Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 Review

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The Hyper Speed is a wonderful balance of light weight and cushioning, making for a fast shoe. The cushioning is not as soft and plush as a Hoka by any means, but it's more than enough cushioning to provide the benefits to Running Economy. It may not provide enough cushioning for everyone, but I'd recommend trying it out. It's not a perfect shoe, but it's one of the best I've found so far. I've rated it as "Highly Recommended", and it was one of my top picks until the New Balance RC5000v2 dethroned it. The Hyper Speed 6 has been replaced by the Asics Gel Hyper Speed 7. (I use The Science of Running Shoes as the basis of how I test running shoes and what you should look for in a running shoe.)

Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 top
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 bottom
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 inside
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 outside

1 Characteristics

  • Why you’d buy it. If you're after a light shoe so you can run a little faster, this shoe should be high on your list.
  • Cushioning . The Hyper Speed is remarkably well cushioned for its weight, and it's one of the best cushioned shoes I have in the "optimal" category. It's not as well cushioned as a Maximalist shoe, but I found it surprisingly comparable with a traditional shoe like the Asics GT 2000. While Asics market the Hyper Speed as having their Gel cushioning, in reality it only includes the tiniest sliver, as shown to the right.
    The green area is the Gel, though it seemed to be more foam than the typical Gel found on Asics shoes. It's only about an inch square (25mm), so I suspect it's just enough for them to justify the Gel label.
  • Drop. The Hyper Speed has more of a drop than I'd like at 6mm. This is one of the few downsides to this shoe.
  • Structure. The Hyper Speed uses a single density of foam with some of Asics Gel in the heel. The inclusion of Gel doesn't produce any unevenness in the heel, and appears to improve the cushioning quite effectively. There's no noticeable "arch support" to cause problems. The rear edge of the heel does not have as much tapering, but this should not be a problem. The forefoot tapers slightly from the ball of the foot to the front of the shoe. There is a small gap in the midsole just behind the forefoot that could act as a stone trap. However I've not had any problems so far.
  • Flexibility. The Hyper Speed is flexible due to the relatively thin midsole, the groves in the midsole and the breaks in the outsole.
  • Outsole. The Hyper Speed has a hard rubber outsole that covers nearly all of the contact areas. The midsole covering of the forefoot is in sections to provide flexibility. As you can see from the pictures of the underside of the shoe, the gaps in the outsole are in a zigzag pattern which seems to work well.
  • Shape. The shape of the Hyper Speed does not match the human foot, and narrows in the toe box. It's not as bad as many lightweight shoes, but I'd recommend cutting open the toe box open to prevent toe problems. (I recommend cutting open the toe box of virtually all running shoes, with the exception of a few shoes like some Altra shoes. When you have some worn out shoes, you should try cutting open the toe box. I've found that it's a big improvement, allowing my toes to move naturally and engage for toe off, as well as reducing the possibility of blisters.)
  • Upper. The upper is inflexible and mostly seamless with no padding other than the ankle opening.
  • Tongue. The Hyper Speed has a traditional tongue that is has a tab to attach it to the laces. The tongue is padded at the top and comfortable.
  • Lacing. The Hyper Speed has traditional flat laces that are high friction and stay tied.
  • Heel Counter. The Heel Counter is quite solid, but a little lower than in most shoes.
helping-hand.jpg

2 How Far Can I Run in the Hyper Speed?

Different runners want different levels of cushioning, so this shoe may not suit everyone. Some runners want a Maximalist shoe when they run a 5K, while others will run a 100 mile race barefoot. Most people find that as the distance increases, they want a little more cushioning to protect their feet from the pounding and to offset a little of the fatigue that sets in over time. You can see from the charts below how the cushioning compares with other shoes I've tested for some comparisons. Remember that a thicker, firmer shoe would have the same cushioning rating as a thinner, softer shoe, but would feel rather different. Personally, I'm happy running in the Hyper Speed for the marathon distance, and I'd use it in a road 50 mile race without hesitation. For longer distances I'd probably use the Hoka Clifton, either for the entire race or for the last portion.

