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History of (My) Running Shoes #2

1991 Men's & Women's Asics Gel-Lyte III

Look at those beauties! The 1991 Asics GEL-Lyte III. Just breathe in all that pastel. I thought these things were the coolest running shoes on the planet back then. And in all fairness, they were pretty advanced for the day. They were the second pair of running shoes I had ever bought. I was in my third year of high school, my second year of cross country. Weighing in at a mere 10 ounces, they were a whole ounce lighter than my first pair of running shoes, the Nike Air Pegasus. Despite being that light, the GEL-Lyte III had a huge GEL heel pad and a ton of foam cushioning in the midsole. But, the thing that set the GEL-Lyte III apart from any other running shoe on the market at the time was the…are you ready for this?…the split tongue. Take a closer look at that photo. That’s right. Instead of a traditional tongue that slips and slides off to the side, Asics came up with the genius idea (and I’m actually being serious here) of a split tongue. They split the tongue down the middle and then attach it along the sides. This, I think, was actually the predecessor, or at least an alternative idea to the modern day interior bootie construction that has become so common. This photo is from the 1991 Road Runner Sports catalog, and the description bills it as a high-mileage trainer that is also great for trail running too. In fact, it was a super popular shoe for cross country and I can vouch that it performed equally well on paved roads and hard-packed trails and grass. Hey, it carried me to my fastest 5K time of 18:18, so it’s got that going for it. Look out for next month when we take a look at my third-ever running shoe, the Asics GEL-Trail Lyte. Oh yeah! In the meantime, check out the brand new release of the Asics GEL-Lyte III >

Steve Lemig

Steve Lemig is the founder of Wilderdad. He's been a lot of things over the years. Skateboarder. Mountain biker. Climber. Snowboarder. Bike mechanic. Forest firefighter. Woodworker. Creative director. These days he's a runner, writer, husband, and father. He writes stories to empower dads and encourage them to share outdoor adventures with their kids as a tool to strengthen families and build respect for the environment. He has also been the Managing Editor at Road Runner Sports for the last 11 years.