Asics Gel Excite 8 review and lab test

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There almost isn’t much to say about the Gel Excite 8. At a time of perhaps over-designed running shoes Asics breathes life into the concept of the simple jogging shoe the runner who just wants to hit the pavement. 

Who the shoe is for

The Asics Gel Excite 8 is for neutral runners who want a shoe for lighter training loads. From a short 5k to a slow-paced longer 15k, the Gel Excite 8 fits the bill without overcomplicating anything. 

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Who the Asics Gel Excite 8 is not for

It’s probably best to avoid the Asics Gel Excite 8 if:

  • You overpronate, the shoe is a neutral running shoe so offers no stability control for overpronators, the Asics GT 1000 10 is a great alternative, still at a decent price.
  • You’re after something high-tech and speedy, try the flagship Asics MetaRacer

A tried and tested design

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At 9.98oz (283g) the Asics Gel Excite 8 is a pretty lightweight shoe for the price. That’s thanks to their simple EVA “Amplifoam” midsole (more on that later) and a thin, mesh upper. The shoe fits true to size.

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Their feather-weight design helps them stay comfortable and easy on longer runs up to about 15km. The lack of stability control and simple cushioning means I wouldn’t recommend these for any longer distances than that. 

The Asics Gel Excite 8 has a somewhat improved upper

The Asics Gel Exite 7 didn’t really need much improvement on the upper, aside from it being a little warm. While there’s still a fair bit of material there (the tongue is 10.3mm thick), a slightly new design has added more mesh throughout the shoe. 

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I didn’t notice my feet being particularly warm. Then again it’s about 2°C in Scotland most days now and I didn't notice my feet being cold either.

The Asics Gel Excite 8 could add to the lacing

At such a low price point I didn’t really expect the laces to be top-notch –it’s usually the easiest place to save some money for brands– and the Excite 8 didn’t surprise me at all. 

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The laces are a little short meaning you might not get a double knot in or use the extra lace hole if you need to. The plus side is they’re pretty secure, so I never needed a double knot. 

The Amplifoam midsole does the job

Asics have suggested great improvements with their recent Amplifoam midsoles. The heel-to-toe EVA foam did pretty well at cushioning my stride was definitely comfy.  At 40.5 HA it’s not the softest foam out the (the average is 26.9 HA) but there’s plenty of foam there to take lots of impact.

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It’s definitely not there to provide the energy return of some of the more up-market running shoes out there like the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 which comes with more tech in the midsole. 

That being said, at this price point and for the style of shoe, I wasn’t expecting to find any rebound and peppiness throughout the shoe. 

Flexible and Consistent

In our lab testing, we measure the force needed to bend a shoe to a 45° angle. Without much in the midsole, we only needed 20N (the average is 34.5) which makes the shoe quite flexible. This definitely helps with comfort, which I began to realize was Asics’ main goal. 

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What impressed me the most about the midsole of this shoe though was its resistance to the cold. As I said earlier, I tested the Excite 8s in Scottish winter, around 2°C, and noticed very little firming up of the shoe. 

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In testing, we also chuck our shoes in the freezer for 20minutes and test the flexibility again. While the average percentage change between the two numbers is 34.1%, the Gel Excite 8 only saw a change of 7%, taking 21.5N to bend it to 45°. 

The Gel Excite 8 is not just a great all-rounder, but it’s a versatile trainer for year-round running. 

The Asics Gel Excite 8 no break-in period

Thanks to that flexibility, the Gel Excite 8 was ready to go straight out of the box. With no need to let the shoe break-in I could get straight into my usual training without any blisters or sore feet. 

It’s often the small things like this that make a huge difference in running shoes. 

The Excite 8 gives excellent grip

I’m always impressed by Ascis’ outsoles and the Gel Excite 8 is not different. One piece of solid rubber lines most of the outsole and provided excellent grip throughout my runs. 

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I did feel a tiny bit of slip-on wetter pieces of concrete but seeing as it’s a shoe for slower runs and at this price point I genuinely have no complaints. 

Conclusion

The Asics Gel Pulse 8 is a perfect running shoe for neutral runners on a budget. What’s more, it’s an incredibly reliable and versatile shoe that I would love to have in my arsenal regardless of budget!

Complete lab-specs overview 

  Nike Flex Experience Run 10 Average
Whole shoe
Weight (g) 283 270
Drop (mm)

12.3

8.3
Flexibility of the shoe (N)

20

34.5
Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 20 min) (N) 21.5 48
Flexibility of the shoe (% of change) 7 34.1
Lace slip test with the knot (N) 29.4 24
Longitudinal flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest) 3.0 3.2
Torsional flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest)

3.0

3.4
Upper
Thickness - Tongue (mm) 10.32 6.2
Width Upper - Forefoot (mm) 97.3 98.7
Width Upper - Heel (mm) 79.7 82.5
Lace Stretch (1-5 scale, 5 being the most stretchy) 2.0 2.7
Flexibility of the heel counter (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest) 2.0 3.0
Tongue: gusset type None -
Heel: pull tab None -
Midsole
Width Midsole - Forefoot (mm) 113.7 112.2
Width Midsole - Heel (mm) 90.6 89.0
Stack - Forefoot with insole (mm) 23.5 24.2
Stack - Heel with insole (mm) 35.8 32.6
Durometer Midsole Heel (Room temperature) (HA) 40.5 26.9
Outsole
Outsole thickness (Heel) (mm) 4.3 3.7
Lugs Depth (mm) N/A 3.3
Durometer Outsole Heel (Room temperature) (HC) 79.7 81.1
Insole
Insole Heel Thickness (mm) 5.5 4.3
Insole: removable Yes  

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 9.9oz / Women 8.1oz
Drop: 10mm
Arch support: Neutral
Update: Asics Gel Excite 9
Collection: Asics Gel, Asics Gel Excite
Pronation: Neutral Pronation / Supination / Underpronation

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Author
Doug Turner
Doug Turner

Doug is a Scottish documentary and fashion photographer and filmmaker. Stumbling into the sneaker game later than usual, he started out behind a camera through long hiking expeditions around the world. Seeking a cleaner aesthetic, Doug now works mostly in fashion and sport, opting for outdoor locations rather than a studio.