The ASICS Gel-Resolution has been around for almost 20 years and is one of the most popular lines ever. What started as a burly, old-school stability shoe developed into a modern piece of technological greatness while staying true to its DNA.
The Gel-Resolution 8 was so great that many wondered what Asics could do to improve it. It was the culmination of years of refinement, slight tweaks, and technological development that made the shoe durable, stable, and for the first time: light. Usually, you can only pick two of those three characteristics.
So where to go from there? As they've done with the last few, Asics intelligently decided to build off of the previous version instead of going for a full-on redesign. They took most elements of what made that Resolution 8 so great but went and made it even better.
After an extensive playtest, here's what makes the Asics Gel-Resolution 9 so darn good.
The fit is similar to previous Gel-Resolutions, but a touch more ergonomic, especially in the toe box.
I had a gripe with the previous models. Asics designed them to have a long, pointy toe that rose up at the end – I always felt they looked like medieval court jester shoes. The idea behind the cut was to prevent toe jam, which worked, but the extra length gave the shoe more bulk that it didn't need. It was part of the reason I avoided the Gel-Res despite how well it performed.
On the Resolution 9, the cut in the forefoot is ever so slightly wider and rounder through the toe box. The excess length is gone, and I found it fit better to my average width foot, but still on the narrow side.
The midfoot is wide without feeling sloppy, and the cut in the heel is low and snug but not uncomfortable.
If the Resolution has fit you in the past, it will be excellent again. If you've avoided the shoe because it was too narrow in the toe box, this one will be better.
You might expect a stability-labeled shoe to feel uncomfortable because of all the extra material; that couldn't be further from the truth on the Gel-Resolution 9.
The main improvement comes from the upper in the forefoot and toe box. It is significantly softer than any previous version, and it flexes more seamlessly to the foot's natural movement. We have already seen this on the new Court FF 3, but it's even more prevalent on the Gel-Res, and they've accomplished it while maintaining a full PGUARD™ rubber covering.
It's funny because I never felt that the previous Resolution was uncomfortable, but when I compare one on each foot, the difference is stark.
Take this next bit with a pinch of salt because we are in winter, so I wasn't playing in 30°+ weather, but the Gel-Resolution 9 is remarkably cool. With other shoes covered in full rubber, my foot usually gets clammy, and I take them off at some point during the hit. Throughout the forefoot and midfoot, there are a ton of perforations; you can see the woven mesh under the upper. Too many perforations could hurt the shoe's durability, but Asics has only put them in the lowest wear zones.
The tongue is also a bit poofier than on the Gel-Resolution 8. This is more of a luxury than a necessity, but lace bite was nonexistent.
The heel portion has stayed the same. The low cut is non-intrusive and flows naturally into the ankle and the heel cup is well-padded to lock you in nicely without any uncomfortable pressure.
Lacing up the shoe, you've got the same synching system in the forefoot as on the version 8. It helps personalize the fit and locks you in very well.
Heel lockdown is also good. Even though the cut is low, the lockdown tech certainly does its job, and if you feel a bit of wiggle, you can run your laces through the back eyelet. I still think the heel lock is slightly better on the Court FF, but that's because the cut is so high and stiff, which might make it feel like too much shoe for some people.
The upper is softer but just as sturdy as on the Resolution 8; there is strictly no rollover. Asics have also brought the DYNAWALL™ sidewall a little higher and farther back on the heel, and it secures the foot into the shoe without ever feeling awkwardly stiff.
Stability and Movement
If you're going to call yourself a Gel-Resolution, you can't just excel at stability; you have to be one of the best. It's in the line's DNA, and I'm happy to report it's as good as ever on the Resolution 9.
The outsole is ultra-stable. It's a wide platform with just the right amount of stiffness to feel like you can move invincibly around the court without anything giving out.
The midsole is one of the most technologically impressive areas on any tennis shoe. That raised DYNAWALL™ sidewall plays a huge role in lateral stability; you can push off as hard as you want, and the shoe will not give.
It is also at the core of what makes this shoe such an efficient mover; the real x-factor of the Resolution 9.
DYNAWALL™ was developed so that your foot didn't slam up against a brick wall to feel stable. That was the case with older shoes in this category, and part of what made them so stable but also uncomfortable and slow. The Resolution 9's sidewall feels like a spring that absorbs impact while returning the energy that went in. It really is quite impressive and a sensation I have yet to feel on other shoes.
I am also a huge fan of the GEL® units in the forefoot and midfoot. These are not soft or bouncy, like on some shoes. Much like the DYNAWALL™ sidewall, they keep the midsole sturdy but help absorb impact while providing fantastic energy return.
Then, you've got Asics' AHARPLUS™ outsole, which I will maintain, is the best out there. In terms of the grip-to-slip ratio, it is perfect. The sole will never give out if you don't want it to slide. But if that's your style of play, and you do so with proper technique, it's incredibly consistent through the slide's initiation and exit.
Finally, the Gel-Resolution 9 is light for this style of shoe. It weighs 420 grams, which is lighter than the "Jack of all Trades" Court FF 3 and more like lightweight speed shoes.
The combination of the three technologies (DYNAWALL™, GEL®, and AHARPLUS™) and the low weight makes for a shoe that is incredibly stable, instantly reactive, and probably the most technically efficient for moving around a court. Slide, jump, cut, run; it does it all so well. I'll use one word to describe the movement with this shoe: energy. You don't lose any when moving any which way. It sounds ridiculous, but for a tech nerd like me, it is a wonderful experience.
Historically, the Gel-Resolution has been the cream of the crop in terms of durability, and it's still very good on the 9. The outsole is sturdy, and I noticed no signs of wear after my playtest.
The shoe also remained firm and true to its structure. Mesh shoes tend to soften up quickly for aggressive movers. Because the Resolution 9 is predominantly rubber, expect it to stay sturdy throughout its lifespan.
The softer rubber upper seems to wear a little quicker than the previous version. Especially right around the medial forefoot, I noticed more wear than expected after a couple of hours of play. This is only a concern on the rear foot when sliding, so if you don't, it won't be an issue, but keep it in mind.
Who is it for?
The Gel-Resolution 9 can work for anybody. If you want a classic stability shoe, it does everything that those do and then some. If you want a quick and efficient mover that is also durable, it'll be great. If I were to bet the house on a shoe to satisfy the most people in the long term, this would be the one. Ok, because I know this is literally our best-seller, that could be cheating, but it still applies.
I think at this point, the Gel-Resolution is safe from extinction, but we thought the same for the Adidas Barricade, and that didn't turn out so well for a few years. It will be a sad day if Asics ever do decide to drop the shoe. This line proves that building slowly and evolving with modern technology is the key to developing the perfect product. It's been generations in the making, and I'm sure the Resi 10 will provide the same wow factor, but Asics has given us something special here.
Come in to our Oak St store and try on a pair, or check them out online.