ASICS Gel Excel33 3 Review Facts
The ASICS Gel Excel33 3 is a daily training shoe that can also pull double duty as a racer. The shoe is lightweight (about an ounce lighter than the previous model), has adequate cushioning, and provides a very smooth and natural ride. The 33 designation stands for the number of joints in the human foot. The ASICS 33 lineup includes several shoes (Electro, Excel, Lyte, and Super) that are designed to improve the runner’s form and strengthen the joints and muscles in the feet.
A new platform design for the Excel33 3 creates a tighter fit in the heel and midfoot areas while leaving room in the toe box for natural toe splay. A new FluidRide midsole joins the FluidAxis outsole for even better flexibility and bounce-back energy. An improved mesh upper provides breathability and structure with fewer overlays for improved airflow. This shoe is a good choice for a runner looking for a flexible and lightweight training shoe that offers some cushioning without feeling bulky.
The outsole of this shoe features ASICS’ High-Abrasion Rubber (AHAR+) tread placed in the areas of high impact on the sole. The forefoot is made from a blown DuraSponge AHAR compound which provides flexibility and cushioning. The heel area is comprised of a very durable carbon AHAR compound which provides good traction and grip on most hard surfaces. The outsole also features FluidAxis technology which are deep grooves aligned to the joints (all 33 of them) in the human foot. The grooves follow the natural movement of the runner’s foot and adjust to changes in position as the foot moves through the running cycle. This allows for a smooth and natural feeling ride.
The midsole of this shoe uses ASICS’ signature GEL cushioning in the heel area. This silicon-based unit absorbs the shock of hard landings and also maintains a smooth transition through the running gait cycle. Most of ASICS’ shoes
have this gel cushioning. The midsole also features the company’s FluidRide technology which provides good energy return and a smooth ride. FluidRide uses a layer of soft SpEVA foam and a layer of denser SoLyte foam to cushion the foot from front to back. The combination of foams provides a soft platform for the foot that bends and flexes as needed. A midfoot shank used in the second version of the shoe is not used in this shoe. Some runners complained that it made the shoe feel stiff in the midfoot and did not propel their foot forward as advertised.
The Gel Excel33 3 features a seamless, open mesh upper which is quite different from the previous model. Welded overlays cover the sides of the shoe and have been reduced in size and number for improved flexibility and ventilation. The upper also features a redesigned heel counter which is lower and more padded. Unchanged from the previous version is a Heel Clutch System which is an exoskeletal heel cup that keeps the heel locked in place and prevents heel slipping inside the shoe. A removable ComforDry EVA sockliner adds more cushioning underfoot. The sockliner has antibacterial properties to keep the foot healthy
and dry. A well-padded tongue also adds comfort to the shoe. The toe box, widened with the release of the Gel Excel33 2, is still equally wide and provides room for good airflow and natural foot splay.
The weight of the Gel Excel33 3 is 8.9 oz (men’s size 9) and 7.1 oz (women’s size 8). This an ounce lighter than the previous version. The lightweight foam of the midsole and the components that make up the responsive nature of the shoe, keep the shoe light, but also maintain structure and protection. Although described as a natural shoe with a minimalist feel, this is not a minimal shoe.
This shoe is not highly cushioned (28mm heel, 18mm forefoot), but it is quite comfortable. The midsole is made from spEVA foam which provides comfort and impact protection and also resilient Solyte foam which provides good energy return for the wearer. The Gel cushioning unit in the heel also helps to soften road impact throughout the foot. The improved upper has some stretch to it and wraps around the foot for a tight, yet comfortable fit. ASICS calls this their MonoSock Fit system which is mostly in the design of the tongue. The ComforDry sockliner not only wicks away moisture, but adds a layer of cushioning to the shoe. Wearers reported that the shoe was very comfortable and had a natural feel that moved with their foot. The seamless upper is soft enough that runners can go sockless if desired.
ASICS running shoes tend to have a typical running shoe style. The overlays, which are very similar from shoe to shoe, give the shoe a sense of motion and energy, but are not overly dramatic. Colors are often limited and standard. For the Gel Excel 33 3, men have an option of gray or blue. Ladies can pick from light blue or charcoal. This shoe focuses more on features than fashion, and runners looking for a solid trainer or racer will appreciate all the shoe has to offer, boring or not.
The Gel Excel33 3 is a fairly durable shoe. The AHAR+ rubber outsole can stand up to many miles of general wear and tear. The midsole foam and Gel Cushioning unit provides a responsive ride that continues to feels fresh for many runs. Durability issues from the previous model and been resolved by an improved upper. An overlay across the toe and extended flap of outsole protects both the shoe and the foot. A few runners thought the shoe tread wore out quicker than expected.
