What a Pleasant, Bouncy, Plated ,and Exciting Surprise! 20 Comparisons

ASICS Glideride 3 ($150)

Introduction

Sam: The third edition of ASICS guided stable maximally cushioned neutral trainer changes midsole foams to a softer and lighter combination of FlightFoam Blast+ underfoot with Flytefoam Propel below that. 

The result is a more forgiving and exciting ride and with for the first time some flexibility to the Guide Sole tech shoe. There are no changes to the midsole geometry, the hardened foam rocker plate or the outsole. 

The Glideride 3 carries forward ASICS Guide Sole technology which seeks to improve propulsion by optimizing efficiency (primarily for heel strikers such as me) by keeping the angle of ankle dorsiflexion ( flexing ankle up) and plantar flexion (flexing toes down) constant during the gait cycle using a stiff sole while using the forward rocker to propel toe off. The idea is to reduce energy loss at the ankle joint and shift the body forward. Initial studies show a reduction of ankle joint energy loss of 19% vs. conventional shoes in the category. 

All of this is good and I think effective but the Guideride 2 and to a lesser extent the lower stack v1 were rigid, quite firm and for my tastes overly prescriptive forcing a very linear almost monolithic (if effective) stride pattern lacking some soul and some get up go, change it up feel.  

While the changes to a softer foam sounded promising I was skeptical. I ended up very pleasantly surprised as the Glideride 3 while retaining stack height and geometry of the prior is a completely different riding and very exciting riding “new”  shoe.

Pros:

Big 0.9 oz drop in weight to about 9.6 oz US9- Sam/Jeff

Bouncy and fun; deep stable cushion with a top layer of soft and bouncy Blast+- Sam/Jeff

Well directed and guided smooth flow to a toe off now with some flex and lots of bouncy softness- Sam/Jeff

Discreet and unobtrusive hardened foam plate gives “light” impulse – Sam/Jeff

Comfortable, adequately roomy and secure upper- Sam/Jeff

Cons:

Rear Guide Sole ankle flex prevention is a bit too rigid, surprising at times on hard heel strikes– Sam

Stats

 Samples: men’s 9.35 oz / 265g (US8.5) | 10.05 oz / 285g (US10.5)

   Glideride 2 10.23 oz / 290g (US8.5)

Stack Height: men’s 42 mm heel (measured)  / 37 mm forefoot (spec), 5mm drop

  Same stack height as v2

June 2022. $150

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Sam: The Glideride 3 gets a lighter, more open, softer and stretchier mesh with a more ventilated toe box. 

Especially noted is a lower, less massive and rigid heel counter which appears to also be a key contributor to the big drop 0.9 oz / 26g drop in weight.

The fit is true to size with the moderate stretch and overall volume providing a fit which should work for a variety of foot shapes.

The heel counter is now clearly less massive than in Glideride 2 and has some pliability and an easy comfortable and secure fit but does not have the bank vault like lockdown and weight of the prior heel counter.  

And the upper is no longer lathered in thick overlays towards the rear. Good riddance to the rigid heel counter and all those overlays I say! During my A/B test run I could clearly feel the softer less overwhelming yet still plenty secure hold

The tongue is lightly padded and has a not very wide but stout gusset located between the 2nd and 3 lace holes from the front. A good move and an effective one to help lock down the foot in such a pliable upper with it seems a focus on keeping the foot down and forward to the front rocker.

There is a moderately firm vertical toe bumper. There is plenty of toe box room and front height for my right narrower foot and left wider one with what appears to be a more rounded front shape to the toe box for sure assisting.

Jeff: I missed out on the Glideride 2, but was impressed with the first iteration, and immediately felt like this was a pretty big step up. The plate was much more noticeable in the initial Glideride, and not in a propulsive as much as a major stability element – making it a shoe that either worked for you or didn’t. With the 3, it became immediately apparent that this shoe isn’t going to force your foot or gait to do something, and is much more versatile.

The upper is breathable and comfortable, stopping a little short of what I’d term plush without feeling underwhelming. Considering how lightweight the shoe is, I get not going over the top with a super plush upper, and the comfort to weight ratio is really good.It doesn’t have the same super stretchy tongue the Nimbus 24 got, but this tongue is fine, if a little unremarkable. 

