We haven’t tackled a lot of ASICS trail shoes in the past, so getting our hands on the Trabuco Max was really exciting because it hits on a lot of those elements we love including a higher stack height for distance, a nice moderate drop, and a bulletproof upper. Also, let’s be real and say it looks amazing as well. During our testing, we have put a lot more miles on these than we expected simply because we love the feel, but we are experiencing some of the same issues that a lot of others are and it is safe to say that we love it and we hate it, so let’s jump in.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- Solid long-distance max cushion trail shoe with amazing overall traction.
- Quick Lace system and oversized tongue cast a shadow over a really capable shoe.
- Weighs in at 10.4oz or 295g for a US Men’s 9.
- Features 28mm of cushion and has a 5mm heel/toe drop.
- Retails at $140.00 USD and comes in 2 colors for Men and Women.
The ASICS Trabuco Max looks like a tank in many ways and it is just as tough as you might expect. That of course comes with some weight sacrifices, so don’t expect this to be a light shoe, but it does a really good job minimizing that. The weight becomes almost unnoticeable a distance primarily due to the FlyteFoam midsole. First off, let’s talk about the initial feel and out of the box impressions.
Our first impression was that they look killer, there is this really substantial outsole and the upper feels plush and roomy. The elephant in the room is the tongue and we will get back to that in a minute because it’s hard to miss it. However, you will definitely love the feel when you put them on the first time. As you lace them down and get ready to run, you’ll start to experience the big black mark about the shoe and that is the lacing system and the tongue.
First, ASICS went with the Quick Lace system on here which Salomon does better than anyone. In this implementation, we didn’t experience a lot of the issues other reviewers saw in terms of it wanting to back off, but it is hard to find the balance between tight and loose. It always felt one way or the other and it was really hard to tune it in which is crazy because that’s the whole idea for using a Quick Lace system in the first place. Once you get locked in, you stuff the laces into the lace pouch and I don’t know what Asics was thinking here, but it is so problematic in so many ways. First of all the pouch just doesn’t hold the laces very well. It’s simply too loose so the laces continually want to fall out and never stay in. Additionally, the tongue is huge so they should have plenty of room to build out better storage and while it does provide some padding, the padding is unnecessary because it never really touches your ankle in any way. Next time ASICS please reduce the tongue size go back to traditional laces and come up with a better storage mechanism.
In terms of the run itself, the shoe is amazing and while we just spent all this time talking about the laces, we would rather be focusing on how this thing lasts on the trails. The Trabuco Max grips like nobody’s business. The design of the outsole is so solid, it’s tacky, it handled uphills downhills side to sides, forward, backward, fast, and slow so well and they should stick with this every on every trail shoe they have going forward. The midsole is their FlyteFoam which we’ve loved since the day it came out as it strikes a nice balance between soft and firm. You get enough cushion to protect you from the trail without the need of a rock plate while not being overly soft that it affects performance, so you can actually run these fast. Then on the upper, we actually dig it because we like a roomy toe box and then a nice secure fit from mid-foot back and the Trabuco Max does just that. Some folks will definitely feel like that upper is too spacious and we get it, but in this case, we like all that toe splay especially when we’re talking about distance.
This was such a tough one because running in the shoe is fantastic if you can get past the lacing system mentally and even the size of the tongue. It is a great ultra shoe, you can wear these for miles and it can directly with every big high stack trail shoe out there. The lacing was just such a poor implementation that it does take away some from the shoe and while we will definitely put even more miles on these, every time we put them on that tongue will stand out like a sore thumb.
The upper is an engineered mesh with a number of structural overlays that add to overall durability while also providing some structure to the shoe as well. The wide toe box is well protected and the outsole actually wraps up to add some additional protection as a bumper as well. ASICS did choose to use a Quick Lace system on here as we mentioned above and then the significantly padded tongue acts as the lace storage. The tongue is fully gusseted which is great in keeping debris out. The collar is well padded and carries into a moderate heel counter. The upper is also gaiter capable.
The Trabuco Max uses ASICS FlyteFoam midsole, 28mm in this case, and while the shoe feels plush, the nice part about FlyeFoam is that it is very balanced. So it strikes a good chord between providing responsiveness and speed while also not ever feeling too firm. The stack height also does a good job of protecting the food but rocks, roots, etc so no true rock plate is needed.
The outsole is a work of art featuring ASICSGRIP which is tacky and grips the trails really well. It has a huge lug depth and an amazing lug pattern which handles inclines and declines with ease while also dealing with side to side to when it gets messy out there.
Style & Aesthetics
The tongue makes it look a little ridiculous, BUT overall the shoe is really solid looking. It does come in 2 color options, but the second all black isn’t our cup of tea. The primary men’s and women’s colors are excellent though.
Putting our one big caveat to the side, the ASICS Trabuco Max is an excellent long-distance trail shoe. We actually love the fit of the upper as we enjoy a nice wide toe box for distance and that rear foot does hold you nicely. The FlyteFoam midsole strikes a nice balance between cushion and responsiveness and that outsole is a triumph. The tongue and the lacing system really cast a dark cloud over what is otherwise a phenomenal shoe. We would say if you like a touch looser upper, then it will work for you even in its current implementation, but if you want a much snugger fit then you probably will want to look elsewhere.
Check Out Other Reviewers Thoughts
As always, we gather together some of our favorite reviewers so you can get a well-rounded view of the shoe. Here are our favorites.