Tuesday, April 29, 2008

RJ Review: Asics Gel-Trail Attack 4

With the snow melting quickly and muddy earth starting to dry, we at Run Junkie have been hitting the trails hard after a long, ascetic winter. And we finally feel ready to pass judgment on this year's new batch of trail running shoes. Today, we take a look at Asics' 4th edition of the light, stable, and durable Gel-Trail Attack.

Not wanting to mess with a good thing, Asics showed good sense and didn't change too much from its previous version. The most notable differences are the brighter colors (picante & sun), the less integrated (and more comfortable) tongue, and a more complex tread that seems to work just as well, if not better than, the previous pattern.

Looked at on its own terms, the Gel-Trail Attack 4 (retail $80.00) doesn't have much at all to dislike. For being such a light trail shoe (10.9 ounces), it handles well on tricky, steep single track descents and has fairly good toe-bump protection. It has enough cushioning and support to handle a long stretch of pavement on the way to (or coming back from) the trail. And it just feels good on - key to any shoe you'll be wearing in the wilds for hour after hour.

If it has one major drawback, it could be that it's just not beefy enough to hold up to big big miles week after week in the backcountry. In many ways, it's a racing flat for the trail, and if you feel you're going to be pounding out 80 - 90 mile weeks up and over mountain passes you might want to look for something with a bit more substance. But, if your goals are a tad more modest, the Gel-Trail Attack 4 is a hard shoe to beat.

More shoe reviews on Run Junkie (shoe reviews).

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