Whilst ASICS are at the top of the game on the roads, that hasn't been quite the case on the trails in my view.. In 2021, thats all changing !

The Trabuco Max was a shoe that instantly caught my eye when I saw the release information, I like cushioning in a road shoe and have been wanting a similar level in a trail shoe for the longer distance runs, especially with my first ultra planned later in the year. I am a fan of the Fujitrabuco Pro for shorter trail runs and I'm currently enjoying the Fujitrabuco Sky with the brilliant ASICS Grip, but for the longer stuff, some extra cushioning really appeals.

First impressions opening the box were really good, I love the eye catching design and colour way of Black / Digital Aqua in the men's shoes, with the ladies coming in Black / Digital Grape. The maximillist midsole is eye catching, the design across the toe box looks great, they're lighter than I expected at 294g, the ASICS Grip is there and I really like the addition of gaiter tabs on the lacing & heel which is something missing from many other shoes. Great start ASICS !

So let's get into the detail.. The Trabuco Max (notice that ASICS have dropped the "Fuji" from this model and the Trabuco 9's) is a neutral off-road/trail show and definitely designed for those runners who want a more cushioned ride or for the longer distances where that increased underfoot comfort will pay off in the later miles.

The midsole is full flytefoam meaning you get a cushioned but responsive ride and the slight rocker style design and Guidesole construction offers a feel of forward propulsion from foot strike to toe off which is claimed to realise energy benefits as a result of reduced load on the legs, this will be particularly noticable on mixed terrain runs where you're often mixing up trail, road and everything inbetween. The 5mm heel to toe drop in both Men's & Ladies (M:28mm>23mm & W:27mm>22mm) shoes feels like a bit of a sweet spot to me and the simply brilliant ASICS Grip outsole which also impressed me on the Sky's dealt really well with wet & dry trail, wet rock and the 4mm lugs coped well in soft mud on my test runs. This combination in the sole gave me real comfort on the flats and sense of trust and control when hitting some descents at pace.

The upper of the Trabuco Max is made of engineered mesh with a number of 3D printed overlays to provide protection and structure across the toebox. I find the toebox roomy without feeling loose, this again will be a benefit on longer runs to allow for foot spread/swelling. The internal heel counter and padded collar also add to the secure fit. Now, as mentioned previously, the Trabuco Max incorporates the fast lacing system which I prefer over standard style laces and these are conveniently secured in a small stash pocket in the tongue to prevent it snagging mid-run, none of us need issues like that on the trails! 

The tongue has a decent level of padding, this is something that has been a bug bear of mine on some trail shoes, particularly those with thinner laces as I've struggled to fasten laces tighter without risk of irritation to the top of my foot. Could this be improved ? I think a one piece tongue/footsock type design would make this a perfect ultra trail shoe, that said, it's come out of the blocks flying and I fully expect to see plenty of Trabuco Max on the trails this year !!

Overall, I'm really impressed with the Trabuco Max and other than my preference of a one piece tongue/foot sock I'm strggling to find any fault. I think ASICS have hit the spot at £145 for this shoe, the durabilty and build quality feels excellent and it's right in the ballpark in comparison for this shoe type against it's competitors.

Trabuco Max

Energy savings are an important component for trail runners traversing across long distances, which is why we applied GUIDESOLE™ technology to the TRABUCO MAX™ trail shoe. This trail running shoe provides improved cushioning and traction while a...


written by

Chris Campion

IT Manager from Leeds

Club: Pudsey Pacers RC

My Disciplines
Fitness 10 KM Half marathon Trail run Marathon