3 Comparisons

Here are some direct comparisons with its potential competition.

3.1 Asics Gel Hyper Speed and Nike Zoom Streak LT

The Nike Zoom Streak LT is quite similar to the Hyper Speed, and I love them both, but the Hyper Speed has the edge. While the Hyper Speed is a tiny bit heavier, it's also better cushioned. I also found the Streak has slightly little less even cushioning in the forefoot; it's a minor point, but enough for me to prefer the Hyper Speed over the Streak by a small margin. On the flip side, the Streak has slightly better grip, especially in the wet, so I'm more likely to put on the Streak for High Intensity Interval Training.

Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 top
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 bottom
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 inside
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 outside
Nike Zoom Streak LT 2 top
Nike Zoom Streak LT 2 bottom
Nike Zoom Streak LT 2 inside
Nike Zoom Streak LT 2 outside
helping-hand.jpg

3.2 Asics Gel Hyper Speed and Saucony Type A6

The Saucony Type A6 is another shoe that's quite similar to the Hyper Speed. They are both lightweight, relatively well cushioned and reasonably comfortable. I think the Hyper Speed has the edge, being very slightly lighter and a little better cushioned. The cut away sections of the midsole are more likely to trap stones on the A6 than the Hyper Speed, which is another factor that tips the scale.

Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 top
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 bottom
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 inside
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 outside
Saucony Type A6 top
Saucony Type A6 bottom
Saucony Type A6 inside
Saucony Type A6 outside
helping-hand.jpg

3.3 Asics Gel Hyper Speed and New Balance RC5000

While the Hyper Speed is remarkably light weight for its cushioning, the New Balance RC5000 is quite stunning. The RC5000 is one of the most impressive shoes on the market right now, but it's not for everyone. The RC5000 is only half the weight of the Hyper Speed at 3.4oz/96g and is one of the lightest shoes available. The RC5000 provides more cushioning than you might expect, and I believe it's enough to improve Running Economy. This makes it the most efficient shoe I've found so far, as the slightly lighter Mizuno Wave Universe does not have sufficient cushioning to improve Running Economy. However, the RC5000 may not provide enough cushioning for everyone, and it's far from a soft, plush ride. You'll need to have good biomechanics and Running Form to benefit from the RC5000. I'm happy to run marathon distances in the RC5000, but by the end of that distance it starts to feel rather thin. The Hyper Speed by comparison is much better cushioned and more comfortable. The RC5000 has better grip than the Hyper Speed, but the cut outs in the midsole can trap stone, and digging them out in the middle of a race would really slow you down. If you think you can manage the ultralight RC5000, then I'd highly recommend it, but the Hyper Speed will suit most runners better.

Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 top
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 bottom
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 inside
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 outside
New Balance MRC 5000 top
New Balance MRC 5000 bottom
New Balance MRC 5000 inside
New Balance MRC 5000 outside
helping-hand.jpg

3.4 Asics Hyper Speed and Hoka Clifton

The Hyper Speed and the Hoka Clifton are both great shoes, and both offer outstanding cushioning for their weight. If you want more cushioning than the Hyper Speed provides, then the Clifton is a great choice.

Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 top
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 bottom
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 inside
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 outside
Hoka Clifton 2 top
Hoka Clifton 2 bottom
Hoka Clifton 2 inside
Hoka Clifton 2 outside
helping-hand.jpg

3.5 Asics Hyper Speed and Saucony Kinvara

The Saucony Kinvara is a popular shoe, and is well worth considering as a transition between a traditional shoe like the Asics GT 2000 and a highly cushioned Maximalist shoe or a light weight optimal shoe like the Hyper Speed. While I like the Kinvara as a transitional shoe, it's heavier, but provides similar levels of cushioning. I find it hard to justify the extra weight of the Kinvara, and I'd put on the Hyper Speed over the Kinvara every time.

Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 top
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 bottom
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 inside
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 outside
Saucony Kinvara 6 top
Saucony Kinvara 6 bottom
Saucony Kinvara 6 inside
Saucony Kinvara 6 outside
helping-hand.jpg

3.6 Asics Hyper Speed and Asics GT 2000

I like to compare shoes against the Asics GT 2000 as it represents the traditional running shoe. The GT 2000 is over engineered and includes many things I dislike in traditional running shoes. These excessive features go against The Science of Running Shoes and are more likely to cause problems than solve them. The GT 2000 has an advantage over the Hyper Speed with better padding in the upper, especially in the tongue and ankle opening. However, in every other area the Hyper Speed is vastly better. The Hyper Speed is just over half the weight of the GT 2000, but provides better cushioning and is a lot more flexible. Running in the GT 2000 after the Hyper Speed feels like you've put on a wooden clog. The weight difference impacts your Running Economy, and the calculations suggest that an average runner in the Hyper Speed is around 8 seconds/mile faster than in the GT 2000. (In practice, I feel like it's a bigger difference than that.)

Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 top
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 bottom
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 inside
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 outside
Asics GT2000 top
Asics GT2000 bottom
Asics GT2000 inside
Asics GT2000 outside

4 Cushioning and Shoes

It's intuitively obvious that the cushioning in a shoe will reduce the impact on your body when running. However, The Science of Running Shoes indicates that the reality is rather more complex. While slight cushioning may reduce the effort needed to run by improving your Running Economy, most scientific research indicates that more cushioning does further improve Running Economy. In addition, cushioning does not generally reduce impact and may actually increase it. This is counterintuitive, but is likely to be due to the way a runners mind and body adapts to softer cushioning. Unfortunately, the scientific evidence is far from complete and it's hard to give clear recommendations. I believe that some runners will prefer more cushioning, while others prefer less, and typically those running further have a fondness for greater cushioning. I also believe that a shoe should be as light as possible, and a shoe should justify its weight with the cushioning it provides. My advice is to decide what level of cushioning you're looking for, and then find the lightest shoes that also fit well and are comfortable.

5 Visualizing the Attributes of the Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6

File:Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 RFCushPenalty.png
How Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 compares showing rearfoot cushioning against the performance penalty of its weight. Upper right is better.
File:Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 FFCushPenalty.png
How Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 compares showing forefoot cushioning against the performance penalty of its weight. Upper right is better.
File:Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 PriceBenefit.png
How Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 compares showing the price against the benefit (cushioning/performance penalty). Upper left is better.
File:Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 DropBenefit.png
How Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 compares showing the loaded drop against the benefit (cushioning/performance penalty). Upper left is better.

6 A Comparison with other Recommended Shoes

For a more detailed comparison of these shoes see the Recommendations for Best Running Shoes. This table lists the key attributes of What to Look for in Running Shoes. For more detailed information, on the shoes see detailed shoe comparison.

