ASICS GEL-Fortify vs. Brooks Beast 14 / Brooks Ariel 14 review

ASICS GEL-Fortify provides maximum support with a secure fit to severe overpronators. Brooks Beast 14 provides lots of support and comfort to runners with wide or flat feet.

The ASICS GEL-Fortify and the Brooks Beast 14 (for men) or Brooks Ariel 14 (for women) both fall in the maximum support category of running shoes, but are made by two different running shoe manufacturers.

While this review refers mostly to the Brooks Beast 14, everything that is written here about the Brooks Beast 14 for men also applies to the Brooks Ariel 14 The preceding link takes you to Amazon.com for women.

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Good supportive shoes should provide enough support around the midfoot and the heel.

Both the ASICS GEL-Fortify The preceding link takes you to Amazon.com and the Brooks Beast 14 do that, since they have sturdy stitched-on overlays wrapping the midfoot.

But while the Brooks Beast 14 The preceding link takes you to Amazon.com applies no-sew overlays in the forefoot area, the ASICS GEL-Fortify continues having stitched-on overlays in that area.

The ASICS GEL-Fortify also has no-sew overlays in between the stitched-on overlays to patch things up a bit more.

In addition, while the Brooks Beast 14 has a standard heel counter and supportive stitched-on overlays at the back of the shoe, the ASICS GEL-Fortify comes with an external heel counter to give you a good lock down back there.

All in all, you can expect to get a much tighter and secure fit from the ASICS GEL-Fortify than from the Brooks Beast 14 / Brooks Ariel 14. The latter might feel more comfortable in the toe box, though.

Both the Brooks Beast 14 and the ASICS GEL-Fortify provide heel-to-toe cushioning through their midsoles, but in different degrees.

The ASICS GEL-Fortify has a main layer of midsole foam with a thinner softer layer of foam above that, and then in between the two layers, it has GEL cushioning in the heel and the forefoot.

The Brooks Beast 14 has one main layer of midsole foam with a crash pad that runs along the entire outer length of the shoe to soften your landings and then provide a smooth transition to toe-off.

The GEL cushioning in the heel and forefoot of the ASICS GEL-Fortify serves the same purpose as the full-length crash pad of the Brooks Beast 14, but the heel and forefoot parts of the Brooks Beast 14 are better connected to each other than the GEL in the ASICS GEL-Fortify, which is quite isolated.

However, because the ASICS GEL-Fortify provides full ground contact under the midfoot, both running shoes should be able to provide you with a smooth transition from heel-strike to toe-off.

A full-length crash pad also makes a running shoes a bit more stable, but the amount of ground contact also does, so again, the Brooks Beast 14 and the ASICS GEL-Fortify go head-to-head with each other.

The most important feature of the ASICS GEL-Fortify and the Brooks Beast 14 is the firmer foam on the medial side of the midsole that helps stop your foot from rolling too far inward.

This medial post consists of several densities of midsole foam in the Brooks Beast 14 to give you a more gradual control of overpronation, but this gradual control is more located towards the back of the shoe.

In addition, the midsole is reinforced by a midfoot shank that goes high up into the foam with most of the firmer foam being located right under the foot.

The ASICS GEL-Fortify has something similar going on. Its two layers of foam also provide a gradual effect of pronation control and then it has a pretty broad midfoot shank that goes halfway up into the firmer foam to provide reinforcement.

But unlike the Brooks Beast 14, the ASICS GEL-Fortify always has a softer layer of foam right under the foot, so the gradual degree of pronation control is more widespread in the ASICS GEL-Fortify than it is in the Brooks Beast 14.

The midfoot shanks hook into the midsole foam on both sides of the shoes, but the shank in the ASICS GEL-Fortify is broader than that of the Brooks Beast 14 on the lateral side of the midsole.

Therefore, you can expect to get medial pronation control as well as a bit of lateral stability from the ASICS GEL-Fortify; it has a much more stabilizing effect than the Brooks Beast 14.

Also note that the medial post lies more under the arch, while that of the Brooks Beast 14 has been moved back a bit, so the effect of pronation control is strongest more towards the back of the shoe in the Brooks Beast 14 and more towards the midfoot in the ASICS GEL-Fortify.

Both the ASICS GEL-Fortify and the Brooks Beast 14 / Brooks Ariel 14 provide a broad platform to run on. However, the Brooks Beast 14 has a slightly wider heel and midfoot as a good indication that it is suitable for people who have broad or flat feet.

The outsoles of both running shoes provide a good amount of separation for shock absorption and dissipation, and a good amount of rubber, which makes them durable running shoes.

The main difference is the absence of a vertical flex groove in the Brooks Beast 14. The ASICS GEL-Fortify has a Guidance Line vertical flex groove that helps with gait efficiency.

The ASICS GEL-Fortify for men and the Brooks Beast 14 differ by 0.3 oz (9 grams) and the ASICS GEL-Fortify for women differs by 0.6 oz (17 grams) with the Brooks Ariel 14 with the ASICS GEL-Fortify being the lighter one in both cases.

If you are a severe overpronator looking for a very supportive running shoe, you could choose either the ASICS GEL-Fortify or the Brooks Beast 14, since both match each other well in what they have to offer.

The main distinction point in the upper is that the ASICS GEL-Fortify provides an overall slightly more secure fit whereas the Brooks Beast 14 opens the toe box more for comfort.

The main distinction point in the midsole is the type of pronation control provided. While both provide a gradual amount of pronation control, if you are someone who tends to roll in your foot more towards the midfoot/forefoot than the heel, the ASICS GEL-Fortify may suit you better than the Brooks Beast 14.

Note: The weight of a running shoe depends on the size of the running shoe, so any weights mentioned in this review may differ from the weight of the running shoe you choose to wear. Running shoes of the same size were compared for this review.

The two links above will take you to Amazon.com where you can read more about the running shoes.


This review falls under: ASICS | Brooks

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