Giving more bounce without much more ounce, Asics Gel Excel33 is in essence a Blur33 with more cushioning technology.
The Excel has one of the best heel-to-toe transitions we've experienced from the 33 line so far. We chalk that up to a nice balance of heel and forefoot Gel cushioning. If anything, the Gel cushioning may feel just a teeny bit too much in the forefoot, which gives you the impression of sitting more level than the 10mm drop would suggest.
Asics touts the ability to customize the fit of the Excel, with the heel clutching system and Personal Heel Fit (PHF) memory foam collar. Most of our testers felt that their heel wasn't “clutched” enough, and if anything there was a bit too much room in the heel that could cause some unwanted lateral movement. However, the heel collar prevented slippage that would tend to cause Achilles rubbing over time.
The heel fit was in contrast to the fit of the rest of the shoe, which is a little more cozy than traditional Asics models and similar to that of the Gel Blur33. It's certainly not a tight shoe, but plan on an upper that makes its presence felt, providing structure and keeping you fastened to the midsole.
One thing we've noticed on both the Excel33 and Gel Neo33 shoes is that our weight measurements have come in somewhat heavier than those reported by Asics for both the Men's and Women's versions. Asics claims a 9.9 oz weight for the Men's size 9, but we recorded a weight of 10.8 oz. On the Women's side, Asics claims 7.9 oz for the Women's size 7. We measured 8.6 oz. We hope the published weights for future 33 releases are closer to our actual measurements.