Asics aren’t the first brand to give triathletes a bike shoe-style boa ratchet system to speed things up in transition – we last saw one on these pages on the Zoot Ultra Race shoe way back in issue 302. Although innovative, that shoe fell down by putting the ratchet on the bony top of the foot, which created a hot spot after a few miles of use. Asics have navigated that problem in their jazzy new triathlon-specific Gel-451 by placing it on the side of the foot, where it sits on a thicker part of the upper and so avoids the problem.
In testing, we found the ratchet super-easy to use as well. Even with cold, wet hands the dial was easy to click and turn, and it’s easy to find the perfect tension – although we did find it needed a little trial and error as on longer runs the wire became a little tight as our feet swelled and needed loosening.
Other features include a large tongue loop, although you don’t get a heel loop which seems a strange oversight. The shoes do open super-wide, though, thanks to the lacing, which perhaps makes it redundant.
The 451 is very light, our UK6.5 weighed in at just 178g, but beware sizing as these do come up small and narrow. Even after going up a half size from usual, we still found these a bit small, even when worn without socks. The seam-free toebox was comfortable though, although there is one seam on the side of the shoe that chafed a little on wet feet.
Overall, these felt fast and sure-footed while running, although some may prefer a little more cushioning.
Verdict: worth trying if you’re in the market for a race-only shoe 82%
Buy from www.wiggle.co.uk
Contact : http://www.asics.com