ASICS Gel-Blur 33 Review: Too Much Cushion?

by Jason Fitzgerald

I used to run in the ASICS Kayano – a supportive stability shoe that weighs 13oz. I’m thankful those days are now over.

ASICS Gel-Blur 33

Today I prefer lighter shoes with less stability and more groundfeel. Even though I have low arches and I pronate significantly, I’m more comfortable in neutral shoes that don’t interfere as much with my running form.

A shoe that’s higher off the ground with more “technology” makes me feel disconnected from efficient running. I feel like I’m clunking around in shoes that throw my biomechanics off and prevent me from running the way I should.

But recently I decided to try a shoe closer to the middle of the minimalist spectrum: the ASICS Gel-Blur 33.

Rather than always trying to run in more minimalist shoes, I take a more balanced approach and rotate a few shoes for different types of workouts.

The Skora Form or Minimus Road are for short, easy runs.

The K-Swiss Kwicky Blade or the ASICS Speedstar for the bulk of my mileage.

The Nike Zoom Streak XC for faster workouts.

Every shoe has a purpose. The goal with the Gel-Blur was to see if it could replace the Kwicky Blade as my “main” trainer for the majority of my mileage.

I also want to thank RunningShoes.com for providing the shoes for me to test and review.

ASICS Gel-Blur 33: Specs and Performance

The Blur felt more bulky than I predicted when I chose them. Weighing 10.4 ounces according to the ASICS website, they’re heavier than my normal range of 8.5 – 9.5 ounces and I could feel the extra weight. If you like feeling light while running, these probably aren’t for you.

I also noticed that the heel is very high off the ground (35.1 mm heel height), making a neutral foot strike more difficult. Even though I’m a slight heel striker, I don’t put the majority of my weight down until I’m flat footed with my foot underneath my body (at least I don’t think I do – self-evaluation is tough).

Normally it feels like I have a nuetral landing, though I know I’m using a slight heel strike. But with the Blur 33′s the heel strike felt more pronounced.

You can see in the image below that the heel juts further out than the rest of the shoe. This might be to “create a smooth heel-toe transition” (as ASICS might say) but it certainly doesn’t help me run smoothly.

ASICS Blur

The bulky sole made it feel like I had a more pronounced heel strike, making me feel less efficient and cumbersome. No matter the surface, speed, or number of times I tried the Gel-Blur 33′s, I kept feeling awkward running in them.

And every time I ran in them – whether a short 5 miler or up to 10 miles – my left glute would get tight, irritating my IT band. I can’t run more than twice per week in the Blur’s without risking an ITBS flare-up.

So, quite simply, I won’t be taking that risk. I may run in them occasionally if my normal trainers are water logged or I’m “between shoes,” but I’ll be mostly retiring the Blurs from my rotation.

Here are even more specs:

  • Anti-odor sock liner (this worked)
  • Well cushioned
  • Not thin soled – 35.1 mm height at heel and 24.2 mm height at forefoot
  • 10.9 mm heel-toe drop

The ASICS Gel-Blur 33′s also had an interesting lacing system that I found difficult to use. They were woven through pieces of plastic on top of the tongue that made it hard to pull the shoes tight enough so they always felt loose on my feet.

Here’s an image of the lacing system:

ASICS Blur 33 Laces

Coupled with thick material in both the tongue and the rest of the outer, the Blurs didn’t provide the “performance fit” that I’m accustomed to while running. And while the upper felt thick, the entire shoe also seemed wider than other shoes of the same size – even other ASICS models.

Do I recommend the ASICS Blur 33′s?

Personally, I don’t like these shoes for myself. They make me feel awkward, they’re too heavy, and I don’t like wearing a shoe with such a significant lift off the ground.

But that’s how I experience the Blurs. You may love them.

You see, I think shoe reviews can be really helpful when you’re debating between a few shoes. You get to see what other runners think about a particular model and their insights may be very different than what’s shared on most retailer’s websites.

Each person has a unique foot with different biomechanics and stride pattern. These shoes could quickly lead to ITBS for me – but they may be the most comfortable shoes you’ve ever worn.

That’s why I encourage every runner to experiment with what works for them by shopping at a specialty retailer that allows you to run in shoes before buying them. Certain online retailers mitigate this risk by allowing a “wear them and return them” return policy.

Regardless of how you buy your running shoes, rotating through several types of trainers can help you build lower leg strength, reduce repetitive stress, and even enforce a more economical running stride.

So if you personally like a more cushioned, supportive trainer like the ASICS Gel-Blur 33 then give them a try. But now that Halloween is over you may want different colors than black and orange.

Join 10,000+ Runners and Get Faster!

Get the Strength Running PR Guide ebook and tips to run faster (without the injuries).

Share

{ 8 comments }

Adolfo Neto

I prefer my bare feet for short, easy runs, for the bulk of my mileage AND for faster workouts.

And Xero Shoes (huarache sandals) when I don’t know in advance which kind of terrain I will face.

In a race, I could use a Newton MV2.

Jon

I had the first version of the Blur 33 and I loved them, Just under 10oz, which is what I was looking for at the time for a longer distance shoe. The Blur 33 v2.0 I had purchased for the same training despite they are a little heavier. The redesign with the tongue being built into the shoe, in my opinion, just should have made it a completely different shoe. I love Asics, and have been my shoe of choice for quite some time now, however I would tell people to stay away from them. They are much more stiff than their predecessor and take longer to break in. Mainly, I wear these to the gym if I choose to. I would not wear these again unless they make them lighter and more like the first ones.

Greg Strosaker

Have you tried the Gel Lyte 33′s? They are becoming my go to trainer, lighter weight than the Blur (and even the Kinvaras) and a 6mm heel-to-toe drop.

Jason Fitzgerald

Hey Greg – I haven’t tried those and in hindsight I should have opted for those instead of the Blur 33′s since they’re more in line with the type of shoes I prefer. I’ll add them to the list to try!

Jon

I have 2 pairs of the Lyte 33′s and love every step I take in them. I use them for quick tempo runs and races. Have one pair in the box I am keeping for a half marathon in April.

Jason Fitzgerald

Looks like two votes for the Lyte 33′s. Seems like I should try them out.

Jon

They are a great shoe.

Angela B

I am currently using the Blur33′s for most of my weekly runs. I like the shoe, its light weight and seems to work well with my super-high arches. Because my arches are so high, I need a shoe that has a lot of volume and I like how the laces can be done up but still have a loose feel. If shoes lace up too tight, my toes go numb! Overall, its a good shoe for me, it feels appropriately supportive on any surface. I’d buy them again. Just my opinion.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: