Asics Gel-Contend 2 Review
The Asics Gel-Contend 2 is a great entree level running shoe. The shoe is designed with protective cushioning that is meant for the hard surfaces of the road. With many great features for runners such as a removable sock liner, reflective light, comfort, and cushion, this cushioned running shoe is quite the gem for its price. Unfortunately, it's lack of flexibility did a number on my feet, making for a poorer review score from my perspective.
Asics Gel-Contend 2 Features
Removable Sockliner-Always a great customizable feature for runners or general shoe wearers who prefer their own custom orthodics. Honest opinion, the Asics Gel-Contend 2 will feel so great, you will not feel the need to add any custom-made orthodics.
Cushioning Technology-The price of the Asics Gel-Contend 2, the cushion is out of this world. The Asic’s running shoe’s name really holds up. The Rearfoot Cushioning Technology is able to absorb most of your body’s impact and transition it into a smooth ride. It creates a very natural, comfortable feel with your movement.
Reflective Material– A little bonus feature that is not offered in many lower-priced shoes. Reflective materials are often made to do what they claim to: reflect. This will help out runners who want to be seen by others, such as somebody who runs in the dark and may not want to get hit by a car.
Synthetic Mesh/Upper– The upper holds up very well like most running shoes in this price range. Constructed with mesh and synthetic overlays over the top, there is plenty of air that comes and goes with the shoe, allowing you to let off the steam you need to. Nobody likes hot and stinky feet because of poor running shoes.
Rearfoot Notch– The rearfoot notch typically is a little curve inward the heel of the shoe to lock in your foot better. This avoids any sort of slippage or extra movement with the foot. The rearfoot notch must have nice padding around the ankles otherwise it could cause you to blister up. The Asics Gel-Contend 2 performs very nicely with a comfortable plush notch around the ankle and around the rest of the foot.
Traditional Lacing System– What is the big deal here? Have you ever worn shoes with a poor and odd lacing system? Or maybe worn shoes with laces that are way too long or too short. It does not sound like a big deal but nothing having something that nags you to go out and buy another pair of laces and set them up is always a nice plus. As consumers, the less work required to start up a product, the better.
Asics Gel-Contend 2 Intended Uses
Being a entree-level running shoe, the Asics Gel-Contend 2 definitely has its specified uses to say the least. First, the Gel-Contend 2 is a neutral cushioned running shoe. If you are not sure what a neutral running shoe is, check out how to determine your foot type here. Being a neutral running shoe, this shoe is for neutral runners. Slight-under pronators and over-pronators should not have any problems with these shoes either. My concern would be a heavy pronator trying to buy this shoe, especially for running. It may cause heavily improper-form and pain or injury could result.
Mainly due to the Gel-Contend 2’s rearfoot cushioning technology, this shoe is constructed for the hot summer grounds of the road. Yes, even cold roads 🙂 This also means it will work perfectly on lighter surfaces or differed surfaces such as a treadmill, it is simply constructed well for roads.
Sometimes it is important to know the brand you are getting into. Some brands sizes are different. Some have different styles. Some are deemed more hype than others. Every running shoe brand will have their own stereotypes, truths, exaggerations, falsehoods, hypes, and a herds of followers. Asics is quite known for cushion and arch-support. I know a lot of people that rip Nike for lack of arch support. While you should always avoid stereotypes and look at running shoes on an individual basis, the Asics Gel-Contend 2 does follow the ASICS stereotype quite a bit. Every Gel-ASICS I have tried has had at least decent arch support. This is going to be important to certain runners who have struggled with running shoes in the past or have faced things such as plantar fasciitis. My work friend Kristi always swears by Asics over my preferred brand Nike because she has higher archs and needs the support.
Asics Gel-Contend 2 Performance
When it comes to performance in the Asics Gel-Contend 2, there is only one thing to start with. Cushion. It is superb all around. You can get some decent running shoes around this price range, most of which are entree-level just like this running shoe. However, I have personally not tried any with this amount of cushion and comfort. I think it does transition fairly well.
