Wednesday, December 16, 2020

ASICS EvoRide 2 Multi Tester Review

Article by John Tribbia, Renee Krusemark and Sam Winebaum

ASICS EvoRide 2 ($120)


Introduction

Sam: The Evoride 2 is a plateless but rigid rocker based light performance trainer. It features ASICS Guidesole technology which seeks to improve efficiency by immobilizing the ankle to prevent it from flexing up and the toes from flexing down. It joins the heavier more cushioned Glide Ride 2 (RTR Review) trail Trabuco Max (RTR Review), and race Metaracer (RTR Review) as models with Guidesole tech. It updates the Evoride 1 (RTR Review) with 2mm more and softer Flytefoam on a slightly wider platform, a new outsole design, and a new upper while losing 11g /0.38 oz in my men's size 8.5. The Evoride 1 was quite firm and harsh and for me was limited to shorter speed workouts and I did few runs in them as a result. So I was curious to see if this update made the Evoride more pleasant and useful. It does!

  

Pros:

Renee/Sam: lightweight daily trainer with a smooth ride

Renee/Sam: comfortable and secure fit

John/Sam: Great energy return from rocker, comfortable fit with toe box width to splay, bounce

Sam: plateless rocker with no harshness yet with distinct toe spring


Cons:

Renee: very distinct/pronounced rocker in the forefoot might not be everyone’s favorite ride

John: durability because I wish I could squeak out 500+ miles in these, but I think 300-400 is a fair estimate

Sam: forefoot feel is a bit thin and potentially tiring over longer distances.

Stats

Approx. Weight:: men's 8.5 oz  / 241g (US9)  /  women's 7.40 oz / 210g (US8) 

  Samples: men’s 8.22 oz  / 233g (US8.5)  women’s:  7.40 oz / 210g (US8) 

Stack Height; men’s 25mm hee / 20mm forefoot : women’s 26mm heel 21mm forefoot

Available February 2021. $120

Tester Profiles

John Tribbia (5' 6", 130lbs) is a former sponsored mountain/trail runner who has run with La Sportiva, Brooks/Fleet Feet, Pearl Izumi, and Salomon. Even though he competes less frequently these days, you can still find John enjoying the daily grind of running on any surface, though his favorite terrain is 30-40% grade climbs. He has won races such as America's Uphill, Imogene Pass Run, and the US Skyrunner Vertical Kilometer Series; and he's held several FKTs on several iconic mountains in Boulder, Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah. If you follow him on Strava, you'll notice he runs at varying paces between 5 minutes/mile to 12 minutes/mile before the break of dawn almost everyday.


Renee is a former U. S. Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She has 2020 PR’s of 1:35:44 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon. 


Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 63 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5'10" tall and weighs about 163 lbs.



First Impressions and Fit

Renee: Initially, I had fun testing the EvoRide2. The shoe is comfortable overall, lightweight, and easy to run with. The pronounced rocker in the forefoot allowed for an interesting test at a variety of speeds and strides. The ride is different depending on where the foot strikes, from midfoot to forefoot. After I had a good feel for the ride of the shoe, the fun part of wearing this shoe “ran” its course. I tend to like traditional riding shoes for daily training and if I am running at a tempo pace or doing intervals, I would prefer a midsole with more pop and responsiveness. Runners who gravitate toward shoes with a rocker will enjoy the EvoRide2 as a versatile trainer or race shoe option for probably up-to the 13.1 mile distance. The fit is overall comfortable. I wore a women’s size 8, my usual size. 


John: I was excited at the chance to test the EvoRide2. I don’t get a ton of opportunities to test road shoes being mostly a trail runner, but I try to get in line when there’s a fast one up for grabs! 


What I love about this shoe right off the bat is the comfortable upper. I also really like the firmer, smooth ride, that provides stability in a lightweight package. When I put these on out of the box, I noticed a slightly firm footbed and soft engineered mesh upper. The shoe rolls well from heel-to-toe, has a noticeable response in the heel to toe transition, and feels light and nimble. Overall, the EvoRide2 has a secure fit in the heel and across the midfoot laces, while opening up in the toe box. The shoe feels very light on foot with an upper that is non-abrasive on the inside, comfortable, that provides good foothold.


Sam: I went into the test with some trepidation as the Evoride 1 was quite the firm and harsh beast. Testing Evoride 2 at the same time as the Glideride 2 I noticed walking around that the rocker of the Evoride 2 is less extreme than in the heavier more cushioned and plated (hardened EVA up front) Glideride 2. A good sign.

