Verdict from 3 experts and 100+ user reviews

9 reasons to buy

  • Several runners exclaimed that the Gel Contend 4, by far, is the most comfortable shoe they have ever bought.
  • It has a bang for the buck price tag.
  • More than a handful noted that it looks much better than the past model.
  • Asics offers the shoe in different widths.
  • There are already a handful of different color options.
  • A few runners have used it as a gym companion as well.
  • The removable insole accommodates various orthotics.
  • The roomy interior was greatly appreciated by more than a few.
  • The shoe is very breathable, according to some reviewers.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Based on the observations of a few fans of the Contend series, the 4th edition is not as supportive as before.
  • A couple of buyers felt that the fit was a tad too loose.

Bottom line

Although not as heralded as some of the latest releases from Asics, the Contend 4 is already shaping up to be one of the most reliable and sturdy low mileage trainers that should benefit entry level runners or those who are looking for an easy day on the road. The shoe has very decent arch support, a plush interior, and adequate durability for those miles on the road.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Our reviews

/100 by , posted on .

I have put in over 300 miles in these shoes, the typical point where a pair of running shoes give out. Being my first pair of Asics, I didn’t know what to expect. But I can truly say I’m impressed.

The Asics Gel Contend 4 is an enjoyable, everyday trainer. It can be used from 400 repeats on the track at race pace, to 15 miles in a dirt trail at a light, easy pace.



These shoes actually amazed me on how comfortable they were. These shoes held up pretty good in comfort, especially on the longer runs where shoes would start to hurt the feet.

Even after 300 miles, they still feel pretty good to run in. The only problem I had with comfort was the fit. I have exceptionally good sized fit in terms of width, but these shoes were pretty loose to the point where I had actually to tighten them all the way.


If you want a pair of simple-looking shoes that have a nice colorway, these shoes will indeed do the trick. If you want something flashy, there are many other colorways to choose from.


In terms of durability, there isn’t much to say. They held up very good, and as you can see, they don’t have any problems in the stitching or anything in terms of ripping.

The only problem was the insole started to rip away mainly where my foot strikes, which caused some pain. But then again, that was after 300 miles. The outsole lasted very well obviously losing its thread after around 200-250 miles, but not a lot of slipping.



The price of this shoe is very exceptional; the price is around 40-90$.

Why I personally like the shoe

I personally enjoy the shoe because of the overall versatility. Being a track and cross country runner, it had held up very well on fast workouts to the long distances.

They felt light on my feet, but still very cushioned which I enjoyed very much. This shoe has a reasonable price compared to some other shoes in the market. The style was simple which I prefer.

Why should you buy this shoe 

I believe anyone should buy this shoe because of the overall versatility. It can be used for almost any training.

You don’t need to be fast to run in these shoes, but you can be. They are comfortable and will last long. They aren’t overpriced and are amazing.

Why you shouldn’t buy this shoe

There isn’t much to say here. I’d say that the shoe is pretty lose if you’re a narrow foot person. The stitching on the outer mesh wears off easily after 200 miles or so.


In conclusion, these shoes are very good for entry or veteran runners. They are good for almost any distance from 400m to 15 miles. The cushioning is amazing and is still good after 300+ miles. I think this shoe is great and will do anyone well.

| Level 3 expert Verified
My name is Zack Dunn. I have been running for 9 years. I have personal best of 4:30 in the 1600m, and sub 16 minutes in the 5000m, and other personal best in the distances in between. I typically run around 50-60 miles on a weekly basis. I do both road and trail running but mainly road. I compete in many races, anywhere from 1600m to 5k. My typical training paces is anywhere from 5:00 per mile on workout days to 7:30 per mile on recovery days.

Good to know

  • Asics took the conservative route in introducing the Gel Contend 4. The most visible alteration is the removal of the plastic-like overlays. In their place are overlays with a more refined look for a more sophisticated appeal.
  • The upper gets an upgrade as it is a bit softer and conforms better to the foot. It works well with the number of different widths for a more comfortable fit.
  • The most significant change is the lowering of the stack height in the men’s and women’s models. This development brings runners a little closer to the ground for enhanced feedback without compromising much of the cushioning that fans of the Contend have longed for. It also gives the shoe a little more stability with this design.

The outsole of the 4th instalment of the Contend is a very simple affair consisting of AHAR rubber in areas that are mostly to suffer from wear and tear while the forefoot features a softer blown rubber for more traction. As with most Asics shoes, there is a Guidance Line or a vertical cut running from the heel to the forefoot for smoother transitions. There are flex grooves located in the forefoot for flexibility. Most of the rubber in the forefoot is carved with notches to enhance grip on the road or track.

The Contend 4’s midsole is the very familiar and industry-grade EVA for cushioning and durability. For more shock-absorption, the silicone-based Rearfoot Gel Cushioning System is located in the heel.

The upper of the Asics Contend 4 features a very large midfoot cage that is created by the network of overlays that also acts as the shoe’s famous logo. A breathable mesh covers the rest of the way. The interior offers a plush, removable Ortholite sockliner that is both anti-microbial and anti-odor. A traditional lace-up closure keeps the foot in place throughout the run. Asics uses a well-padded ankle collar and tongue for comfort.

The inception of the Gel Contend shoe series from Asics was inspired by the idea to create an entry-level running shoe that is perfect for beginner runners who are starting with short distances. Although essentially a simple, straightforward shoe, the Gel Contend running shoes aim to give its wearers a taste of their high-quality shoe technologies, which is starred by the Gel® Cushioning System.

Consistent across the present and past versions of the Gel Contend is the delivery of ample heel and midfoot cushioning, features that are especially important to neophyte runners. The lightweight quality of the Gel Contend running shoes promises a smooth and comfortable ride, which allows wearers to enjoy their first few running experiences.

While both versions are equally excellent in their own right, the differences between the Gel Contend 4 and its predecessor make the latest release worth the upgrade. Here are some of the notable comparisons between the two running shoes:

Simplified upper. In the Gel Contend 3, a set of synthetic overlays are present in the upper, which are intended to maintain the shoe’s structural integrity. However, these overlays were removed in the Gel Contend 4. The reason for doing so was the several negative reviews received by the previous version that the overlays restricted foot movement and reduced the breathability of the shoe.

Enhanced outsole. The no-frills outsole construction of the Gel Contend 3 has massively changed in the fourth version. From plain textured rubber, the Gel Contend 4 features the Asics High Abrasion Rubber (AHAR) compound, which uses blown rubber to deliver a durable cushioning. Both versions, however, utilize the Guidance Line that aid the runner in smoother transitions.

Sole unit. The updated sole unit of the Gel Contend 4 includes a lowered stack height that, despite the lesser amount of midsole, is more springy and shock-absorbent compared to the previous version. Reviewers have commented about the current version’s springy feel and increased ground contact, which helped combat foot fatigue.

Extensive style options. One type of feedback received by the Gel Contend 3 was its bland styling and a small selection of colorways. Thus, for this latest release, Asics bounces back with a huge difference in color choices. Not only that, but some users were also pleased with the appearance of the Gel Contend 4 and has considered it to be a big improvement from the last one.

Improved fit. Users of both the Gel Contend 3 and 4 would notice the difference in the way each shoe feels on the foot. While the earlier release was criticized by some for its narrow toe box and small sizing, the Gel Contend 4 has been praised for having a roomy interior. Many have also noticed the looser fit provided by the Gel Contend 4, as opposed to the previous one, which saw chafing and skin irritations in a few wearers.


How Asics Gel Contend 4 ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 21% road running shoes
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Top 18% Asics running shoes
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The current trend of Asics Gel Contend 4.
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Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.