Asics Gel Venture 6 review
I’m a low-mileage runner and sometimes higher-mileage hiker living in San Diego, California. There are lots of interesting terrains to cover in San Diego, much of it rocky and sometimes unpaved.
I learned from experience that light yet sturdy trail runner can often feel better than a heavier boot for day hiking. I decided to try the Asics Gel Venture 6 several years ago and have already worn out one pair after almost 18 months of use.
I am now on my second pair. My criteria for buying this shoe were good traction, sturdy support, and a budget-friendly price tag.
The design of the Venture 6
These shoes are advertised as being a general all-rounder with the capacity to take on rougher terrain. They are designed for a neutral gait, where the foot does not rotate too far inwards (over-pronation) or outwards (over-supination) during the gait cycle.
There's a lot of science that goes into evaluating gait and selecting the appropriate type of shoe for the way you walk or run. That said, over time and through trial-and-error, you will be able to identify what works for your feet and what doesn’t.
I have an average-width, medium arched foot. Due to chronic issues with plantar fasciitis pain over the years, I wear an over-the-counter orthotic device which was prescribed to me by my podiatrist.
I find that for me, a neutral shoe combined with the orthotic inserts provides sufficient comfort for running and walking. Thus, the Asics Gel Venture 6 combined with the inserts provides just the right level of support for me.
The outsole of the Venture 6
As a trail running shoe, the Asics Gel Venture 6 is built with a sturdy, lugged outsole. These lugs provide a solid grip on challenging terrain.
The outsole also features a firm support bar across the midfoot which prevents the foot from twisting too much when walking on rocks and gravel. I find this support bar to be very helpful when climbing up and down rocky hills with loose rocks underfoot.
The midsole of the Gel Venture 6
The midsole of the Asics Gel Venture 6 contains the Gel cushioning system often found in Asics shoes. The Gel cushioning is located only in the heel of this style.
The rest of the midsole is comprised of a dense, firm foam material. The midsole heel-to-toe drop is approximately 10 millimeters, which is a traditional drop for many running shoes and seems standard for Asics.
Gel Venture 6 upper
The upper of this shoe is made of a tough nylon material which is designed to withstand debris. The toe is covered with a durable bumper for protection.
Along the sides of the shoe, the brand’s logo (a striped pattern) is incorporated into the support system to create a kind of a “cage” around the midfoot. This holds the foot in place inside the shoe and prevents slippage.
The heel & laces
The heel of the shoe includes a pull tab which allows for easy on and off. The laces are rugged and will enable the wearer to secure the foot in the shoe solidly.
What I like with the Venture 6
My favorite thing about the Asics Gel Venture 6 is the level of support they provide. The midsole is made of a material that is firm yet also somewhat springy.
It took me 18 months of rigorous use to wear down the material in my first pair. This solid support is essential on the trail and has allowed me to use these on ten-plus-mile hikes as well as neighborhood jogs and sessions on the leg machine at the gym. The support the Venture provides, in my opinion, is superior to that of some shoes that cost twice as much.
I also very much appreciate the fit of these shoes. I am a standard size 9 medium, but often have to go up a size or a size-and-a-half to get a proper fit with many kinds of athletic shoes.
I bought a 9, and it fits like a 9 should, with a solid midfoot lockdown and ample toe room. There is plenty of room to accommodate my orthotics as well as a medium-weight wool hiking sock. I have rarely found a better-fitting shoe.
Next, I have found the shoe to be very durable overall. After 18 months of use, my first pair only had a few tears to the fabric inside the heel.
The lugs on the bottom of the shoe were still fully intact (although somewhat worn down), and there were no tears to the uppers. I have rarely seen a shoe survive that long, especially at this price point.
This leads me to my next point; these shoes are a bargain! You can find them for less than $50 easily.
I spent less than $40 on each of my two pairs of Asics Gel Ventures. For a shoe that is as supportive and durable as these, that is an absolute steal.
Having used the Asics Gel Venture, I can say that I will never spend more than $50 on day-hiking shoes for as long as ASICS makes this style.
What I don't like
Despite all the positive aspects of the Asics Gel Venture 6, there are a few drawbacks to this shoe.
First, Venture 6 does not include the extra lacing hole by the collar of the shoe which is standard on many Asics models. Why does this matter?
Being able to lace the shoes up completely provides a more secure fit which is important when climbing up and down hills. The above picture shows where this hole is typically located on an Asics shoe (the other shoe pictured is the Asics Gel Excite 4).
This matters to me because I have a low instep and a narrow midfoot. To get the kind of secure fit I like, I had to glue a cotton pad to the bottom of the shoe tongues (see picture below). This may not matter to some people, but if you have a lower instep as I do, you may want to consider this simple remedy.
Second, the Asics Gel Venture does not breathe as well as some of the other shoes you can find for day hiking and trail running. The upper design sacrifices some breathability to create a tougher material.
For me, this is not a big deal, because I find that my wool-blend hiking socks wick enough moisture from my feet to prevent discomfort. But if your feet tend to get hot, you may not want to use these for long hikes in the desert.
Third, for those not inclined to replace the stock insole with something more supportive, you may find the shoes a little flat in the arch area. As with my lacing concern, this will certainly not be an issue for everyone.
However, if you are experiencing plantar fasciitis or just like a little extra arch support during your jogs, walks, and hikes, you will likely want to remove the stock insoles and replace them with something more supportive. There are many options out there for replacing stock insoles, ranging in price from $10 all the way up to the hundreds.
Tip: see the best trail running shoes.