Our verdict

The ASICS Gel Venture 8 is a standout value pick. Priced at just $70, we can attest that it excels in versatility—from walks to speed downhill runs, it’s got us covered. Its breathable design, robust outsole, and comfortable upper are amazing. There might be minor hiccups like its midsole feel and forefoot stack, but considering its price tag, we consider it a steal!

Pros

  • Outstanding value
  • Breathable
  • Ideal for heel strikers
  • Provides a stable run
  • Tough outsole
  • Versatile, suited for hiking and walking
  • Features GEL technology

Cons

  • Concerns with upper durability
  • Limited energy return

Audience verdict

85
Good!

Who should buy

In our opinion, this ASICS trail shoe is just the ticket for runners looking for:

  • A versatile shoe that's great for trail runs, hiking, and even short road runs.
  • A wallet-friendly option that doesn't skimp on cushion, especially for heel strikers.
  • A breathable choice for summer mountain adventures.

ASICS Gel Venture 8

Who should NOT buy

The ASICS Gel Venture 8 is a solid trail shoe, though we think it could use more cushioning in the forefoot and a springier foam. If you're hunting for a shoe with a better midsole and less heel-to-toe drop, the Hoka Speedgoat 5 is our choice.

Also, if you've got wide feet, this might not be your best pick. In that case, check the Nike Wildhorse 8.

ASICS Gel Venture 8

Breathability

If you're searching for a breathable trail running shoe for summer mountain runs, you're in the right place.

In our lab, when we tested the ASICS Gel Venture 8 with our smoke-pumping machine in the lab, we couldn't believe our eyes. Most affordable trail shoes typically score average on this test. However, the Gel Venture 8 earned a flawless 5/5!

What's even more impressive is that in this test, the shoe doesn't let light pass through. This trait is uncommon, though it does occasionally appear in trail shoes due to the internal protective layers of the upper.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 microscope

Under the microscope, we discovered that ASICS employs an engineered mesh. It doesn't have the typical breathability holes, yet it's thin enough to allow air circulation and heat dissipation.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 microscope

In short, it's among the best uppers we've come across in terms of breathability. All this is available at a MSRP of $70, which is incredible.

Moreover, it ranks as one of the most cushioned uppers we've ever analyzed, ensuring comfort on long runs.

Test results
Gel Venture 8 5
Average 3.3
Compared to 78 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

After seeing its outstanding performance in the breathability test, we expected the Gel Venture 8 might not fare as well in the durability department. It's uncommon for shoes to excel in both areas.

The Gel Venture 8 managed a score of 2/5 in the durability test—not the best, but certainly not the worst. Its engineered mesh doesn't hold up as well against abrasion. However, on a brighter note, the shoe boasts a substantial protective layer around the toe box.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Toebox durability
Test results
Gel Venture 8 2
Average 3
Compared to 58 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

When we tested the heel with the Dremel, we noted the same 2-out-of-5 score. This makes it a well-suited shoe for the vast majority of runners.

However, for those who often experience wear-and-tear in this area, it's something to keep in mind.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Heel padding durability
Test results
Gel Venture 8 2
Average 2.8
Compared to 56 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

ASICS took a conservative approach with the outsole.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 outsole

We found that they used an average rubber compound, measuring at 84.6 HC, which aligns closely with the trail industry standards.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Outsole hardness
Test results
Gel Venture 8 84.6 HC
Average 85.3 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
72.5 HC
Outsole hardness
95.0 HC

Outsole durability

For the durability test, we used the Dremel one final time in our lab.

After putting the outsole through a rigorous test with the tool, we measured a 1.0 mm dent. Not bad!

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Outsole durability
Test results
Gel Venture 8 1.0 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 51 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

In our tests, we measured the outsole's thickness at 2.5 mm. This measurement is pretty similar to the average and is more than sufficient for this type of shoe—even for heavier runners.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Outsole thickness
Test results
Gel Venture 8 2.5 mm
Average 2.4 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0.9 mm
Outsole thickness
6.5 mm

Weight

A common drawback of budget-friendly shoes is their weight—often because brands might not invest in lighter but more expensive materials. Surprisingly, the Gel Venture 8 weighs in at 10.4 oz or 295g. This is an impressive result!

Test results
Gel Venture 8 10.41 oz (295g)
Average 10.34 oz (293g)
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
7.51 oz (213g)
Weight
13.37 oz (379g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

Being really affordable, this shoe primarily targets beginners or entry-level runners, especially in the trail running category. Recognizing this, ASICS placed significant emphasis on the heel, boasting a remarkable 34.2 mm stack height in that area.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Heel stack
Test results
Gel Venture 8 34.2 mm
Average 32.2 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
16.1 mm
Heel stack
42.4 mm

Forefoot stack

The forefoot boasts a mere 21.0 mm thickness. So, for you forefoot strikers out there, once you deduct the outsole and insole, it's a pretty underwhelming amount of foam...

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Forefoot stack
Test results
Gel Venture 8 21.0 mm
Average 24.4 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
15.2 mm
Forefoot stack
33.9 mm

Drop

This gives us a 13.2-mm heel-to-toe drop, making the shoe perfect for heel and midfoot strikers. However, it's less ideal for forefoot strikers.

