Asics Roadhawk FF Review
Asics Roadhawk FF Review

Asics’s marketing pitch: Looking for speed and versatility?

Upper: Engineered mesh, fused and stitched-on synthetic.

Midsole: Full-length, single-density Flytefoam midsole. 8 mm heel to toe offset.

Outsole: Hard carbon rubber throughout.

Weight: 243 gms/ 8.6 Oz for a half pair of Men’s US 9/UK 8/EUR 42.5/CM 27

Widths available: Single, D – regular (reviewed).

Asics Roadhawk FF – Deals ($50) Facts Reviews 2024

What is the Roadhawk FF? It’s a durable shoe with a comfortable upper and works well for fast-paced training — great value for money.
Excellent value for money. The upper fit is decent, with a plush heel lining. Flytefoam is firm but delivers good transitions.
Noisy forefoot, lack of optional widths, average outsole grip on damp surfaces

INTRODUCTION

Asics Roadhawk FF Review

Remember the 33 series, anyone? A few years ago, Asics attempted to make inroads into the lower drop, a minimally constructed running shoe market, with the 33M, 33-FA, and 33-DFA.

The shoes above featured a 4 mm heel drop, unprecedented for the Japanese brand. The midsole also skipped the whole Gel-and-plastic show in favor of an all-foam one, and the outsole swapped the traditional ‘Guidance line’ layout with the ‘Fluid Axis’ instead.

It was pretty obvious the 33 series was a case of trying to force-fit a square peg into a round hole. At the time, Asics did not have what it took to make the 33 series successful. It neither had the lightweight chops of the Kinvara nor a cushioned midsole platform that could compete with Hoka One One.

As expected, the Asics 33 assortment met with a quick and forgettable demise.

In hindsight, the missing link was a suitable midsole platform. For years, Asics has relied on its Gel tech (more form than function, though) to market its running shoes, preferably a foam compound.

Then, Asics hit a relative breakthrough with its new Flytefoam material, an EVA foam variant with molded fibers. The $250 Metarun was the first to feature Flytefoam, followed by the Dynaflyte and others.

The new Roadhawk FF proves that Flytefoam isn’t tiered exclusive but relatively price and platform-agnostic. Even at an MSRP of $100, the Roadhawk features full-length Flytefoam, which even more expensive models do not have.

While it is good that Asics has made Flytefoam accessible, they should exercise caution in maintaining price value across their assortment. Otherwise, if all shoes have Flytefoam, why pay more for one shoe?

ASICS FrontRunner – Roadhawk FF Review: Better for …

And by the way, what is the Roadhawk FF?

It is a durable riding shoe suitable for faster training runs. Its seamless upper fits well. Instead of comparing it to other Asics shoes, the identically priced Brooks Launch 4 would be a more meaningful benchmark.

Like Launch 4, the Roadhawk FF is very lightweight with a sub-9-ounce weight and a snug fit. Despite the abundance of Flytefoam, the ride quality is firm and bordering on hard, so know that the FF isn’t meant for everyone.

DESIGN AND MATERIALS

Asics Roadhawk FF

Take a cursory glance at the Roadhawk, and some elements from the 33 series immediately jump at you. For example, the heel has a straight-up design, free of the plastic clip or the distinct Achilles lip, seen on many Asics models.

The engineered mesh design in the front appears familiar—and that’s because you have seen it before on the 33-FA. The open vented area on the top and the tighter-knitted sides resemble the FA. There’s an internal bumper propping up the toe box, and a stiffener gives structure to the heel at the rear.

The midfoot treatment is based on the 33 series; fused synthetic forms a box over the midfoot, and the lacing eyelets are punched into them. The laces are regular round types that cross over a thinly padded tongue.

The Asics logo is semi-concealed beneath a see-thru mesh over the lateral midfoot, giving the Roadhawk excellent design depth.

The inner side doesn’t have a logo and features a different mesh panel. The removal of the internal side logo is something we’ve seen on Asics lately, including more expensive models like the Kayano.

 

While the heel and tongue don’t have much foam padding, the lining is smooth and plush. That’s one reason why we equate the Roadhawk to the Brooks Launch; both shoes have a comfortable lining material.

As you can see, there isn’t much going on the Roadhawk’s upper. It is a natural high with a nearly seamless interior, nothing more. There are a few other design elements, like the printing over the outer heel, which includes a reflective trim, and the molded Asics logo on the tongue flap.

The Roadhawk’s breathability is average, though no more or less than that of your average trainer. The upper might look ventilated from the outside, but the interiors have a separate lining layer in certain areas.

