ASICS is one of the biggest footwear and clothing retailers in the fitness world. They lead the market with their high end running trainers and technical sports apparel. This review will look at the positives and negatives of the ASICS Gel-Phoenix 8 Women's Running Trainers and will hopefully help you decide if they are for you.
Upon first putting on the trainers they feel very comfortable. I did have to size up with these trainers by half a size, but I often do that with running trainers of any brand. The most noticeable thing for me with regards to the fit of the trainers is that the toe box is far too narrow. My previous trainers were the Phoenix 7s and the toe box was perfect and I never had any issues. The Phoenix 8 trainers have been redesigned and the shape of the toe box is now completely different. It bends more to the inside rather than being straight, so it has more of a point to it. What this results in is the trainers seeming to be a perfect fit when you do the classic big toe test (seeing where your big toe sits in the toe box) but the smaller toes get totally crushed.
I found that the first couple of miles of my run were great, very comfortable, but then my four smaller toes became very uncomfortable and squashed. After 4 miles they were in a lot of pain and I had to end the run prematurely. The front of the trainers is much more rigid than in the Phoenix 7 trainers and the upper is less flexible. I don't have wide feet so I've never had this issue before and I'm not sure if sizing up yet again would help. If you have short toes you'll probably be okay, but my second toe is actually longer than my big toe so I need plenty of space in the toe box. There's nothing worse than having squashed toes while running!
The colourways available for the ASICS Gel Phoenix 8 women's trainers are much more subtle and contemporary than those of the Phoenix 7s and are more aesthetically pleasing. Of course, if bright trainers are your thing then that's absolutely great, but I quite like the more understated look of the Phoenix 8 womens shoes. There are more blue tones and less bright pink ones which makes the shoes much more stylish and they are more likely to match with your activewear.
The ASICS Gel Phoenix 8 women's trainers are specifically designed for those who over-pronate due to fallen arches or flat feet. The built-in arch support is second-to-none and not having to wear orthotics or arch supports is really important because after a few miles these are always prone to rubbing blisters or moving around in the shoes. Finding a good pair of supportive trainers can be really tough and running pain-free is paramount, so I am really pleased to have found these trainers.
If you run underprontated (or supinated) these are not the shoes for you. Additionally, if you prefer more of a barefoot ride, these are not the trainers for you as they have a super thick sole for maximum impact displacement which helps those who overpronate.
Additionally, these are not really 'speed' trainers as they are relatively heavy and are designed with durability in mind for longer runs rather than short, quick bursts. With the design of the shoes, it would seem ASICS are trying to make these more multi-terrain trainers with thicker soles and more durability. What this does mean is they are well suited for heavier runners as they have great cushioning and robustness.
The RRP of the ASICS Gel Phoenix 8 women's trainers is £85, however you can find them for a cheaper price at other outlets or websites. Considering ASICS is known to be a high end retailer, this is a very reasonable price, especially if you find a discounted version.
I was disappointed with these trainers after enjoying so many good runs with my ASICS Gel Phoenix 7 trainers. It is a shame that the toe box has been redesigned in a way that crushes the toes to the point of pain, because they are otherwise fantastic trainers. My advice would be to buy the Phoenix 7 trainers instead because they still provide the stability, cushioning, and comfort for endless miles without any drawbacks.
These trainers are for you if:
- You have very narrow feet
- You have small feet and/or short toes
- You are a heavier runner
- You are a distance runner
- You overpronate and/or have fallen arches/flat feet
These are not the trainers for you if:
- You have wide feet
- You have big feet
- You have long toes
- You prefer a barefoot ride
- You underpronte/supinate
- You run shorter distances
- You run for speed