Asics continues to make their presence known in the trail running world with their release of the Gel Fuji Trainer 2. Unlike Asics’ first entry to the minimalist trail shoe, Gel Fuji Racer, the Fuji Trainer 2 adds a little more protection with a minimalist feel. The Fuji Trainer 2 name is misleading since the shoe is released for the first time in the US market. This is the review of their Spring 2013 Gel Fuji Trainer 2 trail shoe.
The upper of this shoe is comprised of a lightweight mesh that is highly flexible. This lends itself to excellent ventilation while preventing our rock friends from gaining entry to the sacred foot bed. However, with that being said, the flexibility of the upper leads itself to lots of foot movement. The company does a solid job of offer substantial laces and proper lace holders that allow you to synch down the laces and feel “locked in” through the midfoot, this may be a desired approach for runners interested in that foot “hugging” feeling. This shoe continues to offer the typical Asics hugging heal-cup, one of the reasons my shoe of choice on the road is Asics.
There is a rock-plate in this shoe which comes in rather handy on technical trail. This shoe manages to include the rock-plate while maintaining the “racing flat” feeling. Its light and does not back too much cushion which allows for good proprioception for its wearer. This shoe offers a 6mm drop at approx. 7.9 oz (approximately 1 oz heavier than the Fuji Racer). Although this shoe labels itself as a minimalist ride, there is still the offering of a gel set up in the heal which is great for down hills and those not so forefoot inclined.
I appreciated the tread the most on this shoe. The cross design of the legs affords good traction without the pain of getting pebbles and mud caked in your ride. Another AWESOME feature is the stow away lace pocket in the tongue of the shoe! I always stuff my laces through my laces, this shoe allowed me to avoid that. This is key for the vertically challenged runner that always seams to trip over their laces. I found the shoe to dry out quickly and ready to jam through the trails the very next morning. I did not test these on necessarily slick conditions, but it would be my guess these would not do well on snow.
Versatility: Not, this is a pure trail shoe. This would not be a transition shoe to the road. Not my first chose for distance.
Foot bed: neutral
Fit: true to size with one foot in the large end