ASICS Gel Venture 6: Best Budget Trail Shoe?

If you want running shoes that can withstand rough terrain, check out the ASICS Gel Venture 6.

You can use these shoes on sidewalks, tracks, trails and even snow, with adequate traction for any occasion. They have no specialty—but work decently for whatever you throw at them.

These days, running shoes can have steep prices, but sometimes there’s a hidden gem within the budget bracket that’s worth double, or at least a little more.

Is the ASICS Gel Venture 6 one of these?

According to trail runners, it is. Some have even compared it to the ASICS Gel Kayano range, which boasts a higher cost.

So, let’s take a run in these shoes and see what makes them worth their miles in gold.

ASICS Gel Venture 6

ASICS Gel Venture Line

The ASICS Gel Venture range is primarily advertised as trail running shoes, but wearers say they work for anything.

Why wouldn’t trail shoes have versatility? Trails are among the roughest terrain you’ll run. So, surely trail shoes can withstand anything less jarring since they already have the versatility and traction for it?

It’s safe to assume that such versatility would break the bank, but this is an incorrect assumption to make with the Gel Venture.

The ASICS Gel Venture shoe is suitable for tighter budgets while having above-average quality. Like all ASICS shoes, it’s crafted with innovative tech to maximize your comfort.

You have no reason to worry that they’ll be like those shoes you picked up at Walmart that pinch and peel.

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What Is the Difference Between Asics Gel Venture 5 and 6?

The difference between the ASICS Gel Venture 5 and 6 isn’t enormous. The 6’s toe is rounder and wider, has less tongue padding, a better tread pattern, more heel padding and feels larger.

So far, there are only seven iterations of the Gel Venture shoes. The range is relatively new by ASICS’ standards—the ASICS Gel Kayano and ASICS Gel Nimbus shoes are at least 20 years old as of 2020.

Even so, there are some distinct comparisons we can make between the Gel Venture 6 ASICS and its predecessor.

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Heel-Lock Lacing

The ASICS Gel Venture 5 had heel-lock lacing to ensure stability and security in the shoe. This was due to the eyelets tying in the heel more securely.

These are missing from the ASICS Venture 6. Admittedly, we’re not sure why the designers removed this feature, as it takes away some of the safety.

Keeping your heel locked in reduces the chances of slipping, and some may say this makes the shoes unsuitable for trail running, as you need maximum stability for such ventures.

However, anyone who knows a thing or two about fitting and sizing knows this isn’t true.

If the shoes fit as they should—which we’ll examine later on—then you should have no issues. You can always check out our shoe sizing and fitting guide to learn more.

While there are ways on how to wear shoes that are too big, we recommend getting the correct size of shoe ASAP if you plan on hitting the trails.

Traction

The Gel Venture 6 features more of a tread pattern on the sole and outsole. Therefore, it has more traction than the previous model.

It’s better for damp surfaces than previous versions, too, providing more stability in wet-weather conditions.

Size

Although sizing across ASICS’ shoes is pretty standard, the ASICS Gel Venture 6 has more room in the toe box, so you can wiggle your toes more freely.

You should indeed want your feet laced in tightly, but running with painful, cramped toes isn’t ideal since it can cause pain or mild discomfort, impacting your run.

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Durability, Support and Flexibility

Unfortunately, here’s where we start going downhill.

So far, the ASICS Gel Venture 6 has one-upped the 5. But, some buyers complain that the 6 doesn’t measure up to the Gel Venture 5’s durability, support and flexibility.

That isn’t to say the ASICS Gel Venture 6 is bad, stiff, weak and wobbly. However, ASICS can, and has, done better in the same line.

Cushioning

The Gel Venture is one of ASICS’s excellent gel shoes, meaning it has gel padding in the heel to absorb shock.

But, ASICS cut costs on this shoe by making the materials subpar. Some customers report that the Gel Venture 5 has better, thicker padding—especially around the ankle and Achilles tendon.

The Gel Venture 6 is still adequately padded, but it’s a step down, unfortunately.

Part of this is because the 6’s supports have more of a rigid feel than the 5. It gives the impression that there’s less cushioning.

But look, don’t take these downsides as a sign that the 6 is bad—it’s far from it, and still above average.

Let’s examine it more in-depth, comparison aside.

ASICS Gel Venture 6 Review

The ASICS Gel Venture 6 may be a budget or entry-level running shoe, but it performs wonderfully. It’s sturdy and supportive enough for all surfaces, despite shortcomings when compared to other footwear.

You won’t have an issue feeling like you’re about to trip in these shoes. Nor will your feet slip around inside them.

In fact, they’re so strong on your feet that they could be a substitute for hiking boots in an emergency or ideal for those with a limited budget.

But let’s focus on the individual aspects to see if it’s a shoe for you.

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Features

Some of the tech in modern shoes is as impressive as computers, so here’s what the Gel Venture 6 is packing:

  • Gel cushioning in the rear of the shoe, spreading shock upon impact.
  • AHAR outsole crafted from high-abrasion rubber to give durability and protect your feet.
  • Traction uphill, downhill and on moist terrain, thanks to reversed lugs.

Comfort and Support

As an entry-level, inexpensive shoe, you can’t expect a magical one-size-fits-all result.

It’s not designed for high arches, but a somewhat higher than average arch will gather some support. That said, it’s a no-go for flat feet.

