Asics Trail Attack 7 Review

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3 Responses

  1. ZRod says:

    Trail shoes are sometimes a weird type of shoe. Some come stripped down, and ready to race; others come bulked up, with reinforced toes, ready for distance and rock climbing off road excursions. It was quite a surprise, therefore, to pull a shoe out of the box which was neither, yet both. It was reinforced, yet fairly light weight. It had aggressive tread that was surprisingly smooth. It was slightly stiff, and slightly flexible. It was… well, you get the picture. It was right in the middle of the road. In other words, while being clearly designed for trails, it felt like (and looked like) a road shoe.

    Clearly, this has been the Asics formula for some time. Some companies start on the trail, and work their way down onto the road. Asics is directly the opposite, and by the look of the shoe, it would seem that they made their way off of the road, to wind up… back on the road. The feel of this shoe, at first, was no different than your typical neutral cushioned road shoe. Right out of the box, and walking around my house, I was perplexed. Was this really a trail shoe? Did Asics really think that such a shoe could perform in all types of terrain and in all trail conditions?

    The answer, of course, was yes. Asics has been around for a long time, and while the Gel-Trail Attack 7 doesn’t appear to be at home on the trail, it really is a great demonstrator of that age old adage we here at AGR have come to know and love: never judge a book by it’s cover. These were more than at home on all trails and the varying terrain we get here in Colorado, but with a slight twist. Asics brought a bit of the road up into this shoe in the balance and response of it – the result is that you get the grip and durability of a trail shoe, but the quickness and response of a road shoe – all for a very attractive, sub $100 price point.

    The upper is fairly typical to an Asics shoe – it has a mostly mesh upper, with a reinforced toe bumper made from a thickened fabric, as opposed to plastic or rubber. While it wasn’t the heavy-duty bumper we’ve seen in other shoes, it did its job protecting our toes from all but the heaviest of impacts. The mesh upper seems to be for venting heat from the foot, but in reality, it’s little more than window dressing, as the layer below it is only semi-permeable at best. The fit overall is also similar to other shoes in the Asics lineup – with a narrow heel cup, securely wrapped midfoot, and medium to large sized toe box. The flat laces are a nice touch, since they stay pretty securely tied – they need to, since they aren’t very long.

    A nice feature that Asics included is the gusseted tongue – it not only keeps debris from entering the shoe, but also helps to hold the shoe securely through all the sudden twists and opposing forces that you put a trail shoe through during a normal run. It’s quite comfortable as well, with a padded but not overly plush fit that really allows you to crank the laces down without creating any pinching.

    The real difference between the Gel-Trail Attack 7 and much of the Asics line lies in the midsole and outsole. Asics reinforced the midsole, and added a plastic rock plate in order to protect the soft under sole of your foot from sharp rocks and trail debris. The plate is firm, but still allows for a medium amount of flex without sacrificing torsional stability. The obvious concern here would the durability of a softer plate; we’ve put it through several testing runs and have experienced no real break down of the plate. Also, the outsole has been beefed up in order to provide additional traction on slick surfaces and varying terrain types. We tested this on scree, dirt, slick rock, and sandy soil. While it held up well in most terrains, it didn’t hold as well as other shoes when climbing slick rock. The nice thing about the outsole was that it was fairly flexible and forgiving – this is largely where it retained it’s lively feel. Rather than feeling stiff and unresponsiveness when switching between trail, gravel road, and concrete, it felt reasonably well balanced on all.

    The bottom line? Even though Asics only slightly modified a neutral cushioned shoe for trail, they did it well. The Gel-Trail Attack 7 comfortably handles varying terrain types, and the tread pattern is aggressive enough for the trail but even enough to take a roadway or two in between. I find myself reaching for them more often than not out of a plethora of trail shoes just for the versatility; for a price point of less than $100, buy two pairs in case they wear out too fast. For more information, see them at http://www.asicsamerica.com.

  2. Musal says:

    I have a love-hate relationship with these shoes. I used Trail Attack 6 in Leadville 100 (2010) then Trail Attack 7 in Rim2Rim2Rim (May 2011) and till now was training for Leadville 2011 in them. I love them because of what the reviewer emphasized, it is extremely versatile. It performs whether you run on gravel or technical terrain. It is light enough to put some speed on them if you leave the trail and flexible enough to run over gnarly roots. The only problem I faced is how quickly it gets destroyed.
    Leadville 2010, I had the right heel pretty much break off in mile 40 of the race,
    After Rim2Rim2Rim the structure of the shoe (version 7) changed such that I could not put my orthotics in them after the run (it got wet in a crossing)
    Now in training for Leadville 2011 (version 7), it again busted at the right heel only after 250 miles or so on them.

    I will keep buying them for races because they are both versatile and light enough for me to perform at what I can, however for me to use them as main training shoes they need to be just a bit more durable (350 miles).

  3. Rob says:

    I bought the black/yellow version and all I can say is: Fantastic! The toe box was a bit narrow (well, my feet are rather wide) initially but after a few days of wear stretched out to the probably most comfortable shoes I have ever had! The sole looks very thick but feels rather flat and trail like. Another plus there! Further plusses are the excellent traction on every terrain (They even hold up on wet surfaces unlike so many other ‘trail’ shoes), the heel support (very stiff) and as already mentioned the general comfort. I don’t wanna take them off! I have done a few light and medium trails in them and these shoes held up very well. I haven’t done a hard core track in them yet but we will see. I’m still a bit concerned about breathability yet as Sydney can get very hot in summer. My feet got rather warm in these shoes after a run in low 30s Celcius temperatures. Don’t get me wrong breathability is good but I believe could be better. Overall I rate them 10/10!

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