushioning. This can increase the bounce-back and help runners conserve energy, but it sometimes offers less support than a gel footbed.
Though runners with narrow and average feet shouldn’t have any issue with Nike’s sizing, people with wider feet should be cautious. Nike shoes can sometimes fit a bit narrow, so it’s worth double checking the sizing guidelines and seeing what others have said about the fit before you make a purchase.
Nike shoes tend to be more expensive than ASICS. Part of this is because you’re investing in the brand. Nike sneakers are often seen as a status symbol in the athletic wear communities. For those who are concerned about fashion and aesthetic, Nike shoes follow the latest athletic trends with aplomb.
There’s no question that both ASICS and Nike create dozens of different designs for high-quality footwear. It’s hard to make generalized statements since each company has shoes that are optimized for highly specific needs and budgets. When you compare the best shoes on the market, Nike and ASICS will nearly always both have a place on the list.
ASICS shoes tend to be more affordable than Nike, making them good for people shopping within budget constrains. They also tend to have a better fit for individuals with wide feet. The gel cushioning offers ideal support for standing, working out, running long distance, and engaging in shorter sprints.
By comparison, Nike tends to offer more expensive running shoes that use pioneering technology created by the company. Nike employs teams of engineers who test different hypotheses to create new technology and improve upon old designs. Some of Nike’s offerings are new for this season, and some are classic designs that have been available for decades.
Nike’s fit tends to run true to size, and it may be a bit too snug for people with wide feet. The athletic shoes have less of a focus on support. Most support involves air or foam cushioning, which propels runners forward and helps conserve energy during long distance runs.
As long as you do your research to make sure that the shoe will fit your foot, and you’ve chosen a design that’s made for people with your specific needs, it’s hard to go wrong with either of these brands.
As a general rule, ASICS designs tend to focus on comfort and support. They use gel cushioning in the soles, and they tend to focus more on practicality than style. These are the shoes you want if you’re looking for super comfy and supportive options.
Nike’s designs tend to be more varied and experimental. There are Nike shoes optimized for nearly every different type of sport and fitness level. Nike typically uses foam cushioning for the midsole, and the shoes are much more fashion-forward and trendy than with the ASICS.