Asics Gel Contend 3
8.8/10

Asics Gel Contend 3 Review

Asics Gel Contend 3 Review
8.8/10

Summary

The Asics Gel Contend 3 is an entry-level running shoe that offers support and cushion for its wearers. Considered primarily a running shoe to be used for shorter road runs or casual wear, its gel-cushioning heel provides a very comfortable ride. While it's a bit heavier than its competition, its comfort makes up the difference.

Construction of the Asics Gel Contend 3

Asics Gel Contend 3 
Weight10.5 Oz
Type:Neutral
Use:Road
Previous Models:Asics Gel Contend 2
MSRP:$65
 Pros 
  • Comes in wider sizes to help runners find a better fit
  • Offers gel-cushioning in its heel to enhance cushion and comfort
  • Removable insole allows flexibility for custom inserts
Cons
  • A bit heavy when compared to similar running shoes in the same market

Features

  • Synthetic Mesh
  • Reflective and glossy topped overlays
  • Asics Gel Cushioning midsole
  • Removable Insole
  • Forefoot Flex Grooves
  • Rubber Sole

Upper Construction

Asics uses a basic synthetic mesh for what feels like an average breathability feel. The Asics Gel Contend 3 also features synthetic overlays that provide some support and structure to the shoe.

The insole is shaped to enhance the comfort of the runner. However, if it is not liked, or inserts are your preferred choice, then the insole is easily removable.

Midsole Construction

The midsole is constructed out a base single layer of EVA. It covers the midsole from heel to toe. What helps this running shoe stand out compared to others in its market is Asics’ trademark gel-cushioning which is placed underneath the heel portion of the shoe. This provides an extra level of comfort and cushion, especially for heel-strikers.

Outsole Construction

The textured outsole is constructed out of a rubber material designed to provide grip and durability. The rubber design covers most of the sole unit and offers better flexibility with its flex grooves located in the forefoot region.

Performance of the Asics Gel Contend 3

In my mind, the performance of a running shoe is determined by three key factors. The first and most important is comfort. If you’re not comfortable while running, you won’t sustain your run. It’s that simple. A second factor is how well can a running shoe keep you out of harm’s way? This can include support features (especially in stability running shoes) as well as simple features such as a running shoe having traction, so you don’t slip and fall. Lastly, can the running shoe improve you as a runner in some way? A running shoe that has great flexibility and gets you off the ground effortlessly not only keeps you happy, but can help you push your pace or distances.

Comfort

As a heel striker, I’m very comfortable in this running shoe. The extra gel-cushioning found in the heel region has provided an extra level of cushion for my shorter runs as well as my job, which requires me to be on my feet all day long.

For runners that aren’t heel strikers, where you are closer to a mid-strike, or a toe runner/sprinter, you’re probably not going to be as comfortable in these shoes, especially with longer distances. Even as a heel striker, I could see getting some soreness in my forefoot region when I start to push at longer distances.

Breathability

I feel the upper could’ve used more work in the Asics Gel Contend 3. They went a pretty cheap route and used a very basic synthetic mesh. It provides some breathability, but it doesn’t work quite as well compared to other shoes such as the Saucony Cohesion 9.

If you run in hot temperatures like I do sometimes, you’re likely going to get a good sweat going within these. It’s just something to be mindful of before making a purchase/commitment to the Asics Gel Contend 3.

Flexibility

Compared to other similar running shoes, the Asics Gel Contend 3 is probably in the middle of the pact in terms of flexibility. And that’s probably a good thing because the last model, the Contend 2, lacked flexibility. With this year’s improvements in the upper(lighter, less stiff overlays, especially near the toe-box region) as well as the flex grooves, the Contend 3’s flexibility has shown some real progress.

Flexibility is often hard to find in cheaper running shoes, because these shoes typically use a lot of the same older types of technology, which usually mean in a heavier and less flexibile shoe. That’s not to say that a cheaper end running shoe cannot be great nor flexible, as the Adidas Duramo 7 shows fairly well.

Support/Stability

Even though this is a neutral running shoe designed for the road or track, you can find some features in the Asics Gel Contend 3 that add to its support and stability.

Use

The Asics Gel Contend 3 is a neutral road running shoe intended for beginners and shorter distance running. With the gel-cushioning in the heel, many could wear this as an all-day type of shoe, which could include standing jobs or simply casual wear.

Though because of the lack of sustainable cushioning, especially in the forefoot, trying to run long distances in this shoe would probably lead to some soreness.