The fit is true to size with a relatively low volume over the instep midfoot and a nice high over  the toes front of the shoe with no overlays, if not a super wide toe box. Lace up is easy and stayed that way but I laced not as snugly as in most shoes to account for the low volume over the instep. As with all ASICS the heel hold is impeccable and secure


Upper

Renee: The upper is a comfortable, no-nonsense mesh. The breathability of the upper is good. My coldest run in the EvoRide was 17 degrees Fahrenheit while wearing thin socks and my feet were not cold. 









The toe box is roomy and spacious without being sloppy. I do not have a wide or voluminous foot, but I do like space in the toe box and forefoot areas. I had a secure and comfortable fit throughout. 









The heel and tongue have a fair amount of padding for comfort and distance. The laces are not anything special, but provide enough flexibility to adjust for fit. 


John: The upper is engineered mesh with taped overlay atop the eyelets for extra cinching security. My model looks sleek and fast with the Asics logo dramatically presented across the side of the shoe and a conservative navy blue colorway with some nicely accented white and fluorescent yellow.  The tongue is minimal and stays in optimal position while laces are kept high up on the shoe with a top lace loop hole. I love that attention to detail, especially since the toe box opens up for forefoot movement and the heel stays nicely secure. The upper is soft to the skin and provides a decent combination of warmth and breathability.


Sam: The upper is a fairly standard engineered mesh. There are no overlays beyond the “Tiger” logos at midfoot, which as in other recent ASICS shoes, also provide the structure to lock down the midfoot. Relatively dense and thick, with just enough pliability, this upper in conjunction with the overlays at mid foot does not require a bootie to lock the foot to the platform. The ventilation slots are large so I expect the shoe to be decently breathable in heat.

The toe box is decently wide and notable in giving the toes some friendly but well secured by the  not particularly stretchy mesh overhead room. A very comfortable and at the same time functional toe box. 

The heel hold, also critical to hold the foot in place in these more unstructured modern uppers is as always with ASICS solid and secure in its hold.

 

Midsole


Sam: First, the 2mm more Flytefoam cushion stack and slightly softer Flytefoam than v1 make for a notably more comfortable underfoot feel and dramatic improvement in versatility over the Evoride 1 and its very firm ride. The heel is not the softest but is relatively shock vibration free while the forefoot has a soft feeling if is a bit thin that then seamlessly meets the response provided by the outsole. This midsole is not soft and bouncy ASICS Blast as in the Novablast or the bouncier flavor of Flytefoam in the Metaracer, Nimbus and Kayano Lite as it has a denser more responsive feel and likely is speced to also create the plateless stiff rocker profile here.

The increased bottom net (or platform width) makes the Evoride plenty stable without overdoing it and getting in the way of the rocker.

As stated above there is no plate to create the stiff rockered profile here and that is a very good thing. The midsole clearly has a rocker ride, with a touch of final toe off flex and spring but no plate harshness which in the considerably higher stack more cushioned Glideride 2 trainer is felt and which I questioned in our review of that shoe. As there is full contact on the ground there is a consistent flow from heel landing through transition to a snappy yet friendly toe off from the rocker. All very smooth.

Renee: The midsole is a good balance of comfort and responsiveness. The midsole is not super soft or plush nor is it firm and hard. The EvoRide 2 does not have a high-performing/fast midsole for me, but that does mean it’s a good, versatile daily trainer. 


The midsole works well for a variety of distances and paces, from intervals to tempos to easy. I have no issues taking the shoes to a 13.1 mile distance. The stack height is fine for longer distances, but I would prefer more height in the forefoot and less of a rocker if I am running more than 13.1. 


John: The EvoRide2 brings a lightweight and responsive one-two punch for its classification as a daily lightweight trainer. As Renee said above, the EvoRide2 has good versatility for short up to half marathon distances. I wore this shoe for my Asics Ekiden 5K relay leg and found the midsole provided really great rebound and bounce. As I picked up the pace, my start at 5:20 pace felt like they had another gear and I was able to get going faster on fatigued legs at the end of my leg. 

Editor’s Note: John ran that 5K in 16:30 in the middle of a 9 mile run at 5AM at “Mile High” Colorado altitudes.

In terms of durability, I have already put ~50 miles on these and the cushion has a lot of life left. 


Outsole

Renee: The outsole has enough rubber for durability without unnecessary weight. I did find the outsole slippery on morning frost, but I think some of that is caused by the rocker as I was landing on the forefoot only. Clearly a road shoe, the EvoRide2 works best on pavement, but I did take the shoes on smoother gravel/dirt surfaces and they did fine. The outsole has no grip or traction, but the EvoRide2 should be fine on buffed-out/smooth city park paths. 


