Asics Gel Venture 4 Review
I personally believe this is closer to an entree-level running shoe with trail abilities. The sketchy build reveals that in the shoe's appearance. Despite this, the Asics Gel-Venture 4 is an amazing value for those looking to pick up the trails or need a pair of shoes with great traction and/or stability. The Rear-foot cushioning supports the foot extremely well and the upper allows plenty of breathability. Overall, the Asics Gel-Venture 4 may have its kinks, but it is a tremendous value and may be perfect for the certain buyer.
I’m not sure whether or not Asics wants to consider the Venture-4 a versatile running shoe or a trail-running shoe. I feel like I’m somewhere in the middle of both of these categories. The Asics Gel-Venture 4 is constructed with a lot of the same technologies other Asics Gel running shoes offer around the same price range (rearfoot gel-cushioning, removable-sockliner, and mesh upper with synthetic overlays). One of the biggest differences that separates the Venture 4 among the other Gel line-ups is its high-abrasion outsole, which is meant to deal with different and uneven surfaces. I’ll be digging deep into how well this feature as well as how well the rest of the shoe holds up in this Asics Gel-Venture 4 review.
Who is the Asics Gel-Venture 4 for?
Before we start into some of the Asics Gel-Venture 4’s features, the performance levels, the good and the ugly, we should discuss who should wear this shoe, to help determine if this may be for you, or if you should look elsewhere.
With the high-abrasion outsole, this shoe is meant to mainly be ran on uneven surfaces. Trails, dirt, hills and overall fairly uglier surfaces than the treadmill or road. If you have no intention of running on these sorts of surfaces, the Gel-Venture 4 is probably not for you.
I also think this could be a great running shoe. Because of its outsole, it offers quite a bit of stability. While I would not recommend this running shoe to a long-mileage road runner, a person who does daily walks or daily wear and tear, this shoe may be a good fit. This shoe still offers gel-cushioning so for walkers it offers both cushion and stability.
Who is the Asics Gel-Venture 4 not for? The biggest no-no for me has to be long-distance road runners. I feel the longer you run on any surface, the more you may be wanting to look into another shoe. Do not buy a trail-running outsole for road runs only unless you have your own personal reasons behind it. If you do not know what you are doing, I would look into other shoes around the same price range, such as the Asics Gel-Contend 2 or if you are willing to get a more premium cushioned shoe, you can check out my review on the Asics Gel-Nimbus 17’s.
Performance in the Asics Gel-Venture 4
I have tested this shoe on just about every surface at least once. Road, treadmill, dirt, trail, and I even mowed my yard a few times with it. About the only thing I haven’t tried with it would be hiking. Lets talk with each of my experiences.
Treadmill and Road– I know these are two vastly different surfaces but some of the same performance features and problems arise, so I really wanted to make it easy and combine them. I had a few problems with running on these two surfaces. First, the shoe gives me stability I do not need. The outsole gives no benefits to me while I am on the road or treadmill. I do not need the extra stability. About the only plus with the outsole is the traction, which I would only need if it were wet. (Not able to test these in the rain). At the same time, I think the build of these shoes and its outsole causes the shoe to be a bit stiffer than most of my running shoes. This is the biggest reason I do not like the Asics Gel-Venture 4 for long-mileage road-runners. It is too stiff to truly be at max comfort. Secondly, I have noticed the longer I run, the more my feet hurt afterwards. My theory was a poor insole. I put it to the test and I can concur it is definitely the insole. If you are going to be running more than 5-7 miles at a time, I would recommend adding a higher-quality insole and taking out the one the Venture-4 comes with out of the shoe. My feet felt much better afterwards.
