- Superb comfort
- Secure fit
- No break-in needed
- Supportive structure
- Feels light on the feet
- Not very responsive
- Narrow toebox
- Less cushy than other ASICS shoes
Who should buy the ASICS Gel Contend 8
The ASICS Gel Contend 8 is a great daily companion for:
- Fitness enthusiasts who want a low-budget trainer that offers superb comfort for the uncomfortable sweat session ahead.
- Folks with neutral arches who need a pair of trainers that can take on miles of road fresh out of the box.
- Wide-footed runners who want a snug fit that’s light and supportive all around for their more laid-back runs.
Who should NOT buy it
For runners who would want a bit more bounce in their step, the responsive, smooth, and fun ride of the ASICS Superblast could help with that.
For cloud-like steps every time, the ASICS Gel Cumulus 24 is a more cushioned alternative to the ASICS Gel Contend 8.
The ASICS Gel Contend 8 is comfy all around
The Content 8 really helped us enjoy summer runs with its cosy and sweat-free experience.
The shoe indeed has the highest breathability rating (5 out of 5) based on our smoke-pumping machine test. We assessed the amount of smoke passing through the fabric in a given time which is presented in the video below.
ASICS Gel Contend 8 (left), Adidas Runfalcon (right)
You can also see how the mesh fabric is nearly see-through, especially in the toebox area.
The thickly padded tongue and lining of the heel counter never interfered with the shoe's breathability and kept us feeling comfortable at all times.
Our calliper measurement shows 3.9 mm of padding thickness in the tongue. This is less than the average 5.6 mm and also thinner than some of the other ASICS shoes, such as the Gel Excite 9, with a 9-mm thick tongue.
Longer runs are also made better with the shoe's OrthoLite sock liner. It really levels up the in-shoe comfort and helps to wick any moisture away. The insole also adds a welcome touch of padding which is 4.8 mm thick (0.3 mm thicker than average).
We also found the shoe's glove-like fit to be spot on.
Measuring the widest part of the shoe's toebox (94.3 mm), we actually found that it is narrower than average by 4 mm. Thus, we advise runners with wide feet to get the wide or even extra-wide version of the shoe (luckily, it's available in a range of widths).
Lets runners play straight away
Straight out of the box, the ASICS Gel Contend 8 feels very welcoming and accommodating.
From the overall fit to the midsole performance, the shoe feels fantastic immediately. It is also pretty flexible and does not require a break-in.
Walk, run, and sweat it out with the ASICS Gel Contend 8
One of the main selling points of this ASICS shoe, in our opinion, is its versatility. The shoe can handle long runs, pick up the pace, and also feels pretty comfortable and supportive on a walk.
Of course, it lacks the bells and whistles of its more expensive counterparts so don't expect any wow-effects from the shoe. But for a normcore daily beater at its price point, the Content 8 is an excellent value for money.
The shoe comes with a fairly flexible and adaptable platform that suits natural foot motion. Measuring its resistance to being bent, we found that the Contend 8 is 43%(!) more flexible than road running shoes on average.
In our manual assessment, the shoe also proved to be very pliable. We rated it as 2 out of 5 (where 1 is the most flexible) in both longitudinal and torsional flexibility.
The caveat is that on a cold day, the Gel Contend 8 is going to get 62% stiffer and 26% firmer and will need a little breaking in. These measurements were taken after leaving the shoe in the freezer for 20 minutes.
When it comes to cushioning softness, we found that it is less plush and cushy than the other ASICS models we've tested.
Based on our durometer measurements, this ASICS shoe is 7% firmer than average and sits right in the middle between soft and firm.
Disclaimer: We repeat the durometer measurement five times before noting down the result. The photo above shows the last measurement.
The Gel Content 8 has an ample amount of cushioning for a daily running shoe though. We measured its heel stack at 31.1 mm (2 mm thinner than average) and the forefoot stack at 22 mm (2.5 mm thinner).
The difference makes for a 9.1 mm heel-to-toe drop. This is very close to the officially stated 10 mm.
Disclaimer: We always measure stack height with the insole included.
Wear-resistant daily trainers
Having put over 30 miles into the shoe, the ASICS Gel Contend 8 really impressed us with no signs of wear and tear at all!
One of the measurable characteristics that are directly connected to the shoe's longevity is the outsole thickness. The rubber layer on the ASICS Gel Contend 8 is 4.2 mm thick. This is notably thicker than the average 3.4 mm for road running shoes.
Another parameter is the hardness of this rubber compound. In the case of Gel Contend 8, it is 5% firmer than the average.
Durability is definitely not something that ASICS gave up to keep this running shoe's price at £110.
The ASICS Gel Contend 8 is supportive from top to bottom
This ASICS shoe is meant for neutral pronation but packs some features that help to make it a little bit more supportive. We especially welcomed this supportive foothold on long walks and easy slow runs.
Measuring the shoe's platform in the widest part of the heel, our calliper showed 91.4 mm - a little wider than average.
And if you need a proper shoe for flat feet/overpronation, do consider the shoe's stability counterpart - the ASICS GT 1000 11.
Zero complaints in the weight department
In a men's US size 9, we weighed the Gel Contend 8 at 9.2 oz (260g). That's even slightly lighter than the weight of road running shoes on average!
This shoe is barely existent on the foot.
Hit the gym in the ASICS Gel Contend 8
Extending the shoe's use past the roads, we were also happy to take this ASICS shoe to the gym! Firm and supportive it accommodated our moderate WODs beautifully.
Great quality for an affordable price
At a generous price point of £110, we love how affordable the shoe is considering its dependability and durability.
The ASICS Gel Contend 8 is a good £40 cheaper than road running shoes on average!