John: The outsole uses a durable rubber that covers the perimeter of the sole, which provides a solid and fairly wide surface for the shoe to connect with the road. The forefoot of the outsole has a more gridded pattern that provides some traction for pushing off. Overall, the outsole is not excessive and clunky, rather it is minimally constructed and, with 50 or so miles on the shoe, I am impressed with how little wear there is.

Sam: The outsole does its job seamlessly with the midsole, always a good thing and with the full ground contact called out by ASICS in their spec sheet. 

The rubber is ASiCS AHARPLUS a compound designed to deliver a light weight experience without sacrificing durability, and in my experience ASICS outsole are super durable. The low profile and low lugs will give me pause about running on any snow though.

Compared to the Evoride 1 outsole shown above the Evoride 2 has a far more segmented forefoot rubber which likely also (along with the additional and soft cushion) contributes greatly to reducing the harsh firm feel of the v1


Ride

Renee: Ride: it’s in the name! The ride of the EvoRide 2 is..pronounced, with a strong rocker in the forefoot area that some runners will like and others maybe not so much. Again, I had fun testing the shoes initially because I have a lot of traditional riding shoes and the EvoRide 2 is different. 


However, I prefer a traditional ride that interferes less with my natural stride, partially because I frequently run uneven country roads. Even on smooth surfaces, after about 5K, I found the geometry of the shoes intrusive. I strike on the forefoot and benefited from the placement of the rocker, but after a few miles, the heel/back half of the shoes felt cumbersome. The drop of the shoes, for that reason, felt like much more than 5mm. The EvoRide2 is fun for downhill when I strike fast on the forefoot naturally anyway, and with the rocker, the shoes give an extra bump forward, which is great. 


John: I really appreciated the range the EvoRide2 offers, since I have yet to feel that it is holding me back regardless of pace or distance. My gait typically ranges from a midfoot or even heel strike especially on downhills, and I came away appreciating the assistance from the rocker. The ride is smooth, fast, and somewhat stable. I find this carries over at fast or slower speeds. The EvoRide2 is lightweight and feels fast through the transition with a pronounced rocker. The entire midsole is fairly thick with a 5mm drop, which provides a comfortable cushioned and stable ride, which I found to be perfect for heel striking (especially downhill) as well midfoot striking. I found the transition to be easy and quick, and the rebound is equally as snappy. 


Sam: The ride here is purposeful and well directed at all paces and is dynamic without being as harsh or over prescriptive as the plated Glideride feels. Yes, you are on rails in the direction of travel as with the Glideride, but the feeling is smoother, less abrupt and aggressive in feel than the heavier Glideride. It is kind of strange that the more mellow Guidesole ride (if not quite as cushioned) is in the performance trainer and not the daily trainer in the line. 


All of this is very interesting as the Evoride 2 is the performance shoe, and it is, but it delivers a more pleasant training ride at all paces for me. It does not have a plush super cushioned ride as say the Nimbus Lite 2 provides or a bouncy lively ride as in the Novablast. It is more stable than Nova due to its wider full contact platform, easier to toe off than either using its rocker, relatively firm in comparison and faster feeling. For sure it is considerably less harsh and firm than the Evoride 1. 


For ASICS fans it can easily serve as a mid distance racer at a very fair price with less of the carbon harshness up front of the Metaracer if with a bit less of a bouncy heel. The ride suits all paces except maybe very slow recovery and is very versatile. 


Conclusions and Recommendations


Renee: The EvoRide 2 is a solid choice for a daily trainer or race shoe for runners who like a rocker in the forefoot. At $120, the shoe is a fair price for the light-weight package. For speed days, I’d prefer an even lighter shoe with a “super” midsole; and for daily training, I still prefer a more traditional ride that interferes less with my natural stride. That said, it is nice to have a shoe with a rocker when I need an extra push forward or want a shoe that rides less “boring” than traditional riding shoes. I cannot find anything structurally “wrong” with the shoes, so my score reflects a simple preference in ride. 

Renee’s score: 8.6/10 

(-.75 distinct rocker might not work for some runners, -.25 cumbersome feel between the forefoot and back half of the shoes, -.40 lack of traction for a daily trainer)


John: The EvoRide2 is a comfortably fitting shoe with the versatility for slow and up to threshold paces. It has a comfortable upper, feels secure when running at varied paces, provides a smooth and responsive ride that requires very little break-in out of the box. What’s more, I kept thinking about how great this shoe would be on the trails with a more aggressive outsole - it has me comparing it to the Brooks Catamount. 

