Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Asics Gel Fuji Trainer 2 Review

Recently I decided to go ahead and give the Asics Gel Fuji Trainer 2  (a  9.7 oz./ 6mm drop trainer)  a try since Asics GT-2150 were my second pair of real running shoes, which carried me through my first 5K to my first Marathon. I loved the fit, feel and ride in those 2150's! I had initially been swayed to try the Gel-Fuji Racer, partially due to IRunFar's review, but I stumbled upon the Fuji Trainer 2 on runningwarehouse.com, which are said to be a little more substantial. I've been liking shoes somewhere in the middle of minimal and traditional, so here we go:



The upper

The Asics Gel Fuji Trainer 2 features a mesh upper with synthetic leather overlays so that it remains breathable. It also features a toe bumper to shield your toes from those inevitable times when you slam those pigglies against a random rock. The tongue is gusseted which is meant to keep debris out, but I found plenty of pebbles making their way into my shoes. They do feature a lace garage (which I think is a cool feature) to keep your laces from snagging on the various booby traps mother nature tends to lay about.
The lacing system features thin oval laces that run through fabric eyelets which are sewn on to the synthetic overlays instead of being punctured through the upper, besides the top eyelet, which features both. This lacing system in combination with the thin laces caused some pain in the top of my foot if I cinched the laces down too tight. The lacing system, in conjunction with the lack of a heel counter, prevented me from locking the heel down as much I like and allowed for some slippage. This along with a somewhat roomy upper made the shoe very loose feeling.
I ordered the Gel-Fuji Trainer a half size down as recommended by running warehouse and they fit, but again, the heel was loose and the upper was a bit sloppy.




Midsole

The midsole features a 25mm heel and 19mm forefoot with Asics Solyte EVA and Asics rear foot Gel cushioning system both of which did an ample job of providing just enough cushion and shock absorption while not being too soft. The shoe remained flexible where it counts yet protective on burly terrain and still managed to provide excellent trail feel.





 Outsole

The outsole features Asics High Abrasion Rubber (AHAR) and opposite facing lugs for superb traction on varying terrain. These lugs did a FANTASTIC job of gripping during both ascents and descents on rugged desert terrain from sand to scree to stone to technical trails on both wet and dry terrain.




Overall thoughts

For a guy (or gal) who likes a loose fitting shoe somewhere in the middle of minimal and traditional, this might do the job. They have ample cushioning and protection as well as phenomenal traction on varied terrain. The biggest concern I have, as aforementioned, is the lacing system which leaves the heel a bit sloppy for my liking. I thought it would just take some time to get used to, but after putting them through more and more mountain runs, I just couldn't didn't find myself loving the fit. Hopefully Asics will address the fit and lacing issues in a later model.

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Here is a video I threw together so you can see them in action:


Have you tried the Asics Gel-Fuji Trainer 2? What are your thoughts?




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