Fit is spot on true-to-size for me and I sometimes need wide sizing but not here, with a very nicely sized toebox. Plenty of room to let your toes splay out, with just a bit of stretch in the upper. Overall one of those uppers that doesn’t blow you away, but really gets nothing wrong at all. Every element works well, with the result being an effective upper – but the upper isn’t what makes this shoe special. That’s the next bit.

Midsole

The Glideride 3 gets a  new dual density midsole with a top layer of Flytefoam Blast + even softer and lighter by 15% and bouncier by 12% than the Novablast’s under foot, with below that FlyteFoam Propel as the main midsole layer.  The hardened foam layer remains. When pressed it feels closer to a foam than a plastic plate as it has a touch of give,.

The stack height and geometry (tooling) of the midsole remain unchanged as does the big 42 mm heel (measured)  / 37 mm forefoot (spec) forefoot total stack height.

The overall midsole is now noticeably softer and bouncier than the Glideride 2’s,  and less harsh, while still retaining most of the good parts of the Guide Sole directed ride. Think of the feel of the Novablast on a more stable broader platform with some plate impulse  The shoe now also gets a very welcome long flex with a flex point a couple lace holes up.  The midsole feel is quite dramatically changed as a A/B test run demonstrated. We now have a notably squishy bouncy top layer and a more rebounding lower Propel layer. The new softer setup does not make the heel feel that much lower than the 5mm drop.

I most noticed the toes now sinking in enough into the Blast + top layer at toe off to roll forward and really activate the foam plate and lower firmer Propel. A bit like the sensation in the adidas Adios 6 and Boston 10 with their softer Lightstrike Pro above firm Lightstrike but here with more front shoe flex that is for sure than the Boston.  

The combination provides a friendly sense of impulse and propulsion that is clearly felt but less aggressive and rigid than plastic or carbon plated approaches yet still “plated” in feel. At the heel, the top Blast+ layer, decently forgiving Propel below and  less massive heel counter lead to mellow landings with the still present directed nature of the Guide Sole but now less rigid and overly prescriptive.  Fun stuff quite unlike the previous version which was efficient but overly “serious” in its degree of rails like control of the stride.

Jeff: As I alluded to above, the midsole of the Glideride 3 is why you show up. We’ve seen a handful of exaggerated geometry shoes over the last few years with big forefoot rocker designs. The two biggest splashes have been the Glideride series and the Saucony Endorphin Shift 1&2, and every one of them seemingly let the midsole geometry do the work. That’s no longer the case. The multi-density midsole makes this shoe far more versatile than any of the other big rocker shoes. There’s a legitimately fun and bouncy squish paired with the fast transitioning design.

Outsole

Sam: No changes to the geometry or outsole (tooling). The coverage is more than adequate and the rubber thin and durable. Note the deep decoupling groove with the black hardened foam rocker plate showing through. 

Given the Glideride now also has some flex I am finding the decoupling more noticeable and the impulse of the foam plate in combination easier to find and more dynamic. Before there was only one way to roll, a fixed groove if you will to the ride. Now the shoe more fluidly and naturally transitions with differing foot strikes and paces and transitioning smoothly and quickly without over prescribing a groove.

Jeff: 100% right Sam. The outsole is plenty for durability and grip and it is much more accommodating to whatever your gait looks like than it used to be. I found that the first version really needed you to run a certain way to take advantage of it. It took a little effort to get my landings right, and when I did, they paid off. No longer the case.

Ride

Sam: The combination of softer more energetic foams, less rigid heel counter in a softer more stretchy upper, some flex, and lighter weight deliver a vastly improved ride to the Glideride. 

Less “straight jacket” directed, the ride now is far more versatile for me. For sure, the Glideride is friendlier and friendly at all paces. I also found the new softer bouncier and now more flexible front of the shoe more dynamic, snappier, and a bit more conventional than previously, so bridging totally rigid rocker based shoes and more flexible conventional ones very neatly. 

The ride at slow paces was a tiny bit low and soft at the heel (recall 5mm drop and now soft Blast+ top layer)  but as soon as I approached and then went faster than about 9 minute miles the shoe came alive.  

If I was to place it in a continuum from lighter high cushioned plated speed to heavier stable longer run shoes with more rigid profiles it would sit for me dead in the middle between a Saucony Endorphin Speed and an Endorphin Shift both rocker based shoes but with a softer easier to find and maintain groove, more bounce, and a less aggressive final rocker. 