John’s Score: 9.3 /10

Ride: 9 (fun shoe with responsive ride)

Fit: 9.5 (true to size and comfortable all around)

Value: 9 (I think ~300 to 400 miles seems possible with the outsole and durable mesh upper)

Style: 9.5 (anything fluorescent is good for me!) 

Traction: 8.5 

Weight: 9 (not a lightweight racer, but amazing versatility of pace for a lightweight trainer)


Sam: I was surprised by this update after not exactly pleasant experiences in the far more limited in versatility v1 with its very firm ride. This said, one should mistake the ride here for a plush one. At 8.5 oz / 241g the weight is very reasonable as is the price at $120. I do wish the upper was lighter to further reduce weight. It is not overbuilt and has a wonderful secure and comfortable hold front to back but the materials seem denser and heavier than they could be.


The Guidesole and rocker is particularly well implemented as the flow is smooth and the toe off decisive “enough” and not harshly abrupt at pretty much any pace, not easy to achieve in a stiff rocker profile shoe without a plate. Leaving out a  plate is a plus as while on the thin side at 21mm the forefoot feel is in no way over firm as plated shoes can sometimes feel. I do wish for a touch softer cushion feel overall.


This is after all an uptempo type trainer with a 26mm / 21mm stack so relatively low and that must be kept in mind but there is plenty of cushion of the more responsive firmer and dynamic type in the mix. I found it plenty stable, something that often goes out the window in lighter trainers with the Guidesole, and relatively wide full ground contact, making sure you stay aligned in the path of travel. 


Evoride 2 is purposeful and supportive, fast, and versatile for everything from racing, to tempo, to daily training in a lightweight modern package. 

Sam’s Score: 9.29 / 10

Ride: 9.3(50%) Fit: 9.2 (30%) Value: 9.6 (15%) Style: 8.8 (5%)


Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


ASICS Glide Ride 2 (RTR Review)

Sam: The February 2021 releasing Glide Ride 2 is a heavier and heavier duty flavor of an ASICS trainer with Guidesole tech. It has a front hardened EVA propulsion plate, more cushion stack, and weighs about 2 oz more than Evoride. Strangely, and likely due to the front plate and its geometry, the rocker effect is more aggressive in the Glideride than the more performance oriented Evo.  As such the overall effect is not as smooth but more decisive, not something one would expect in the trainer flavor of the platform. Overall the Evo ends up more versatile for me.

ASICS Dynablast (RTR Review)

Sam: At almost exactly the same weight, the higher drop, flexible Dynablast can be thought of as the more “traditional” yet modernized uptempo trainer in the line.  It has a lively bouncy Blast midsole foam and a really fine knit upper that is not quite as secure as Evo’s.   While I really like Blast foam in the Nova ,here something gets lost in the lower stack height of the Dyna and the overall geometry. The Evo while firmer really shines due to its Guidesole and rocker and is easier to move along and smoother at pretty much all paces.


Asics Novablast (RTR Review)

Renee: The Novablast is a bouncy, soft riding shoe that works better for slower and longer runs (for me) as compared to the EvoRide2. Heavier and without a rocker ride, the Novablast works better for easier days. In a women’s size 8, I had more length and volume in the Novablast as compared to the EvoRide2 and  probably more than I needed. 

Sam: Bouncier, more cushioned in feel, less stable and an ounce heavier depends on what you need. If you want a stable fast firmer trainer racer go with the Evoride 2. If you have good mechanics and want a fun if a bit wild ride the Novablast which can maybe serve as a slightly better one shoe in the quiver option than Evoride. Personally I find the Evoride more useful as in ASICS I would choose the NImbus Lite 2 as the daily trainer compliment to the Evoride and not the Novablast.


ASICS Metaracer (RTR Review)

Sam: I include ASICS top racer as the Evoride can be a rockered racing alternative with similar and more gentle riding characteristics. Considerably heavier but $80 less on the pricing scale, the Evo shares Guidesole and a rocker profile with the Meta. The Meta has a carbon plate and it is felt far more than the plateless rocker design of the Evo and this despite its softer and bouncier (than Evo’s) flavor of Flytefoam. The Evo has more overall stack height if not quite as bouncy a heel as the Meta (but one you don’t want to linger on as you will have issues getting to the front plate)  so Evo ends up more cushioned in fact and in feel. The Evo’s front rocker is not as aggressive and smoother to activate at all but super fast paces where the Meta shines. 


adidas Adizero Pro (RTR Review)

Sam: While the Evo is 0.7 oz heavier at $120 it provides a solid more forgiving approach to a light trainer racer with a rocker. You may miss the nice soft and bouncy Boost heel but I don't miss the relatively harsh front carbon plate of the adidas which requires faster paces and a more forward landing to really activate.


