ASICS Gel Exalt 2

7.6
7.6 score
[Editors rating (7.5) + Users rating (8.0)] / 2 = Runnerclick score (7.6)/10

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ASICS Gel Exalt 2Review Facts
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The second version of the ASICS Gel Exalt is a budget-friendly, mid-level shoe that offers adequate support and cushioning. The shoe is a solid choice for new runners and also makes a great daily trainer. A durable carbon rubber outsole provides protection and traction for the runner and a rearfoot Gel cushioning system absorbs the shock of hard landings. An improved upper offers better breathability and comfort. This is an ideal shoe for short races, recovery runs, or just daily walks. Runners and walkers who typically log less than 30 miles a week will appreciate the features of this attractive shoe.

Pros
  • Won’t break the bank
  • Breathable mesh upper with synthetic overlays
  • Lightweight and responsive midsole
  • Rearfoot Gel technology for shock absorption
  • High-abrasion rubber outsole provides durability and traction
  • Removable EVA sockliner
Cons
  • Not a shoe for high miles
  • Too narrow for some runners
  • Discontinued model with limited sizes
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The outsole of this shoe is comprised of ASICS High Abrasion Resistant (AHAR) rubber. This very durable rubber provides good traction along with lessening the results of normal running wear and tear. The outsole also offers some cushioning in conjunction with a rearfoot gel cushioning system of the midsole. Vertical and horizontal flex grooves across the tread of the outsole give these shoes excellent flexibility. Most runners were pleased with the longevity of the outsole. The tread does wear over time, but some runners reporting getting 400 miles out of the shoe.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The Gel Exalt 2 features a full-length, dual density SpEVA® midsole. This lightweight SpEVA foam provides most of the cushioning for the shoe and also encourages a more efficient forefoot lift. The springy nature of the foam increases the return energy of every step which helps reduce foot and leg fatigue. Slightly more durable than standard EVA foam, the high quality SpEVA midsole maintains its shape even after many miles.

In the rear of the shoe, ASICS’ signature Gel cushioning system improves the overall responsiveness and comfort of the shoe. The Gel cushioning system is a silicon-based gel unit located in the heel of the shoe which absorbs the shock of landing during the foot strike. This is a great feature for heavy heel strikers. The combination of these components provides a smooth and quick transition from the heel to the forefoot.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The upper of the shoe is made of flexible lightweight open mesh which allows for excellent airflow in and out of the shoe. Updated synthetic overlays stitched into the main upper material provide structure and a more customized fit. A padded tongue and heel collar add to the overall comfort of the shoe. A standard lacing system allows the runner to adjust the fit as needed. The supplied removable EVA sockliner provides additional padding and comfort. Reflective coating across the entire upper makes the shoe more visible under low light conditions. This is a great feature for evening and nighttime runs.
Weight
Weight

Weight

Weighing 11.0 oz for men and 8.7 oz for women, the Gel Exalt 2 is slightly heavier than some similar running shoes. The shoe is not meant to be a racer although it can be used for 5K to 10K race distances. The weight of the shoe should not be a problem for most runners and walkers. As new runners begin to add mileage to their daily runs, they may want to consider a lighter shoe for their next running shoe.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

The soft and lightweight upper material allows good airflow into the shoe. Although the overlays cover much of the upper, they do not block air going into or out of the shoe. The EVA sockliner also wicks away excess sweat from inside the shoe. Most runners had no problem with overly hot feet or annoying hot spots due to excess moisture trapped in the shoe. The upper material is also quick-drying if worn in wet conditions. This shoe gets high marks for breathability.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

This shoe offers a highly cushioned ride thanks to the dual density SpEVA foam midsole and AHAR carbon rubber outsole. The rearfoot gel cushioning also provides excellent shock absorption throughout the entire foot, not just the heel. The excellent moisture-wicking properties of the shoe keep the foot cool and dry and reduce painful blisters and chafing. Extra padding in the heel and ankle keeps the foot comfortable and centered within the shoe. A padded tongue also adds to the comfort. Extra cushioning is provided by the thin EVA sockliner which can be removed to make way for a customized or more supportive insole. This is a medium width running shoe that will accommodate most foot sizes. Runners with extra wide feet may find the shoe a bit tight. Going a half size up may help.
Style
Style

Style

The Gel Exalt 2 has all the characteristics of a typical ASICS running shoe, which is not a bad thing. The company makes some very attractive shoes. For men, the shoe comes in classic colors of white, blue, or black with contrasting overlays that give the shoe a streamlined and energized look. Women have a choice of brighter colors with plenty of pink accents. A special Lite-Show men’s version of the shoe can be found on Amazon’s website. This flashy model is black with silver and bright yellow highlights. Although supposedly the same shoe, this special version does not seem to be as durable as the classic colors. There are numerous complaints of the shoe “falling apart” after less than 200 miles.

