Our verdict

In response to the demand for beefier trail shoes, ASICS presents the Trabuco Max 2, and we're really impressed. Floating on a big chunk of FF Blast+ foam, this shoe promises supreme comfort without sacrificing durability. The well-ventilated upper adds to its appeal, making it a go-to for long-distance runs in the heat. Even though it's on the heavier side and might not fit those with narrow feet, our experience shows it shines in terms of cushioning and comfort. Both in the lab and out on the trails, it emerged as a favorite for runners who value comfort above all else, supported by its fair price point and reliable stability.

Pros

  • Plush FF Blast+ cushioning
  • Airy mesh upper
  • Fantastic for ultra distances
  • Spacious, comfy and durable upper
  • Enhanced grip
  • Can handle some road running
  • Hiking-friendly
  • Fairly priced at $150

Cons

  • Not winter-friendly
  • Too high for technical trails
  • Lacks ground feel

Audience verdict

92
Superb!

Who should buy

We've come to understand that the Trabuco Max 2 from ASICS is a standout choice for:

  • Those in search of a maximalist, super-cushioned trail shoe that provides unparalleled comfort on long distances.
  • Trail runners who log high mileage and need a shoe that minimizes leg fatigue on easy days, thanks to its plush midsole.
  • ASICS fans looking for a shoe that offers the familiar upper comfort and running experience of their favorite ASICS road trainers, but with the ruggedness for mountain trails.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2

Who should NOT buy

From our lab data, the ASICS Trabuco Max 2 might not be the best bet for those seeking a nimble trail shoe due to its weight. Tipping the scales at over 10 ounces, it's a tad heavy for enthusiasts of lighter footwear. We suggest considering the Nike Terra Kiger 9 or the Saucony Peregrine 13 as lighter alternatives.

Moreover, we do not recommend the Trabuco Max 2 for runners with narrow feet. Trail running often requires a tight lockdown, and the roomy upper of this model may feel unstable for those with slimmer feet. For a more secure fit, we believe the Hoka Speedgoat 5 could be a better choice.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2

Breathability

ASICS crafted the Trabuco Max 2 with comfort as a top priority—both the midsole and upper leave no room for doubt. The engineered mesh feels airy, reminiscent of their comfy daily trainers, like the Novablast 4. So, we expect breathability to be top-notch. But, we had to put it to the test.

We used our smoke-pumping machine to rate the airflow and were thrilled to find that the Trabuco Max 2 scored a perfect 5/5. ASICS has outdone themselves, making this an ideal shoe for summer runs.

To pinpoint areas of superior airflow, we shone a powerful light over the cut-in-half upper. Our findings revealed that the ventilation isn't limited to the toebox—it extends to the midfoot area, which is a fantastic addition.

ASICS chose not to go with a very thin mesh for top-notch airflow. Instead, they opted for a thicker one, filled with hundreds of ventilation holes.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 microscope

There's nothing like our microscope for getting a close-up look at the ventilation holes.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 microscope

Lastly, we examined the engineered mesh more closely. It confirmed our initial impressions, offering the same comfort as a road running shoe

It boasts superb padding in the back and a very thin mesh in the front, balancing support and breathability where it matters the most.

Test results
Trabuco Max 2 5
Average 3.3
Compared to 83 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

Outstanding breathability often comes with two drawbacks—reduced durability and less warmth for winter running. While the latter can be partially remedied with thick socks, the former usually remains a challenge.

Luckily, the Trabuco Max 2's upper held up impressively against our Dremel, earning a solid 3/5. While this might seem average at first glance, when combined with its top-tier airflow, it's a very good outcome. Particularly impressive is that this was measured on the mesh itself, not on the toe bumper!

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Toebox durability
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 3
Average 3.1
Compared to 63 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

Following our initial Dremel test, we were keen to further explore the shoe's durability, so we turned our attention to the heel area. Given the plush Achilles padding, we suspected durability might be compromised.

However, that wasn't the case. In another remarkable display, we found the TM2 boasts a very sturdy yet comfortable heel counter, earning it a well-deserved 4/5!

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Heel padding durability
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 4
Average 2.9
Compared to 61 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Now, let's dive into the outsole. We were eager to see if the streak of good results would continue.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 ASICSGrip

First up, we clocked the hardness of the ASICSGrip rubber at 85.0 HC. It seems to be average yet offers a good grip across a variety of terrains, from the occasional asphalt to dirt roads, mud, or even wet conditions.

While it may not excel in any one area and it's not as good as Vibram Megagrip, it truly does a great job overall.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Outsole hardness
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 85.0 HC
Average 85.4 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
72.5 HC
Outsole hardness
95.0 HC

Outsole durability

In our final Dremel test, we aimed to assess the durability of the ASICSGrip rubber.