There are a few things that leave me to believe this shoe is closer to a cross-trainer than a long-mileage shoe. In other words, while this shoe may be great for all-around activities, running a marathon in these may not be in your best interest. The first thing to notice is its lateral support. There is quite a bit of it. Think of playing tennis or shuffling your feet in basketball, side to side. How often do runners need lateral quickness? Not very often, so it often is extra support in a running shoe that weighs down the shoe some and gets in the way of runners. Secondly, while the shoe has great cushion the shock-absorbing is probably less than what it tries to claim to be. While there is some shock-absorption, it is not quite at the level of high-quality running shoes. This is why this shoe is great for many things: walking, shorter runs, and cross-training. Long-distance running is not its objective.
The durability of the Asics Gel-Contend 2 is about what you would expect for this price-range. Unless you are piling on huge miles and damage on these shoes, they should last at least a good 6 months. Given their structure, I like to wear these shoes at work. With good cushion and comfort, they are the perfect cheap work shoe for me. They have held up as well as most of my Nike’s thus far.
Construction of Asics Gel-Contend 2
Upper– The upper in the Gel-Contend 2 is about what you would expect in this price-range of a shoe. It is largely constructed of mesh with synthetic overlays. When there is a breeze outside you can definitely feel the wind hit your feet. That can be a good sign in how breathable a shoe is. Of course, get to work in some heat and see how your feet and shoes hold up. If you are sweating profusely and the heat is not going anywhere, you need more breathability. The Asics-Gel-Contend 2 offers ample breathability but nothing too crazy good. Not bad but not great. Simply good.
I am a little disappointed in the tongue of the shoe. I really like shoes with super plush tongues. It simply means I have extra cushion when I tie my shoes tight. Usually running shoes with extra plush tongues offer a better overall fit to my feet as well. That being said, the Asics Gel-Contend 2 tongue seems to average. Nothing crazy to expect but at the same time, nothing that should be a big deal to many.
Midsole-Like most running shoes these days, the Asics Gel-Contend 2 does offer a medial post. This simply means it places in a post that is designed to prevent too much over-pronation. This is good for slight-over pronators but there is not enough support for heavy-over pronators.
Lastly, the cushioning in the Asics Gel-Contend 2 is pretty great. A good portion of the cushioning is thanks to the midsole. What I have really enjoyed seeing is the cushioning has not depreciated as much unlike a lot of cheap cushioned running shoes do.
Outsole– The outsole is constructed pretty well. Almost the entire bottom of the shoe is covered in basic carbon rubber. This is the material needed to find traction. Given this information, I can definitely tell you the traction on these shoes are pretty great. You should be able to cut well, even in some wet situations. Just do not try making crazy cuts on wet grass. That would be frowned upon if you are looking to avoid injury of course.
Sizing And Appearance
You can be the judge of the design itself. I personally like it because it can fit with a lot of different styles. You can have the nice black and white. If you prefer color, there are also very bright colors like bright blue with reflective materials. You can check out the other color options through the ASICS website, www.asicsamerica.com. Speaking of the reflective features of the shoe. They are the glossy parts of the shoe throughout the shoe, stretching from the rear throughout the upper where there is quite a bit near the toes.
Sizing can be important for any shoe. The length of the shoe seems to be very satisfying in comparison with my normal shoe size, 9 Men’s D. The width is what any possible wearers should be concerned about. I did not need a wide size with this shoe but it was pretty close. Luckily this shoe readily comes in wider sizes, 2E and 4E. It is always tough when a shoe does not offer wider sizes because you either have to compensate by sizing up which adds more movement of the foot or wear a cramped shoe which is never good because the foot naturally swells up while running.
Conclusion to my Review
With a lot of unique features, the Asics Gel-Contend 2 has so much to offer than any other running shoe in its price range. Features such as superb cushion, a removable sock-liner, and reflective materials are all pretty rare to see in a shoe marked at $60. This neutral cushioned running shoe is best suited for lighter running distances, walking, cross-training, and casual use. although, the Asics Gel-Contend 2 may lack some features for long-distance runners or higher-priced quality running shoes. Overall, if you are looking for a light runner or cross trainer and your budget is limited, this would be my first go-to-option.