Runners unable to find the Exalt 2 model in their size might want to consider the Gel Exalt 3 which has some updated features and also gets good reviews.
Durability
Durability

Durability

With the exception of the flashy “Lite-Show” model, the durability of this shoe is very good for a mid-level shoe. The carbon rubber compound of the outsole is very durable and can cover many miles of hard running or walking. The toughened AHAR sections on the outsole take most of the abuse which helps reduce premature treadwear. The SpEVA midsole is more durable, flexible, and lighter than standard EVA midsoles which keeps the cushioning from breaking down. An overlay across the toe of the shoe acts like a toe guard and helps protect the toe area. The redesign of the upper also provides better structure and fit. Extra padding in the heel collar and tongue contribute to the overall durability of the shoe by keeping the runner’s foot tight and secure.
Protection
Protection

Protection

This shoe is a road running shoe, but can be used on light trails. The carbon rubber outsole helps with energy transfer and shock absorption, but is also the main component for protecting the runner from any rough terrain encountered. The gel cushioning system protects the heel from hard landings which can result in various running-related injuries. The cushioning of the SpEVA midsole helps add energy to every step. An updated mesh upper and padded tongue work to hold the foot securely in the shoe.The overlay across the front of the shoe also helps protect the toes from mild trail hazards. The overlays on the sides of the shoe also keep the runner’s foot centered and secure within the shoe.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

The responsive nature of this shoe comes from the outsole and the vertical and horizontal guidance flex grooves which cross the forefoot. These grooves allow the shoes to flex and move with the runner’s stride. Runners described the shoe as having a very “natural” feeling with a quick toe-off after ground contact. The redesigned upper provides a more sock-like feeling that allows the shoe to move with the runner’s foot. Runners reported that the shoe did bend in all the right places with no crumpling or heel slippage.
Support
Support

Support

This is a neutral running shoe designed for runners with medium to flat arches. The EVA sockliner can be removed to accommodate almost any kind of insole for runners who need more or less support. The EVA material of the midfoot keeps the runner’s foot secure and offers ample arch support throughout the runner’s stride. The durable mesh upper and thin overlays also provides support to the foot by enabling a secure and snug fit without feeling overly tight. The rearfoot Gel cushioning also ads support to the shoe by providing smooth landings and quick toe-offs.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

This shoe is designed for road running and walking. The construction of the outsole is great for use on hard surfaces and the flex grooves in the forefoot add flexibility to every step. The shoe can be used on mild trails, packed gravel, and grass, but it is more suited for the open road and paved trails. Walkers give this shoe high praise for its comfort and stability on sidewalks and other hard surfaces.
Price
Price

Price

Because the Gel Exalt 2 is an older, discontinued model, it can be found for under $100. Local running stores often have a discounted section for older model shoes. This shoe can sometimes be found at local chain stores such as Sears and Target, but the popular colors and sizes may be sold out.
Traction
Traction

Traction

The Exalt 2 has great traction on most hard surfaces. The outsole offers good grip, but there are no raised lugs for digging into rough or loose terrain. The design of the tread promotes a smooth heel to toe transition which is good for walking or running on pavement. Runners should use caution when running on wet and slippery surfaces. The flat nature of the outsole is not the best for slippery conditions.
Flexability
Flexability

Flexability

This is a fairly flexible shoe despite the cushioned midsole. The flexibility comes from the flex grooves in the outsole which allow the shoe to follow the natural gait of the foot from step one. The midsole cushioning is also soft enough to flex with each step, offering a responsive feel for the entire run. The mesh material of the upper, in addition to the overlays, help create a very flexible shoe with good structure.
Stability
Stability

Stability

Although not advertised as a stability shoe, this shoe has several stability features to correct any overpronation (inward roll) of the foot and ankle. The tight, yet comfortable heel keeps the foot in a neutral position and the midfoot cushioning supports the arch of the foot to ensure a stable ride. A moderate heel-to-toe drop also contributes to the stability of the shoe. The forefoot area of the shoe is fairly wide for added stability.
Drop
Drop

Drop

The Gel Exalt 2 has a heel-to-toe drop of 10mm. 10mm drops are standard for most daily training and walking shoes. A 10mm drop promotes a cushioned heel strike that lowers the chance of injury to the foot. Most wearers described the shoe as bouncy and responsive and the high heel-to-toe drop did not interfere with their run in any way.
Key Features of the Gel Exalt 2
Key Features of the Gel Exalt 2

Key Features of the Gel Exalt 2


  • Full-length, dual density EVA midsole for ample cushioning


  • AHAR abrasion-resistant rubber outsole for durability and traction


  • Rearfoot Gel cushioning system for comfort


  • Vertical and horizontal flex grooves for flexibility


  • 10mm heel-to-toe drop for a cushioned heel landing


  • Breathable and comfortable mesh upper


  • Convenient removable EVA sockliner


  • Reflective upper for low-light runs




Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The ASICS Gel Exalt 2 is a great choice for new runners who want an affordable and durable shoe without sacrificing comfort and support. This is also a good shoe for recovery runs, long walks, or just putting in daily miles. The company’s signature rearfoot Gel cushioning system absorbs shock upon impact and improves the shoe’s overall responsiveness. A redesigned upper adds comfort, durability, and visibility. This is a quality shoe that will last for many miles and offers a great value for the price.