Unfortunately, we encountered a 1.2-mm indentation, which is somewhat below our expectations, though not alarmingly so.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Outsole durability
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 1.2 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 56 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

We also measured the thickness of the outsole's rubber, excluding the lugs. We found it to be 2.1 mm, which is a smart design choice for this shoe. It's thick enough to be durable without adding unnecessary weight.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Outsole thickness
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 2.1 mm
Average 2.4 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0.9 mm
Outsole thickness
6.5 mm

Weight

And when it comes to weight, we had our reservations initially, as the shoe appeared quite big right out of the box.

Yet, at 10.3 oz (292g), it's even lightweight for its XXL size. This highlights ASICS' effort in trimming weight wherever possible, such as with the strategic outsole cutouts.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Weight
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 10.30 oz (292g)
Average 10.30 oz (292g)
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
7.51 oz (213g)
Weight
13.37 oz (379g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

We've mentioned a few times how large this shoe is, and the heel stack height confirms it.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 heel stack

We think that if you're in search of a cushioned trail shoe, this is the one. With a 39.7 mm heel, the Trabuco Max 2 will protect your legs for as long as you're willing to run.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Heel stack
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 39.7 mm
Average 32.2 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
16.1 mm
Heel stack
42.4 mm

Forefoot stack

The forefoot measures 31.2 mm, which is significantly less than ASICS' claimed 38 mm. We're not sure where their measurements come from, but we stick to the official World Athletics measurement points.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2

Despite this discrepancy, it's still an exceptionally cushioned shoe for midfoot and forefoot strikers—no question about it.

It's also worth noting that the shoe doesn't have a rock plate. However, with over 31.2 mm of stack between your feet and the ground, it's highly unlikely that rocks will be an issue.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Forefoot stack
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 31.2 mm
Average 24.5 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
15.2 mm
Forefoot stack
33.9 mm

Drop

After taking our own measurements, we uncovered a substantial gap from the official specs. ASICS advertises a 5 mm drop, yet we clocked it at 8.5 mm.

It's a notable variance, though not a deal-breaker. If anything, this makes the shoe a tad more heel-striker-friendly, and somewhat less ideal for technical descents. But honestly, who's eyeing technical descents with a shoe boasting such a high stack height?

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Drop
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 8.5 mm
Average 7.8 mm
Compared to 105 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.1 mm
Drop
17.3 mm

Insole thickness

The Trabuco Max 2 comes with an insole that's 4.7 mm thick, which is pretty standard.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Insole thickness
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 4.7 mm
Average 4.7 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
2.7 mm
Insole thickness
9.8 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Now, let's get to the most captivating part of the Trabuco Max 2, the feature that truly lives up to the "Max" in its name—the full-length FF Blast+ midsole.

This is the same EVA+OBC foam ASICS uses in their premium road running shoes, like the Nimbus 25. It offers a soft, bouncy, and cushioned experience. But don't expect top-notch energy return; this midsole focuses more on comfort than performance.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 FF Blast+

That being said, it's far from lackluster, and it actually gives more bounce than standard EVA foam. And thanks to its massive stack height, it maintains its softness without bottoming out. We're actually big fans of this shoe for those long, steady runs where speed isn't the priority.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Midsole softness
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 17.6 HA
Average 22.7 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 82 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
9.1 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
39.0 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

Given its exceptional breathability, the Trabuco Max 2 falls short for winter use, raising questions among trail runners about its performance in colder conditions.

To go even further in this topic, we conducted a test by placing it in our lab's freezer for 20 minutes. Upon re-measuring the FF Blast+ foam, we observed a 25.1 HA measurement, indicating a considerably firmer feel—42.5% firmer than before, to be precise. This confirms that the Max 2 it's not the best option for cold weather.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Difference in midsole softness in cold
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 42.5%
Average 26.4%
Compared to 82 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Stability

Lateral stability test

We were pleasantly surprised by the stability the Trabuco Max 2 offers despite its tall stack height, especially when running straight. The shoe incorporates stability features such as midsole sidewalls, applying some of ASICS' road shoe recent design cues to trail running.

However, the shoe's height does come with inevitable trade-offs. You can't expect it to be as stable on twisty or technical terrain as, say, the Hoka Zinal 2, which sits way lower to the ground.

Torsional rigidity

A key factor in the solid stability we experienced was the shoe's rigidity. While running, this was clearly felt, but it was when we twisted the shoe by hand that we noticed its minimal twist, thanks to the massive midsole. We rated it a 5/5, on par with carbon-plated shoes like the Nike Ultrafly.