So, your foot strike really matters here.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Drop
Test results
Gel Venture 8 13.2 mm
Average 7.8 mm
Compared to 100 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.1 mm
Drop
17.3 mm

Insole thickness

We found the insole to be 4.1-mm thick. It's a standard thickness that should work for most of us—nothing too special or out of the ordinary here.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Insole thickness
Test results
Gel Venture 8 4.1 mm
Average 4.7 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
2.7 mm
Insole thickness
9.8 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Switching our attention to the midsole, ASICS opted for EVA foam that feels comfortable. We measured its softness to be 23.1 HA.

Don't look for a lot of bounce or springiness here, this is a $70 shoe. If you need that, check the PEBAX-based Endorphin Edge instead.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Midsole softness
Test results
Gel Venture 8 23.1 HA
Average 23.0 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 77 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
9.1 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
39.0 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

After a 20-minute chill session in our freezer, we took another look at the softness to see how cold temps shake things up. Turns out, it does get a bit firmer—landing at 30.0 HA.

Surprisingly, there's only a modest 29.8% increase, a performance you'd typically see in pricier trail shoes. For a budget-friendly shoe like this, that's a great result.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Midsole softness in cold
Test results
Gel Venture 8 29.8%
Average 26.8%
Compared to 77 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Stability

Lateral stability test

Stability in the Gel Venture 8 doesn't have any big concerns. It's even suitable for those dealing with moderate pronation issues.

Torsional rigidity

A big reason it feels so stable is its moderate rigidity. When we gave it a twist, we settled on a 3/5 rating—a smart move for a trail running shoe.

Test results
Gel Venture 8 3
Average 3.5
Compared to 95 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

The 3/5 rating also goes for the heel counter's stiffness. ASICS really aimed for that sweet spot between stability and comfort.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 heel

Since this shoe is designed for heel strikers, it's obvious that a super-flexible heel counter just wouldn't cut it.

Test results
Gel Venture 8 3
Average 3.2
Compared to 93 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

Aiming to maintain a lightweight design, the Japanese designers kept the forefoot width in check. We measured it at 111.6 mm, which aligns with the average shoe.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Gel Venture 8 111.6 mm
Average 111.9 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
102.1 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.0 mm

Midsole width in the heel

While ASICS focused on heel strikers with such a significant heel-to-toe drop in this shoe, we believe they should offer a wider landing platform for better stability. Unfortunately, they missed the mark here as we measured only 87.3 mm, which is below what we expected.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Gel Venture 8 87.3 mm
Average 89.6 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
77.2 mm
Midsole width in the heel
109.3 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

One of the standout features of this ASICS is its versatility—it easily transitions to a comfortable hiking shoe. Why is this so? Its impressive flexibility puts it in the top 5% of shoes, registering at only 14.9N in our 90-degree bend test.

Test results
Gel Venture 8 14.9N
Average 28.4N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
10.5N
Stiffness
54.5N

Difference in stiffness in cold

After giving the shoe a 20-minute stint in the freezer, we tested it again. Impressively, it remains quite flexible, clocking in at 20.5N.

With only a 37.2% increase in stiffness, we find this shoe's performance really interesting. This is especially true considering it's made from EVA foam—a material known to become considerably stiffer in cold temperatures.

Test results
Gel Venture 8 37.2%
Average 35.3%
Compared to 98 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
102%

Grip / Traction

Lug depth

ASICS chose 3.1-mm lugs, landing on the shorter-end side.

Given this shoe is tailored mainly for trail running newbies, we believe it's a spot-on choice, offering smooth rides and trail-ready agility.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Lug depth
Test results
Gel Venture 8 3.1 mm
Average 3.6 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.7 mm
Lug depth
5.8 mm

Size and fit

Internal length

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Internal length

Toebox width at the widest part

The toebox is average, neither narrow nor wide. It will fit most trail runners for sure. However, if you have exceptionally narrow or wide feet, you might want to explore different widths.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Gel Venture 8 97.9 mm
Average 98.7 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
92.0 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
104.9 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

The situation is the same for the big toe area. We measured it at 75.2 mm, which is quite average.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Gel Venture 8 75.2 mm
Average 79.0 mm
Compared to 63 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
70.5 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

As a value-oriented shoe, we expected it to have a non-gusseted tongue. While this is a drawback in trail shoes—where maximum protection from debris and small rocks is desired—for $70, we're fine with it.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Gel Venture 8 None

Comfort

Tongue padding

We've mentioned the exceptional comfort of the Gel Venture 8, and here's another reason why.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 tongue

With a tongue measuring 8.8 mm thick, there's no chance of lace bite or discomfort on the instep.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Tongue padding
Test results
Gel Venture 8 8.8 mm
Average 6.4 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Tongue padding
12.2 mm

Heel tab

The good vibes don't stop! You also get a finger loop heel tab—a total surprise for a budget-friendly shoe. 

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Heel tab
Test results
Gel Venture 8 Finger loop

Removable insole

You can easily take out the insole, which lets you swap in different orthotics or insoles from other shoes. Handy!

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Removable insole
Test results
Gel Venture 8 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

The Gel Venture 8 doesn't have any reflective parts. We wish it did, especially for those of us who run trails at night.

ASICS Gel Venture 8 Reflective elements
Test results
Gel Venture 8 No