Asics Roadhawk FF Review
Asics Roadhawk FF Review

There are no fancy bits and pieces on the midsole – no shank, no Gel – except for the Flytefoam compound in a full-length avatar. The midsole is a compression mold and is firm to the touch. The foam has the characteristic Flytefoam texture – you can see a wrinkly surface with embedded fibers.

Like any other foam, not all Flytefoam is the same. Some shoes have a softer density, while shoes like the Roadhawk FF have a firmer kind. You should know that the Roadhawk is NOT a soft shoe, no matter how thick the heel looks.

Speaking of thickness, the midsole is rear-loaded. The 20 mm heel stack is nearly double that of the 12 mm forefoot. And if you’re performing mental maths right now, you must have realized that the Roadhawk has an 8 mm drop. This is slightly lower than the usual Asics gradient of 10 mm.

 

The only soft components are the removable Ortholite insole and the foam. The insole is a quiet, blown-foam kind used in other Asics shoes, and it is one reason why the Roadhawk is a great value—this is a premium component.

The midsole sidewalls have a very balanced design. Some beautiful ridges run over the surface, and there is no deep groove, which can cause a ride bias. The Roadhawk’s midsole also has pronounced edges that flare on both sides of the rearfoot, which helps produce a cupping base for the foot to rest within.

Unlike many Asics shoes with a softer blown rubber forefoot, the Roadhawk’s outsole is covered with hard carbon rubber throughout. While there are a few exposed midsole foam areas, most of the outsole is overlaid with rubber. At the same time, there’s plenty of flex grooving and articulation.

The shoe product page might not mention the ‘Guidance line,’ but there is one – it begins under the Roadhawk’s heel and splits the forefoot into two distinct halves.

DURABILITY ASSESSMENT

Regardless of its affordable price tag, the Roadhawk is no slouch regarding durability. The entire outsole is made of hard rubber, so sections like the forefoot will last longer than their blown rubber counterparts.

It’s not just the material but also the design that plays a part in increasing lifespan. Despite the guidance line, the edges of the rubber slabs fare better. The edges along the Guidance line are tapered, which lessens the potential damage from abrasion. Also, the pieces are better inset (or flush) with the midsole, which helps, too.

The firmer Flytefoam compound will perform better than regular EVA compounds, so there’s one less thing to worry about.

The upper forefoot mesh might concern runners with a wide forefoot. This might lead to the body weight rubbing the mesh against the midsole edge, resulting in gradual wear and tear.

The Ortholite will gradually flatten and lose its squishiness over time with all blown foam insoles.

UPPER FIT AND FEEL

There are no complaints about the Roadhawk’s fit. There are no overlays over the toebox, only engineered mesh and the front’s internal bumper. So the toebox isn’t vertically challenged; the height feels just right.

The interior fit is smooth, as expected of an upper with no stitched overlays. However, the round laces apply top-down pressure over the thinly padded tongue.

There’s a slight problem with the upper design. When you lace the Roadhawk tight in the front, the forefoot mesh tends to pucker up – though this is not so much a functional flaw but rather a visual eyesore.

While there are no hot spots, the fused bands between the forefoot and midfoot feel tight. The engineered forefoot mesh has enough space, but only over the forward midfoot, where the upper feels a bit snug. There are no optional widths for the Roadhawk, so it is recommended to try before buying.

The insides of the heel have a soft lining, so the collar fit has a soft feel. The grip isn’t tenacious like that of fully padded collars, but it gets the job done with no slide.

RIDE QUALITY AND BEHAVIOR

Don’t let that thick stack of rearfoot Flytefoam fool you – the Roadhawk is a substantial shoe. Sure, the Ortholite insole feels soft underfoot, and the exposed foam area under the heel produces a cushioned effect. But once you get past that, the rest of the midsole is firm.

You might have worn other Asics shoes featuring Flytefoa,m, which might have felt softer, but the Roadhawk is not one of those. The compression-molded Flytefoam has a higher density, leading to a firm feel from heel to toe. It must be pointed out that the forefoot feels far stiffer than the heel.

The forefoot is rigid due to a few reasons. The front thickness is only a mere 12 mm of Flytefoam, so that’s certainly a contributing factor. The rubber underneath is a complex variable, adding to the firmness. The forefoot hardness also leads to an undesirable side effect.

The front outsole makes a slappy noise during runs, which will be more noticeable for forefoot strikers than heel loaders. This might not have a negative functional impact, but the sound is distracting.

It would help if you gave the Roadhawk’s forefoot at least 50 miles to break in. Initially, the midsole has a stiff feel but gains marginal flexibility in the following weeks.

