Saturday, July 11, 2009

RJ Review: Asics Gel-Trail Sensor 3 WR

I have strayed many times, looking for something sleeker, racier, and more colorful. Yet I always return, chastened, to my tried and true Asics Gel-Trail Sensors. There are a number of better looking, lighter, and more responsive shoes out there, but when it comes to the total package that can go for miles and miles over all types of terrain, I've yet to find a shoe that works better than the Sensor, and in its third incarnation (Gel-Trail Sensor 3; retail $110.00), it's better than ever.

In many ways, everything I said in my review of the original Sensor still stands, captured in this excerpt:

"Though it's a bit beefier than some might like, and it certainly won't win any fashion awards, you'll likely be singing its praises at hour three on your five hour run when the shoe's solid stance and mid foot rock protection keep you feeling nimble on even the craggiest of trails."

In the Sensor 3, they've improved the looks a bit, but not enough to keep you from looking longingly at others' hip Inov-8's and Cascadia 4's (my review). And although it's still a beefy shoe, Asics has progressively made it more and more comfortable, with the 3's feeling about as good as any road shoe you'd wear. But, don't let the nice feel fool you, they still eat up the trail and spit it out like each of its predecessors, from technical descents to rock-strewn plateaus to buffed out singletrack.

Though shoes are a very personal preference, if you need to bang out 80 mile weeks and feel confident toeing the line at your next 50 or 100 mile race, it'd be hard to beat the Asics Gel-Trail Sensor 3.

More shoe reviews on Run Junkie (shoe reviews).


Unknown said...

Where's the part where you say how far you run each day?

Travis Liles said...

nice review! thanks for posting. I am the same, always looking for the next shoe that is really going to do it for me.

callaghm said...

How will these do in snow and cold: ascis gel trail sensor 3 men's?

Hank Dart said...

The Sensors do great in the cold and snow. I used them all last winter and ran on (and in) snow most of the time. Of course, no shoe is perfect, and you'll get cold and wet feet sometimes.

Rachel Beckelhymer said...

Thanks for the review. I have been mulling over Asics all day and needed a replacement for my old GT trail. I wanted something a with a longer tread life and a shoe that would survive a puddle or two. Plus I live in CO so I might be running in the snow. If i'm brave enough. Your review sealed the deal. I hope it's everything I wanted it to be.

Hank Dart said...

Let me know what you think when you've given them a run through the paces.

Bob said...

My local running store doesn't carry the Ascis trail runners, but I love my Gel Nimbus 10's for the road so am thinking of buying these online. How do they compare sizing wise to what I have? Should I try the same size?

Hank Dart said...

I haven't compared the 3's with the Numbus 10's. But the 2's and the 9's seemed to be sized the same when I last tried both. Cheers.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the review.

I'm pondering the Gel-Trail Sensor 4. Have you tried these yet?

If so (and if not, then the Sensor 3s), how do you find the cushioning in the forefoot area? I run on the balls of my feet, and absolutely must have very good cushioning under the forefoot (don't use the heels, so heel cushioning is unnecessary). I have not seen any reviews addressing this specific area.

Does the protection plate adversely affect forefoot cushioning?

If you can spare the time, I would appreciate it if you could shoot me an email (



Anonymous said...

What's your current shoe now that they don't have the gel trail sensor line? Do you know what they replaced it with and if its a good replacement?

Hank Dart said...

I loved the structure of the Sensor and have since become a devotee of the La Sportiva Wildcat, a shoe I've come to like even more. Hope that helps.