Asics Gel-FujiEndurance ReviewJune 29, 2016
- Versatile trail/road hybrid
- Comfortable sockliner
- Snug, secure fit
- Responsive midsole
- Shallow heel cup
- Overbuilt toe guard
- Heel slip and lateral forefoot movement
- Best suited for tamer singletrack
With a relatively shallow heel counter and narrow front half, the fit of the new waterproof Asics Gel-FujiEndurance won't work for everyone. The SoLyte midsole and moderate 4mm outsole lugs perform well in a variety of conditions. Feedback from our wear-testers was mixed - while some thought the road/trail hybrid features made the Gel-FujiEndurance a versatile shoe, others described it as a “half-hearted attempt” at a trail shoe that’s limited to well-groomed, tame singletrack.
The brand-new Gel-FujiEndurance joins just a handful of other performance trail running shoes in Asics’ line-up, including the traditional Gel-FujiRacer 3, burly Gel-FujiRunnegade, and aggressive FujiAttack 4. Although the new Gel-FujiEndurance has a trail outsole, it’s the closest Asics comes to a road/trail hybrid. The 8mm drop is moderate, the fit is snug compared to many trail shoes, and the lugs are relatively shallow and spaced generously far apart.
The standout feature of the new model is a new waterproofing treatment Asics has named PlasmaGuard. It’s a hydrophobic nano-treatment that’s designed to repel water and mud without negatively affecting breathability or making the shoe insufferably hot, and it performs fantastically.
Overall, while wear-testers felt positively about the PlasmaGuard waterproofing, they also described the Gel-FujiEndurance as a bit confused. The outsole and fit feel like a road/trail hybrid, while the forefoot rockplate, aggressive toe bumper, and stiff heel counter are features our wear-testers expected to find on much more aggressive trail shoes. For instance, the Gel-FujiEndurance’s burlier cousin, the Gel-FujiRunnegade, seems like a better match for the PlasmaGuard waterproofing treatment, with its deep 8mm lugs, bootie construction, and aggressive tread. Some wear-testers, however, responded more positively to the hybrid nature of the Gel-FujiEndurance and appreciated that Asics put together a shoe that can handle a few miles of pavement on the way to a trail run. Asics has put a lot of tech into this shoe (SoLyte midsole, IGS integrated heel, AHAR+ outsole, PlasmaGuard treatment, “lace garage” at the top of the tongue to tuck loops away) but it’s not clear what niche it’s meant to fill.
The sockliner is made from soft 6mm molded foam, which is very comfortable underfoot. Although there are a handful of exposed seams inside the shoe, the fabric is soft, particularly under the toe box. Both the heel and tongue have moderate padding, and the fabric lining is soft and non-abrasive. One wear-tester also noted some discomfort from the beefy toe guard, especially on longer runs with long uphill sections. He noted, however, “with a thicker Darn Tough wool sock I was able to mitigate the rubbing in the toes, and the issue melted away.”
Wear-testers described the Gel-FujiEndurance as fast and responsive, and most praised it as a successful road-trail hybrid that could handle pavement and off-road running. Others felt it was limited to road and well-groomed gravel paths, with speed and confidence suffering on technical singletrack.
Security of Fit
The Gel-FujiEndurance uppers are not constrictive, but they are snug enough that runners between half-sizes should consider going up. The last is also relatively narrow, particularly through the front half of the shoe. Although the toe box isn’t as pointed as something like the New Balance MT110v2, it was noticeably more snug than most trail shoes. Runners who have wider feet or are used to having room for toe splay may find this uncomfortable. Further, the shallow heel counter combined with the stiff sole meant that I could feel my heels lifting out of the back on uphills and under hard effort. Some wear-testers also reported slipping forward in the shoe, perhaps due to a slightly slippery feel to the insole and underside of the tongue
One wear-tester described the Gel-FujiEndurance as,“a good transition shoe for those looking to go from pavement to trail. Its sole is rugged enough for trails, but minimalist enough that running to the trail won’t be an issue.” The relatively low, widely-spaced lugs were secure on less technical terrain and in wet conditions, but wear-testers had less confidence in the shoe on rocky, hilly, muddy, and more technical trails.
Overall, Asics’ SoLyte midsole materials feel responsive without being bouncy, and wear-testers described the shoe as nimble and quick-feeling with “a lot of kick.” Another described the Gel-FujiEndurance’s midsole as, “firm and responsive for speedier efforts.”
Overall, our wear-testers felt like the hybrid Gel-FujiEndurance feel closer to a road shoe with lugs than a trail shoe that can handle some pavement. As one put it, the Gel-FujiEndurance “runs more like a road shoe. It didn’t inspire me at all on technical terrain.” Another wear-tester complemented the protective toe bumper and full-rubber outsole, which is paired with a comfortable foam insole.