The neutral descriptor caught my eye, as did Fortitude’s designation to be used with orthotics, which I have and typically wear when not testing a new shoe or racing. Maybe this would be the perfect trainer to fill in the gaps.
Asics Gel Fortitude 8 General Info
Those familiar with Fortitude 7 will find improved fit in the upper due to seamless overlays, a wider and higher forefoot which includes a bunion window, and a new sockliner that is twice as thick as any other I’ve seen. It fits true-to-size.
Out of the box, I was a bit disappointed by the shoe’s weight and surprised by the heavy-duty mid-foot hardware. On my foot, the medium width throughout was immediately apparent, nice for my need for it at the ball of my foot, a bit loose for the rest of it.
Heel-lock lacing helps minimize movement.
Fortitude lives up to its name. I had it on one foot with GT-2000 4 Lite Show on the other foot, and my son said, “that one’s bigger,” of the same-size Fortitude.
It is just a slightly “bigger”–wider, heavier, thicker–version of the old-style GT-2000, which was slimmed down in its 6th version. Even the sockliner of Fortitude is twice as thick as most.
The arch is completely flat, and the shoe is designed for use with or without an orthotic. My orthotic is only 3/4 length, and there was room for it with the sockliner in the shoe, but I ultimately went the normal route and removed the liner.
The ride reminds me most closely of New Balance 1260, with the cushion feeling a bit more firm.
I also find Gel-Fortitude to compete with another labeled stability shoe, Nike Structure, with their similar wide heels. Fortitude has a notably wider toebox and forefoot base, however. It’s also heavier.
Saucony Hurricane ISO 4 is about a half-ounce lighter than Fortitude and has a much more “cushy” platform. Despite Hurricane’s category of “stability,” Fortitude is the more stable shoe.
Adidas Aerobounce ST is also almost a half-ounce lighter, offering a similar wide fit with a moderate internal arch. Fortitude has a more substantial heel counter and midfoot sole.
Asics Gel Fortitude 8 Sole Unit
ASICS’ Guidance Trusstic System complete with a heavy-duty plastic shank under the arch-into-heel keeps the midfoot from twisting or bending, yet Fortitude easily flexes at the ball of the foot, for a comfortable, supportive ride.
Rearfoot and forefoot gel absorbs shock during footplant and is surrounded by full-length SpEVA midsole material covered by ASICS High Abrasion Rubber.
All together this sole unit is responsive, and while it’s definitely not the softest cushion out there, it’s comfortable and is quite durable.
Asics Gel Fortitude 8 Upper Info
“It doesn’t look blatantly appealing by any means, but it isn’t an ugly shoe.” I came across this comment about the 7 when becoming familiar with the Fortitude line, and it fits the 8 so well I’m including it here.
It looks exactly like a generic running shoe, especially in the women’s colorway–which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The men have a bright blue option if white-gray is not your thing.
The padded tongue and heel collar together with breathable mesh make this a comfortable shoe.
A quality heel counter (stiff material in or around a heel’s upper, designed to prevent medial or lateral heel movement) aids the motion control properties of this trainer, especially for a medium-width heel, and helps the shoe live up to its name, “Fortitude.”
In addition, the sockliner is twice as thick as any other that I’ve seen, adding comfort for those who do not replace it with an orthotic.
It’s definitely flat, though, so be ready for that if you want to try this shoe. It offers a medium fit throughout.
Asics Gel Fortitude 8 Conclusions
Fortitude 8 was not what I expected, but, hey, is that the shoe’s fault? I better broaden my mental category of what constitutes a “neutral” shoe – OR maybe these category names aren’t worth the screen they’re backlit on.
Fortitude does combine a stable shoe with ASICS-level cushioning (more firm but durable), which makes it “neutral,” however it fits right in with their GT lines for function, just offers the room that a medium-width, flat foot may find lacking in these others. It also comes in D and 2E wide-widths for women and men, respectively.
I find it a bit heavy and too roomy; the GT-3000 is my narrow gem with a bunion window similar to Fortitude’s, that gives my foot the room it needs.
But if you’ve been frustrated having to order wide widths for a not-so-wide foot, or by not feeling comfortable in GT-1000, 2000, or 3000, Fortitude is a shoe you may want to try on.
Obviously Fortitude has a following as it’s made it to the 8th version. If this is “your” shoe, or if you’ve ventured into trying this one out for the first time, let us know what you think of the 8 in the comments!
We purchased a pair of Asics Gel Fortitude 8 from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.