Verdict from 7 experts and 12 user reviews

9 reasons to buy

  • Traction: The Trabuco Max "just digs in," giving enough grip even in adverse conditions such as snowy, rocky, and muddy terrains. 
  • Responsiveness: Runners say that the shoe is bouncy, efficient, and has a nice energy return. Much like its road counterpart — GlideRide — it makes you go fast without requiring much effort.
  • Durability: Even after 80 miles on tough, rocky surfaces, the outsole still doesn't show any signs of wear. 
  • Protection: A lot of the testers find the shoe as "the most protective" they've ever run in. So much so that they never felt anything underfoot, even when landing on sharp rocks. 
  • Toe box: It's not wide but it's also not constricting. It doesn't cause any pressure nor sore toes during runs. 
  • Ventilation: Many experts find the upper very breathable and quick-drying. After running through streams, runners report that the shoe drained moisture sufficiently. 
  • Comfort: Given the shoe's "high-quality," "comfortable" upper, there is little to no break-in period required. 
  • Versatile: The lower profile lugs allow the shoe to handle runs on the road. It is neither too aggressive nor does it drag too much on the pavement. 
  • Fit: It's accommodating yet secure. From the midfoot to the heel, everything is "tucked in decently snug." 

4 reasons not to buy

  • Impractical tongue: It's too long, flops around too much, and the padding doesn't even touch the ankle. Overall, runners find the design unnecessary. 
  • Mud accumulation: Mud clumps on the outsole. Trail runners agree that it's not really the optimal option when running on chiefly soft and muddy ground.
  • Poor lacing: "Finicky to adjust." This is how they describe the laces. There are even reports of the laces causing pressure, especially when running steep downhills and over the miles, "they become subtly looser." 
  • Lack of flexibility: There are those who don't feel secure on highly technical terrains because of this. They've noticed that there are "ankle-turning moments" when running and taking sharp turns downhill.

Bottom line

The Trabuco Max puts Asics' trail shoe line back in the game. From mediocre trail shoes, the Trabuco Max finally offers trail-specific features for runners to reach long distances with confidence. Yes, it's a redeeming shoe for Asics, but when compared to other max-cushioned trail shoes, the Trabuco remains a so-so model. 

In short, it's not a technical beast. If you're looking for a shoe that tackles technical terrains better, take a look at the Speedgoat 4

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.

Expert reviews:

User reviews:

Video reviews

Asics Trabuco Max: Conquer the trails effortlessly 

Allowing trail runners to conserve as much energy as possible, the Trabuco Max from Asics ensures a dynamic and bouncy ride. Due to this, experts find it more efficient than its "weight and outsole would suggest." And to achieve this, the following are implemented: 

  • Constant forward motion. Thanks to the shoe's rockered geometry, heel-to-toe transitions are made efficient. 
  • Responsive midsole. Complementing the rocker form of the shoe is its lively Flyte Foam midsole. It generates energy return in each step for a propulsive and lively ride. 

Trabuco Max: Beefed up for protection 

The Asics Trabuco Max falls into the cushioned trail shoe category and it sure does well in what it's supposed to do — shield the foot from harsh ground elements, roots, etc. Be warned, however, that in exchange for the maximum protection that you get, the ground feel is definitely muted. 

What is it for?

  • Ultramarathon distances
  • Moderately technical terrains
  • Mountain runs 
  • Dirt roads 
  • Hard-packed snow 
  • Paved road sections

How Trabuco Max compares

This shoe: 86
All shoes average: 82
55 94
This shoe: £130
All shoes average: £120
£60 £230
This shoe: 295g
All shoes average: 296g
170g 680g
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Author
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.

jens@runrepeat.com