Gear Review: Asics Gel-FujiTrainer 2 Trail Runners

Gel patch-induced comfort make Asics' lightweight model a tester favorite.

[light and cushy]

Get the low weight of a minimalist shoe with the rear-foot cushion of a more conventional runner. The Gel-FujiTrainer 2s, one of the lightest pairs we tested, will appeal to fastpackers and runners who heel strike (yes, plenty still exist). One tester, who suffers from plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the arch’s connective tissue), found he could run pain-free in these shoes. A Post-It-size gel patch under the heel provided enough cush that he could log long, comfortable miles on the paved, gravel, and muddy trails in Oaks Bottom Wildlife Preserve and Forest Park in Portland, Oregon. “I couldn’t run with other, heavier trail shoes—a few heel strikes and I’d start limping,” he says. “But thanks to the Gel-FujiTrainer’s exceptional cushioning without added weight, I rolled fluidly from the back to the midfoot—unchanged from my normal stride.”

These Asics have minimal arch support, and are designed for neutral runners and supinators (those whose ankles tend to roll outward). A stretchy mesh toebox accommodates a wide range of foot types, with lacing that effectively cinches the synthetic leather overlay to remove any extra room (though with minimal tongue cushioning, so you can feel the pressure of snugged laces). Caveat: One tester wished the lightweight uppers had more lateral stability on technical trails.$100; 1 lb. 3 oz.; m’s 6-15, w’s 5-12;

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