3 Best ASICS Trail Running Shoes in 2024

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
3 Best ASICS Trail Running Shoes in 2024
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ASICS is a well-known brand among runners. One of the standout features the brand’s running shoes possess is stability. And if you’re after supportive trail shoes that have all the impact protection you could ask for, nothing comes close to ASICS trail running shoes. 

However, there are a lot of choices available. We know well enough that not everything that the shoe highlights or descriptions say is real. Also, more often than not, they are just full of fluff. So we stepped forward and conducted all the testing needed - out in the field and inside our lab - to really get to know and understand each ASICS trail running shoe. 

The bonus is we selected the leading shoes during our tests and we listed them here in this article for your easy navigation!

How we test trail running shoes

When choosing our top ASICS trail shoes, we assess each one of them thoroughly through a series of tests in our own shoe testing lab. Before we examine them, we purchase them with our own money to avoid brand loyalty and run in them for at least 30-50 miles. 

And the following processes take place: 

  • Cut each shoe open to assess what’s inside. We do not just poke around the parts that are right under our noses: we EXTRACT everything inside the shoes!
  • Measure each aspect of the shoe in 30 different parameters. One of the aspects we measure is how watertight a shoe is. To assess this, we conduct the tests that also tell us about the shoe's level of breathability, which are the smoke test, observing the upper when put against a bright light, and viewing the upper using our microscope. These tests reveal to us how permeable the upper is, thus telling how air-loving or water-hating it is.

Best ASICS trail running shoes overall

What makes it the best?

The ASICS Gel Venture 9 provides mind-blowing breathability and ample cushioning for the feet on the trails. A versatile all-rounder that has a pleasant grip, the ASICS Gel Venture 9 is on top of the list for the best trail running shoes in the ASICS stable.

The ASICS Gel Venture 9’s upper is superbly ventilated. When we tested its breathability using our smoke test, it scored a very commendable 4 out of 5. This winning upper of dense but breathable mesh made us feel the breeze on our toes, making trail runs quite enjoyable.

We also measured the heel stack of the Gel Venture 9 to be at 33.3 mm—more than the average of trail running shoes at 31.7 mm. Adding to that, the midsole is 10.87% softer than average. This combination of height and softness made our trail runs super comfortable and our feet were really secured.

When it comes to grip, the Gel Venture 9 is quite enjoyable during trail runs and day hikes. Its 3 mm lugs, which are slightly below the 3.5 mm average make the grip perfect for quick hikes and various paces.

However, the upper's durability is the main weakness of the Gel Venture 9. It scored a meager 1 / 5 on our Dremel test. Trail runners who prioritize more challenging routes that need durable uppers should look at other options.


  • Fantastic value
  • Summer-ready mesh upper
  • Enough stack height
  • Stable ride
  • Good for heel strikers
  • Ready for hiking
  • GEL technology for amazing impact protection


  • Durability could be better
  • Lacks energy return
  • Heavy
Full review of ASICS Gel Venture 9

Best ASICS trail shoes for long distance

What makes it the best?

After intensive lab analysis and extensive runs with the ASICS trail roster, we found Trabuco Max 3 as the best for long distances. We cruised along off-the-beaten paths with the plush foam that delivers nothing but supreme comfort. The ride feels stable for such a monstrous shoe while its zero-ground feel had us melting away mile markers without counting.

Max 3 suits its name with maximum FF Blast+ cushioning and impact protection. Our legs remained free from stress and fatigue even during endurance runs. The stack is one of the tallest we’ve measured in the lab, rising to a sky-high 42.4/33.9 mm. Trabuco Max doesn’t stop there and keeps its composition 29.3% softer than average, as per our durometer, confirming the cozy sensation our feet enjoy. Keeping our strides effortless is the toe rocker, paving the way for seamless heel-to-toe forward transitions.

For its size, we’re impressed with how stable we felt. The shoe has midsole sidewalls for subtle support, while the various-shaped 4.0 mm lugs ensure traction no matter where we run. On top of that, Trabuco Max widens its forefoot and heel to 116.0/91.7 mm so that any type of foot striker can land safely.

Because of its beefy build, the shoe lacks agility on technical and twisty terrains. Those who prefer more control and ground feel should look elsewhere.


  • Enhanced durability
  • Exceptional plush cushioning
  • Ideal for winter runs
  • Ultra distance-ready
  • Surprisingly stable
  • Reliable grip
  • Spacious upper


  • Reduced breathability
  • Increased weight
  • Slight price increase
Full review of ASICS Trabuco Max 3

Best budget ASICS trail running shoes

What makes it the best?

With an incredibly low price tag of only $50, it’s easy to overlook the Trail Scout 2 among the ASICS lineup. However, it proves to be an incredibly durable and versatile shoe at that price point, making it hands-down our number one choice as the best budget ASICS trail running shoe. 

The Trail Scout 2 boasts lugs that are 4.2 mm thick according to our caliper. This is 0.7 mm thicker than our current lab average and means that we were able to effectively grip onto any surface during our test runs; whether dirt, gravel, mud, or even asphalt. What’s more, their subtle configuration on the outsole makes the shoe feel just as nimble on the road as it does off-road. 

Made of an abrasion-resistant mesh and multiple layers of synthetic leather, the Trail Scout 2’s upper is a true beast. While this mix of materials doesn’t give the shoe much ventilation, it does make the Trail Scout 2 durable as hell; giving us no fear of accidental snags or kicking rocks during our test runs. This level of durability isn’t usually found in such cheap shoes. 

While the word scout is often associated with light and speedy, the Trail Scout 2 is anything but.  Weighing in at 11.39 oz (323g), it’s 0.95 oz (27g) heavier than the average trail shoe. As such, the Trail Scout 2 doesn’t fit the bill as a speed trainer or a mile gobbler.