Full Review Name Rating Recommended
price
Benefit Weight
(oz)
Penalty
(sec/mile)
Forefoot
Thickness
Heel
Thickness
Loaded Drop
mm
Cushioning Flexibility
Asics 33-DFA Review 33-DFA Worth considering $90 5.7 10.6 16.5 27 27 0 6.1 6
Saucony Type A6 Review A6 Highly Recommended $100 8.2 6.1 9.5 17 21 4 5.0 8
Adidas Adios Boost 2 Review Adios Worth considering $140 4.7 8.6 13.4 17 27 11 4.0 7
Hoka Bondi Review Bondi Highly Recommended $150 8.0 10.9 17.0 41 45 5 8.8 0
Hoka Bondi 5 Review Bondi Review Pending $150 6.1 11.6 18.1 38 42 5 7.1 4
Hoka Clayton Review Clayton Best of the Best $150 8.8 8.3 12.9 26 30 3 7.3 5
Hoka Clifton 3 Review Clifton3 Best of the Best $130 9.1 9.8 15.3 34 38 3 8.9 6
On Cloudracer Review Cloudracer Worth considering $130 5.7 8.2 12.8 19 27 5 4.7 8
Hoka Conquest Review Conquest Worth considering $170 5.0 11.9 18.5 28 34 5 6.0 3
Saucony Cortana 4 Review Cortana Worth considering $150 4.4 9.9 18.7 22 28 5 4.3 5
Mizuno Wave Cruise Review Cruise Worth considering $120 6.6 5.9 12.5 17 20 7 3.9 7
Newton Distance IV Review Distance Worth considering $155 7.5 9.1 14.2 26 31 3 6.8 6
Asics Gel DS Racer 10 Review DS Racer Worth considering $110 8.2 7.0 10.9 21 26 6 5.8 6
Mizuno Wave Ekiden 8 Review Ekiden Worth considering $115 5.7 5.7 14.6 13 18 6 3.2 8
Saucony Endorphin Review Endorphin Highly Recommended $125 11.1 4.1 6.4 14 13 -1 4.5 9
Adidas Energy Boost Review Energy Worth considering $160 7.2 10.0 15.6 20 30 7 7.2 6
Altra Escalante Review Escalante Review Pending $130 9.1 8.7 13.5 28 25 -1 7.9 7
Puma Faas 100 R Review Faas 100 Highly Recommended $90 8.4 6.1 9.4 15 20 1 5.1 9
Saucony Fastwitch Review Fastwitch Highly Recommended $90 9.5 7.1 11.1 20 22 4 6.8 8
Topo Fli-Lyte Review Fli-Lyte Highly Recommended $100 6.0 9.4 14.6 23 24 4 5.6 6
Nike Free 4.0 Review Free Recommended $120 5.3 8.2 13.6 24 30 6 4.4 6
Saucony Freedom Review Freedom Recommended $160 5.4 10.7 16.6 25 29 3 5.8 7
Asics Gel Lyte 33 3 Review Gel Lyte Not recommended $90 8.0 7.3 11.4 17 24 4 5.8 9
Skechers GOmeb Speed 3 Review GOmeb 3 Worth considering $120 6.9 8.1 12.6 20 24 4 5.5 8
Skechers GORun 4 Review GORun Not recommended $100 6.1 7.5 11.7 15 23 3 4.5 7
Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 Review GRU Worth considering $90 7.5 10.0 15.6 28 34 8 7.5 5
Skechers GOrun Ultra Road Review GRU-R Worth considering $105 6.5 11.3 17.6 30 40 6 7.4 7
Asics GT 2000 Review GT 2000 Not recommended $120 4.8 11.2 17.4 28 35 5 5.4 4
Hoka Hupana Review Hupana Recommended $115 6.1 8.9 13.9 31 36 7 5.4 5
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 7 Review Hyper Speed Highly Recommended $75 10.9 6.3 9.8 22 26 5 6.8 7
Altra Instinct 3.5 Review Instinct 3.5 Recommended $115 4.9 9.3 15.2 24 23 0 4.5 6
Altra Instinct 4.0 Review Instinct 4.0 Review Pending $120 6.0 9.8 15.3 29 25 -1 5.9 6
Asics Tarther Kainos 3 Review Kainos Worth considering $130 10.0 6.9 10.7 17 27 9 6.8 7
