Home / Trail running shoes / Asics Gel Trabuco 12

Asics Gel Trabuco 12 Review (2024): Good Trainer to Run Far?

Asics Gel Trabuco 12 review

Asics stands for “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano” – a sound mind in a sound body. Dedicated to developing products that help people of all abilities stay healthy and fit, the Japanese brand consistently creates reliable, comfortable, and versatile shoes that have conquered the hearts and feet of runners on road and trail alike.

The Trabuco series is dedicated to trail running, particularly all-terrain challenges and all weather conditions. In launching the Gel Trabuco 12, Asics adds a few improvements to the 11th iteration without departing too much from what’s made the shoe a go-to for comfort and protection off-road.

Is the Gel Trabuco 12 worth the upgrade? Is it suitable for you? Read our in-depth review to find out

Why trust me?

I’m an ultramarathon runner who completed many iconic races like the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB). I’m passionate about mountain activities and trail running gear. I have experience with many trail shoe brands and I’m always excited to put new models through the test.

For this review, I was able to run with the Trabuco on my daily sessions on trails in the Pyrenees. I tested the shoes on various types of workouts including and long tempo runs on technical surfaces with steep elevation gain.

review Asics Gel Trabuco 12

What You Need to Know

9.5Overall Score

Versatile and reliable workhorse to safely tackle trails.

  • 10.7 oz/304 g (men’s US9)
  • 4.5 mm lugs
  • FlyteFoam Blast, GEL
  • Stack height : 36 mm (heel), 28 mm (forefoot)
  • Drop: 8 mm
  • Daily runs

Not much has changed since last year, but the Asics Gel Trabuco 12 continues to delight with its versatility, stability, and durability for all types of runs and all types of runners.

These trail shoes feature comfortable cushioning for long miles with effective impact absorption on different terrains. The ASICSGRIP outsole and its deep lugs are excellent for muddy trails and wet ground.

While this design doesn’t have enough bounce to make you go fast in speed workouts or during short races, it’s still good enough for beginner runners for any distance. Definitely a pair to reach for on long run days and for marathon and ultra races.

Foot lockdown and protection


  • Soft and comfortable cushioning
  • Great toe protection and spacing
  • Excellent grip on varied terrain
  • Lace garage is a plus


  • Fairly heavy
  • Questionable breathability 


Asics Gel Trabuco 12 rubber outsole

With revamped ASICSGRIP technology in the outsole, the Gel Trabuco 12 promises improved traction on varying surfaces compared to previous (and slightly more lightweight) models. The multidirectional lugs introduced with the 11th version have stayed the same, with the same 4.5 mm depth that I found very effective on all my runs.

Another nice feature is the rock protection plate visible on the outsole. It offers support and protection on varied terrain, while also feeling quite flexible. Finally, the toe bumper is sturdy and reliable, absorbing any shock from hitting the odd rock during a run.


AsicsGrip rubber outsole on Gel Trabuco 12

I can honestly not imagine a type of trail where this shoe would not excel. I’ve run on gravel tracks with loose rocks, through muddy tracks, in the forest and on the road, and it’s delivered a good balance of comfort and stability every time.


The Gel Trabuco 12 features Asics’ FlyteFoam Blast cushioning in the midsole, coupled with the GEL technology in the heel for extra shock absorption. Overall, this makes for a soft and comfortable ride, without feeling too heavy or clumsy.

On more technical terrain, the stack height (36 mm under the heel, 28 mm under the forefoot) is just right for allowing flexibility and range of motion.

Asics Gel Trabuco 12 cushioning foam

I found the 8mm drop to be very comfortable and accessible. It makes the shoe nice enough to run with for longer distances.

Asics mentions that the Gel Trabuco also has an adaptive guidance system to enhance stability during the run. In addition to wide basenets, this is meant to help reduce fatigue and discomfort during longer runs, so I’m sure it’s the type of functionality that you don’t actively notice, but feel happy to benefit from.

pair of Asics Gel Trabuco 12 running shoes

Energy return

The FlyteFoam Blast midsole is quite bouncy and soft, but I didn’t find these shoes to feel as energetic as some of the brand’s speedy trail designs, like the FujiSpeed 2 (of course, there’s no carbon plate here, either!).

My shoes in size 39 weighed exactly 260 grams/9.2 ounces, somewhat heavy by comparison to other all-arounders, but I found that the level of cushion and comfort made up for this. Women’s size 40 comes in at 278 g/9.8 oz, while men’s size 42 weighs 304 g/10.7 oz, for reference. Interestingly, the Gel Trabuco 11 was slightly lighter – Asics claims they’ve increased the weight to boost comfort.