This means if you're looking for a natural run where the shoe flexes and adapts to your movements during turns and inclines, we think this shoe might not be the best fit. It has many strengths, but torsional flexibility isn't one of them.

Test results
Trabuco Max 2 5
Average 3.5
Compared to 100 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

The heel counter is quite stiff, and we gave it a 4/5 rating.

It's designed to enhance stability during heel landings, which is needed for many runners. However, this does mean there's a trade-off, primarily in terms of comfort for those sensitive around the Achilles area.

Test results
Trabuco Max 2 4
Average 3.2
Compared to 98 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

The shoe appears very tall, yet it's not overly wide. We measured 115.3 mm at the widest part of the forefoot, which is slightly more than what we typically see in the lab.

However, this design makes sense, as exceeding 10 ounces in weight, any additional width would significantly add to the shoe's heft.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 115.3 mm
Average 112.1 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
102.1 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.0 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The same is true for the heel, measuring just 91.3 mm.

Nonetheless, we can shed some light on this lab measurement for you—it's all down to the shoe's rigidity, the stiff heel counter, and the midsole sidewalls. With these stability features, ASICS managed to maintain average shoe dimensions.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 91.3 mm
Average 89.7 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
77.2 mm
Midsole width in the heel
109.3 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

One of our main concerns during the manual assessment of torsional flexibility was that it might be too stiff. But when we measured the effort required to bend it up to 90 degrees, we found it only took 29.9N.

This is an excellent result for such a thick midsole. It makes the shoe an outstanding choice for all-day wear, while still keeping it extremely comfortable underfoot.

Test results
Trabuco Max 2 29.9N
Average 28.1N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
10.5N
Stiffness
54.5N

Difference in stiffness in cold

However, our surprise turned to dismay after repeating the test post 20-minute freezer session.

The shoe's stiffness skyrocketed by 70.6%, demanding a colossal 51.0N of force to flex it, rendering it as stiff as several plated shoes out there. Definitely not what we hoped for!

Test results
Trabuco Max 2 70.6%
Average 35.1%
Compared to 103 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
102%

Grip / Traction

Lug depth

Returning to the outsole, we noticed 4.2-mm lugs, which might be a tad larger than those on most all-rounder shoes, but it's not a concern.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 lugs

Many of the Max 2's lugs feature a three-pronged design, complemented by chevron-shaped lugs along the sides for enhanced traction.

In fact, for those who occasionally face muddy or technical terrain, this is a welcome advantage.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Lug depth
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 4.2 mm
Average 3.6 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.7 mm
Lug depth
5.8 mm

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

The Trabuco Max 2 shines not just with its cushioned and comfortable midsole suited for long-distance trail runs, but also with its spacious upper.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 upper

We measured the widest part of the upper at 100.9 mm, making it an excellent choice for runners with wide feet.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 100.9 mm
Average 98.8 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
92.0 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
104.9 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

The big toe area complements the toebox, avoiding the common issue where roomy shoes abruptly taper at the toes. Our 80.4 mm measurement confirms this feature is fantastic for ultra running, as it prevents discomfort from foot swelling.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 80.4 mm
Average 79.0 mm
Compared to 68 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
70.5 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

We discovered that the tongue is fully gusseted—a top-notch feature for all trail shoes. This design keeps debris out, so there's no need to pause your run to shake out pebbles or dirt.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 Both sides (full)

Comfort

Tongue padding

Right from the start of this lab review, we mentioned how the upper reminded us of one of ASICS' daily trainers, and the tongue is yet another testament to their commitment to comfort.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 tongue

The tongue also includes an elastic band to secure the laces and a metal ring for attaching gaiters, adding to its functionality.

Measuring 7.1 mm, it's plush enough to ensure comfort even over ultra distances.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Tongue padding
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 7.1 mm
Average 6.4 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Tongue padding
12.2 mm

Heel tab

The heel boasts a handy finger-loop tab, making slipping into the Trabuco Max 2 a breeze. But the perks don't stop there—as we show in the picture below, it also includes a gaiter attachment, adding a lovely touch to this already impressive shoe.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Heel tab
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 Finger loop

Removable insole

The insole is removable, allowing you to swap it for a thinner one if you're looking to gain more room inside the upper. However, keep in mind that doing so will result in less cushioning underfoot.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 Removable insole
Test results
Trabuco Max 2 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

We absolutely love spotting reflective elements on trail running shoes, especially on those perfect for ultra running, where nighttime adventures are common, and the Trabuco Max 2 checks off this feature!

Test results
Trabuco Max 2 Yes