There’s excellent arch support for neutral arches, though, setting this range aside from generic-brand shoes of a similar price.

You’re not going to feel arch pain, even uphill, unless you have pre-existing foot issues. Not only that, but the sides are stiff, not uncomfortable, and stable, thanks to the extra reinforcement.

There’s support around back, too, with the heel collar, stopping your foot slipping in and out of the shoe as you move. However, this only works properly if you have the perfect fit.

So, make sure you measure accurately, and in the afternoon, and if your shoes still don’t offer enough support, don’t worry. The insole is removable so you can insert your preferred insoles or custom orthotics. This will give you the flat feet or low arch support you deserve.

Midsole

It’s not just the sides, heel and arch that gain support from these fantastic shoes.

The ASICS women’s Gel Venture 6 and men’s Gel Venture 6 also contain incredible midsole support.

You’ll find this same support system in almost every ASICS shoe, whether it’s the premium ranges or entry-level budget-friendly ones.

It starts with the heel full of gel and branches out into a firm and dense, yet incredibly lightweight, foam. The foam runs through the entire midsole, protecting you from the sole’s hard and high-abrasion rubber. However, the firm foam may feel too firm until you break it in.

Do you know how hard Crocs are when you compare them to more gentle sandals? That’s what the Gel Venture 6 is like for up to a week after first use.

So, be careful if you have pain in any joints in your legs, hips and lower back. They’re going to be very firm and lightly cushioned until your feet sink into the foam and make an indent.

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Outsole

We mentioned the outsole’s durability and traction earlier. And this is not a section that will correct this.

The outsole not only has excellent durability and traction but terrific support, too. This reaches across the midfoot, adding support and stability by being extra-sturdy and firm.

That’s what makes the shoes less flexible than the Gel Venture 5. The 5 lacked this extra-supportive feature, which is what makes the 6 less flexible.

It’s true; having less flexibility is a downside. Your feet move in subtle ways all day, and your shoes need to move with them, especially on bumpy or rough trails. However, if the midfoot twists too much, you’re at risk of a fall, so the outsole’s rigid nature prevents injuries.

Sole

The sole is excellent but can be difficult to keep clean. There’s a “V” section of the tread with a knack for catching debris, so you’ll need to clean this out to make sure the soles perform at their best.

With this area clear, you’re fit to hike and run in all conditions, on all surfaces.

It’s worth noting that wet conditions make the traction work to a lower standard, but it still prevents falls.

Upper

Sadly, we have some bad news about the upper. The outcome is intensely durable, able to stomp on tiny rocks for months without so much as a dent. But, the upper’s nylon mesh isn’t a match.

If you’ve ever owned nylon before, you’ll now it snags easily. Pair this with it being mesh, aka full of tiny holes for breathability, and you’re not in for a good time.

Be extremely careful of branches and brambles with these shoes, and avoid submerging the shoes, as the upper isn’t waterproof.

Pros

  • Highly breathable.
  • Great support.
  • Adequate durability.
  • Stable, even on bumpy terrain.
  • Lightweight, but heavy enough to keep you grounded.
  • Traction in wet conditions.
  • Budget-friendly.

Cons

  • Snaggable mesh.
  • Sub-optimal flexibility.
  • Less padding than previous versions.
  • Take a while to break in.
  • Will irritate painful joints for about a week after purchase.
  • Not waterproof.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is ASICS Gel Venture 6 Good for Running?

The ASICS Gel Venture 6 is excellent for running. It’s a versatile shoe that works on any surface and features a rocker bottom, as present in the best running shoes. It’s for neutral pronators, though, so it’s not your perfect match if you have foot issues.

Is ASICS Gel Venture a Stability Shoe?

ASICS Gel Ventures are not stability shoes. They offer mild support for slightly higher arches and mild underpronation. However, for stability shoes, look towards the Gel Kayano. But, take note that they boast a higher price tag due to their high-end quality.

Is ASICS Gel Venture 6 Waterproof?

Most ASICS shoes are waterproof, but the ASICS Gel Venture 6 isn’t one of them. They’ll deflect light rain and splashes but aren’t submersible. However, they have a tall sole, so your socks will stay dry when hopping rock to rock atop streams. And, they’re highly breathable, so wet feet will dry in the sun in no time.

Is ASICS Gel Venture 6 Neutral?

Yes, the ASICS Gel Venture 6 is a neutral shoe. It perfectly supports the neutral gait and helps with some underpronation. It does the latter by adding some support for high arches.

Is ASICS Better Than Nike?

Whether ASICS is better than Nike is subjective. Where Nike spends more money on advertising, ASICS spends it on design and manufacturing. This may make ASICS shoes higher-quality functionally. However, Nike is still excellent for daily wear.

ASICS Gel Venture 6: The Consensus

We have to admit, the stability and comfort, once the ASICS Gel Venture 6 is broken in, is above average.

But, the consensus for these shoes is that they’re mid-level quality. This is fantastic for an entry-level shoe since they perform like shoes from a slightly higher price bracket.

If you’re a beginner trail runner or hiker, consider the ASICS Gel Venture 6. They’re more than worth the money.

Be sure to share this with any amateur or broke trail runners and hikers you know. And, as always, feel free to leave your thoughts below.

 

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