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Asics Gel Contend 5: Discount trainers for the not so serious

/100 by Sudeep Gupta, posted on .
This is a review from one expert, and reflects personal opinions. Learn what 2422 other runners think of this shoe and see colorways at the Asics Gel Contend 5 main page.

I am a casual runner and split my runs daily in two quick sessions averaging around 10k in total daily and then some walking.

The photo below is after six months of using Asics Gel Contend 5. As you can see, the shoe material is still in good shape and form.


First impressions

Right out of the box they do not look premium (I have seen road shoes look a lot better at this price). They are lightweight and do not weigh the foot down.

They seem stiff, and they need around 20 km to break in when my feet could finally relax—I bought these shoes primarily for cushioning, and they didn't perform that well in that department. They are okay for casual runs that I do—but I wouldn't use them for a race.

The shoe has a snug fit, and it felt stiff, especially near the ankles initially. The width of the shoe was as expected. And, I would say I have normal feet where normal is most shoes would fit me out of the box.

One month with the shoe

After putting a good number of kilometers on the shoe, I feel the shoe has come into its own. The stiffness was gone. It felt just about right—and the shoe performed well. 

The cushioning was moderate. I would say 6.5 or 7 (scale of 10) at best. The heels were well supported though—so, they are great for people who are in jobs where they stand for extended periods.

Six months down the line

The cushioning has deteriorated, or, should I rather say, vanished from my left pair of the shoes—especially in the toe region. There are pressure points, and there seems to be no cushioning there at all! I have a couple of bad blisters to tell the tale.

I am not sure whether it was due to regular wear and tear or if I had received a defective pair. But, even for normal wear, it seems odd that it happened unevenly on a pair.

What I really liked about the shoe

The Gel Contend 5 is a no-frills shoe for the serious. It's not great in the looks department, but it packs a punch when it comes to traction, sole, material, and breathability.

Traction: The shoe did really good here. I never felt the grip wasn't good enough.

Sole: Despite six months of (ab)use—and this was my only pair for my runs—the sole did not see the erasure of threads or wearing away of the sole itself at the heels or other pressure points (however you are pronated) as is usually the norm.

Upper material: Despite the low score in the looks department, the upper mesh-like material is still intact in all places with no wear to show so far—there is not a stitch or a thread that is out of place.




Breathability: I really like the temperature control in the shoes. Your feet can breathe and do not feel hot.

What I really disliked about the shoe

Laces: The material could have been slightly better. They really felt cheap.

Fit and adjustability: This feels stupid just writing about it, but the laces need to be let out or tightened just right for that perfect fit, which to me felt quite a task in itself. Otherwise, the shoes will just not feel right.

This is the first time when I have struggled so much with lacing with any shoes. This also speaks to the flexibility/stiffness of the shoe—so, a big fail here.

Final test

  • Would I buy them at their market price? No
  • Would I recommend them at a discount? Yes, only on steep discount
  • Recommended activities: Brisk walking (and occasional runs)
  • Would I buy them again: No
Sudeep Gupta | Level 1 expert Verified
Hi, this is Sudeep, a runner for 10 years. I run an average of 70 km per week, mainly on roads. I am an Adidas fanboy, and I rely on my Fitbit when I hit the road for tracking my runs and monitoring my HR.

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