Dirt and Trails– The Asics Gel-Venture 4 definitely performed better on both of these surfaces. The shoes were still stiff but you could actually feel their flexibility as your feet hit some of the uneven parts of the ground. The gripping was pretty amazing. No slippage whatsoever. I really had two big surprises while testing these out. First, they very really light considering the additions to help on trail runs. They weigh under 11 ounces. Not every running shoe can say that, let alone a very inexpensive running shoes with some trail-running features. Secondly, I was pretty amazed how well my feet were staying cool through the heat. I was expecting them to heat up a bit more especially on the trails, but the Asics Gel-Venture 4 held up a lot better than expected.
Overall I think the Asics Gel-Venture 4’s are comfortable. The cushion is pretty decent. Way better than an average tennis shoe but nothing quite like a premium $100 running shoe. The shoes are a little stiff and that would be something you may need to adjust to. If you plan to run long miles, you may need to watch your soreness. If you feel your feet are getting sore, replace the running shoe’s standard sole, and replace it with one of your higher-quality ones. Breathability is great and the shoe feels a lot lighter than it probably should.
Asics Gel-Venture 4 Construction and Features
Upper- The Asics Gel-Venture 4 offers a very comparable to other running shoes in its price ranged, such as the ASICS Gel-Contend 2 or Nike Flex Experience Run 3. The upper consists largely up of mesh with some average sized synthetic fibers coating the top. Overall, you can expect decent breathability as a result. They will hold out most wet precipitation as well but of course is not waterproof. Do not use a dryer to dry running shoes. One tip I found and love following is stuffing the shoe with newspaper and letting the paper absorb in the water. Take out and repeat if needed. The tongue is fairly plush as well. It will help keep the shoes tied tightly without suffocation or extra stress on the top of your feet.
Midsole- A large part of what makes this shoe so well-cushioned is the rear-foot cushion technology. If you have tried other Asics Gel shoes such as the ASICS Gel-Contend then you should be familiar with the technology. Basically it is quite a bit of added foam in the midsole that ranges primarily in the heel but goes through the entire length of the shoe. If you have never worn any sort of cushioned running shoes, it is going to feel absolutely amazing. For a runner who has run in many premium running shoes with a focus on cushion, it is not what I’m used to. For the price though, you are not going to beat it.
Outsole- This is a bit of an iffy scenario. The outsole in the Asics Gel-Venture 4 is constructed partly of foam. The other material is supposed to be strategically placed high-abrasion rubber. The point is the rubber is supposed to absorb some of the impact while avoiding the foam. However, certain foot-strikes may abuse the foam faster as well as heavy-runners. I am pretty light at 140 so wear and tear was not a problem for me. However, If i happened to weight 280, I have a feeling the outsole would fall apart 10x quicker. While new, the outsole is going to be great for gripping. If it wears down, it is really going to take away what is special about this shoe and once the foam starts to deteriorate, I would start looking for a new shoe. The Asics Gel-Venture 4 could be done after 100 or 500 miles depending on the runner.
Fit, Sizing, and Appearance of the Asics Gel-Venture 4
Fitting and sizing– The actually fitting with the shape of my foot was great. However, I did find the running shoe to be a little on the smaller side. If you have a certain size you wear and find yourself having to upsize every once in a while, this will probably be one of those shoes. They are just a bit too narrow. If not upsizing, they do offer 4E in one of their color schemes, Charcoal and Carbon Blue.
Appearance– I have heard and seen a lot of good comments about the actual appearance of the Asics Gel-Venture 4. However, I disagree. I really do not like the charcoal looks. I feel it looks like a hiking shoe. I do like my shoes to be either decent color schemed or simply black. More ever, those are just cosmetic features, not important in regards to performance. I have been checking some other Asics Gel-Venture reviews, and occasionally, I will find one where the shoe’s toebox area falls apart, the connection point between the upper and outsole. After looking at my own Gel-Venture 4’s I did notice that this area does seem a bit cheaply made. I can definitely see how some of the shoes turn up defective. This is why when buying running shoes or anything online, you should always go through a trusted retailer, where returns are not only possible but made easy. This is why Amazon is one of my favorite places to shop. No risk involved.