We like the cushioned stability of these trail shoes for long runs over not-too-technical terrain
Stable ride with rock plate
Made using recycled materials
Shallow walls and high stack not for super technical terrain
Not for mid-foot or toe strikers
Not the best trail feel
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Asics GEL-Trabuco 11 trail running shoes: first impressions
With the new model of the GEL-Trabuco trail running shoe, Asics have gone for comfort and stability developing a shoe that’s well-suited for long runs over varied terrain. A well-cushioned midsole and 8mm drop makes these ideal for heel strikers looking for a bouncy ride with lots of protection against rocks underfoot. The uppers have surprisingly shallow walls for such a high stack, but we found the rock plate and geometry meant a more stable ride than meets the eye as well as a softer landing.
• List price: $150 / £145
• Gender specification: Men’s and women’s available
• Sizes: Men’s 5 - 15 / Women’s 3 - 10
• Weight (per shoe): 250g/ 8.8oz (women’s UK 4)
• Drop: 8mm
• Colors: Black/Digital Violet, Golden Yellow/Black, Indigo Blue/Olive Oil, Black/Sandstorm
• Best use: Trail running
The uppers of these shoes are constructed using breathable mesh and at least 50% recycled materials, meaning they’re lighter on the planet as well as on your feet – at just 250 grams per shoe, we’ve bounded along mud, grass and gravel trails in these with great toe-off. The outsoles offer good grip in rainy and muddy conditions and while we think the high stack and shallow walls might not be best for uber technical trails, these are great for off-road long runs on a variety of terrain where you want to ensure comfort till the end.
Asics GEL-Trabuco 11 trail running shoes: in the field
These are my first experience wearing Asics running shoes, and I’ve been wearing them for a few weeks on gravel and muddy trails around Scotland to give them a good run for their money. Overall, my first impressions of Asics based on these shoes are pretty good.
Here’s how they performed:
I tend to go up a half size to a 4 in running and hiking shoes to give my feet room to swell, and the 4 in these shoes feels perfect. They’re snug without being too tight anywhere and have decent room in the toe box.
Fit and comfort
When I first put these shoes on, they fit really nicely to my feet (which are neither narrow nor wide) but I was surprised at how shallow the walls are. I’m used to trail running shoes with high walls so my foot feels really secure, even with a high stack. These shoes have a pretty thick sole so initially, I thought they’d be quite unstable but I’ve found that the rock plate goes a long way to securing a stable, balanced ride even on fairly uneven surfaces. That said, I don’t think I’d wear these for anything ultra technical for fear of toppling over.
They’re also really comfortable. The uppers aren’t so stiff as to rub and the thick midsoles offer tons of cushioning for quite a soft, but firm, heel strike. Of course, with all that cushioning comes a bit less trail feel for those who prefer a more natural sensation under foot, but these aren't the most maximalist soles I've run in either.
These shoes aren’t waterproof (though waterproof versions are available) and are quite breathable, even when I’ve worn them on a warm day.
The cushioned midsoles definitely provide good responsiveness, at least as a heel striker, give me a great feeling of bouncing along the trail, rather than sinking in.
These are up there with some of the lightest shoes I’ve tested, despite their substantial soles and solid uppers, so I’ve found them ideal for longer runs.
Grip and protection
I got to test these out in really muddy conditions really on a rolling trail in heavy rain and never once did I slip. They’re also great for grass and gravel. The uppers aren’t as stiff as some more technical trail runners, but they give enough protection for standard off-road routes.
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.