Trail Shoes Galore: A review of the Asics Trabuco and the Asics 2140 Trail edition
A little background: I LOVE running shoes. Some women may have a closet full of Jimmy Choos or maybe some Cole Haans. Not me. I have at least 20 pairs of running shoes. Everything from Nikes, New Balance, and Asics to Saucony and even some Brooks. For a short time I even had a pair of Mizuno trail shoes, but last year when I signed up for the Blood, Sweat, and Beers Run and began doing trail running in earnest, I headed over to the
Asics 2140 Trail Edition: Built on the same foot last as the standard Asics 2140, the trail edition has some modifications to it that make it an excellent choice for light trail running. It has a tighter weave to the mesh than the standard 2140—this of course disallows rocks, dirt, debris from getting into the shoe so easily. This isn’t to say that stuff DOESN’T get into the shoe Many times I emptied my shoes on the trail, but in comparison with a regular running shoe, the issue of, “Crap there is a rock/stick/dirt/sand in my shoe” was significantly decreased. This shoe is light (300 grams), has great responsiveness and fits my feet like a, er, glove. As I have narrow feet, I was able to tighten the laces adequately to fit my feet. The shoe is designed for both road running and trail running and you can really feel the design works perfectly as you move from Road to Trail. Personally, I could hardly tell the difference moving from trail to road or road to trail. The only problem I had with the shoe was “hotspots” on the bottom of my feet after running more than 10 trail miles. These became a serious issue. The shoe midsole is so responsive (read “thin”) that I could literally feel the heat from the trail seeping into the bottom of my feet. If you run trails where it isn’t too warm, this may not be an issue. For me in the Sierras and central valley in the middle of summer, it was a problem that led me to purchase the…
Asics Trabuco: Touted as the “Real Trail Runner” shoe. When put next to the 2140 trail edition, it looks like a Chevy Suburban next to a SmartCar. But the size is deceiving as it is ONLY 30 grams heavier (330 grams) than the 2140 trail edition. The Trabuco has a toe guard around the front of the shoe—so one doesn’t bruise the front of toes while tripping over rocks. Its heel is significantly thicker than the 2140 trail shoe and that is a plus in my book. The Trabuco also is a lot wider in the toebox than the 2140. This is great if your feet swell a lot or if you have average-to-wide feet or if you tend to wear thicker socks. If you have very narrow feet, this might be a deterrent since the tougher outer structure of the Trabuco makes cinching down on the laces more difficult. I do have very narrow feet (I usually wear Nike or New balance Narrow) and it took a while for me to get used to the feeling of my feet moving around in the shoe. The Trabuco also has a much tighter weave for the upper, so theoretically, LESS stuff should get into it than into the 2140 Trail and I did find this to be true for me. .For more technical or longer runs on trail, the Trabuco is definitely your choice (unless you don’t want the extra 30 grams of weight or if your feet are very very narrow.) It also took me time to get used to the way they felt on my feet—like big bricks. They lacked responsiveness—no midfoot bending, etc so I couldn’t really feel the trail under me and that was unusual. However, this was sometimes a plus in my book because of the “hot spots” issue I had with the 2140 trail. Personally, I would rather give up a bit of responsiveness than feel like my feet were on fire. BUT I seemed to trip and fall more with the Trabuco because of the lack of feeling—or maybe I was just clumsier. I am not sure.
So which is better? I use both shoes but for very different runs. The 2140 trail I use for trail runs where I may also need to run on roads or asphalt OR if my trail run is shorter than about 10 miles. Non-technical runs are also best done with the 2140 trail. For runs longer than 10 miles on the trail, very technical trails, or if it is very HOT outside, I switch to the Trabuco. I have to use thicker socks with the Trabuco for my narrower feet and I tend to be more careful about my foot placement as I have fallen down several times with the Trabuco (never with the 2140 trail shoes). My basic rule is, if I have to carry my Nathan Intensity Water pack, (i.e it is very hot outside, the run is long or too technical for me to carry my water in a bottle on my waist) then I need to wear my Trabucos.