In this Asics GEL-Trabuco 10 review, we’ll be looking at how Asics have managed to include their Duomax support system for overpronation within a grippy trail shoe - something that isn’t at all common in the trail running world. We’ll be looking at what difference that makes on both short fast parkruns and longer trail training runs.
Is it good enough to be included in T3's best trail running shoe guide?
Opening the box, the shoe looks perfectly on trend with turquoise knitted uppers combined with a hot pink sole with design accents and laces to match. It's comfy right away, and I immediately ran a buggy parkrun PB in them despite their weight which is 1.5-2.5 oz (50-70 grams) heavier than the lighter shoes I run in at 19.3 oz/547 grams for the US size 8.5 (UK size 6.5) pair.
The grip was great on an 11-mile trail run over all sorts of terrain, including grass, rocks, road, wooden stiles, stoney tracks and dusty dry-mud fields. I try not to read anything about the shoe until I’ve run in it a couple of times, and when I read that it was designed for overpronation, the stiffness and resulting sole- and knee-ache all made sense. Read on to find out more.
Asics GEL-Trabuco 10 review: Price and availability
The ASICS GEL-Trabuco was announced in Mar 2022 and is available to buy now directly from ASICS US, ASICS UK and ASICS AU for a recommended retail price of $130/£125/AU$200. Third-party retailers such as SportsShoes.com already sell the shoes at a discounted price (down to £87.49 at the time of writing).
Asics GEL-Trabuco 10 review: Fit and sizing
The fit of the Asics GEL-Trabuco 10 is slightly long, but only slightly. If I were buying in a shop I’d want to try the half size smaller just to check on the sizing, but wearing these size UK 6.5s has been fine on easy trails where you don’t need to strap your foot in like a vice to avoid slippage.
The heel feels fine and comfortable but not especially cupped at this size, but it doesn’t move up and down upon running. The toe box is regular, so not narrow or actively squashing the little toe into its brothers and sisters, but not so roomy that you can splay them out in a totally natural barefoot style. The knitted upper is very forgiving too, so the toes do feel very comfortable in the main.
Asics GEL-Trabuco 10 review: Upper and lacing
The upper material is this very on-trend knitted material, nice and soft, flexible and breathable but with the GEL-Trabuco it feels a bit more substantial than some of the very holey, very breathable knitted sock-style uppers you see now. You get the feeling these uppers are built to last, and that more robust design is reflected by the slightly heavier weight too.
The protective rand at the toe is made of horizontal rubbery stripes rather than a full rubber covering as per every single other trail shoe I’ve tested, so this is great for breathability and flexibility too. Finally the laces are great also - flat and with a slight stretch to them but not so much that your foot is going to slip around once laced in place. They’re quite long, so tripple knotting is the order of the day here, unless perhaps you tried a half size smaller and decided they were a better fit.
Asics GEL-Trabuco 10 review: Midsole support (overpronation)
So the midsole is probably the most attention-grabbing feature of this trail running shoe because having overpronation support (Asics’ Duomax in this instance) in a trail shoe is so unusual. Overpronation is when the foot and ankle roll inwards ‘too much’ over the vertical line that they create when standing still upright.
You may have seen this while being videoed running on a treadmill at a running shop - for example my left ankle rolls inwards horribly and I do have issues with the strength of my left foot and ankle after a bad sprain injury. There is a school of thought that believes that overpronation is not the terrible, injury-causing affliction that the shoe marketeers have been selling us but a natural part of our running motion that, should we roll too far, we need to address with strengthening and technique changes.
Over the last decade plus that I’ve been testing trail running shoes, the general design consensus has been that they’re all neutral as there’s no point trying to support your foot in a particular direction when it’s rocking and rolling around on such uneven ground with every single step. Trail shoes also used to be lower to the ground with less cushioning to allow your foot foot to feel and respond quickly to the uneven ground, so there was minimal room in the midsole for added support.