Saucony Kinvara 7 Review Kinvara Best of the Best $110 7.4 8.2 12.8 23 27 3 6.1 6
Nike LunaRacer 4 Review LunaRacer Recommended $90 9.9 7.0 10.9 22 30 7 6.9 6
Nike LunarSpider R5 Review LunarSpider Recommended $125 6.9 6.7 10.4 17 21 3 4.6 7
Hoka Mafate Speed Review Mafate Best of the Best $170 7.6 11.9 18.5 39 40 4 9.0 3
Pearl Izumi EM Road N0 v2 Review N0 Highly Recommended $100 7.9 6.5 10.1 14 20 4 5.2 8
Saucony Nomad Review Nomad Review Pending $110 4.3 10.5 17.2 25 27 2 4.5 5
Hoka Odyssey Review Odyssey Highly Recommended $130 8.5 9.4 14.6 37 45 5 8.0 4
Altra Olympus Review Olympus Highly Recommended $130 5.4 11.8 18.4 27 27 3 6.4 4
Altra One 2.5 Review One Highly Recommended $100 8.5 7.1 11.1 22 25 2 6.0 8
Altra Paradigm Review Paradigm Highly Recommended $130 6.4 9.9 15.4 25 25 1 6.4 4
Asics Piranha SP 5 Review Piranha Recommended $100 10.1 4.2 6.5 11 15 3 4.2 9
Brooks PureFlow 5 Review PureFlow Worth considering $110 6.0 9.7 15.1 26 29 5 5.8 8
Salming Race Review Race Worth considering $130 6.9 6.5 10.1 16 19 4 4.5 7
New Balance RC1600 v2 Review RC1600 Highly Recommended $110 8.8 5.6 8.7 15 21 5 4.9 8
New Balance RC5000 Review RC5000 Best of the Best $125 12.2 3.4 5.3 13 17 3 4.2 8
New Balance RC5000v2 Review RC5000v2 Best of the Best $125 14.2 4.0 6.2 13 21 6 5.7 8
Skechers GoRun Ride 3 Review Ride Worth considering $85 5.9 8.5 13.2 18 28 6 5.0 9
Inov-8 RoadXTreme 220 Review RXT-220 Worth considering $120 5.2 8.0 18.2 14 17 3 4.2 9
Topo ST-2 ST-2 Highly Recommended $90 8.2 7.3 11.4 20 18 0 6.0 8
Hoka Stinson Lite Review Stinson Highly Recommended $160 7.3 11.6 18.1 35 40 6 8.5 2
Nike Zoom Streak LT 3 Review Streak LT Best of the Best $80 8.8 5.4 8.4 16 21 4 4.8 6
Adidas Takumi Sen 3 Review Takumi Sen 3 Highly Recommended $160 7.7 6.6 10.2 17 21 4 5.1 6
Altra Torin 2.0 Review Torin Worth considering $125 5.8 9.6 14.9 28 25 -1 5.5 5
Hoka Tracer Review Tracer Recommended $130 7.2 7.4 11.5 21 24 2 5.3 6
Merrell Trail Glove 3 Review Trail Glove Best of the Best $100 2.9 6.9 24.7 11 11 0 2.0 9
Topo Tribute Review Tribute Recommended $100 5.9 7.3 11.4 20 18 -1 4.3 7
Mizuno Wave Universe 5 Review Universe Highly Recommended $125 10.7 3.1 10.6 9 12 1 3.3 9
Merrell Vapor Glove 2 Review Vapor Glove Highly Recommended $85 2.1 6.1 27.6 6 5 0 1.3 10
New Balance Vazee Pace Review Vazee Pace Worth considering $110 6.0 8.6 13.4 18 24 6 5.2 6
Asics TartherZeal 3 Review Zeal Worth considering $140 10.9 6.3 9.8 17 27 9 6.8 7

It's not a running shoe, but I love the Hoka Tor Ultra hiking boot and I've tested the Altra Lone Peak Boot.
Older shoe reviews: Saucony Hattori Review, Mizuno Cursoris Review, Skechers GO Bionic 2 Review, Hoka Clifton Review, Saucony Virrata 2 Review, Brooks PureCadence 3 Review, Brooks PureConnect 3 Review, Brooks PureFlow 3 Review, Skechers GO Bionic 2 Review, New Balance 980 Review, Brooks Transcend 2 Review.
Reviews of shoes that are not worth including on the table: Hoka Huaka Review, Patagonia EVERlong Review.