There is an upside to the lack of cushioning softness, and that’s the superior stability. The stiff midsole and a balanced sidewall design make the Roadhawk incredibly supportive. The heel has no bias, and the raised sidewalls keep the foot locked in.

 

Forefoot transitions are significant. The midsole might not be very flexible, but this character allows the weight to load quickly and economically to toe-offs. Asics advertises the Roadhawk as a speed trainer, and we must say that’s a reasonably accurate marketing description.

Like the firm Brooks Launch 4, the Roadhawk is best for fast training runs and even long distances if you’re accustomed to a firm ride. The shoe is very lightweight, at a mere 8.6 ounces, which helps make it feel fast.

The Roadhawk’s responsiveness or Springbank quality is nearly non-existent, except for some favorable feedback from the rearfoot.

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ASICS RoadHawk FF Performance Review

PROS AND CONS

The Roadhawk is excellent value for money, with its $100 MSRP offering a lot. There’s a full-length Flytefoam midsole under an engineered mesh upper, and the ample rubber coverage makes the shoe durable.

The Roadhawk has little softness, but that makes the ride very supportive and quick to transition.

We didn’t like a few things about the shoe. The rigid forefoot is noisy, making a slappy sound during runs. The hard rubber also delivers average grip performance on damp surfaces.

And then there’s the lack of additional widths. The Roadhawk fits snugly, so having at least a 2E (comprehensive) option would be great.

Read Next – Skechers GoRun Ride 6 Review

SUMMARY of Asics Roadhawk FF 2 Running Shoe

The 2017 Asics Roadhawk is the earlier (and unsuccessful) Asics 33 series that aspired to be a well-mannered, affordable, lightweight trainer with a comfortable, no-fuss upper.

That said, the Roadhawk isn’t for everyone. You will likely be disappointed if you expect the Flytefoam midsole to be the epitome of softness. Instead, we have a firm trainer that shines during fast-paced workouts.

So what if you wanted some other shoes to rotate alongside the Roadhawk? We’ll cover that in the next section.

RECOMMENDED ROTATION

For an Asics shoe with a softer ride, the Cumulus 19 fits the part. It is more delicate than the Roadhawk, though the toebox is shallower. For race days involving 5K and 10K’s, the Hyperspeed 7 is the shoe to rotate.

If you want an all-foam, non-Asics cushioned trainer with the same heel drop, we recommend the New Balance 1080 V7. The ride isn’t exceptionally soft or responsive, but there’s plenty of consistent cushioning.

For shorter races, get the New Balance 1400V5.

Read Next – Asics Gel Kayano 24 Review

SIMILAR ENTRY-LEVEL NEUTRAL SHOES

We can think of a few shoes compared with the Roadhawk, but the Brooks Launch 4 is the closest in terms of the $100 MSRP and the ride quality.

The Asics and Brooks models are firm, though the Launch 4 has a better padded forefoot due to blown rubber. The Launch 4 has a more comfortable heel collar, but it is slightly heavier – by 0.4 ounces, to be precise.

Asics Roadhawk FF 2 Running Shoe Review 

If we had to choose between the Roadhawk and Launch 4, we would buy Brooks’ shoes.

The Roadhawk is also loosely compared to the $15 more expensive and cushioned Hoka Hupana and the 4 mm drop Skechers GoMeb Razor. At some level, even the Nike Elite 9 is comparable if you consider the intended use case.

Read Next – Brooks Ghost 10 Review

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Mick Urlich
Hi there! I'm Mick Urlich, a CrossFit trainer and running shoes expert. With years of experience in the fitness industry, I have gained a deep understanding of the importance of proper footwear for optimum performance. I am thrilled to share my expertise with you on my website, https://runningshoesforsupination.com. As a trusted authority in the field, I aim to provide valuable tips, tricks, and guidance on choosing the right running shoes and insoles that cater specifically to supination. Being a passionate runner myself, I know first-hand the impact the wrong shoes can have on your runs and overall performance. Throughout my career, I have also been recognized and awarded with numerous prizes and rewards for my dedication and knowledge in this area. This only fuels my determination to create a comprehensive and trustworthy resource for anyone seeking advice on running shoes and insoles. On my website, you can expect to find reviews, buying guides, and informative articles related to all things running shoes and their role in correcting supination. My aim is to empower and educate you, enabling you to make well-informed decisions when it comes to footwear choices for your comfort, safety, and performance. I'm excited to be on this journey with you and share my expertise that I have accumulated over the years. Together, let's discover the perfect pair of running shoes and achieve our fitness goals. Stay tuned for regular updates and let's embark on this running journey together! Can't wait to keep you running strong!