GEL-FUJI TRABUCO 5
Having understood the logic behind trail shoe design I’ve often tried new models and found them fine. Yet as I stand at the shoe rack, I’ve returned to the road shoe. The trails I choose are more groomed than bush-bash style, yet I would happily forsake the odd slip and ankle roll for comfort of a road shoe.I’ve often found trail shoes hard underfoot and stiff, simply less pleasant of an experience. Now though, I’m excited to say that Fuji Trabuco has the road shoe comfort influence that I was craving.
Fuji Trabuco is a wilderness trail shoe. It’s tough and durable. But it is also soft underfoot to make a challenging trail run pleasurable. The focus is therefore two-fold in Fuji –Trabuco: dependability and comfort.
Improvements in durability have been made in the shoes’ upper. It’s practically coloured in dark tones to disguise the impending mud stains. It has textured, reinforced lacing that is resistant to stretch and loosening. The eye stays are reinforced to allow aggressive tightening and full proprioceptive moulding over the foot. The toe bumper has an extra rubber layer that extends over top of the toes and both medially and laterally to withstand dragging, scraping and enable better grip if required. There is minimal stitching overlay so the upper is light and dynamic under forefoot flexion. The internal heel counter is reinforced on the outside with heat-pressed mouldings to help minimise distortion of the rearfoot under exceptional camber. A convenient finger loop is placed at the heel to help remove mud-logged shoes after a run.
The midsole changes have created a significant improvement to comfort underfoot. Off road running isn’t entirely made up of soft mud surfaces. The base can be highly varied, creating difficult design challenges for Asics. Running on hard packed sand can create a similar impact force to footpath running and running on loose gravel can be sharp and uneven underfoot.
Incorporating the Ortholite sockliner and lasting gives foot protection and generalised comfort perception that can’t be undervalued. The midsole is a SoLyte and SpEVA mix. Made up primarily of lightweight SoLyte, the SpEVA is mounted on the medial rearfoot to give structural integrity to the shoe if under undue frontal or transverse stress. There are pods also placed on the medial and lateral forefoot to give reminder feedback if the foot twists excessively at forefoot load. There is more emphasis laterally to help reduce inversion ankle sprain likelihood. The heel drop is 8 mm to give increased perception and confidence in stability at landing.
The outsole focuses on reducing fore/aft and sideways slip. It protects the midsole from direct sharp objects and allows the foot to move freely in its natural rear to forefoot pattern.
The rock plate is positioned under the forefoot and protects the metatarsals from unforgiving substances underfoot. There is more impact/downforce load recorded at the forefoot on take-off than there is on impact at the heel so placing the rock plate here is a safety and comfort feature.
The dual density outsole covers the entire base surface of the shoe. There are no cut outs in the midfoot like a road shoe. If the foot is put under exceptional torsion at the midfoot, the shoe will respond with grip under the arch as it lowers. Trickier terrain often forces a slower or more shuffled gait where the landing may take place in the anterior heel – midfoot region. This added grip and torsion stability feature is noticeable in these conditions.
The Gel-Fuji Trabuco is a well-designed, specific shoe. Being light, rugged, yet comfortable – it would be best suited as a race or high mileage trail shoe for fast, fit runners’. It will take the knocks under tough training conditions that a capable runner would challenge themselves to.