You know you’re in good hands – er, feet – when three-time UTMB winner Xavier Thevenard helped design your shoe. ASICS teamed up with Thevenard to create a trail shoe that’s lightweight, flexible and grippy and performs well regardless of the terrain. As fall turned to winter on the west coast, we got a feel for whether the ASICS Gel-Fujitrabuco Sky trail runner lived up to its champion design.
Women’s size 9: 221 g
Drop: 4 mm
Outsole and grip
The ability to move efficiently and swiftly on rugged trails is as much about the shoe’s grip as it is about a runner’s skill, and whether you’re running around Mont Blanc or a forest in your backyard, being able to trust the outsole is key. This shoe’s sole has lugs you can trust, while delivering an all-around minimal feel. The Fujitrabuco’s lugs are shaped and spaced out for traction on a variety of terrain.
The shoe is designed more for rocks than roots, and this was borne out in our testing. The lugs provided substantial traction when running on slabs, scree, boulder fields, and river beds, but performed less well on wet and gnarly roots. But with its drainage technology, it is the perfect shoe to play in the rain. The shoe is light enough to be perfect for racing all distances, and also serves well as an everyday shoe for the forest.
The highly breathable two-layer mesh upper is also very durable, thanks to the additional adhesions covering the forefoot, which prevent debris from entering. The quick-draw lacing system has a lace pocket on the tongue, so you’ll never catch your laces on twigs or trip over your untied shoes.
The shoe has small holes inside the sole and sockliner, allowing your feet to push water out as you move, and to breathe on warmer days. For longer adventure days, having a drainage system can protect against trench foot (personal experience talking).
At 13 mm (14 mm for men), the midsole has perhaps less cushioning than you might expect for 100-mile days, but Asics’ FLYTEFOAM technology is made for shock absorption and responding to surface changes and is more than up to the job for most outings. The flexible plate under the forefoot provides durability, yet the shoe retains a minimalist feel with its low 4mm drop.
The shoe fits small, and while those with narrower feet may appreciate the snugness, some runners may need to go up a size to find the right fit.
This shoe is perfect for those who like a shoe with a minimalist feel and trustworthy grip, rather than thick foam, and the knowledge that it was made in collaboration with one of the best trail and mountain runners out there.