Weight

10.5 ounces (Men)

At 10.5 ounces this probably cannot be considered a light running shoe for most wearers. Those new to running shoes may find the Contend 3 to feel extremely light, but if you compare it to the competition, it is a little heavier. That can be attributed to some older technology, such as the basic synthetic mesh covering the upper and the EVA filling in the midsole).

Sizing

The Asics Gel Contend 3 fits pretty well to true-to-size, with maybe a small exception to a slightly narrow toe box that may require runners to size up for a better fit.

Unfortunately, the Asics Gel Contend 3 doesn’t come in wider sizes, so those with wide feet may not find a very good fit with the shoe.

Value Check

To truly determine a running shoe’s value you need to look at a few key components (Quick short guide on why each of these components is important to look at).

1)Price. A lower priced shoe increases the value immediately.

The MSRP of the Asic Gel Contend 3 sits at $65, which is a really good price for a quality running shoe. Given the materials and older technology in the running shoe, the price is pretty fair if you’d compare it to most running shoes over $130.

2)Updates over previous models. Since previous models can often be found cheaper, we need to evaluate if its even worth the time and money to go with the newest model. There should be definite features that improve the shoe with each new edition of the shoe. If you’ve been around running shoes, then you know that this does not happen often.

There are a few minor updates in the Asics Gel Contend 3 over its predecessor, the Contend 2, which include:

  • The overlays are not as thick and stiff, allowing for better flexibility and comfort, especially in the forefront region, where the overlay is most prominent.
  • The outsole pattern has changed, including the decoupled heel, which allows for more heel support and stability.
  • The appearance of the Contend 3 aren’t as flashy and vibrant as the past model, which many runners prefer (Not all runners).

While the updates are minor, they definitely increase the overall performance of the shoe. Given the age of the Contend 2, it’ll likely be easier to find the Contend 3’s. However, if you find a high price discrepancy between the two, then I could understanding choosing a pair of the Contend 2’s over the newer Contend 3’s.

3)Durability. Think about it. If you pay $60 for a pair of running shoes that only last 200 miles, but pay $120 for a better, high quality pair that lasts up to 400 miles, which pair of shoes actually comes out to be worth more? If you’re an avid runner that runs a lot, the second pair hands down. However, if you only run a few miles per week, you can make the argument for that first pair still. Look at the durability of every running shoe you look to purchase.

The Asics Gel Contend 3 lasts fairly well. You don’t have to worry about the upper or outsole falling apart or ripping at the seams. Any durability questions that are in play have more to do with how long the cushioned midsole/gel lasts. It does wear down, and because the cushioning isn’t as thick as an expensive running shoe, it isn’t expected to perform at its peak for as long.

Bottom Line

The Asics Gel Contend 3 is an affordable entry-level running shoe with enough cushion and durability to be considered one of the better running shoes that can be found under $70. In fact, it’s true enough to be placed on my list of best running shoes, which can be found here.

Similar Running Shoes

Asics Gel Contend 3 vs the Adidas Duramo 7

 Asics Gel Contend 3Adidas Duramo 7
Weight:10.5 Oz8.6 Oz
Type:NeutralNeutral
Use:RoadRoad
Previous Models:Asics Gel Contend 2Adidas Duramo 6
MSRP:$65$60
Durability:GoodAverage
Comfort:GreatGood
Style/Appearance:Depends on WearerGreat
Support:Some FeaturesNone
Available in Wider Sizes?YesNo

Overall, the Adidas Duramo 7 is a lighter and flashier, yet comfortable and breathable running shoe. If you prefer style, the Adidas Duramo 7 is probably your bet. You can check out my full review of it here. However, if you want a bit more stability and cushion, the Asics Gel Contend 3 is your bet.

Asics Gel Contend 3 vs the Saucony Cohesion 9

 Asics Gel Contend 3Saucony Cohesion 9
Weight:10.5 Oz 10 oz
Type:NeutralNeutral
Use:RoadRoad
Previous Models:Gel Contend 2Saucony Cohesion 8
MSRP:$65$60
Durability:GoodGreat
Comfort:GreatGood
Style/Appearance:Depends on WearerDepends on Wearer
Support:Some FeaturesSome Features
Available in Wider sizes?YesYes

If you take a look, the Asics Gel Contend 3 and the Saucony Cohesion 9 are very similar. I give the edge of durability to the Saucony Cohesion 9, while I give a slight edge in comfort with the Asics Gel Contend 3. Overall, my preferred running shoe between the two would be the Saucony Cohesion 9. But I find both to be very valuable running shoes. If you want to see more on the Saucony Cohesion 9, check out my full review.

Check out the Asics Gel Contend 3 at Amazon
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