Asics Gel Fuji Trabuco 3 ReviewJuly 8, 2014
- Loads of comfort, support, and protection
- Good balance between cushioning and responsiveness
- Heavier and clumsier than its peers
- Wide mid-foot
The Asics Gel Fuji Trabuco 3 is a classic pre-minimalist trail running shoe designed for comfort, protection, and support. ASICs brand loyalists who need a shoe of this type will feel right at home with the Trabuco, although performance-oriented runners would probably want something lighter and a little more agile. What really stoods out about the Trabuco was the balanced feel.
The Asics Gel Fuji Trabuco 3 is a typical heavy-duty trail running shoe: 12.4-ounce weight, 12mm heel-to-toe drop, and no shortage of cushioning and support. Although this category of shoe has become less popular as of late, there are still plenty of runners who need a burly platform for long distance endeavors, and the Trabuco is certainly up to the job. What stood out about the Trabuco was the balanced feel. A lot of shoes in this category have a super-soft, plushy ride that completely eliminates any responsiveness or energy return—both of which can be valuable in the latter stages of a long run when fatigue has set in. On the other hand, a shoe that is too firm will feel nice and energetic early, but leave the legs feeling pounded by the end of the day. The Trabuco sits in between these two extremes, and as a result just kind of sucked up the miles without much fanfare.
The main concern with the Trabuco is the weight. Yes the cushioning, support, and protection are there, but other shoes in this category offer comparable performance—as well as better turnover and agility—while still coming in 1 to 2 ounces lighter. The Trabuco will therefore appeal primarily to runners with wider feet who might have fit issues with other brands, and/or ASICs brand loyalists.
Comfort & Protection
Comfort and protection are exactly what one would expect in this type of shoe. The upper materials offer plenty of abrasion resistance without feeling harsh, and the full-length outsole and toe bumper keep trail hazards at bay. The heel cup—which is presumably there for stability purposes—also adds an extra measure of protection, particularly on rocky trails—as anyone who has kicked a rock with one foot only to have it bounce off the heel or ankle of the other foot can attest!
Security of Fit
The Trabuco seemed to be a little bit large in the mid-foot area, which definitely made a secure fit difficult to achieve and detracted from stability at higher speeds. This is also an issue at slower speeds on tired legs, when the risk of turned ankles is higher. Cinching the laces down seemed to help, so the potential for a good fit is certainly there, but maybe only for runners with wider feet.
Speed & Energy Efficiency
With this amount of bulk underfoot, the Trabuco is simply not a shoe built for running fast. But it is fairly typical for a heavy trail runner. Turnover also is labored given the weight of the shoe; with a smaller heel-to-toe drop it would probably feel worse. Because the midsole material has a touch of firmness to it, the balance between energy return and cushioning is pretty close to ideal for this type of shoe and definitely better than average.
Agility and Traction
The overall width of the Trabuco and its blocky feel really limit agility and precise foot placement. Traction however was virtually bombproof, and presented no issues on a variety of surfaces including bare rock, mud, and technical single-track.
Fairly typical MSRP of $120.