Asics Gel Excite – 2021 Review
The Asics Gel Excite is the first in a series of neutral road running shoes known for their comfortable cushioning, breathable mesh upper, reflective lightweight designs, and removable sock liners. The gel cushioning in the heel absorbs the shock of impact during strides to allow for smooth transitions. The breathable upper prevents overheating.
The reflective design makes runners visible during low-light conditions such as early mornings, evenings, and foggy weather. The lightweight makes the shoe easy to carry for speed and endurance. The removable sock liner allows runners to replace it with a medical orthotic to help with problems such as knee pain, arthritis, arch issues, and more. The shock absorption gel is in the heel, so this is probably not the best shoe for forefoot or midfoot strikers, but heel strikers will love the comfort, stability, and support of this shoe.
- Affordable price
- Comfortable cushioning
- Lightweight design
- Great shock absorption
- Good breathability
- Reflective materials
- Removable sockliner
- Sizes run small - we recommend ordering a half or a full size up
- Older model with limited size and color availability
- Some testers reported hot spots due to stitching in upper
- Not enough stability for overpronators
The traction makes it an ideal road running or light trail shoe. The outsole also gives some support by lifting the foot off the ground and provides a layer of protection against rough surfaces.
It also provides a neutral level of arch support for neutral runners and slight under pronators. Asics' signature GEL cushioning absorbs the shock for more comfortable landings, improving both protection and responsiveness of the shoe.
The tongue, heel, and collar are padded for additional comfort and protection, and the laces give a comfortably snug fit to prevent sliding. The reflective material on the outside gives visibility in low-light conditions, and the inside has a removable sock liner to accommodate a gel insole or medical orthotic.
The rubber in the outsole and the EVA foam in the midsole was optimized to make the overall weight as light as possible without compromising stability or comfort. The newer models are even lighter, but this shoe was light for the technology of its time.
The wide toe box allows air to flow around the toes. The synthetic overlays don't take away from the overall breathability, and most runners can go for long distances or run on hot days without any trouble.
The upper has a padded tongue, collar, and heel, breathable mesh to prevent blisters, and laces to give the shoe a snug fit. The shoe requires an average amount of break-in time.
The shoes also have reflective materials on the overlays for visibility in low-light conditions. Although the choices are limited due to the shoe being discontinued, reviewers liked the classic look of the shoe. Runners who cannot find the shoe in their size or color might want to consider purchasing the Gel Excite 3 or Gel-Excite 4.
The upper is also fairly durable due to the protection offered by the overlays, and the mesh and the padding in the tongue, collar, and heel also last a long time before wearing down. The shoe will last around 300 miles before signs of wearing down, which is great for runners who want to go on roads or light trails or use the Gel Excite as an everyday shoe.
The removable sock liner can be replaced with a gel insole or medical orthotic to add additional protection against rolling and/or shock absorption if needed. The mesh and overlays in the upper protect against the wind and the cold, their breathability protects against the heat, and the reflective materials in the overlays give the runner visibility in low-light conditions such as early mornings, evenings, or fog.
The drop also promotes forward momentum. The lightweight makes movement easy, making the shoe ideal for speed training or races, and also as an everyday shoe because the shoe will not make the user tired after wearing it for long periods of time.
The upper has padding in the heel and collar to prevent rolling and laces for a snug fit to keep the foot from sliding. While most reviewers liked the level of support in this shoe, some felt that the outsole was too thin to be supportive.
It does not have spikes for gripping snow or ice. The shoe is ideal for dirt or paved roads, such as concrete, asphalt or stone, or light trails that mostly resemble dirt trails in that they aren't too technical.
Although the Gel Excite is the oldest of four models, it is full price due to lack of availability because it was discontinued. Potential buyers can purchase a newer model with updated technology for the same price range.
The grooves promote smooth transitions from heel to toe, and the midsole's gel cushions landings while the treads grip the road going downhill. The treads can grip wet pavement as long as it's not slippery.
The mesh and padding in the upper allow the foot to move during forward or side to side movements, and the laces can be tied to where they're tight enough to keep the foot in place yet loose enough to allow fast movement.
The outsole provides some stability to the bottom of the foot. The midsole offers some arch support, although the removable sock lining allows users to replace it with a more supportive gel or a medical orthotic. The upper provides some stability to keep neutral runners from rolling, but not enough for over-pronators.
The heel being higher than the forefoot promotes forward momentum. Some runners with a forefoot or midfoot strike pattern prefer a lower drop for a more natural feel, more evenly distributed cushioning, and believe a lower drop prevents knee or back injury. Many runners with a heel strike pattern enjoy the forward momentum given by a standard drop.
- Breathable synthetic and mesh upper
- Rubber sole with 1” heel
- Rearfoot GEL cushioning enhances comfort and attenuates shock
- Lightweight running style
- Laces provide a snug fit
- Sockliner can be removed and replaced with a medical orthotic
- Reflective design for visibility under low-light conditions
The upper's mesh makes the shoe breathable, the laces make it fit snugly, and the reflective overlays make the shoe visible in low-light conditions. The price is attractive to new runners or people looking for an everyday shoe. The lightweight allows users to move quickly and easily for daily runs, races, and training.
Possible areas for improvement include increased stability for overpronators, improved support on the outsole, wide sizes to accommodate runners with wider than average feet, and shock absorption throughout the foot instead of just the heel to accommodate runners with forefoot or midfoot stride patterns. In short, the Gel Excite is a comfortable, budget-friendly shoe perfect for runners, joggers, and walkers.