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Asics GEL-Ace Shoe Review

 

 

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Introduction

 

When it comes to running shoes, the shoes I wear every single day, I have worn just one brand of shoe in the last decade: Asics. Over that time, I've made converts of many friends and relatives as well. When I found out that Asics had created a golf shoe, I was thrilled. Does the Asics GEL-Ace deserve the same undying loyalty that their running shoes have earned? Read on to find out:

 

 

 

 

 

From the Manufacturer

 

Best known for performance oriented running shoes, ASICS has translated key technical features and craftsmanship into a golf shoe that enhances athletic performance. Most notably, an extended trusstic that contours the heel and provides a solid base of support under the heel and arch, leading to a reduction in fatigue while also enhancing foot stability during the golf swing.

 

Additional features include; waterproof inner lining that keeps the foot dry while maintaining breathability, a sockliner that is reinforced for additional arch support, hidden lacing system that allows for a snugger fit and slimmer profile, and replaceable Champ Scorpion Stinger Spikes.

 

 

 

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Style – 20 Points

 

Asics golf shoes look like Asics running shoes. They have a base color (in this case, black) with the Asics logo featured prominently across the side of the shoe. While they're certainly not garish, I doubt they will please any of the traditionalists out there. For those that don't mind if their golf shoes look like their gym shoes, these will be great. In my mind, they're a solid B.

 

Score: 17/20

 

 

 

 

 

Comfort – 25 points

 

With regard to comfort and fit, putting on the GEL-Ace for the first time was just like putting on a new pair of Asics running shoes. The fit is good, not tight anywhere, but also not loose. They're also quite comfortable right out of the box. As I spent more time in these shoes, the comfort remained. I played 36 in these without complaint. There's absolutely nothing to complain about with these, but at the same time they're not an “Oh wow, that's comfortable.” They get an A for comfort, but fall short of the A+.

 

Score: 23/25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Performance – 20 points

 

When I tied the laces on these shoes, my first thought was “these fit like Asics…nice.” Then I stood up and had a flashback to being 12 years old and wearing ski boots for the first time. The heel of these shoes is really, really big. I walked around my house in them and that feeling of ski boots persisted: heel-toe, heel-toe, clomp-clomp, clomp-clomp. Not exactly the smooth ride I have come to expect from Asics.

 

After a few laps around the house, I fired off an email to Heather, my contact at Asics. I asked, “Why is the heel of this shoe so large, given that the trend is towards thinner soles that bring the golfer closer to the ground?” Her response (which was very quick, A+ for customer service): “Somewhat like the thought behind building running shoes, the golf shoes are designed with additional cushioning for comfort and shock attenuation- thus building up the height of the heel. In addition, there is an extended Trusstic piece built into the shoe for stability- so there is a lot of cushioning in the shoe, but also a great deal of stability.” Fair enough. I have actually had many lengthy discussions about shoes with some of my friends who are runners, and while I prefer a less intrusive shoe, my friends have impressed upon me that this does not work for everyone. People who are overweight, have foot/leg/back problems, or are just starting to run or walk need more support and cushioning to prevent injuries.

 

Back to the shoe review: while I was not overly thrilled with the design, I did get used to them as I wore them more. I wore them for a number of range sessions, and while I did feel “taller” and further from the ball, I never had any problems as a result of this. I can't say that the feeling ever became comfortable or desirable for me, but my swing was not negatively affected by it. The results on the course were the same: there are other shoes that I prefer, but these had no adverse impact on my swing.

 

Two other quick comments on the shoe's performance: waterproofing is excellent and traction is also very good.

 

This section got long in a hurry. Here are the nuts and bolts: this shoe is built to provide a lot of support and cushioning. If, for whatever reason, you want these features, you will love these. If you want to be closer to the ground, you should look elsewhere. While these shoes do not provide the performance that I want, they are very good at doing what they are designed to do. I tried to reflect both of those things in the score.

 

Score: 16/20

 

 

 

Value – 20 points

 

At $160, the Asics GEL-Ace finds itself just slightly above the middle of the shoe market, and at a somewhat odd price point. It seems to me that most companies are producing a top of the line shoe for $200-$250, a middle of the road shoe at $100-$130, and then you have the lower end/clearance shoes anywhere from $40-$90. That aside, I think that in terms of construction and quality, the GEL-Ace compares favorably to almost any shoe on the market. When you take the shoe out of the box, it's evident that the shoe is well built and will last through many rounds of walking.

 

All in all, this is a top quality shoe at a fair price. Of course it would be more attractive at $100 and might get more people to try it, but, as I mentioned repeatedly in the performance section, I believe that this shoe is built for a particular type of golfer. For the golfer that would benefit from the structure and support, the shoe is a very good value.

 

One other note: when I opened the box I was pleased to find that Asics had included a spike wrench and a handful of replacement Stinger spikes. While not a big deal, it's a nice value bonus, and will allow you to replace a couple of worn spikes mid-season without having to buy a whole replacement set.

 

Score: 20/20

 

 

 

 

 

The Peanut Gallery – 15 points

 

The Peanut Gallery was, by and large, unimpressed with the GEL-Ace. When I showed the shoe to our crew of PGA Professionals, there was a general consensus that it looked like a basketball shoe. With regards to the style, most of the other comments fell along similar lines. While some did not necessarily say this as a negative, there were not any overwhelming positive comments about the look.

 

Our PGA Professional who is also a triathlete immediately noticed the elevated heel and shook his head. He has had some experiences with students that indicate to him that golfers have a better sense of their balance/weight shift if they are closer to the ground, and even has some of his students practice barefoot on occasion. While he understood the purpose of the additional structure and support, he was skeptical about the idea of someone who needed that support choosing to walk instead of ride. He did concede that if someone needed the support, this would be a good shoe, but overall doubted that he would recommend it to anyone.

 

Score: 10/15

 

 

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Overall, while I found that the quality and comfort of this shoe is in line with what I have come to expect from Asics, the performance does not meet my personal needs. The built up heel, extensive support and structure of this shoe make it somewhat unique among golf shoes and an excellent candidate for the player who needs or wants those things, but I want a shoe that brings me closer to the ground and creates less of a barrier between myself and the turf. Though this shoe is of excellent quality and scored well, it is not one that will be in my personal rotation.

 

Score: 86/100

 

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

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I always wondered how Asics would translate in terms of golf shoes and I get a pretty good sense from this review. Thanks.

 

I'm glad it was helpful. In simpler terms, it seems like they took their most structured, supportive running shoe and added spikes. Damn, if I had thought of that earlier I could have saved a lot of words.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

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I'm glad it was helpful. In simpler terms, it seems like they took their most structured, supportive running shoe and added spikes. Damn, if I had thought of that earlier I could have saved a lot of words.

 

 

True, but it definitely wouldn't have had the same feel. I used to wrestle (not the WWE stuff... REAL wrestling) and I always liked Asics. I was pretty interested at first, seeing as these are Asics, but I'm not a fan of cluncky heels; I do have a fondness for sounding like Darth Vader walking through the Death Star, just not while I'm pretending to be athletic LOL.

 

Thanks for another thoughtful, insightful review!

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