The ride has the bouncy excitement of the Novablast but is far more directed and stable and interestingly Glideride is lighter at about the same stack at the heel with the Nova at 8mm drop lower stacked up front. 

All in all the Glideride 3 is a super fun and dynamic riding shoe capable of most paces and distances.  

Jeff: Sam nailed it on the head. Previous big rockered shoes were one of those recommendations that came with a caveat of “they’re great, if you can make them work for you”, and I don’t think that same caveat is necessary here. As a midfoot striker I appreciated the embedded plate from letting me collapse the really soft shoe, and they don’t rely purely on geometry to get moving. I’d also agree that they’re a decent slow shoe, or even a decent walking shoe, but as the pace picks up that’s where you feel much more energetic. The plate isn’t super obvious, like running in a VaporFly, but it shows up a little more at faster speeds. Stable bounce with a soft landing might seem like a line from buzzword Mad Libs, but it really does describe the Glideride well.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Sam: Softer and more energetic foams completely change the character of ASICS most maximal trainer from a rigid, quite firm if deeply cushioned very “strict” and directed ride to a far bouncier/energetic, more flexible and versatile all arounder. 

With a simplified less armored upper and new lighter foams, not only is it more foot friendly top to bottom it also drops its weight to sub 10 oz in a US9. Its predecessors were not “smiles” shoes for me, if interesting in their always consistent, highly directed and stable flow. 

By combining very soft and energetic FlyteFoam Blast+ underfoot followed by a hardened foam Guide Sole plate for some stability and propulsion, and then a layer of responsive Flytefoam Propel we get a modern plated/rocker “lite” ride with some new flexibility that is never over aggressive in terms of rocker or plate feel, highly cushioned, fun to run and easy to turn over.  The Glideride 3 is easily the most exciting ASICS trainer I have run and ranks high in a great 2022 crop.

Sam”s Score: 9.3 /10

Ride 9.4 Fit 9.3 Value 9 Style 9

Jeff: One of those shoes that gets a lot right and virtually nothing wrong, throw the Glideride 3 onto the pile of truly incredible big stacked trainers to come out this year. This upper on another shoe would likely garner a lot of praise (not to mention a wide and stretchy toebox that should accommodate most feet except for the most extreme Hobbits), but the midsole/outsole combination steals the show with a super plush landing and a stable bounce that doesn’t force you into changing your running form to make it work. The rocker is much more subtle than previous versions, or perhaps there’s just so much bounce it mutes everything else. This much stack on a shoe that light? ASICS has something special here.

Jeff’s Score 9.7/10

Ride: 9.5 Fit: 10 Value: 10 Style: 9

20 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

ASICS Glideride 2 (RTR Review)

Sam: Covered in the review but the GR3 is lighter, more energetic, softer, lighter and has some flex all combining to making it a far superior shoe for me.

ASICS Evoride 3 and Noosa Tri 14 (RTR Initial Comparison Review)

Guide Sole tech shoes both that are lower stack and not foam plated. They both get softer FlyteFoam (not Blast+ and Propel as in GR3) and are more forgiving and flexible than their predecessors. They are lighter by almost 2 oz and less cushioned with their forefoot in particular thinner in feel but are yet more agile than GR3’s. They can be thought of as lighter uptempo to race companions to the GR3

ASICS GEL-Numbus Lite 3 (RTR Review)

Sam: About half an ounce lighter and lower stack, the Nimbus Lite 3 is flatter and duller, and especially at the forefoot compared to the Glideride with also a more laborious midfoot transition. The Lite’s foam, while forgiving lacks the pop and excitement of the combination of Blast +, Propel and plate of the Glideride.  Easy choice Glideride!

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 24 (RTR Review)

Sam: The Cumulus 24 has a now softer Flytefoam Blast midsole and sits on a somewhat lower 8mm drop platform and weighs about the same as the Glideride. There is no plate and the ride is more traditional and with more flex. I found the ride of the Cumulus 24 a bit too soft and flat compared to its predecessors and for sure compared to GR3. While I do like its higher drop for slower paces, compared to Glideride 3 up front the softness borders on mushy and lacking in impulse and certainly compared to the Glideride. Clear preference for Glideride here.