Lastly, the outsole design does help with easy heel to toe transitions, in my opinion, with a nicely raised front of the shoe to help roll forward on varied terrain.

Foot Lockdown

Asics Gel Trabuco 12 engineered mesh upper

The upper is where the brand has made a few changes from the Gel Trabuco 11. The engineered mesh has been reinforced to make it long-lasting and to enhance foot comfort.

I found the lacing system good for locking in, with ample room in the toe box and a sockliner that hugged my feet on the trails.

Asics Gel Trabuco 12 heel of the shoe

The only downside of the upper is that it’s not quite so breathable. Although the mesh is see-through in parts, I still found my feet getting hot quicker than expected. However, despite the thin mesh, I felt really well protected from trail debris and rocks, thanks to the thick heel bucket and the sturdy toe bumper.

One extra feature which I appreciated is the lace garage – a good way to store the laces after tying them up to prevent them coming undone when running.

Asics Gel Trabuco 12 lace garage

Fit and sizing

I consider consider these shoes true to size, having gone only for a half size bigger than my usual so I can wear them comfortably on longer days out.

The shoes hug the feet well and the lacing doesn’t cause any discomfort on the top of the foot, either. I didn’t feel the need to tighten excessively or to make any adjustments while on the run.

Asics Gel Trabuco 12 toe box

There’s plenty of room in the toe box, which some may find too loose, but I think that it’s just right for long distances. With proper lacing, you can prevent toes from moving forward during steep descents, which was a concern some reviewers voiced about the Gel Trabuco 11.


While the Gel Trabuco 12 excels in versatility, it’s best suited for everyday training and long runs, including longer competitions. It isn’t responsive enough for short, fast races, and would feel that it slows you down during an interval training session.

Asics Gel Trabuco 12 trail running shoes

There are a few reflective details on the upper, meant to increase visibility, which makes me think that Asics would hope these shoes are worn as a road-to-trail pair as well. In any case, they will fit and delight almost any type of runner on any type of terrain, as long as the goal is to go at a medium to slower pace.

Value and Sustainability

A large part of the Gel Trabuco 12 production process is focused on sustainability and environmental impact. 50% of the upper is made with recycled materials to reduce waste and carbon emissions. At the same time, the dyeing process employed reduces water usage by c. 33% and carbon emissions by c. 45% compared to traditional methods. All great initiatives from Asics.

Gel Trabuco 12 Asics

The end product seems sturdy and long-lasting, which makes the Gel Trabuco 12 a good investment. On sale for $140 currently, it’s good value for money if you consider the durability and versatility it presents.

In addition to the use of recycled materials and sustainable production technologies, Asics also announces this model as vegan.

Asics Gel Trabuco 12 on feet

Asics Gel Trabuco 11 vs 12

Sacrificing a few grams from its previous version, the 12th iteration goes for enhanced comfort with a redesigned mesh upper with more protection. Otherwise, not a lot has changed from a shoe that was already very good and very versatile. If you already own the 11s, it’s not an urgent upgrade until you’ve worn yours into the ground. First-time buyers could also get a great deal on the Gel Trabuco 11 to begin with, so it’s worth researching various shop options.


alecsa stewart testing Asics Gel Trabuco 12

Most runners will love the Asics Gel Trabuco 12 for its versatility, comfort and durability. There are a few downsides, such as slightly more weight and sub-optimal breathability. But, overall, this is a fantastic all-arounder that will deliver a smooth ride on rugged terrain and easy trails alike. Reach for a pair if you’re planning long runs in nature or for your next trail marathon or ultra.


Technical Specs

Pronation typeNeutral
Drop8 mm
Heel height36 mm
Forefoot height28 mm
Lugs4.5 mm
Weight (men)304 g/10.7 oz
Weight (women)260 g/9.2 oz
FeaturesAvailable in GTX, Vegan, Recycled materials, Eco-friendly, Toe bumper, Rock plate
Release year2024




OutsoleASICSGRIP, Rock Protection Plate
MidsoleFF BLAST, Rearfoot GEL
UpperEngineered Mesh, Lace Garage


SpeedSlow, Moderate
DistanceMid, Long
WorkoutDaily running
Alecsa Stewart

Alecsa Stewart

Alecsa is an ultra runner, mountain guide, and freelance writer living in the Pyrenees-Orientales (France). She is passionate about the mountains and life in the wilderness and also practices cycling, climbing, and skiing from time to time. Her passion is to share her adventures with others and inspire them to spend more time outdoors. She’s completed iconic races like the UTMB Mont-Blanc and Lavaredo Ultra Trail and she’s switching to some road running this year, aiming to complete the Manchester and Berlin Marathons, while also looking to improve her time at the UTMB CCC.

Leave a Comment