The Asics Gel Cumulus 13 was one of my favourite Asics shoes ever, especially when I was a heel striker, and you can see its likeness in this shoe, so I was feeling nostalgic about reviewing the Gel Pulse 5
Out of the box, it was almost like I'd gone back a few years and had my Cumulus 13's again. They look almost identical, and I even had the green colour way in the 13's. So they were off to a good start. Picking them up, they felt good. They were quite heavy, and at 295g they aren't ever going to be a lightweight choice, however, they don't feel overly heavy for a shoe of this nature. Putting them on, they don't feel like an £85 shoe, and were very comfortable. The toe box was wider than I was expecting from an Asics shoe, which was a pleasant surprise, and the only issue I found with the fit was that the liner was very basic, and slightly rough, especially round the heel, which, if the fit is a little loose, could potentially cause problems.
The midsole is the main selling point for this shoe. It uses Gel in the heel and the forefoot, as well as a SpEVA foam. This is common to see on Asics shoes at around the £100 mark, so I was very impressed with how it felt. It feels soft, and not as inflexible as I thought it would considering how heavily cushioned it is.
The upper uses a flexible mesh and a reinforced section around the midfoot for a little bit of structure. The heel is snug, and uses memory foam to secure itself. The toe box was wider than I thought, as previously mentioned, and is very comfortable. The lacing is a basic eyelet system, with the addition of two loops on either side, to pull the whole shoe tighter around the midfoot, giving you a feeling of security without it being tight.
The outsole uses Asics Guidance Line and Guidance Trustic to help push your foot through a natural gait cycle. I was impressed Asics had included this, as it is a relatively new idea from them that has only come into the top end shoes in recent editions, so to include it in a mid range shoe already was very impressive. The rubber is the same AHAR+ used on top end shoes, so will be hardwearing, whilst remaining flexible, and the flex grooves make it more flexible than I thought.
I was very impressed. The Asics Gel Pulse 5 is not one for forefoot running, but that's beside the point. The shoe is very soft, and very comfortable for £85, and I felt very nostalgic wearing them, as they felt the same as my old Cumulus 13's. 1 hour in, and my feet were still feeling good, with no issue of impact at all. My only issue with this shoe is the lining. I had to butterfly the laces and then pull them tight to prevent any rubbing at the heel, but once I'd done so, there were no problems. The Asics Gel Pulse 5 is a very impressive shoe. If you're a heel striker and a neutral runner, then don't overlook this shoe because it isn't expensive. Asics have done a fantastic job in filtering down the key technologies from higher end shoes without making it cost the Earth. If you're looking for a top of the range shoe, but can't afford those, then this shoe is for you. Also, if you're looking for a second shoe to your current high mileage shoes, then look no further.