Amsterdam’s Asics Flagship Store

Posted by on Sep 22, 2011 in General Travel, Netherlands, Running | One Comment

With all the references to running on this blog, you might be surprised to know that I don’t love running very much. Robin’s the runner. I’m the cyclist. Or at least I used to be…

For me, running is the best way to get a good cardio workout in a short amount of time. Once I got a real job in 1995, it became impossible to spend 3 or 4 hours on a bike every day, so I started running (poorly). Compared to road cycling and mountain biking, running is much tougher on my joints and back, and I spend a lot of time complaining about shoes that don’t fit right or that hurt my back/knee/knees/shins/whatever.

In Amsterdam, we stumbled upon the Asics Flagship Store. It has 2 rooms with treadmills, video cameras, and 3D laser scanners to analyze your feet and running technique. Upstairs, there’s a full-on sports analysis lab with VO2 Max analysis, etc. The rest of the store is chock full of shoes, clothing, and accessories.

Part of Amsterdam's Asics Flagship Store

Part of Amsterdam's Asics Flagship Store. It's full of great gear and clothing.

If there’s anything I love, it’s technology that analyzes athletic performance. I agreed to pay the 20€ fee, slipped off my shoes and socks, and watched the technician put a bunch of little stickers on important points on my feet.

Asics Technician Putting Stickers on my Feet

Asics technician putting stickers on my feet. I'm starting to feel like a guy in a"ping pong ball suit" (the kind of suit that's used for human motion capture by video game designers)

Then I stepped into the 3D laser foot scanner and watched 3D solid models of my feet appear on the monitor in front of me!

Into the 3D Foot Scanner!

Into the 3D Foot Scanner!

Tadah!

Tadah! A full 3D solid model of my (rather flat) foot.

After the initial measurements, it was time to hit the treadmill in some plain-vanilla, rather uncomfortable Asics shoes with more markers. This time the markers were analyzed by a high-speed camera mounted behind the treadmill:

Treadmill time!

Treadmill time!

So what was the conclusion? I have some rather long and narrow feet (I knew that), they’re kinda flat (I knew that too, but didn’t know how flat they were), and there are minor issues with my gait when I run. Most notably, I over-pronate slightly on my left foot and considerably more on my right foot. I also land on the middle of my heel with each stride, I have a particularly long stride (almost 10 cm longer than the normal range @ 10.9 km/h), and I take about 15 fewer strides/minute than normal runners.

Analysis Results

Analysis Results. I got some very detailed printouts, too!

Given all of the data that we collected, the technician suggested a pair of motion control (aka “structured”) shoes. He brought out a few pairs and I tried them on the treadmill, and we settled on some nice Gel Kayano 17s for, uh, 160 euros (WARNING: running shoes in Europe are outrageously expensive — about 40% more than in the US)! I’ve run with these shoes before, and they tend to be the most comfortable shoes that I’ve found.

The verdict: Since I switched from another pair of Asics shoes to the Kayanos, a particularly annoying pain in my right knee has completely disappeared. I should have never switched to a different shoe in the first place!

1 Comment

  1. Ed
    October 3, 2011

    I need to do something like this–a persistent small pain in my right knee has curtailed my running. I think that there is a similar place in Pleasant Hill with the same type of technology. This is a good tip!

    Reply

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