Asics Gel Fuji Racer – Our Take
- Racing Flat Origins: To construct the Fuji Racer, Asics started with elements of its Gel DS Racer 9 and Gel Hyper Speed 5 flats, adding in trail-ready features including a more durable tread material, breathable upper, and outsole drainage.
- Low and Light: At 8.7 oz for the Men’s version (size 9) and 7.8 oz for the Women’s version (size 8), the Fuji Racer is Asics’ lightest trail shoe to date. And stack heights of 22mm in the heel and 16mm in the forefoot mean that this shoe is low to the ground with only a 6mm offset.
- Rock Protection: Even though the shoe is light, Asics didn’t skimp on features to keep it durable on the trail, including a forefoot rock plate layered in just above the outsole.
Asics may want us to associate this shoe with the challenging terrain of Japan’s most regal mountain, but this shoe actually makes us think of two other Japanese phenomenons: Godzilla, and the Toyota Prius.
The Fuji Racer is a true monster on the trail, towering over many other trail models past and current to offer good grip, a smooth ride, and plenty of protection. It doesn’t breathe fire, destroy cities, weigh several tons, or take scantily clad women hostage, but the Fuji Racer is a tenacious beast on the trail.
So OK, maybe Godzilla isn’t a perfect metaphor for this shoe. That’s where the Prius comes in. The Fuji Racer is a hybrid any way you look at it, blending road racing flat with trail grip and durability. Like the Prius, the Fuji Racer blends technologies to achieve a very specific goal – in this case, to help a runner achieve speed on the trail.
Whatever it is, how does it run? Every one of our testers found this shoe pretty impressive. The stripped down weight doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite Asics features, including Gel cushioning, Solyte midsole foam and the Trusstic System to maintain midfoot integrity and proper flex points.
The upper is form-fitting and moves well with your foot. The transition is as smooth as you’d expect for a road-derived midsole, and the shoe feels more cushioned than its racing flat counterparts due to the springy lugs on the outsole.
“I like the Hyper Speed feel with increased trail durability. I’m not convinced that the wet-weather traction is entirely dialed in, but that’s a minor issue for a majorly impressive shoe.” – Erik
“Surprisingly bouncy for how low and lean it is. They really nailed the upper – it feels close but not claustrophobic.” – Joanna
“A lot of runners are looking for a shoe that’s comfortable on the trail and the road. The Fuji Racer fits the bill.” – Matt