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Monday 12 July 2021

ASICS GEL-FujiTrabuco SKY: The Next Big Thing for Trails & Swimrun!

As I stood on the edge of Lake Windermere, dripping wet, I realised that I had chosen the perfect shoes to swim in. 

The arrival of these gifted shoes from ASICS FrontRunner was timed perfectly with the start of my swimrun season. I hadn’t planned it and had expected to wear the shoes I’d worn for my last swimrun (ASICS Dynamis 2) but these had performed so perfectly on the trails and drained so well in the wet, I hadn’t been able to resist wearing them in the lakes as part of my training. After the first couple of swims in them, I’d made my mind up … these were to be my 2021 season swimrun shoes! 


The new versions were lighter than the versions 5 and 7 of the FujiTrabuco by quite some way …  although I have to admit there was quite a bit of mud on these previous versions … what can I say? I like to be thorough with my shoe trials!

The FujiTrabuco SKY is a lot more streamlined and even looks lighter than the FujiTrabuco versions 5 & 7. In fact, it’s a pretty good looking shoe. The colour I’ve got is the uniquely named ‘Digital Grape/Baltic Jewel’ which is a black and purple shoe with an orange sole and turquoise highlights. It looks good and it looks fast. 

There are drainage holes in the shoe sides and a holed sole to allow drainage of water. The sides of shoe are made of netted fabric so this looks lightweight and looks like it would drain water quickly. 

The FujiTrabuco SKY has similar lugs to the FujiTrabuco 5 - not too aggressive but looks a good sole for mud with the option of running on some road or harder surfaces if required.

The fastener system is similar to the Salamon Speedcross shoes rather than the laces of the FujiTrabuco SKY  5 & 7 which is a bonus for me. The fasteners don’t come undone unlike laces and no-one wants to stop to sort out laces halfway through an event or training run. Plus if laces come unfastened during a swimrun I might end up losing the shoe! Another thing which gave a good first impression is that the fasteners are looped through the tongue of the shoe to avoid any movement here which is good. I had issues with the early Speedcross shoes where the tongues would slide sideways and the thin fasteners would chafe the foot. This won’t be a problem in this shoe due to the looping. There’s also a pocket in the shoe tongue to tuck the fasteners into to avoid these getting clogged with dirt or bumping against the shoe.

I think I’d use them for trail parkruns, ultras and trail events and I’d definitely trial them for swimruns.


What have I used the FujiTrabuco SKY for?:
Trails runs of all distances from short 5km trails to 10 mile+ runs and swimruns of varying distances from 1km to 21km! 

What I liked:
Easy draining if I step in a puddle or swim in a lake, they drain almost straight away and I don’t have any of the squishing noises! 
The shoe is incredibly comfortable. I don’t have to think about it at all while I’m running. It’s divine.

Great grip
 In my last swimrun there were slates, pebbles, gravel, rocks, mud, loose soil and shale and it was absolutely brilliant on all of these! No grip concerns whatsoever. 

My foot didn’t shift around in the shoe at all. I used my usual trainer size so good sizing too. Heel gripped well and toe box fairly roomy but nothing too much space. 

Lacing system
Brilliant for swimrun as it meant I could adjust the tightness and fit really easily. Laces didn’t come loose. 

No appreciable difference in for or grip as the shoe was wet as to when it was dry. 

What I didn’t like
The insole. It came loose and also shifted around when I ran. I removed it from my shoes as I didn’t want it to ruck up and cause blisters mid race. 

Got a blister on my right little toe after the 13 mile swimrun but I didn’t wear socks and had taken the insoles out of the shoes so this pretty much par for the course. Probably could have avoided a blister if I’d worn socks this time. However will definitely be wearing these for my next event … but with socks!

I’m definitely going to buy another pair as I found these shoes so versatile. Not only comfortable and high performing for trail running on a variety of surfaces, they were absolutely brilliant for my swimruns. Very versatile, very comfortable. 

NOTE: please be aware that these shoes were sent to me to trial as part of the ASICS FrontRunner program but I have been totally honest and transparent in this review ... if I didn't like them, I would have said so ... and certainly wouldn't be wearing them racing!

If you'd like a closer look there's a full description on the ASICS website here:

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