Home / Trail running shoes / Asics Gel Trabuco 11

Asics Gel Trabuco 11 Review (2024): Most Versatile Trail Shoes?

Asics Gel Trabuco 11 review

Our Verdict

9.2Overall Score

Versatile, rugged trail running shoe for daily training and competition.

Don’t have time to read the full review? Here’s what you need to know.

The Gel Trabuco series continues its evolution towards greater versatility with this eleventh edition. The introduction of FlyteFoam Blast Plus in the midsole makes these trail shoes more responsive while retaining the features that have made them such a success. The emblematic Gel is again present at the rear of the foot.

The mesh upper is robust and breathable for comfort. It’s also sustainable, with recycled materials. The ASICSGRIP rubber outsole has been renewed, with a different arrangement of lugs for excellent traction on all types of terrain.

Overall, I found the Asics Gel Trabuco 11 to be a success, placing it among the best mainstream trail running shoes.

Please read our full review of the Asics Gel Trabuco 11 for more information.

Comfort
9.5
Grip
9.5
Foot lockdowb and protection
9.5
Responsiveness
8.5
Durability
9
Value
9
Design
8.5

PROS

  • Versatile, high-performance shoe
  • Excellent traction with ASICSGRIP outsole and its new lug pattern
  • Comfortable, sturdy upper with a good toe bumper
  • Good durability

CONS

  • While doing better than the previous version, this shoe still lacks responsiveness for shorter, speed-focused trails
  • Spacious toe box that can be a hindrance on technical descents

Introduction

Asics Gel Trabuco 11 reviews

The Trabuco series has come a long way. While the earlier versions struggled to convince trail runners that this series was serious compared to the competition from specialist brands (like Hoka or Saucony), successive improvements have succeeded in establishing it among the best models.

Can the Asics Trabuco 11 confirm its status as a mainstream trail staple? It’s time to see how they stack up against other pairs and what the changes bring. That’s what we’ll be looking at in this test, based on over 100 miles of running and the feedback of several testers.

Grip

Asics Gel Trabuco 11 rubber outsole

Many brands rely on Vibram for their rubber outsole. We can appreciate the effort made by Asics, which has developed its ASICSGRIP rubber over the years. However, the layout of the lugs has changed, becoming multidirectional and distributed in different places.

Some testers missed the old layout and found the new one less effective, especially running downhill.

outsole with ASICSGRIP lugs

Conversely, other runners (including myself) emphasize the v11’s more aggressive design. In any case, all agree that the result is very good, with good flexibility. The 4.5 mm lugs provide excellent grip.

Runners will also note the evolution of the toe bumper, which is more substantial and offers good protection on uneven terrain. The shoe also offers good stability.

Types of terrain

Julien Guyod testing the Asics Gel Trabuco 11

The Trabuco 11’s versatility knows no bounds. It performs equally well on compact and loose surfaces and dry and wet terrains.

Rocky terrain is no problem, with grip and protection worthy of the best models on the market, and there are numerous overlays and a heat-fused cage on the upper.

Asics Trabuco 11 trail running shoes

One of the criticisms of the previous version is no longer relevant. Thanks to the new arrangement of the lugs, very little mud accumulates on the outsole, and the shoe performs very well with its good grip on the ground. Even on wet rocks, the grip is very good.

The only cause for concern is the roomy forefoot. The space helps with comfort but if you have narrow feet, you may feel the lockdown insufficient when running in technical descents. I didn’t have this issue with my wide feet, but that’s something to check in-store if you can.

You can also take these shoes on the road, but the deep lugs and firm underfoot feel limit it to just a few short segments.

Cushioning

FF Blast trail cushioning

One of the main changes is the introduction of FlyteFoam Blast Plus, which represents a clear step forward (it’s the Japanese brand’s best foam, nothing less!). The ride is smoother, and the bounce is higher, something reminiscent of the Novablast series. Still, the underfoot feel is quite firm.

The addition of an extra GEL pod in the heel, whose effectiveness in cushioning impacts is well-proven, is also worth noting. It also helps with stabilizing the rear of the shoe upon striking the ground.

With a 35-mm heel stack height (27 mm in the forefoot), the Asics Gel Trabuco 11 offers excellent protection and shock absorption.

Asics Gel Trabuco 11 heel

Without reaching the max cushion of the Trabuco Max, this shoe disperses impacts very well regardless of the terrain. Even more so as it features a rock plate for the sharpest obstacles you may find on your trails.

Therefore, you can confidently tackle any distance, from short stints to ultramarathon running.