However, not everyone is heading straight for the mountains and on to extreme rocky, boggy terrain. There are a lot of urban, parkland and low level trails that are more like gravelled, gritty tracks, and in summer without rain there are grassy trails and farm paths that feel more like roads underfoot they’re so hard. So these days you can get both highly cushioned and less cushioned trail shoes, and now add to that - an overpronation trail shoe.
So the Asics GEL-Trabuco 10 overpronation shoes did feel very comfortable and I after a fast parkrun and long run within 3 days of each other I have noticed that the pull up the back of my left calf muscle is noticeably reduced. However, despite the bouncy Flytefoam midsole they do also feel much stiffer than the majority of the trail shoes I’m used to wearing and after my 11 mile run in them my soles felt tired - more battered and bruised than usual at that distance and my knees felt fragile going up and downstairs when they are never usually like that.
Perhaps overpronation shoes just push my instability problem further up the chain? It could just be a case of breaking them in a bit more with this, but I am pleased about the feeling in my ankle so it’s definitely a shoe to keep wearing maybe just on shorter runs to see how it compares…
Asics GEL-Trabuco 10 review: Grip and traction
The outsole is Asics’ own imaginatively named AsicsGrip which has the very popular 4mm depth lugs. It performs well on all surfaces and I was pleased with the grip on the uphills and downhills too. Some of the lugs are not very widely spaced so I did get a few little stones caught in them, this doesn’t tend to happen with a wider lug pattern, so this could be something for the Gel-Trabuco 11 perhaps.
Asics GEL-Trabuco 10 review: Aesthetics
So for some strange reason men get a choice of five colours while women get four… and the men get some lumo lime and orange action while the ladies get the standard turquoise and light blues which seem to have become the new pink in the 2020s. I’m not complaining, I bloomin’ love turquoise, it goes a lot better with my red hair than pink ever did.
There is a pink one too just in case you were wondering, but only for the women - men, you are very much not allowed pink shoes, like woa there what planet are you from? Anyways, in all the colours, the knitted upper looks real nice - very on trend all these knitted trainer uppers, my gran is super delighted by this. This combined with the stripy hot pink and black laces (that handily squish into the elastic lace garage on the tongue) and design details make these a very attractive pair of trainers in some catch all colours for a lot of runners.
Asics GEL-Trabuco 10 review: Sustainability
There isn’t any mention of recycled materials used in the GEL-Trabuco so do we assume that Asics isn’t bothered? A quick click on the sustainability tab shows pictures of yoga, pretty ladies gazing at trees, sunflowers, and four shoes containing earth-friendly materials like 30% recycled polyester in the upper and a sustainable dyeing process for the sockliner that reduces water consumption by a third and carbon emissions by almost half.
As a company Asics have also committed to fully recycled polyester and 100% renewable energy in their offices by 2030 and net-zero carbon emmissions by 2050. So the GEL-Trabuco 10 itself isn’t as human-status-quo-on-earth-friendly as we’d currently like but keep up the great work Asics, and we look forward to more recycled materials in more running shoes to come.
Asics GEL-Trabuco 10 review: Verdict
So my feeling is that if you currently benefit from a shoe designed for overpronation and you’re looking to get into trail running, the Asics GEL-Trabuco 10 is a very exciting prospect for you. However, if you are already into trail running and not having any problems in that direction, they may be a tad on the stiff, heavier side for you.
Recommended for: multi-terrain trail runners with overpronation issues
Asics GEL-Trabuco 10 review: Also consider
The Saucony Peregrine 12 offers a durable, versatile trail shoe which performs well in all weather, and on all terrain. They will protect your feet for longer and cope better in slippery conditions than value footwear. Plus, the Peregrine is much lighter than the GEL-Trabuco 10, although it also offers less support.
The Hoka Speedgoat 5 is a fantastic, slightly lighter upgrade to the Speedgoat 4 with a new, sock-like mesh upper made from recycled materials, excellent midsole rebound, great traction and grip from the Vibram Megagrip sole with Traction Lugs and a secure, snug fit for multi-terrain use and more muddy and technical (rocky, uneven) trails.