This shoe is meant to be used on the roads. It can be used on mild trails, but the thin upper and minimal cushioning do not offer much protection from rough terrain. The AHAR rubber outsole is the main component for protecting the runner’s foot from the road. The updated mesh upper works well to hold the foot securely in the shoe and the padded tongue and MonoSock technology provides a secure and comfortable fit across the top of the foot. This shoe can be worn with or without socks
for an irritation free run. An overlay across the front of the shoe adds some protection from encountered road hazards.
The Gel Excel33 3 is a very responsive shoe. The outsole FluidAxis design uses anatomical flex grooves which allow the shoe to respond to the unique stride of each runner. The midsole’s FluidRide technology contains Solyte foam which provides excellent energy return with every step. The AHAR outsole also features more flexible rubber in the front of the shoe to ensure natural foot movement and promote a forefoot or midfoot landing. The responsive nature of the shoe is further enhanced by the Gel Cushioning unit in the heel of the shoe. Although designed to be a trainer
, the responsive components make the shoe a good racer as well.
The Gel Excel33 3 is a neutral shoe that offers good support to the runner through the design of the midsole. The FluidRide technology provides structure to the shoe's midfoot area and offers decent arch support. The shoe also features midsole Solyte cushioning which helps provide a supportive landing base for the runner. The Heel Clutch system and upper of the shoe also keep the foot secure and centered when running. The good traction of the outsole ensures a powerful and confident run. Runners found the shoe to be very supportive, especially at higher speeds
This shoe performs very well on most solid terrain including wet surfaces. The outsole tread provides good traction for road running and can take on mild trail conditions. The shoe lacks protective features
for rocky or highly technical trails. Runners looking for a dependable road shoe will not be disappointed with the Gel Excel 33 3.
The Asics Gel Excel33 3 debuted in 2014 with a price tag of $125. The shoe can now be found for quite a bit less than that. For a quality daily trainer, this shoe is worth the money. Although the outsole tread may not last past 300 miles for some runners, the shoe provides good support and flexibility and makes a great trainer or racer.
This shoe features a fairly durable AHAR+ rubber outsole. Although not overly aggressive, the tread design and placement provides good grip on hard surfaces. Runners liked how the heel and forefoot of the shoe had a different feel on the road which allowed for a smooth and natural feeling. The shoes have adequate traction for light, well-groomed trails, dirt roads, grass, and other surfaces that are not too rough and ragged.
This shoe is very flexible. The FluidAxis technology features horizontal forefoot grooves which allow the shoe to bend and flex as needed. The shoe is most flexible in the forefoot and stiffer in the heel area. This design promotes a more natural footstrike. A vertical guidance line in the outsole also helps the shoe move naturally. Many runners commented on the relaxed feel of the shoe which reminded them of more minimal shoes, but with slightly more cushioning.
The Gel Excel33 3 is a neutral shoe which offers average stability. The shoe is designed for runners with good form or those looking to improve their form.
Most of the stability is provided by the upper which wraps around the foot for a tight fit. The Heel Clutch System ensures the heel will not slip inside or accidentally out of the shoe. The midsole cushioning provides a supportive and stable base for the runner and the wide toe box helps with stable landings and toe-offs. The outsole tread provides good traction on solid surfaces and keeps the runner on his or her feet and moving forward, even in wet conditions.
This shoe has a heel-to-toe drop of 10mm. For a shoe with minimal features, this may be a bit high for some runners. Despite the higher drop, the shoe still manages to promote a natural forefoot strike due to the flexibility in the forefoot and slight stiffness in the heel.
AHAR+ rubber outsole
FluidAxis Technology in outsole
FluidRide Technology in midsole
SpEVA and solyte midsole foam
Rearfoot GEL Cushioning system
Heel Clutch System
ComforDry EVA sockliner
MonoSock Fit system
Seamless and improved upper
The ASICS Gel Excel33 3 is a dependable road shoe intended for high mileage training runs. The lightweight, natural feel also makes it a good racer. A durable AHAR+ rubber outsole and midsole cushioning make the shoe comfortable and responsive. Some runners felt the outsole wore out too quickly, but most runners were happy with the mileage they got out of the shoe. Features of the shoe provide a locked in, secure, and comfortable fit making it a great shoe for long distance runs. The shoe caters to forefoot and midfoot strikers, but heel strikers trying to improve their form will benefit from the shoe’s responsive nature. A rearfoot gel unit dissipates the shock of hard landings making this shoe suitable for runners of all abilities. For a quality road shoe at a decent price, consider taking this 33-Series shoe for a spin.