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Review: ASICS GEL-Hyper Speed 7 || Wispy & inexpensive road racing shoe

The ASICS Gel-Hyper Speed 7, with re-laced black laces

Six weeks out from the Boston Marathon, I was inclined to race in the Salomon Sonic Pro 2 (my review), which fit me well and which had proven themselves on multiple long runs. But I was open to other options: the Sonic Pro 2 is heavy relative to a true road-racing shoe, and I found its ride to be a bit slappy.

Enter the ASICS GEL-Hyper Speed 7, which my training partner Steve gave to me. He had bought them on clearance but they were a size too small. I used them first for a short easy run, and after two hard workouts (including a 10K in 33:23 at altitude) I was sold — they were going to Boston.

Review: ASICS GEL-Hyper Speed 7

The ASICS GEL-Hyper Speed 7 is a wispy 6-oz running shoe that is suitable for long road races (e.g. marathon and half-marathon) and for fast road workouts. It will best fit narrow-to-medium width feet with small-to-medium volume.

Unless I had something lighter in my closet, I would not hesitate in using the GEL-Hyper Speed 7 for a 5K or 10K on roads. And I would also consider it for longer races on the track in dry conditions, when I might be willing to sacrifice some traction for more cushioning.

At least for me, the GEL-Hyper Speed 7 is too minimalist for a regular trainer. It has a short lifespan (about 250 miles, I’m guessing), and it’s cushioning is too thin for daily pavement pounding. I would much rather use the Hoka One One Clifton 2 (my review) or similar.

Finally, the GEL-Hyper Speed 7 is not a trail running shoe, or even a trail racing shoe. The upper is too delicate and unprotected; it does not have enough cushion; and the outsole lacks durability and traction.

I found the GEL-Hyper Speed 7 to be perfect for Boston: light, cool, quick to dry, and sufficiently cushioned. It’s a neutral shoe with a 6 mm drop that allows me to run naturally.

Products specs

  • 6.0 oz (US M’s 9), 6.8 oz (US M’s 12)
  • Neutral pronation
  • Stack height: 16 mm (heel), 10 mm (forefoot)
  • Drop: 6 mm
  • Seamless upper made of mesh and reinforcing exoskeleton
  • For enhanced airflow and dry times, the sock liner is perforated sock liner and the outsole & midsole have air ducts through them
  • MSRP: $85


Limited sizes may also be available from Road Runner Sports (men’s, women’s).

Sizing & fit

In Salomon, Altra, Merrell, La Sportiva, Hoka One One, and Salewa I am a consistent size 11.5. In the ASICS GEL-Hyper Speed 7, I need a size 12.

The Speed 7 will best fit narrow- or medium-width feet with small- or medium-volume. If you are pushing the bounds of a normal Altra shoe, known for a very generous toebox, the Speed 7 is not for you.

Fugly

Damn, these are some ugly shoes. Could they make them any more obnoxious?

Could ASICS make uglier shoes if they tried?

Once I concluded that they fit me and that I would use them, the first thing I need was re-lace them with black laces from an older shoe. I like them better, but they’re still pretty ugly.

The ASICS Gel-Hyper Speed 7, with re-laced black laces

There is a more attractive blue & green model as well. If given the choice, I’d go with them, no doubt.

Cost

The $85 MSRP is refreshingly low. Granted, it’s not a 500-mile shoe, but at least you feel like its cost is proportional to what you get. It seems counter intuitive to see minimalist racing shoes with $160 or $180 price tags (and soon $250!).

Weight

The GEL-Hyper Speed 7 specs at 6.0 oz for men’s size 9. It does not set the bar in its category, but it’s still feathery. Further weight reductions would have to come at a cost, e.g. less cushioning, less durability, or higher price.

Size US 12

Upper

There’s not much to the upper. It’s made of very lightweight mesh with a thin and flexible reinforcing exoskeleton. It breathes well and dries fast, due to its air permeability and its simplicity.

Very lightweight mesh upper (also seamless) with slightly sturdier reinforcing exoskeleton

Outsole

The outsole rubber is soft in two ways. First, it wears quickly — I have not put even 100 miles on this pair, yet already it’s wearing down to its base in toe-off and landing areas. (Thankfully, there is still plenty of rubber left, and for this application the outsole does not need to do much.) Second, the rubber is cushion-like soft, which further adds to the midsole cushioning.

The outsole is very low-profile, suitable only for man made surfaces.

Full outsole. Notice the “ports” that go through to the interior. I’m doubtful these do much for airflow through the shoe, even with a perforated sock liner, but I appreciate the effort.

Worn rubber at the toe, after not even 100 miles. There is still a few mm of rubber left, but this is not a 500-mile shoe.

Midsole

With a stack height of 16/10 at heel/forefoot, and with a thin outsole, the GEL-Hyper Speed Racer is decently cushioned for a 6-oz shoe. As I said earlier, I can’t use it for daily training runs, but for races and fast workouts — when I’m more willing to beat up my feet if it means running faster — it’s acceptable.

Side profile. 16/10 mm stack height with 3 mm drop.

Ride

The GEL-Hyper Speed Racer 7 offers a very smooth ride. There’s not much to get in the way of natural biomechanics: it’s a neutral shoe with a thin upper and simple EVA midsole.

More info about the ASICS GEL-Hyper Speed 7

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2 Responses to Review: ASICS GEL-Hyper Speed 7 || Wispy & inexpensive road racing shoe

  1. Jakob April 28, 2017 at 2:22 pm #

    I have to admit they actually look pretty nice to me. But then again, bright colors, and yellow especially, are my favorite. Wish more shoes were available in those colors.

  2. Khang November 1, 2017 at 9:09 am #

    I love these. Also wore it for Boston this year. Seems like it’s been discontinued. I looked everywhere, but couldn’t find another pair for my size. I hope my current pair will last until I found something else.

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