Although both companies design a wide range of running shoes for runners of different levels, training goals, shapes and structures, and stability needs, there are differences between Nike vs ASICS running shoes that may make one brand a better fit for you than the other.
So, what are the main differences between Nike vs ASICS running shoes?
In this article, we aim to answer that question by going through a thorough comparison of Nike vs ASICS running shoes. We hope that by pointing out notable differences in the features and fits of each of these brands, we can help you narrow down your search for the perfect pair of running shoes.
We will cover:
- Which Is Better, Nike Or ASICS Running Shoes?
- Nike vs ASICS Running Shoes: Main Differences
Let’s dive in!
Which Is Better, Nike Or ASICS Running Shoes?
Before we jump into the details by examining the nuanced differences in our Nike vs ASICS running shoe comparison, it’s important to establish that both companies design and manufacture fantastic running shoes that are well-suited for many runners.
Both Nike and ASICS are running shoe brands accepted by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), which exemplifies their construction merit, quality, and design.
Therefore, this Nike vs ASICS running shoe comparison is not intended to determine an overall better running shoe for all runners but instead to compare and contrast how the two reputable brands and their running shoes differ.
You will have your own unique biomechanics, gait, training, injury risk, and running shoe preferences relative to any other runner, which is why knowing the differences between Nike vs ASICS running shoes can help you choose the best option for you.
Thus, this comparison is intended to help you narrow down your own search for the right pair of running shoes.
It is also important to note that Nike and ASICS both offer lots of different models of running shoes of all types (neutral, stability, motion control, maximalist, minimalist, trail, etc.).
Accordingly, the differences between ASICS vs Nike running shoes that we discuss will not necessarily apply to every single shoe either company makes, but rather the general trends.
Nike vs ASICS Running Shoes: Main Differences
There aren’t many significant differences between ASICS and Nike running shoes, as you might see in another comparison, such as Nike vs Altra or ASICS vs Hoka.
Both Nike and ASICS make fairly traditional running shoes using cutting-edge technology and materials.
Nike running shoes are notorious for running on the small side, having a particularly narrow fit through the heel and midfoot. ASICS running shoes also tend to run fairly narrow, though compared to Nike, ASICS shoes will feel a bit wider.
Both Nike and ASICS manufacture running shoes along with athletic shoes for other sports as well as everyday casual footwear.
One of the most notable characteristics of ASICS running shoes is the GEL technology used to improve cushioning and shock absorption.
Nike is well known for infusing air-filled cells or enhanced cushioning and for employing all of the latest technology and advancements into their running shoes for optimal performance.
Nike vs ASICS Running Shoes: Durability
The durability of any running shoes affects how long your running shoes will last or how many miles you can run before needing to replace your running shoes.
The durability of a running shoe is determined by the confluence of factors specific to your body and your training, such as your body weight and size, how often you run and whether you rotate your shoes, the terrain you run on, your gait and foot strike pattern, and the climate and weather you run in.
Note that rotating your shoes has been found to not only decrease the risk of injury but also increase the relative longevity of the shoes because doing so gives the material more time to rebound between uses.
Then, there are qualities of the running shoe itself that influence its durability, mainly the materials used and the quality of construction.
Nike, like many running shoe companies, recommends replacing their running shoes after 300 to 500 miles (500-800 km) of use. ASICS reports a longer lifespan, at 450-500 miles. Therefore, though the durability is quite similar, it might be slightly higher with ASICS versus Nike running shoes.
Keep in mind that where you fall in these ranges will depend largely on the training and body factors mentioned.
Additionally, the Nike VaporFly is said to last only about 200 miles because it is designed as a racing shoe.
Nike vs ASICS Running Shoes: Fit
Unlike most running shoe comparisons wherein the fit is typically the factor that is most significantly different between the two brands, Nike and ASICS running shoes have a fairly similar fit or shoe shape.
Both can be described as fairly narrow when considering the general fit of the shoe.
ASICS and Nike running shoes both tend to run narrow compared to brands like Brooks and New Balance, so you’ll find a much snugger fit if you do an apples-to-apples comparison of the same size and similar style running shoe between these brands.
With ASICS, the heel cup is particularly narrow because there is actually a structural design component (an external heel “clutch”) that is supposed to help increase support and control the amount of pronation of your foot, or inward rolling, upon heel contact.
Nike also has a notoriously narrow or snug fit.
If you have a narrow foot, this may be ideal, but if you have a wide foot or suffer from a bunion, metatarsalgia, or Morton’s neuroma, you will likely be best served going with a different brand, such as Brooks or New Balance, both which offer a wider toe box and more models that come in wide widths.
If you do have a wide foot, there are a couple of Nike running shoe models that come in wide sizings, such as the Nike Revolution and Nike Pegasus.
ASICS also offers a few models that have wide sizing options.
Keep in mind that if your foot is notably wide, these wide sizes may still be inadequate. Some runners find that the wide sizes of these brands actually fit more true to the size of the standard width of some other brands because the shoes run so narrow.
Both Nike and ASICS have shoe fit finders on their websites to help runners determine how to get a running shoe that fits well and feels comfortable. Here is the Nike fit finder, and here is the ASICS one.
Nike vs ASICS Running Shoes: Cushioning
Probably the most notable difference in Nike versus ASICS running shoes is in the technology and resultant field of the materials used for cushioning in the shoes.
Most ASICS shoes are cushioned with their famous GEL technology, which offers a plasma-like consistency to attenuate shock and spread out impact forces, especially for heel strikers.
The GEL is a bit heavier than the foam and air used in Nike running shoes, but it provides excellent shock absorption and tends to hold up better than foam, which is why ASICS shoes may last a bit longer than comparable Nike shoes.
ASICS also uses Flytefoam technology to improve energy return and responsiveness. This is a lightweight foam that is lighter than typical EVA foam to improve springiness.
Nike injects air-filled cells into their shoes and uses various super lightweight foams for cushioning and bounce to give you a spring in your step while attenuating impact shock.
Nike vs ASICS Running Shoes: Stability
ASICS and Nike both offer running shoes with various levels of stability and support provided for runners.
There are neutral running shoes for those who have a fairly normal arch and neutral running gait and stability running shoes for runners who need additional pronation control for those who have flat feet.
Nike stability shoes have a wider base for more support, a heel flare for pronation control, a stiffer sole, and a gentle S shape to the shoe to pride lateral stability through the heel-to-toe transition.
ASICS shoes increase stability both through the external heel clutch, which helps control pronation at landing, as well as a Duomax midsole, which is a dual-density material that provides lateral support and helps prevent an inward collapsing of the arch and excessive pronation.
Nike vs ASICS Running Shoes: Price
Both Nike and ASICS running shoes are competitively and reasonably priced for their quality.
One nice thing about both brands is that there are some budget-friendly models, and you can save money if you purchase previous iterations when a new update comes out. You can sometimes find these discounted models on third-party sites such as Amazon or at the sale rack at your local specialty running store.
In general, ASICS might be slightly less expensive than Nike, with the average price falling around $110-150. Nike running shoes are typically about $100-180.
Remember, there isn’t necessarily a better brand when comparing Nike versus ASICS running shoes. Both companies offer high-quality running shoes for runners of all levels and needs.
Determining which is a better option for you is a matter of sorting through the differences between ASICS vs Nike and deciding which brand better suits your own personal needs.
For more of our running shoe comparison, check out: