Asics Gel Lyte III Reviewed & Tested for Performance

8.9 score
[Editors rating (8.5) + Users rating (8.0)] / 2 = (WalkJogRun) score (8.9)/10

Editor rating: 8.5 / 10
User's rating: based on 5 user ratings
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Asics Gel Lyte III Reviewed & Tested for Performance Review Facts

The Asics Gel Lyte III is one of the most well loved offerings from the Asics range of running shoes. It first hit the shelves in the early 90s and was such a hit, that it has been re-released for a second time. With its retro design and classic shape, this is a highly stylish running trainer. However, the Asics Gel Lyte III’s are not just stylish, they are also a high performance and very comfortable running shoe. This shoe is truly retro style married with modern technology. Whether you are looking for a responsive running trainer or just a trainer for casual wear, these are perfect.

Editor's Pros & Cons

Retro design

Tri-density EVA midsole

Asics Gel cushioning system

Nubuck, mesh and high quality leather upper give these shoes a premium feel


The fit of the shoe may be a bit narrow for some runners

The shoe may run up to a size too small


The outsole of the Asics Gel Lyte III is constructed using a thick block of blown rubber. This provides maximum comfort and protection to the wearer, no matter what surfaces they are running or walking on. The outsole of the Gel Lyte III also helps to provide excellent grip on a wide range of surfaces, with a grippy traction pattern.


The Asics Gel Lyte III's have an EVA midsole. More specifically, this is an innovative tri-density midsole, moulded using compression techniques. This provides maximum comfort and protection to the user, with an excellent level of cushioning. As you may have guessed from the name, the Gel Lyte III also incorporates the ever popular Asics Gel cushioning system. This technology adds an extra layer of comfort and protection to the midsole.


The Asics Gel Lyte III's are manufactured using very high quality materials, for a premium feel and look. The upper of the shoes is constructed using a combination of nubuck, mesh and premium quality leather. This combination helps to give the shoe its retro look and also a high quality finish, fitting of the ASICS brand. The use of a thin mesh for part of the upper, helps to keep the shoe both lightweight and breathable.
The Gel Lyte III's also incorporate Asics's innovative split tongue design, which prevents the need for constant adjusting, which can be a necessity when a standard tongue keeps slipping during running.


The Asics Gel Lyte III, as its name implies, is known to have a lightweight construction, favoured by its wearers. It is important for a running shoe to be lightweight enough to provide good performance, whilst also being sturdy and durable. The Gel Lyte III provides both of these, which is why it is such a popular choice of running shoe. Its lightweight design is in part thanks to the sections of thin mesh used to construct the upper of the shoe.


Good breathability and ventilation are vital in a running trainer, to avoid feet getting too sweaty, which can lead to problems such as athletes foot and blisters and also to the occurrence of odours in the shoe. Most running shoes, use a lightweight mesh upper to ensure good ventilation, and the Asics Gel Lyte III is no exception. The only issue that may arise with regards to breathability is that this shoe fits quite snugly. Therefore, unless you size up slightly, this may limit the room available for adequate air ventilation around the foot.


Running trainers must be comfortable for heavy and frequent use, otherwise they are unfit for their purpose. Thankfully, the Gel Lyte III's do provide a comfortable wearing experience. The gel cushioning through the midsole provides a very pleasant level of cushioning, keeping the foot comfortable and protected during use. There is also padding in the heel collar to provide comfort across the heel and to prevent rubbing and subsequent injury. An added sock liner also provides an extra layer of padding underfoot.


The Asics Gel Lyte III is a stylish running trainer. As much as it can hold its own as a functional running trainer, it is very popular as a lifestyle fashion shoe. This is mainly thanks to its retro design, which has been cleverly replicated for its relaunch. The use of the nubuck material in the upper of the shoe, provides it with a premium look, whilst still keeping the price tag relatively low. It is a shoe which definitely looks more expensive than it actually is!
The Asics Gel Lyte III's are also available in a vast amount of attractive colourways.


Despite having a lightweight design, the Gel Lyte III's are incredibly durable and able to withstand heavy use. This is mainly due to the thick blown rubber outsole, which ensures that the shoe is rigid and sturdy. The high quality upper materials also provide durability throughout the top of the shoe. Combining nubuck and leather sections alongside the thin mesh, gives an extra layer of strength which shoes having a purely mesh upper do not benefit from.


As with all shoes in the Asics Gel range, the Gel Lyte III's benefit from the innovative Asics Gel cushioning in the midsole. This provides great protection underfoot and excellent shock absorption. There is also the benefit of this shoe having tri-density cushioning in the midsole, which really ensures that the foot is well protected throughout its use.


The Asics Gel Lyte III's do not have as many innovative technological features as some rival running trainers have to increase reponsitivity and performance. However, they do incorporate some useful features to give them an edge in this category. The tri-density cushioning in the midsole of the Gel lyte III's ensures that they are responsive enough to compete with their main contenders. While the Asics specific Gel cushioning in the forefoot and heel provide increased energy rebound during use. By keeping the technology to a minimum, the shoes still maintain an appealing price tag.


The thick sole and well cushioned midsole of the Gel Lyte III's, ensure that they provide great support underfoot throughout their use. The shoe also has a well padded heel collar to provide extra support at the ankle, helping to protect against injuries. The Gel Lyte III's also incorporate Asics's notable split tongue. This was originally developed to prevent slipping of the tongue during running but had a critical reception when it was first introduced. However, it has since been found to provide good support across the top of the foot throughout running.


Given the use of a thick blown rubber as the outsole material for the Asics Gel Lyte III, it is able to withstand use on a variety of terrains. Terrains which it is able to perform well on include standard road and path surfaces and rougher, undeveloped surfaces. They have not, however, been designed for off road or trail running, and will not provide adequate protection or durability for this. These shoes are also suitable for running on a treadmill at the gym.


The Asics Gel Lyte III is a reasonably priced running trainer. Asics trainers usually sport high price tags, given the vast amounts of innovative technology that they incorporate. The Gel Lyte III's have minimal high end technology, whilst still providing everything that is needed in a quality running trainer. For this reason, the shoe has an attractive price tag, which is appealing to a vast number of runners and explains their popularity. In the current market, these shoes can be picked up for as little as around $40.


As mentioned previously, the Gel Lyte III's have great performance on a range of running surfaces. The thick rubber outsole of the shoe has a grippy traction pattern to ensure that the shoes grip well on surfaces, including those which are wet.


Flexibility is something that the Gel Lyte III's do not excel at. These shoes have mainly been designed to have a sturdy, durable and comfortable construction. This means that the thick sole and heavy cushioning make the shoe a lot less flexible than it could be. They are also snug fitting, leaving less room for movement and flexibility around the foot. Having said that, a lot of runners prefer this style of shoe and are put off by the more flexible designs. Therefore, if you are one of these runners, then this shoe will definitely appeal to you.


The Gel Lyte III's have a number of features which ensure that they provide stability to their users. The padded heel collar provides stability through the ankles, which is a big priority to runners as this helps to prevent painful injuries from occurring. The midsole is also reasonably stiff compared to those in similar trainers, resulting in greater stability across the whole of the midfoot. The narrow fit of the shoes also helps to keep the foot firmly in the correct position throughout their use.


There is limited information available regarding the heel-to-toe drop of the Asics Gel Lyte III's. Although most users state that the drop is similar to that found in other comparable running trainers. They also state that the drop is comfortable and high enough to encourage a natural and neutral running gait. Overall, the drop provides a pleasurable running experience.

Key features

• Tri-density midsole cushioning
• Thick blown rubber outsole
• Asics Gel cushioning
• Great variety of colours
• Padded heel collar
• Grippy traction pattern on the outsole

Bottom line

If you like a trainer that will look the part as well as perform then the Asics Gel Lyte III's will definitely appeal to you. The sleek retro design and premium look to the upper of the shoe will mean that you will want to carry on wearing these shoes long after you have finished running! One thing that you may want to bear in mind, is that these shoes do have a narrow fit, so you may want to buy a size up if you do not like a snug fitting trainer. Despite high focus on the look of the shoe, Asics have still managed to produce a trainer which will provide fantastic performance and comfort to a seasoned runner. All this, along with a very reasonable price tag!