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.
- 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
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.
Damn, these are some ugly shoes. Could they make them any more obnoxious?
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.
There is a more attractive blue & green model as well. If given the choice, I’d go with them, no doubt.
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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