Asics has always been my go-to for cushion for my heels. The 21s have very little. I, too, thought I had gotten a lemon until I tried them on at 2 other places. The toe box is better and sizing is still too small, but a number is a number as long as you know to order up at least 1 whole size. If you don't need or want cushioning, this shoe could work for you.