ASICS Gel-Nimbus 24 (RTR Review)

Jeff: This one feels kind of like Coke Classic vs New Coke. Lots of overlapping materials and similar feel, but the Nimbus has a very traditional geometry, feel, and ride, while the Glideride is higher stacked and has a more pronounced rocker. Both uppers are great, with the N24 getting an incredibly stretchy tongue (that is AWESOME) and both have good traditional width toeboxes. Ultimately it comes down to how you prefer your squish, plenty (Nimbus) or extra-extra-extra bouncy(Glideride). Can’t go wrong either way.

ASICS Novablast (RTR Review)

Sam: As discussed above the Novablast is slightly lower stack, slightly heavier, and with a narrower on the ground platform. Both have that nice Blast in the midsole and lots of energy but the more stable GR3 is more practical while equally as much fun. 

Brooks Aurora-BL (RTR Review)

Jeff: One of the few shoes on the market that can match the Glideride on the smile-to-bounce-to-weight ratio, the Aurora was the first Brooks with DNA Loft v3, their super bouncy nitrogen infused midsole. The Glideride is heavier, but with more substantial cushioning underneath as well as a more pronounced rocker up front, which leads to a much smoother ride. The Aurora opted to skip the plate and go with an almost comically wide midsole for stability which leads to a supremely bouncy experience – but personally I found as the miles racked up in the Brooks I encountered a variety of lower leg soft tissue injuries.

Brooks Glycerin 20 (RTR Review)

Jeff: Brooks’ second DNA Loft v3 shoe, the Glycerin 20 is a little more restrained than the Aurora and the result is a much more traditional ride with a little extra bounce. The Glycerin has a wider platform than the Glideride, and an even more accommodating upper. The Glideride has bigger smiles, but the Glycerin is a little more versatile and shines at all speeds better than the ASICS.

Sam: With Jeff on most of the above but the sloppy midfoot upper hold of the Glycerin, in comparison to the locked down almost equally as comfortable Glideride 3 spoiled much of the fun of its superior DNA Loft v3.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v12 (RTR Review)

Jeff: A beefy update to New Balance’s best cushioned daily trainer, the v12 got bigger, softer, and wider than the previous models, but when worn A/B against the ASICS it feels almost minimal in stack height. NB has a little wider toebox, and overall I prefer how the upper holds the foot with some good stretch, but the Glideride has a much more fun and dynamic ride, while the NB is more stable and better at slow speeds.

New Balance Fresh Foam More v3 (RTR Review)

Sam: A touch softer with no plate as in GR3 and it shows through a lower heel and less stable if very energetic forefoot that for me becomes a plus at faster paces with slower paces back on the heel a chore compared to the GR3 on its wider platform which is a bit lumbering and unwieldy compared to GR3.

Jeff: Ha, lumbering and unwieldy is a pretty good way to describe the More v3. It’s got plenty of soft, but doesn’t rebound like the Glideride, making the Mv3 great for pure recovery runs, but definitely lacking at normal training paces, let alone the slightly uptempo stuff the ASICS excels at. 

New Balance Fuel Cell TC (RTR Review)

Sam: Somehow the GR3’s soft rolling ride to toe off reminds me of the TC which weighs about ½ oz less and costs $50 more. Both have a relatively soft heel and similar front impulse with TC having a carbon plate with a more rigid feel. The TC is a faster less stable option and a bit more exciting while the GR3 is more practical.  

Salomon Phantasm (RTR Initial Review)

Sam: Phantasm weighs more than 1 oz less on a slightly lower stack height. It has a 3 pronged fiberglass and polyamide front plate. It’s dual density midsole plus plate is overall a bit firmer. Interestingly, compared to GR3 at a 5mm drop, it clearly favors a mid to forefoot strike more than the GR3 with its front platform very stable and more vertical and more pronounced in its rebound effect to the GR3 more rolling Guide Sole approach and soft Blast+ just below the foot. 

Saucony Endorphin Shift 2 (RTR Review)

Jeff: Similar geometry and stack height, the big difference is midsole dynamics. The Saucony uses a pretty firm PWRRUN midsole with no plate, making the exaggerated geometry do all of the work. The ASICS uses a much softer and bouncier midsole, paired with a mild plate, and the super responsive midsole makes the rocker geometry the second most important aspect of the ride. I didn’t know the latter was an option until the Glideride 3 showed up, and it really shows up the Endorphin Shift.

Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 (RTR Review Endorphin Speed  3 (RTR Initial Review)

Sam: Also more flexibly plated and well cushioned,  the popular Endorphin Speed was clearly a shoe ASICS had in mind with this update to the Glideride.  The Endorphin Speed 2 is clearly not as rear stable as the Glideride 3 while the upcoming Speed 3 likely will be given changes to its nylon plate. The Speed 3 will be lighter by 1 oz / 28g than Glideride 3 and still should be the fast days to race choice. Glideride 3 will have a more mellow bouncier ride feel with more cushion stack and a less aggressive, more rolling to toe off plate action, so leaning training and slower paces better but still able to move along fast. 

Nike ZoomX Invincible (RTR Review)

Jeff: Among the best for big soft bouncy shoes, the Invincible lacks a plate but has a massively wide midsole to make up for any lack of stability. It is definitely a softer landing than the Glideride, but the toe off is much more fun in the ASICS. The Glideride also has a much more breathable and stretchy upper, while the Invincible can feel like wearing a wool sweater in August at times.

Nike Tempo Next % (RTR Review)

Jeff: One of Nike’s more unique shoes, the Tempo Next% has a geometry that didn’t work well for my gait – my midfoot landing was awkward for every step I’ve run in them. The Airpods up front give a really interesting toe off, but when worn A/B against the Glideride the versatility of the ASICS is hard to ignore.

Sam: I agree with Jeff that the Tempo Next is truly unique. Noisy, explosive, yet more cushioned and higher drop for fast long tempo runs it is my top choice for going fast with lots of cushion. For versatility with a similar if way tuned down front impulse the Glideride is a more versatile choice as it clearly handles easier runs better and gets decently close to the Tempo when the pace picks up.

Topo Specter (RTR Iniital Review)

Sam: Topo’s upcoming unplated light and lively Specter substitutes a plate for a thick insert of super responsive PEBAX as a central core which delivers, in combination with the outer light EVA carrier a somewhat softer more of a piece midsole feel but not quite as aggressive a toe off impulse even though it has a more aggressive heel and forefoot toe spring. Not quite as high stacked (35mm heel / 30 mm forefoot) but on a broader platform and with the same 5mm drop. at about  8.2 oz  / 232 g (US9) it is more than one ounce lighter than the Glideride 3. The Specter upper is truly amazing in its light yet secure fit even for me with a narrower foot in its very broad anatomical toe box. A tough call as both have energetic rides and great uppers, Flip a coin depending on preferences but the Specter due to its lighter weight and impeccable upper fit, and especially for wider feet may get a slight lean.

adidas adiStar (RTR Review)

Jeff: While adidas’ massive trainer has a similar stack feel underfoot, and it definitely has a wider and more stable platform, it doesn’t have nearly the bouncy ride the Glideride brings to the table. Another one of those shoes that excels at the easiest stuff, making it a good shoe to perhaps pair with the Glideride if you value massive cushioning for all of your runs.

 

Altra Paradigm 6 (RTR Review)

Jeff: Altra’s highest stacked road shoe has EGO Max, their latest and greatest midsole material (which is actually really great) and of course, a massively wide toebox. Not many shoes make it feel diminutive underfoot, but in the A/B test the Glideride stack towers above the wider and more stable Paradigm. EGO Max is a big step up for Altra, but it can’t match the Glideride for bouncy fun.

Skechers Performance Max Road 5 (RTR Review)

Jeff: Similarly lightweight, high stacked, super bouncy and plated, the Max Road 5 lines up very cleanly to the Glideride, but when worn A/B it’s telling how much more cushioned the ASICS is. The Max Road is more than an ounce lighter and is a fun and bouncy ride, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the Glideride in that department.

On Cloudmonster (RTR Review)

Jeff: The On crosses the line about a half ounce heavier, and achieves a very similar level of bounce in cushion in a completely different way. While the On might be just a touch bouncier, the Glideride has a softer landing and is a little more stable and predictable with more versatile geometry – while the On runs more like the previous generations of Glideride.

Tester Profiles

Jeff is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup, and as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 30 miles per week on roads and trails around Denver, CO (and sometimes on the treadmill when the weather gets too much for a Phoenix native). Jeff only got into running in his 30s, as a result his career PR’s are 4:07 for the marathon and 5K at 23:39. Jeff has finished several ultra marathons, from 50K up to 50 miles, and is still debating if he wants to go down that road again.

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 64 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 will be Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 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 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.

The Glideride 3 will be available June 2022