Asics GEL-PULSE™ 11 Review

This is our review of the Asics GEL Pulse 11.

The Asics GEL Pulse 11 is a neutral, every day trainer for the budget conscious. It has a medium drop of 8mm with an average amount of responsiveness in its medium firm cushioned midsole. It’s reliable and consistent.

If this all sounds a little underwhelming to you, I agree. So why would anyone bother with this shoe?

There are so many spectacular shoes today, with really cool technology that makes them light and fast and fun to run with. The problem with all that technology is the price for one. All those bells and whistles cost you extra and if you’re not running very much and only buy a new pair once every 14-24 months, it’s understandable that you might be willing to fork out a little extra.

Running between 50-100km a week has a way of making you look for some cheaper alternatives to add to your rotation.

The second problem with all that technology is the bigger consideration for me. Personal experience has taught me that when they add all that extra stuff to a shoe, you get a really custom fit. That’s great if it works for you, but the bells and whistles have a way of finding every little thing about your feet that isn’t exactly standard.

There are few things more disappointing than having a gorgeous pair of running shoes that cause you nothing but pain. That’s why it’s nice when manufacturers make shoes that are accommodating enough that we can fit our peculiarities in them, feel great about ourselves, and enjoy running.

The Asics GEL Pulse 11 is such a shoe. It’s comfortable, forgiving, does what it promises and will keep you moving.

As usual, in this Asics GEL Pulse 11 review we’ve done all the heavy lifting for you, so you can make an informed buying decision. Let’s get into the details.

Pros

  • Well cushioned
  • Fits true to size
  • Heel cushioning is excellent
  • Seamless upper
  • Good grip
  • Comfortable straight out of the box
  • Budget friendly
  • Durable

Cons

  • A little on the boring side
  • Not great for mid-foot and forefoot strikers 
  • Upper a bit light for colder conditions 
  • Midsole becomes very firm in cold conditions

Who Is This Shoe For?

  • This shoe is great for heel strikers who do short to medium length runs, 5-15k or 20-30km per week at slow to medium paces.
  • If you are an experienced runner with strong feet, you could use these for long distances as well. One user reported doing ultra-marathons in his.
  • Beginner runners.
  • Anyone looking to add a budget-friendly option into their rotation to handle recovery runs up to 10K.
  • Someone who doesn’t have the patience to try on 20 different pairs to find the ONE.

Who Is This Shoe Not For?

Steer clear if:

  • You’re looking for a fast, responsive shoe. Consider the Asics Novablast instead.
  • You over pronate. The GEL Pulse 11 offers no support for pronation. If you pronate, consider the Asics GEL GT 2000 instead.
  • You supinate (under-pronate). According to Asics, this shoe is suitable for those who mildly supinate, but users found it had insufficient stability to support supination. Consider the Asics GEL Cumulus instead.

Features

  • Synthetic seamless upper.
  • Rubber outsole.
  • Rearfoot GEL® technology cushion system – Absorbs shock during heel impact and allows for a smooth transition to toe-off.
  • Guidance Line Midsole Technology – Vertical flex groove enhances gait efficiency.
  • Removable Ortholite® X-40 Sockliner – for moisture management and breathability. Also adds an extra layer of responsive cushion.
  • AmpliFoam™ Midsole
  • Stack height forefoot: Men 13mm | Women 12mm / Heel height: Men 21mm | Women 20mm.
  • Weight: Men 322g | Women 272g.
  • Drop: 8mm

Upper Design of the Asics GEL Pulse 11

The GEL Pulse features a seamless upper, which improves durability as most shoes start tearing around the seams first. It also helps to eliminate any rubbing on little toes. It is comfortable straight out of the box and you won’t need to break them in first.

It has a very breathable upper, that keeps feet cool and fresh. Not the greatest for frosty weather. The laces come untied a bit and needs a double knot.

The shoe has a simple but attractive appearance and doesn’t look like a budget shoe.

Midsole Design of the Asics GEL Pulse 11

Asics use their AmpliFoam™ Midsole in the GEL Pulse, which is designed for its durability and comfort. It is flexible and promotes natural running. While not the most responsive foam, it does a good job combined with the GEL® Technology to absorb impact for pain-free heel striking.

With a stack height of 21mm in the heel and 13mm in the forefoot, some runners find the forefoot cushioning lacking for forefoot striking. Some of that GEL® Technology would have been nice in the forefoot as well. It has a drop of 8mm from heel to toe.

The overall feel is comfortable and adequate, but not quite exciting.

Outsole Design of the Asics GEL Pulse 11

The GEL Pulse features 5.1mm of Asics’ AHAR rubber outsole and it provides excellent grip. A few users have reported doing moderate trails in them and they do quite well. The grip is not sufficient for technical trails, however. The outsole is durable and will probably outlast the midsole foam.

Other shoes like the Asics GEL Pulse 11

Here are some alternatives to the Asics GEL Pulse 11.

Asics GEL Excite 7

The Asics Excite 7 is probably one of the best budget shoes out there. It is extremely comfortable straight out of the box, comes at a fantastically low price, is durable and don’t look half bad. That’s more than what you get from a lot of expensive shoes.

The Excite is a neutral every day trainer that offers medium firm cushioning and it’s aimed at distances from 5-21km. It has slightly more cushion than the Pulse and it’s considerably lighter, with the men’s shoe weighing in at only 283g compared to the 322g of the Pulse.

The midsole is also AmpliFoam, but it feels a little more responsive than the Pulse. This might have something to do with that 40g weight difference.

Like the Pulse, the Excite also has an 8mm drop and is favored more by heel strikers than mid-foot and forefoot strikers. Heel strikers consistently mention the soft landing and impact absorption of the GEL Excite.

Pros

  • Responsive 
  • Removable insole
  • Soft and stretchy upper 
  • Full length rubber outsole
  • Fits true to size 
  • Good looking shoe
  • Very well priced

Cons

  • Not great for forefoot strikers

Brooks Revel 4

The Revel 4 is another no nonsense daily trainer excellent for beginners and more experienced runners alike. It’s responsive and quick and definitely a bit more exciting than both the GEL Pulse or the GEL Excite.

If you quickly get bored with your shoes, bad news, these are going to last hundreds of miles.

The Revel 4 is really lightweight for a daily trainer with the weight for a men’s shoe at 227g and a women’s shoe at 224g, making the GEL Pulse look almost ridiculously heavy. The stack height is 19mm for men and 18mm for women in the forefoot, with a heel height of 27mm for men and 26mm for women for a drop of 8mm.

The upper is breathable and the tongue is adequately padded. The toe box is a bit narrow. The BioMoGo midsole is a soft cushioning but very responsive.

The Revel 4 needs no break-in period and is comfortable from the get go. Something else that sets it apart is that forefoot and mid-foot strikers find it very comfortable as well.

It’s a fun and extremely versatile shoe that does equally well on the road, in the gym or at the mall.

Pros

  • Secure lockdown
  • Responsive
  • Fits True to size
  • Good ground contact
  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Superb grip
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Upper is very plain

Adidas Adizero Adios 4

A very light, responsive trainer from Adidas that’s great for faster paces, but once again works better for heel strikers than mid-foot or forefoot strikers.

It has a light, breathable upper and weighs only 227g for the men’s model and 187g for the women’s model. The stack height is 17mm in the forefoot and 27mm in the heel on both the men’s and women’s models for a drop of 10mm.

The Adizero Adios 3 held the record at one time for the fastest marathon in 2014, by Dennis Kimetto in Berlin (2:02.57). It was the shoe that made competitors focus on a lightweight racing flat. Now we’re not promising that the Adios 4 will have you break world records, but if you have it in your legs and lungs to break records, the Adios will definitely not hold you back.

The lightweight mid-sole is packed with BOOST foam, and will literally put the bounce back into your step, whether you’re running or just have to pop into the store quickly. It is comfortable and alive with responsiveness.

The Adios fits extremely narrow, unfortunately, and is only for those with very narrow feet. If you have wide feet, don’t bother, this shoe is not for you.

Pros

  • Very light
  • Durable
  • Good level of responsiveness
  • Excellent quality materials
  • Breathable
  • Great traction

Cons

  • Very narrow fit
  • Some chafing problems

Asics Novablast

The Novablast is the bouncy version of Asics’ everyday trainers. It is very responsive and fun to run with.

It’s built for comfort and makes the miles feel noticeably easier. The combination of plush cushion and bouncy responsiveness isn’t something you find too often in a running shoe and is really something to experience for yourself.

The Novablast fits a little wider than most of Asics’ other models and it can work for the slightly wider foot. It has a stack height of 22mm in the forefoot for men and 21mm for women, with 30mm in the heel for men and 29mm for women, for a drop of 8mm.

The men’s model weighs around 280g and the women’s model around 242g, but the level of responsiveness from the midsole makes it feel lighter than it actually is.

It is also a neutral shoe and even though it’s very bouncy, this is not a speed shoe. This shoe aims at putting more joy into your recovery miles and long runs, and it definitely succeeds.

The one negative about this shoe that we have to mention is that the combination of the high stack height in the heel and the lack of additional support, makes it a little unstable at higher paces and you might find that you have to slow it down into tight turns. Since most of us don’t really have too many of those on our normal routes, it isn’t that big an issue, but worth mentioning none the less.

Pros

  • Fits true to size
  • Bouncy, responsive ride
  • Durable
  • Excellent breathability  
  • No break in required
  • Very comfortable
  • Reflective elements for night visibility

Cons

  • Stability unreliable at higher paces
  • High platform

FAQs about the Asics GEL Pulse 11

Do the GEL Pulse fit true to size?

Yes, they do. You can go with your normal size if you’re already wearing Asics. If you’re coming from a different brand like New Balance, their shoes tend to run wider and you might have to go a half-size up.

You can read more here on picking the right size running shoe.

Are the inner soles removable?

Yes, they are removable and you can replace them with any after-market inner sole of custom orthotic of your choice.

Does the GEL Pulse offer arch support?

Yes, they do offer arch support for medium arches. If you have really high arches, you might need additional support from after-market inner soles.

Final thoughts on the Asics GEL Pulse 11 Review

The Asics GEL Pulse 11 is not a shoe that’s going to get you giddy at the thought of taking it for a run. There’s really nothing much exciting about it. That being said, if you’re not a gearhead interested in the latest technology and trends, but just want a shoe that does the job well, this shoe is a solid choice that won’t disappoint.

It’s comfortable and reliable, and will last you as long and longer than some much more expensive shoes. I can’t fault it for that and would definitely recommend it as a neutral every day trainer.

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