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When a sportswear brand releases a new version of a shoe you can expect either only very minor changes, or something more radical that will probably involve making the shoe lighter. However, Asics has thrown convention out the window with the new Roadhawk FF 2 by opting to make the shoe heavier, with an updated midsole and upper that is claimed to produce a more comfortable and bouncy ride.
The new upper on the Roadhawk 2 is breathable, and I had no issues with rubbing or discomfort while using them, as our reviewer of the first edition did. The design is also subtle enough to wear the shoes when not running as well, which hasn’t always been the case with Asics shoes. All in all I’d call the upper a successful change.
The bigger question is how the new FlyteFoam Propel midsole affects the ride. Although the Roadhawk 2 is heavier than the original, it’s still a fairly lightweight shoe at 265g, and suited to 5K and 10K runs rather than longer distances like marathons or even half marathons.
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The first couple of runs I used the Roadhawk FF 2 for were both alternating 10Ks, running 1km at tempo pace then 1km a little slower, and the shoe impressed. The ride was comfortable and smooth with an easy heel-to-toe transition, and it felt like the shoe disappeared on the foot – always a sign that you’re enjoying running in it.
However, when I tried an easy effort in the Roadhawk or took it to the track, I found it wanting. On easy runs the landing felt clunky and the ride lost its smooth transition from back to front, then when I pushed the pace on short intervals the Roadhawk didn’t feel particularly responsive or quick. You can forgive the lack of feel for track sessions, which many casual runners don’t tackle often if at all, but I think it should still be more comfortable to use on everyday easy runs than it is even if it’s not been built for the long haul of a marathon.
The ride of the Roadhawk FF 2 reminded me of the new Nike Pegasus 35, firm but not especially fast. Over 5K or 10K distances covered at a decent clip it feels smooth, but run shorter, longer or slower and it becomes slightly cumbersome.
However, I’ll concede that one possible reason I didn’t get on that well with the Roadhawk 2 is that it doesn’t fit my running. My plan involves a good amount of easy running mixed with speed sessions, with tempo runs once a week, and I’m often building up towards a half or full marathon. If most of your running is around 5K to 10K and done at a tempo pace, which is a typical routine for many people, the Roadhawk FF 2 could be a great option.
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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.