Asics Gel Venture 8
The upper is insanely plush and wraps your foot in 360 degrees of comfy padding from the heel counter all the way to the toe box. Due to the high level of padding in the upper, this shoe can get fairly hot on those balmy summer days.
Overall, I would recommend this shoe for runners that need a boost of insulation when training in cooler climates. The cushioning in the midsole is modest and doesn’t quite hit the mark when compared to other highly cushioning trainers.
However, what I like most about this running shoe is that it comes in at a super affordable price point that won’t break the bank.
Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to the Asics Gel Venture 8. This shoe provides runners with simple cushioning for those on the hunt for a great neutral trail running shoe.
Below, I wanted to take a deep dive into the advanced features that make this daily trainer a must-have for trailer runners that need enhanced performance at a modest price point.
Affordable price point
Deep lugs are great for difficult and muddy trails
Highly cushioning upper excels on cooler days
Very durable rubber outsole
Short break-in period
Narrow toe box
The upper is not very breathable
The midsole of the Gel Venture 8 is simple yet effective. It boasts a full-length layer of Asics proprietary gel foam cushioning that runs the full length of the shoe. What makes this cushioning unique is that it is made from silicon that is composed of inert polymers that are both supportive and durable.
It doesn’t provide runners with that soft squishy feel like EVA foam but instead provides targeted support and energy return where you need it most.
The gel cushioning naturally adjusts to your unique gait cycle to help mitigate the impact of the ground. With a little extra cushioning in the heel counter and the forefoot, your gait cycle is a little more supported when running on uneven surfaces such as trails.
Overall, this midsole constitution is ideal for neutral runners. It’s not highly cushioned and squishy, and the energy return isn’t exceptional.
It is a style of midsole that helps reduce the impact of running on hard surfaces, but it doesn’t put an extra spring in your step. It’s good, but not great.
The Gel Venture 8 may be a little lacking in the midsole, but the tough and rugged outsole is where this shoe really shines. It is composed of a full-length piece of Asics unique AHAR rubber (which stands for Asics High Abrasion Rubber).
This style of rubber is the same material that is used to make car tires, so you know that it is incredibly durable. Runners found that this shoe shows very few signs of overall wear and tear even after 100 miles. If you need something that will last for hundreds of miles, the outsole of the Gel Venture 8 is up for the challenge.
What I also love about the outsole of this shoe is that the lugs are built to really grip challenging trails under your feet. The newest addition of this shoe has redesigned lugs that have a unique pattern that helps to improve your grip, stability, and overall traction.
It’s also important to note that the thick rubber and lugs aren’t super flexible, but they help to shield your feet from jagged rocks and tree roots that appear in your path.
Before I dive into the specs of the upper, I first wanted to note that this upper runs incredibly hot. It is composed of thick materials and ample padding that are super comfortable yet a little hot. Ideally, it’s best to stick to cooler morning runs while or running in cooler weather.
Sure, the upper is quite hot, but it is also incredibly cushioning and padded. The heel collar and the tongue are highly padded and contour to the shape of your foot.
What I found most impressive about the upper of this shoe is that it has a very short break-in period. The first few runs wrap your feet in padding, and the comfort of the upper only gets better the more that you train in them.
What I also love about the construction of this upper is that it is resistant to water. Technically, it’s not considered to be waterproof, but the materials used help to keep water away from your feet.
The upper is composed of a very thick layer of synthetic leather which helps to wick water (and other debris) away from your feet.
The thick (yet hot) construction makes this the perfect shoe to take out on muddy or dusty trails.
While the Asics Gel Venture 8 is built tough, it’s not necessarily built for extremes. Sure, the outsole is incredibly durable, but the minimal support in the midsole means that it’s not necessarily ideal for running long distances.
Plus, the stiff nature of the upper and outsole limits your overall flexibility, which means that it also isn’t great for speedy agility work. So, who exactly is the Asics Gel Venture 8 built for?
I would suggest this running shoe for runners that like to go on nice easy tempo runs out on the trails. Other users also love this shoe as a casual walking shoe due to its durable outsole and super-cushioned upper.
If you love running because it’s calming and meditative and just gets you out into nature, this shoe is one of your best options. You won’t be setting any speed or distance records while wearing this shoe.
However, if you just want something adorable, durable, and comfortable for meditative runs on the trails, this shoe has you covered.
Runners found that this shoe runs true to size. If you are a size 10 in other Asics running shoes, the same can be said for the Gel Venture 8. One important thing to note, however, is that some found that the toe box runs narrow.
I suggest heading down to your local shoe store to give these shoes a try before your buy them. If you have wide feet, it may be in your best interest to opt for a half size larger than normal so that your toes don’t jam at the end of the shoe.
The unique flatlock lace cage also provides runners with a secure fit. The lockdown in this shoe is quite impressive, and fits snugly on your feet like they were made just for you!
When running on uneven trails a good lockdown is essential, and the lace cage system and stiff heel collar ensure that your feet stay firmly in place as you run.
If you are on the hunt for a simple and affordable running shoe that gets the job done, the Asics Gel Venture takes it easy on your bank account.
One of the things that I love most about this shoe is that it clocks in at a super affordable price point. This shoe comes in well below the 100 dollar mark, and the durable outsole is able to last up to 450 miles.
When you compare the overall durability and performance of this shoe to other budget-friendly running shoes out there on the market, this is one of the best overall values that money can buy, and it’s certainly worth checking out.
Comparisons to Previous Versions
The biggest change made to the design of this shoe is that Asics ditched many of the overlays found in the forefoot, which makes this shoe a little bit more flexible and lightweight than previous versions.
The improvements to the forefoot are slight, but help to boost this shoe’s overall flexibility, and make it just a little bit lighter than previous versions.
The midsole is good (but not great), and helps to absorb the impact when running on hard surfaces. This shoe isn’t plush or super responsive, but it gets the job done.
To me, the Asics Gel Venture really shines in the outsole. This shoe provides runners with a superior grip when running on trails or other slick surfaces.
There are very few trail running shoes out there on the market that can log in almost 500 miles while keeping the price tag well under 100 bucks.
If you need a good and reliable pair of running shoes to take out on the trails for nice and meditative tempo runs without breaking the bank, the Asics Gel Venture 8 is worth checking out!