  • All-day support
  • Durable
  • Grippy on rugged and mountain trails
  • Impressive heel lockdown
  • For heavy runners
  • Can double for hiking and walking
  • Astonishingly CHEAP


  • Narrow for wide feet
  • Lacks responsiveness
  • Heavy
Full review of ASICS Trail Scout 2

When it comes to performance footwear for active lifestyles and athletics, there are few other brands that do it better than ASICS. Since the 1940s, ASICS has been helping push the footwear industry forward with unique designs, innovative technologies, and a classic, unmistakable aesthetic.

Now, with their foray into trail running shoes, you can enjoy the quality of ASICS’ craftsmanship and shoe technology in yet another outdoor activity. 

ASICS shoe technologies

There’s a long list of ASICS shoe technologies that make their footwear different from other manufacturers. The following section contains a shortened list of tech you can expect to see in their lineup of trail running shoes. 

Amplifoam technology dampens vibrations

Amplifoam is a midsole technology that is designed to dampen vibration and absorb the impacts that come with trail running. Compared to mother midsole foams, Amplifoam is slightly lower (or lighter) in density, meaning it feels super cushy.

Despite the lower density, Amplifoam midsoles are relatively durable and do a decent job at retaining their shape and flexibility despite the stressors that come with trail running.

The Gel Venture models of ASICS trail running shoes come equipped with Amplifoam technology.   

Gel Technology absorbs impacts 

  • Rearfoot Gel Technology: silicone gel integrated into the rear of the shoe helps lessen the impact from heel striking and helps your foot transition smoothly into the rest of its step progression.
  • Forefoot Gel Technology: silicone gel in the toe area of the shoe dampens vibrations and reduces shock during forward stride movements. 

Trail-specific outsole pattern gives you grip

ASICS trail running shoes feature a unidirectional lug pattern in the shoe’s forefoot to help propel you forward. In the rear of the shoe, the outsole features a different tread pattern to help enhance your braking power.

The lugs on ASICS trail runners are chevron-shaped, which are the best at providing traction on various surface types like dirt, gravel, grass, mud, rock, snow, and ice. The lugs are widely spaced to facilitate mud-shedding. 

Water-resistant upper helps keep your feet dry

Some ASICS trail running shoes are made with synthetic and water-resistant materials in the upper. Synthetic materials are naturally water-resistant because they do not absorb water like other natural materials, like leather or cotton textiles.

This also means that ASICS trail runners are quick-drying. So, if you get wet, your shoes will dry out relatively quickly with sunshine and a nice breeze. 

FF Blast Cushioning adds optimal comfort 

FF Blast is a new ASICS technology for midsole cushioning. The new cushioning tech weighs less than its predecessors. It also offers a softer landing and better shock absorption.

Plus, FF Blast tech creates a more energized toe-off. In other words, it helps convert the impact of your step into energy for your next step as your foot progresses through its natural stride pattern.

The ASICS Trabuco Terra models of trail running shoes feature the FF Blast technology. 

How to select the best ASICS trail running shoes for you

Foot width

One of the things that make ASICS unique is that they offer a high-volume (wider) version of many of their trail running shoes. So, if you know your feet are wider and if you’ve been struggling to find shoes to accommodate your higher-volume feet, try out a pair of wide ASICS trail runners. 

Typical climate 

Some models of ASICS trail running shoes are “waterproof,” meaning they are built with water-resistant materials. If you live in a geographic area with a wet climate or just want to be prepared for any type of precipitation or moisture while trail running, consider a pair of ASICS trail runners marked “waterproof.” 

Intensity, volume, and duration of your trail running

  • Intensity: how hard or easy are your trial running workouts?
  • Volume: how often do you go out for trail running?
  • Duration: how long are your trail runs? 

Thinking about the intensity, volume, and duration of your typical trail running can help you pick a model of ASICS trail runners that will serve you best. 

Tips for trying on ASICS trail runners

Trying on trail runners is more than just slipping on a pair of shoes and calling it good. If you’re going to be relying on ASICS shoes to protect and support your feet while trail running, you want them to be more than good–you want them to be perfect.

Here are some tips to help you get the perfect fit.

  • Try them on in the afternoon: throughout the day, your feet swell. So, to get the most accurate fit, it’s best to try new shoes on after they’ve swelled sometime in the afternoon.
  • Buy multiple pairs with different sizes: if you are unsure about size, purchase multiple pairs to experiment with sizing and then return the pairs that don’t fit the best.
  • Use the socks you plan to run with: for the most accurate sizing, try new shoes on with the socks you plan to wear for trail running.
  • Wear them around the house: without going outside and getting them dirty (so you can still return them if necessary), wear your new shoes around the house to see how they make your feet feel.

How to make your ASICS trail runners last longer

Trail running is notoriously rougher on your footwear than running on a treadmill or around the neighborhood on the pavement. That’s why we always recommend a little extra shoe care to help your ASICS go for the long haul.

Here are some tips.

  • Clean them after they get muddy. The extra debris can dry out the materials and abrade the water-resistant coating. 
  • Avoid using them as everyday shoes. You can preserve the outsole by not wearing your trail runners all the time.
  • If you want your ASICS trail runners to be everyday shoes, buy two pairs so one is always trail-ready. 

“Anima Sana In Corpore Sano”

Believe it or not, ASICS is an acronym for the Latin phrase anima sana in corpore sano, which roughly translates to “you should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body.”

The Latin phrase was one of the major inspirations for the founder of ASICS, Kihachiro Onitsuka. He believed that physical activity was an essential part of healthy living.

So, in 1949, Onitsuka started ASICS to support and inspire athletes to lead an active lifestyle. In particular, he believed his footwear could help uplift the local youth struggling in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.