ASICS Gel Exalt 2

Popular running shoe manufacturer Asics designed the second iteration of their Gel Exalt footwear line as a supportive midrange shoe that is easy on both the foot and the wallet. It’s an excellent pick for newer runners looking to settle into a daily running routine since the excellent traction on its outsole works beautifully with the heel’s gel cushioning to provide a running experience free from most of the pains commonly felt among beginners. These shoes can handle anything from a short walk with your dog to a daily jogging route and even training for a 5K. Asics made something really special here with the Gel Exalt 2 that can be appreciated by runners of all calibers.

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • Affordable
  • Breathable upper
  • Lightweight and responsive midsole
  • Shock absorbing heel
  • Excellent outsole grip
  • Removable insole
  • Cons
    • Questionable lifespan
    • Narrow sizing
    • Limited size availability
    • Key Features
      AHAR rubber is the primary component used in the construction of the Asics Gel Exalt 2’s outsole. This form of rubber-based material is commonly found in footwear with an emphasis on providing a solid grip on running surfaces. In addition to providing this feature, AHAR rubber is also highly durable. While this material isn’t the most comfortable, the Gel Exalt 2 mitigates this by providing extra cushioning around the heel with the use of gel in its midsole. Flex grooves have been placed around the outsole, helping to make the shoe feel more flexible. Thanks to this well-designed and well-made outsole, runners are guaranteed an above-average mileage in these Asics shoes.
      The Asics Gel Exalt 2 features a midsole with excellent cushioning running the entire length of the shoe. The EVA foam material used in this midsole is lightweight and provides enough springy rebound to facilitate a highly responsive ride. This extra bounciness helps to increase the energy efficiency of the shoe, allowing for longer running sessions without fatigue. This midsole will even maintain its springy nature over many long running sessions, which is a testament to its durability. Additional cushioning has been added to the heels of the Exalt 2 in the form of a gel, adding even more energy return. A silicon-based gel unit placed in the shoe’s heel absorbs shock from foot strikes and is where this shoe derives its namesake. Thanks to this extra attention given to the rearfoot, the design of this shoe’s midsole is the most beneficial to heel strikers.
      Lightweight and flexible materials used for the ASICS Gel Exalt 2 provide immediately tangible benefits. The mesh material encourages strong airflow throughout the entirety of the shoe, ensuring the wearer’s comfort even in warmer temperatures. Additional stitched overlays provide extra comfort while also ensuring more protection from the elements and a tighter fit. Padding is present all around the collar and tongue as well. There isn’t anything particularly noteworthy about this shoe’s laces, but they get the job done. A sock liner secures the foot and provides more comfort but can be removed if the wearer so desires. Finally, reflective material has been placed in order to ensure a runner’s safety in low light environments by increasing their visibility.
      These shoes weigh around 11 ounces, making them a bit heavier than similar running shoes. This means that some runners won’t be able to reach the same speeds in these shoes than they would from lighter footwear but that doesn’t mean that the Gel Exalt 2 is incapable of handling a race. Regardless, this extra ballast is most likely going to result in these Asics shoes not being any serious sprinter’s first choice. It’s a bit confusing as to how these shoes became so heavy since much of the material used for the midsole and upper are very lightweight. However, it seems that the high traction outsole and extra layers of upper padding are the culprits.
      The ASICS Gel Exalt 2 features an upper portion that provides excellent ventilation. Although additional material overlays have been added to enhance the cushion and foot protection, this does not inhibit the shoe’s breathability. A removable EVA liner can also provide additional preventative measures for the accumulation of sweat and moisture. Even in wetter environments such as rain, the lightweight material used for the upper dries quickly. As a result of these features, runners can rest assured that the Gel Exalt 2 will provide the kind of airflow needed for a competent running shoe.
      The combination of SpEVA foam in the midsole and AHAR rubber on the outsole provide enough comfort to satisfy even the most sensitive feet. Furthermore, additional heel cushion from the titular gel provides a bit more impact protection for those prone to heel striking. Asics even placed an additional thin EVA liner inside the upper portion of the shoe. Speaking of the upper, impeccable moisture management and high breathability in this region ensures that runners won’t have to deal with pooling sweat or water from a puddle. Extra padding has even been placed around the upper collar, providing a snug and chafe-free ankle fit. While these aspects all contribute to an extremely comfortable shoe, some runners with wide feet may feel discomfort unless they order a half size larger than usual.
      The Gel Exalt 2 features all the trappings of your standard ASICS running shoe. This is far from an insult since they make decent looking shoes, but it may disappoint some runners looking to make a bold fashion statement. Men have basic color options in blacks, blues, and whites, while women’s sizes offer ranges of pink. Particularly resourceful shoppers may be able to find alternate colors through other retailers such as Amazon; however, the Gel Exalt 2 is pretty boring overall. Since these shoes have been rendered obsolete after the release of the Gel Exalt 3, some of these color options may be harder to find in specific sizes.
