Asics FujiSpeed 2 Review: 2023’s Most Fun Trail Shoes?
A speedy, fun and balanced trail shoe with a carbon plate bonus.
Don’t have time to read the full review? Here’s what you need to know.
The Asics Fujispeed 2 delivers fun, bounce, stability, and a combination of trail-specific technology with a light weight and a great color scheme. In other words, what’s not to love?
This carbon-plated trail shoe is meant for tempo running and moving fast on any off-road surface. It has an agile design, an Asicsgrip outsole, and a breathable, woven upper.
Compared to the previous edition, Asics have made significant improvements in the midsole, using the FF Blast+ compound that’s found in some of their speedy road shoes. This offers more bounce, a bit more protection from the trail, and added comfort to balance out the rather stiff sole. On the outsole, the three-pronged lugs look effective but are best used on dry trails.
With a snug fit and tapered toe box, the Fujispeed 2 is best suited for runners with narrow feet and for shorter runs (because of lack of room to spread the toes). Otherwise, it’s exceptionally versatile and good value for money compared to its carbon-plated competitors.
Please read our full review of the Asics FujiSpeed 2 for more information.
- Really lightweight
- Funky braided laces
- Great midfoot and heel lockdown
- Full-length carbon plate
- Good value for money
- Sole can be too stiff for some runners
- Not suitable for mud
- Narrow toe box
Asics may not be a front runner for fast, racing shoes on trails, where they traditionally became known as ultrarunning legend Xavier Thévenard’s (1) former sponsor as he famously conquered the key events of the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (2).
However, after designing highly effective road super shoes like the MetaSpeed Sky, the Japanese brand has turned its hand to fast trail running. The new Fujispeed 2 features lots of upgrades compared to the first edition, most notably a full-length carbon plate and improved midsole foam.
How does this impact the comfort and ride? I tested the Asics Fujispeed 2 against a variety of terrains and paces and was quite impressed. Read the full review to see why!
Starting with the outsole, the Fujispeed 2 is made from the brand’s own Asicsgrip material that feels really grippy on dry terrain. It features an array of three-pronged lugs that aren’t particularly deep but seem to provide a good amount of traction on the trails I’ve had the chance to test them on.
Because of the full-length carbon plate in the midsole, the shoe doesn’t feel all that flexible when you wear it. However, the performance from a speed and agility perspective makes up for that lack of softness.
Despite the interesting looking lugs, I don’t think the Fujispeed 2 will fare very well in the mud or in wet conditions. However, its grip is really good on climbs and descents among rocks, roots, and other trail obstacles, and I found it to hold up well from road to trail, too.
These shoes are versatile enough that they can be worn comfortably at various paces on different terrain, as long as it’s mostly dry.
From the first moment I tried the Asics Fujispeed 2, the combination of bounce and protection from the midsole won me over. Asics has upgraded the Fujispeed to the FF Blast+ foam that feels light and responsive at the same time (while the first version of the shoe featured a Flytefoam midsole).
Of course, the key thing is how the foam interacts with the carbon plate. I found the shoes bouncy and exciting to wear from my first interaction with them. There’s a definite feeling of extra protection from the stiff sole, but it never feels that my feet would get sore from the lack of flexibility, and I put that down to the excellent cushioning.
There’s also enhanced stability from the lateral foam walls, which contribute to locking the foot in sideways, too. With a stack height of 23 mm under the heel and 18 mm under the forefoot, it feels like you’re running close enough to the ground to be comfortable pushing the pace during trail races and tempo sessions. At the same time, some users report feeling a lack of balance because of the stiff sole – something to consider if you don’t have experience of this type of shoe.
I found the 5 mm drop adequate for the trails and the combination of support and comfort just what I need for a mix of hills, fields, and hard-packed undulating trails.
Additionally, I mentioned how lightweight the shoes feel. The Asics Fujispeed 2 is actually a tiny bit heavier than the first iteration, weighing in at 242 g in men’s size 42 and 230 g in women’s size 40 (the first Fujispeed were a couple of grams lighter). I think it’s a worthy trade-off, they did not weigh me down at all.
