When the GlideRide was first launched, 3 years ago, it marked a new era for ASICS. At the time, the Nimbus, Cumulus and Kayano franchises were really stale and predictable- the same boring shoes were being launched year after year, with no innovation. The GlideRide was something fresh, something innovative from ASICS.
The GlideRide soon became one of my favourite long run trainers because it offered a high level of cushioning but it didn’t feel sluggish like other max-cushioned trainers on the market.
It’s marketed as an energy-saving trainer so during runs, it improves efficiency using its rockered midsole geometry. It doesn’t have an extremely stiff forefoot like a carbon-plated racer so transitions still feel natural.
The GlideRide 3 competes with other maximalist trainers that also rely on a rocker to ease and quicken transitions. The Adidas Adistar, Saucony Endorphin Shift 2, Skechers MaxRoad 5 and Hoka Bondi 7 are all competitors of the GlideRide 3.
The GlideRide and MaxRoad are slightly different because they utilise a flexible plate to make the midsole stiffer and more propulsive.
This year’s GlideRide 3 looks similar to last year’s GlideRide 2 but with one big difference: it has a new midsole foam, FF Blast+. The new foam not only allows the new GlideRide to shed weight but also allows it to become even more efficient by returning more energy with each foot strike.
The new version of the GlideRide weighs 9.35 oz (265 g), which is a substantial 0.88 oz (25 g) less than the GlideRide 2. The GlideRide 3 is an ounce heavier than the MaxRoad 5 (which is less durable) but substantially lighter than the Endorphin Shift 2, Adistar and Bondi 7.
ASICS GlideRide 3 First Impressions
Being a fan of soft shoes, I was disappointed when a firmer GlideRide 2 came out last year after an excellent first version. I was excited to find out that the GlideRide 3 has FF Blast+ in its midsole because I knew that it would have a softer ride than version 2.
My first run was a 10 km easy run. It was a slow pace for most of the run but towards the end, I threw in some sprints. I was pleasantly surprised that I could drop the pace down to 3.15 per km despite its weight and build!
I noticed that the upper felt very warm due to all the padding. It felt great right out of the box with no break-in period required. It felt really stable and the ride felt significantly softer and more cushioned than the previous GlideRide versions.
ASICS GlideRide 3 Sole Unit
The GlideRide 3 still has a dual foam midsole setup but instead of Flyefoam on the top layer, it now has FF Blast+ which is the super energetic, bouncy foam that’s in the midsole of the Nimbus 24. The bottom layer is still firmer Flytefoam Propel which provides durability and extra stability.
There’s only a thin layer of FF Blast+ so you don’t get as much energy return or squishiness as you get in the Nimbus 24 but it does provide a softer initial step-in feel with better comfort. For the next version of the GlideRide, I’d like to see even more FF Blast+.
Measuring 40mm in the heel, the GlideRide 3 has a generous amount of midsole so you get plenty of deep, bottomless cushioning. It makes easy work of long distances above 30 kilometres so there’s lots of protection from the ground pounding.
With the introduction of the softer midsole foam, the GlideRide 3 rides much softer than the GlideRide 2 so it’s less versatile but it now has more long-distance comfort and a little more energy return.
Long, slow runs are what the GlideRide 3 does best. You can put it into cruise control mode, zone out and maintain that speed with ease.
The high toe-spring of the GlideRide 3 combined with its EVA plate are what makes the GlideRide unique. You get a “forward tipping” sensation with each toe-off so it feels like the shoe is helping to roll you forward.
It’s a similar sensation that you get in shoes like the Vaporfly and the Zoom Fly but the tipping sensation is not as intense because the GlideRide 3’s EVA plate is a lot more flexible than a carbon plate.
My favourite runs in the GlideRide 3 have been relaxed runs slower than 5.30 per kilometre. I did a speed workout in it, and while it does help you to go faster than regular max-cushioned trainers like the Bondi and the Glycerin because of its midsole geometry, its weight prevents you from reaching the top speeds that you would in a lighter trainer.
The GlideRide 3 is a very stable neutral trainer, mainly because your foot sits inside the midsole. The edges of the midsole are raised, acting as guide rails to centre your feet during transitions so even though the thick midsole is at the 40mm limit, foot strikes still feel very planted and there is enough support for long-distance runs.
The outsole of the GlideRide 3 is identical to the GlideRide 2. A deep decoupled groove allows you to see the EVA plate in the forefoot. It also centres the foot during transitions, improving stability.
There is thick AHARPLUS rubber on the outer heel sections of the outsole and thinner rubber on the midfoot and forefoot. I’ve noticed rubber wear to be of average durability during my time of testing.
ASICS GlideRide 3 Upper Unit
The GlideRide 3’s plush upper is something that you’d see on a max-cushioned trainer and it tells us that ASICS designed this trainer specifically for slow, easy miles.
Its generously padded, luxurious upper oozes comfort. All the thick padding in the heel counter, collar and tongue do make the GlideRide 3 run very warm so it’s best suited to winter runs and cool climates.
The thick tongue of the GlideRide 3 is semi-gusseted so it stays put for the entire run. It’s also very effective in protecting your feet from lacing pressure.
There are no problems with heel lockdown. The plush heel tab and stout internal heel counter do an excellent job in locking your heel down. I never have heel lockdown issues in ASICS shoes and the GlideRide 3 is no different.
The GlideRide 3 is true to size although it’s best suited to narrow-medium width feet as there is plenty of padding so it’s not the most accommodating of uppers. Voluminous-footed runners will most likely need to go up a half size.
ASICS GlideRide 3 Conclusion
With the Nimbus 24 getting a more lively, more energetic midsole, the GlideRide 3 has now become the max-cushioned trainer in the ASICS lineup. It has deeper cushioning and a much plusher upper.
The change to FF Blast+ in the midsole of the GlideRide 3 has made it a softer and slower trainer compared to its predecessor but it now possesses more long-distance comfort and it feels more lively.
Compared to the other similar, max cushioned trainers, the GlideRide 3 has a softer ride and a softer initial step-in feel. Its closest competitor is the Endorphin Shift 2 but the GlideRide is lighter and feels more nimble.
In my current rotation, the GlideRide 3 is currently the best long-distance, max-cushioned, strict slow run trainer so it will definitely stay in the rotation.
The GlideRide 3 is a superb product. It feels very polished and it has no major weaknesses. The softer, more dynamic ride will make it appeal to a wider audience while fans of the old Nimbus will find solace in the GlideRide’s plushness.
The best part is that it weighs almost an ounce less than last year’s version.
As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples from companies.
We purchased this pair of ASICS GlideRide 3 at Running Warehouse with our own money.