Asics Gel Excite 6 review
I was very impressed with the Asics Gel Excite 6! As a long-time Asics wearer (over 20 years now!), I can say that this is probably the single best budget road-running shoe from this brand that I have tried.
It really does have the look and feel of a more expensive shoe. It is sure to please many people from fitness walkers to low-mileage daily joggers, or even people who prefer to use cardio equipment at the gym.
My history with the Gel Excite
I’m a fitness enthusiast and active parent in my mid-40s and am always on my feet. I try to get in as many steps as I can, from walking to short jogs, and I can burn through sneakers pretty quickly.
I try to find shoes that have the features I like at a price I can afford. This is not always easy to do. However, I have found that many ASICS models priced under $100 sport many of the features of the brand’s more expensive offerings, while providing a reliable fit and durable support.
The Gel Excite has been a favorite of mine since it first came out. The original iteration is pictured below; I believe that I bought my first pair of this model in 2012.
I have used the Excite 2 and Excite 4 as well. The shoe has changed a lot over the years, and I believe that the Excite 6 is the best version yet.
Aesthetics of the Excite 6
The Asics Gel Excite 6 is a sleek and modern-looking running shoe that appears somewhat similar to the more expensive Asics Gel Cumulus 20. It comes in a variety of appealing colorways.
The detailing around the edges of the outsole is a nice touch, especially on a budget model. What is or isn’t stylish can be very subjective, but I find that these shoes should have a broad appeal and might even work for casual wear as well as for athletic activities.
I certainly prefer the aesthetic of the Excite 6 to the previous iterations of this shoe.
I have a medium-to-wide foot and have found that most medium-width trainers I tried from brands like Nike, Reebok and Under Armor were simply too narrow for my feet.
Asics generally work well for me in a medium width, as do New Balance and sometimes Brooks. The Asics Gel Excite 6 is no exception. It fits perfectly in a 9.5D, feeling snug around the heel and midfoot while sufficiently roomy in the toebox.
The composition of the upper on this model has a lot to do with this (I will discuss this in greater detail below). My feet feel locked-in with no heel slippage at all, yet the shoes do not feel tight.
The upper of this shoe is made from a perforated, highly breathable synthetic material that is also stretchy. This more flexible upper material is a new feature of the Excite 6 that was not present in the previous iterations of the Excite.
It allows the shoe to “give” more around the toe box, which means that the shoe can accommodate a greater variety of foot shapes. The material is also very soft.
The midfoot is build around the classic Asics logo, which also forms a support cage. This allows for a solid lockdown for the heel and arch, which reduces unwanted foot torsion.
The Asics Gel Excite 6 provides a rigid heel cup that really locks the rearfoot into the shoes, preventing unwanted side-to-side motion during the gait cycle. The collar area of the shoe is very padded with a soft, spongy foam material and a padded Achilles notch.
This prevents chafing of the heel during a walk or run. Both of these features are a must for me, and I do not find them on very many budget-priced shoes.
The midsole of the Asics Gel Excite 6 is quite substantial. It is composed of two types of cushioning. First, there is the traditional Asics Gel unit in the heel.
This Gel cushioning system has been a staple of Asics shoes for decades (I first bought a pair of Asics Gel running shoes in 1998, and I know that they existed well before that), and I find it to be quite effective at absorbing shock during running or walking.
Second, the 6th iteration of the Excite model adds Amplifoam across the full length of the midsole. Amplifoam is a newer cushioning system from the Asics brand, which provides shock-absorption that is supposed to combine softness with firmness.
I find that the Amplifoam feels great underfoot, working in combination with the Gel unit in the heel to give the shoe light and springy feel with good energy return. The addition of the Amplifoam makes the 6th iteration of the Excite the best yet from a comfort perspective.
The shoe comes with a flat ortholite stock insole that is easily removable. It is not at all contoured.
I replaced the stock insole with my inserts (Superfeet brand) with no issue. I suspect that the makers of this shoe understand that many people will choose an aftermarket insole; thus they invest very little in the stock ones.
`This is a wise choice since there are many, many aftermarket insoles available at very reasonable prices that far surpass anything you will find in all but the most expensive athletic shoes.
The Asics Gel Excite 6 provides a basic lugged outsole made of hard rubber, with a pocket that displays the location of the Gel cushioning unit. There is a guidance line down the middle of the outsole, which helps point the feet forwards and maintain stability during the gait cycle.
Although this shoe does not appear to include the Asics High-Abrasion Rubber (AHAR) composition found on some of the brand’s other models (such as most of their trail runners), the outsole is still very firm and appears durable.
I have rarely ever owned a pair of Asics on which the outsole wore down substantially with less than 8-10 months of very heavy use, and I expect the same to be the case with this new model.