These are some of the bounciest, most responsive trail shoes I’ve run in. They’re excellent for speed training and racing up to the marathon distance, thanks to an optimal balance between the spring from the carbon plate and the soft landing from the midsole foam. The stiff sole also helps with forward propulsion and made me feel like I had more speed with every step.
One recent trend in speedy trail shoes has been a thin, almost see-through upper. Asics has fallen in line with the Fujispeed 2: its extremely breathable thin mesh upper has been upgraded to a very lightweight material. At the same time, there’s a plush gusseted tongue that hugs the top of the foot and locks the shoe in place beautifully.
One of my favorite things about these shoes was the lacing system. Very thin and flat, the laces feature the same design as the Metaspeed Sky Plus ones, with a braided look that is fetching and helps them stay in place.
Despite the focus on breathability and light weight, I also found the Fujispeed 2 to be protective enough against rocks and roots. They feature a nicely raised toe bumper, a comfortable heel collar, and protective side walls. All in all, a good combination of softness and rigidity.
Fit and sizing
Asics is known to be a snug fitting brand and I found the same with this trail running shoe. The Fujispeed 2 fit true to size on my narrow feet, but wide-footed runners will want to go at least a half-size up to feel comfortable.
The midfoot section of the shoe is extremely narrow and tight fitting, which I really enjoyed, but may not be to everyone’s liking. The other important element is that the toe box is tapered and quite narrow compared to other trail running shoes. To ensure enough room for your toes, especially for longer runs, you should probably size up one full size if you normally wear wide shoes.
The FujiSpeed 2 surprised me with its range of terrain and pace. Although designed for speed, I found it to be cushioned enough for moderate distances, feeling comfortable for up to 2 hours on the trail so far. Many reviews mention the stiff soles as a potential barrier for longer runs, and they do take some getting used to, but I plan to run a trail half marathon in them in the spring, since they seem to suit my style of running.
I haven’t had the chance to run in these shoes on wet ground, but I notice that the majority of other reviewers find them to lack grip in the mud. However, for less technical trails and rolling terrain, they are excellent and can boost your pace even if you’re a relatively slower runner.
Value and Sustainability
The Asics Fujispeed 2 have a very thin, see-through upper, which could raise questions about its durability in rough terrain. Otherwise, the high-quality Asicsgrip rubber outsole seems to last quite well in some of the brand’s other shoes, so I would expect these shoes to do well, too.
If worn on rotation, in particular, the Fujispeed 2 should be quite good value for money as they’re cheaper than other carbon-plated trail shoes, while offering a good level of versatility.
Carbon footprint and animal welfare
While there’s no mention of recycled materials in the making of this shoe on Asics’ website, they are marked as vegan friendly. This means that no materials of animal origin have been used in the manufacturing process. However, Asics notes that the shoes have not been certified as vegan by an independent third party.
All in all, the Asics Fujispeed 2 is an unexpectedly versatile, fun, and comfortable trail running shoe for more experienced runners. The combination of stiff carbon plate and bouncy FF Blast+ midsole foam makes them responsive and agile, while the narrow fit adds to the nimble feel on most surfaces. They’re not for wide-footed runners and the lack of toe splay could work against them in a longer race, but for fast-paced training and racing, I think they are a fantastic choice.
|242 g/8.5 oz
|230 g/8.1 oz
|Carbon-fiber plate, Vegan, Toe bumper
|FF BLAST PLUS
|Daily running, Racing
Asics Fujispeed 1
Asics has brought a few changes to the Fujispeed 2, most notably upgrading the midsole from Flytefoam to FF Blast +, similar to some of the road shoe designs in their range. They’ve also added a full length carbon plate which stiffens the sole but gives an added forward propulsion that runners of all abilities will enjoy on rolling terrain.
The upper has also been changed, moving from Nexkin design to woven and increasing in breathability. This second iteration is a little heavier than the first, but nothing too noticeable. For the relatively low price compared to other shoes in its range, it’s definitely worth making the upgrade.
Xavier Thevenard’s Instagram (retrieved on 12/06/2023)
Dacia UTMB® Mont-Blanc (retrieved on 12/06/2023)