Last, the 8 mm heel-to-toe drop of this Gel Trabuco is classic and requires no adaptation.

Energy return

Asics Trabuco 11

Weighing in at 10.9 oz / 309 g in size 42, the Trabuco 11 is quite heavy (0.4 oz / 10 g heavier than the previous model). However, the shoe is more responsive with its new foam and trampoline-inspired midsole rocker geometry. Therefore, the ride is clearly better and delivers faster and smoother rear-to-front transitions.

The result is a satisfyingly responsive, fairly bouncy ride that will appeal to most runners. However, it cannot be compared with lighter, more responsive models like the Asics FujiSpeed 2.

Foot Lockdown

Asics Gel Trabuco 11 unboxing

The mesh upper is both supple and robust. The padding ensures a high level of comfort, which you feel as soon as you try the shoe on, and provides an appreciable thickness for winter conditions.

Runners sometimes have different requirements, and this is reflected in this aspect. While some athletes appreciated the space offered at the front, especially those with wider feet, others complained because they felt insecure when going downhill, especially at fast paces.

Asics thick laces and tongue

Apart from this point, everyone agrees that the upper offers good locking. The gusseted tongue securely hugs the top of the foot while the toe cap locks in the forefoot. There’s also no heel slippage even though the heel counter doesn’t rise very high, giving the foot more freedom.

The shoe also runs true to size.

Protection and breathability

While the upper is more breathable than the previous version, some testers noted that the foot starts to heat up during the summer. On the other hand, others noted good ventilation, but here again, it’s not easy to please everyone.

On the other hand, the protection offered by the shoe wins over the reviews, including mine. Between the effective toe bumper, the side overlays, and the plate under the shoe, testers were unanimous on the quality offered, which has nothing to envy from the leading models on the market.

Use

runner on a forest trail

The Asics Gel Trabuco 11 is synonymous with versatility! It’s responsive and comfortable enough to tackle any distance up to ultra races, and its technical features allow you to run on any terrain. Also, its robust build makes it a reliable daily trainer to run many miles in preparation for a race or just for fun. I would be hard pressed to find any scenario where it would struggle with the only exception of speed work.

Indeed, even though Asics made tremendous progress overall, the shoe is just too heavy to excel in short-distance competitions or fartlek-type sessions.

Gel Trabuco 11 Asics

As mentioned, technical descents can also pose a problem for those with narrow feet, who may find too much space at the front for secure fit.

Quality and Durability

No argument here. ASICSGRIP rubber has proven its durability. The upper is robust, and the FF Blast foam keeps its cushioning properties over the long term. So these are trail shoes with great value!

Also, the upper’s main material is made from 50% recycled materials. Asics has also used less water and reduced its CO2 emissions to manufacture this model’s insole.

These shoes are also vegan.

Conclusion

tester trying out new trail running shoes

Step by step, the Trabuco series continues its ascent in the very competitive trail running shoe category. This new Asics Gel Trabuco 11 is a very convincing all-rounder that can pretty much do anything, anywhere. It’s a solid choice for beginners looking for a reliable and effective first pair and for experienced trail runners seeking a highly versatile and robust model in their rotation.

Facts

Technical Specs

TerrainTrail
Pronation typeNeutral
Drop8 mm
Heel height35 mm
Forefoot height27 mm
Lugs4.5 mm
Weight (men)309 g/10.9 oz
Weight (women)265 g/9.3 oz
FeaturesAvailable in GTX, Vegan, Recycled materials, Toe bumper
Athletes
Release year2023

Cushioning

SoftnessFirm
ResponsivenessMedium

Technologies

OutsoleASICSGRIP
MidsoleFLYTEFOAM BLAST, Gel, Adaptive Guidance System, Rock Protection Plate
UpperEngineered Mesh

Use

SpeedSlow, Moderate
DistanceMid, Long, Ultramarathon
WorkoutDaily running

Comparisons

Asics Gel Trabuco 10

A new, more responsive and softer FF Blast foam, a better-fitting, more breathable upper and a more effective mud-release lugs layout.

These changes make the eleventh version even better and a good reason to go for it. However, v10 was already very effective, and there’s nothing to stop you from buying it if you see it during promotion periods.

Julien Guyod

Julien Guyod

Julien Guyod, 40, is a math teacher and freelance writer. He took up running in 2015 and specializes in marathons, clocking in with a 2:38 personal best at the La Rochelle marathon in France. He's passionate about running shoes and loves to share his impressions of the models he's tested, always pushing the mileage further to discover more insights!

Leave a Comment