      You can expect the same level of durability from the Asics Gel Exalt 2 that you would receive from any other typical midweight running shoe. The AHAR outsole material provides a decent amount of resiliency that will last for a few hundred miles without showing noticeable wear since they’re designed to take a pounding. While the SpEVA-comprised midsole is also durable, the degree to which it is so has been diminished for the sake of providing greater flexibility and a lighter weight. However, you can still rest easy knowing that this portion of the shoe won’t crumble after a few lengthy jogging sessions. The upper provides decent longevity as well, meaning that you are guaranteed enough durability to handle standard running environments without diminished quality or the immediate need to replace your shoes.
      Although the ASICS Gel Exalt 2 was primarily designed for use as a road running shoe, it offers enough foot protection to function adequately on non-technical trails. In addition to providing a physical shield against harsh terrain and errant debris, the AHAR outsole protects runners’ joints from shock during repeated foot impact. This shock absorption property is also added to the rearfoot with the inclusion of a gel heel pad. However, the most protective aspect of these shoes is the midsole with its SpEVA material, providing the most significant measure of shock absorption. Finally, some finishing touches that round out this shoe’s protective capabilities are a cushioned upper and rubber-reinforced toe pad.
      In addition to providing traction and protection, the outsoles of the Gel Exalt 2 provide the majority of its responsiveness. A naturalistic running stride is guaranteed thanks to the horizontal and vertical grooves placed along the outsole. Customers are in agreement that these Asics running shoes provide a smooth and effortless running experience thanks to these amenities. Fortunately, this high responsiveness doesn’t come at the cost of feeling too unstable or sloppy.
      The level of support present in the Gel Exalt 2 makes them the best fit for runners with mid to low arches. In cases where additional arch support is needed, the sock liner can be removed in order to make room for custom orthotics. Other than that, EVA cushioning in the midsole help to provide targeted support for the arches, and a gel pocket near the rear provides extra support for the heels. The upper portion of these Asics shoes also provides some support by providing a secure yet comfortable fit around the upper portion of the foot.
      The Asics Gel Exalt 2 can be effectively used on a variety of running surfaces, so long as they are sufficiently flat and hard. Several grooves on the outsole help to absorb excessive shock from these kinds of surfaces, making these shoes ideal for roads, tracks, and sidewalks. Surprisingly, the competence of the Exalt 2’s outsole even makes them viable for some lower intensity trail running. However, something to keep in mind if you wish to use these shoes for some off-roading is that they won’t guarantee the same comfort and durability in these environments.
      Since these Asics shoes are a bit older now, the cost has dropped to a point below the average price for a pair of running shoes. It may be possible to find them for even greater discounts through online retailers such as Amazon but some brick-and-mortar outlets such as Sears or Foot Locker may have them as well. While this does mean that the Gel Exalt 2 can be purchased at an excellent rate, the age of this product may result in greater difficulty for customers to find their desired colors and sizes.
      These Asics shoes were designed to provide adequate traction on running surfaces that are flat and hard. This means that the Gel Exalt 2’s outsole doesn’t have raised lugs, excluding it from providing the type of grip needed for more intense trail running environments. Fortunately, the design features implemented into its design make them perform terrifically when running on sidewalks, roads, and even some light trails. However, precautions will need to be made when running in wetter environments, as the outsoles aren’t designed to provide grip in the presence of excessive moisture.
      Due to the highly dense EVA foam midsole, some of the flexibility factors in the Asics Gel Exalt 2 is diminished. Fortunately, some design characteristics aside from the midsole provide much-needed bendiness. Flex grooves placed along the outsole allow for an appropriate amount of pliability so as to increase comfort without hampering stability. However, these shoes ultimately made the choice of greater stability at the cost of flexibility.
      While the flexibility of the Asics Gel Exalt 2 has been downplayed considerably, the stability has improved as a result. Runners with pronation issues, in particular, will definitely appreciate the gait correction features of the generously sized outsole. Additionally, a tight-fitting upper helps to further prevent slippage during a run. Finally, a wide toebox enables runners to provide their own stability with more wiggle room to grip the terrain at their feet.
      About 10 mm of additional material has been placed on the heel of the Asics Gel Exalt 2 compared to the forefoot. This is predominantly due to the addition of the titular gel padding, making these shoes ideal for runners who have a tendency to strike their heels during a run. Thanks to the innovative cushioning material, runners have stated that these shoes offer more energy return than others with similar heel drops that implement alternative cushioning materials.
      Key Features

      • EVA midsole cushion runs the length of the shoe

      • AHAR outsole

      • Gel Cushioning in heel

      • Vertical and horizontal flex grooves

      • Standard 10mm drop

      • Breathable and comfortable mesh upper

      • Convenient removable EVA sockliner

      • Reflective upper for low-light runs

      Bottom Line
      For new runners who want to get into serious running sessions, these Asics shoes offer the perfect level of comfort and stability to get them started on the right path. Whether it’s for walking, jogging, sprinting, or cross-training, the Gel Exalt 2 offers the right features at a very reasonable price point. Thanks to the use of its gel cushioning system, common hazards that might discourage beginners from getting into the wonderful sport of running are avoided, such as sore calves from excessive shoe weight or heel pain from excessive foot striking. Aside from a supportive personal trainer, the Asics Gel Exalt 2 is one of the most powerful motivators a fledgling runner can invest in.
      Where to Buy
      By Abbie Copeland
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 24. 2021

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