Hoka Mach 4 (RTR Review)

Both exciting early 2021 light trainers, both close to the same weight and price. If you like your trainers light these two very different rides are actually potentially complimentary. Rockered firmer Evoride 2 for uptempo and some racing, the softer, bouncier more flexible Mach for daily training. This said if I had to pick one it would be the Mach as it so pleasant to run just about anything in.


Brooks Revel 4 (RTR Review)

Renee: I wore a women’s size 8 in both these shoes and found the length comparable. The upper of the EvoRide2 is more refined, although both shoes are comfortable. The midsole of the EvoRide2 has more responsiveness and the shoe is slightly lighter in weight. The outsole of the Revel 4 has more traction. The Revel 4’s ride is traditional and far more boring. For a traditional ride, the Revel 4 is the better choice; for performance and support the EvoRide 2 is a better choice.


Brooks Launch 8 (RTR Review)

Renee: The Launch is a traditional riding shoe that some might find boring and unresponsive. I wore a women’s size 8 in both with slightly more length in the Launch 8. The EvoRide has a better, more secure upper and is a better choice as a performance shoe for runners who like a rocker as opposed to a traditional ride. The outsole of Launch has more traction. 

Sam: Both shoes are in the light trainer class. The Launch 8 has a slightly firmer cushion feel and is flexible as opposed to rocker based shoe with a higher drop. It’s ride is dated in comparison. I found it considerably harder to move along and not nearly as much fun. 


Nike Pegasus 37 (RTR Review)

Renee: The Pegasus 37 is heavier and more durable overall. The outsole has far more traction and grip . However, I found the Pegasus clunky, cumbersome and uncomfortable underfoot. As a daily trainer or race shoe, the EvoRide2 is a far better choice for me. 

Sam: I very much enjoyed the Peg 37 women’s version. Smooth, flexible, and softer than Evoride it has a traditional drop and softer (than Evo) ride feel. No rocker in the Peg. It certainly has a grippier outsole than the Evo and can cross over to light trail use.  Its upper is similar in fit and lighter although the Peg 37 women’s is a heavier shoe than Evo.The Peg 37 women’s leans more daily training than the Evo which is more up tempo.


Reebok Forever Floatride Energy (RTR Review)

Renee: I’ve only worn the first version of the FFE and I loved it as a trainer and performance shoe. The EvoRide2 is better quality with a more refined, better-fitting upper. The FFE has a more responsive yet comfortable midsole with a traditional ride, which I like. The FFE is my choice between the two. 


New Balance 890v8 (RTR Review)

Renee: Both the 890v8 and EvoRide 2 can be trainer or tempo/race shoes. The 890 has a firmer midsole and more traditional ride, which works better for me for faster paces. I did find the 890v8 a bit narrow on the lateral side and the outsole lacks durability in comparison to the EvoRide2. For longer runs with a rocker ride, the EvoRide2 is a better choice, although I prefer the ride of the 890. 


Sam: A great comparison choice by Renee! Very similar design, drop  and purpose shoes.  Slightly lighter at 8.25 oz vs. 8.5 oz for Evo the 890 is firmer, far less dynamic and quite awkward in toe off feel, and not as able to handle slower paces. Easy win for Evoride for me.   

          

The Evoride 2 releases February 2021

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The product reviewed was provided at no charge for testing. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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3 comments:

Andrew said...

Quick question for you all, how does this compare to light weight daily trainers like the beacon, kinvara, rincon, Razor + and even the ride 13?

Sam Winebaum said...

Andrew,
Good question. 1st much more effective rocker for me than any of the Hoka except the upcoming Mach 4 which combines beautifully a rocker and flexibility. Firmer denser in feel and more responsive than any of them except maybe kinvara in terms of firmness but not by much but well cushioned, better cushioned than Kinvara for sure. Ride and Kinvara rely on flex and not a rocker. Rincon and Beacon a bit more in between and have minimal rubber as does Kinvara. Plenty of rubber in EVO. I find Razor 3+ somewhat heel soft and low compared to Evo. EVO has a much more decisive stable and directed ride than any of the comparisons. Ride 13 is sort of in a different category of heavier standard daily trainer with a higher drop and is more versatile than any of the others.
Sam, Editor

Andrew said...

Sam, thank you for such a quick response and great answers. You all do such a great job and make a fellow RSG happy. I hope you and the RTR fam have a great holidays!