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.
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.
- 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
Good to know
- The Asics Gel Contend 5 is a product that has become a part of the global roster of running shoes for neutral pronators. The generous cushioning given by midsole is also beneficial for those who underpronate (excessive outward rolling of the foot during the run). It is worth noting that underpronation is remedied by using well-cushioned neutral shoes.
- Like its predecessor, the Gel Contend 4, the 5th version uses a breathable mesh upper with stitched-on overlays. But this time, the forefoot section has been freed to accommodate more air into the foot-chamber. The glossy nature of the previous overlay configuration is also absent as a discreet, pseudo-leather is now used as the reinforcement.
- This shoe doesn’t have a lot of frills or unnecessary accoutrements. It’s straightforward in its design and purpose, bringing comfort and agreeable performance without breaking the wallet. The Asics Patriot 10 is a similar product that bears only the fundamental features and the appealing price tag.
The Asics Gel Contend 5 has a standard running shoe length. People are welcome to get a pair using their usual sizing preferences, although it is necessary to point out that there are individuals who have observed a smaller-than-usual sizing scheme.
When it comes to width, the available options are B – Medium and D – Wide for women, and D – Medium for men. The semi-curved shape of this running shoe mimics the natural curvature of the human foot.
The outsole unit of the Asics Gel Contend 5 is made up of a rubber compound which covers the midsole and shields it from abrasion and natural wear-and-tear. The patterns that adorn this layer is meant to heighten the grip over the surfaces.
Flex grooves grace the forefoot and heel of the external pad. These shallow canals are designed to make the platform more flexible, thereby accommodating the inherent bending capacity of the foot as it goes through the gait cycle.
The midsole unit of the Asics Gel Contend 5 is made of AmpliFoam™, a durable compound that also provides responsive performances and flexible transitions. It has a generous thickness that doesn’t quickly lose structure.
GEL® is a silicon-like piece that is placed in the heel part of the platform. The purpose of this technology is to mitigate the impact shock generated by the foot-strike, thus ensuring comfortable landings and a stress-free running output.
The Ortholite® sockliner is an extra layer of cushioning that’s placed above the main cushioning unit of this Asics running shoe. It has anti-microbial and anti-moisture capabilities which ensure a clean and healthy interior environment for the foot.
The external part of the Asics Gel Contend 5’s upper unit is made up of breathable mesh. This latticework is made to conform to the shape of the foot, giving it security throughout the running session. The visible breathing pores accommodate air into the foot-chamber, thereby maintaining an airy and dry coverage.
Synthetic overlays are stitched onto the façade. These layers are made to hold the foot in place and prevent it from wobbling during the activity. They also bolster the structure of the mesh, saving it from sagging, even after many uses.
A breathable fabric lining serves as the interior wall of this product. It hugs the foot, keeping it secure and free from irritation. Its porous construction doesn’t hinder the breathable nature of the upper.
The padded collar and tongue are meant to cushion the topmost dimensions of the foot, including the ankles, the Achilles tendon, and the bridge. The collar is also tasked with preventing any accidental shoe removals.
The term ‘GEL-CONTEND 5’ is printed onto the lateral section. It heightens the aesthetics and allows people to recognize the shoe by its name.