ASICS Gel Sonoma GTX – first look
We all know that good spring and summer performances are well founded through the winter. With that in mind I plan to keep the winter miles ticking over, and despite the unseasonably mild weather to date, I have no doubt that the wet and cold weather will soon return.
There’s nothing worse than wet cold feet, so I decided to treat myself and crack open my winter trail shoe; the ASICS Gel Sonoma GTX. This is a quick look at the shoe to give my early thoughts, with a view to give an updated review once I have covered a few more miles in them.
Out of the box the Gel Sonoma GTX feels sturdy and well made. The lugs look spacious enough to provide good grip and there is a solid heel support that gives the shoe a rigid look and feel. They are not the lightest shoe, coming in at 345g, but they are not going to be given the fact they are designed as a winter training shoe. The shoe has a 10mm heel to toe drop, with the heel being filled with ´rearfoot gel´ to increase cushioning. The GTX bit of this shoe if you hadn´t guessed it, provides a Gore-Tex waterproofing lining. I came in at a size UK 9.5 (EU 44.5), exactly the same as my ASICS Road Hawks and ASICS Dynaflytes. I suggest as always however to try them on before you buy.
I took them for my first spin of 2019; a 12km run with around 250m of climbing, 95% of which was on the trails. The toe box is roomy without allowing excessive movement, and the heel cup felt solid. I utilized the extra lace loop to ensure a snug fit, and they did feel comfortable right out the box.
Tip: Before your first run, wear your shoes for a couple of days around the house or for every day use to break them in. This will also reveal any potential hot spots or rub areas.
The run ticked over nicely for me with no issues whatsoever. The shoe felt solid and grippy, a little more than I was expecting. My other trail shoes consist of the Fuji Rado and the Fuji Trabucco. I would pitch this shoe somewhere in the middle. The Fuji Rado is a comfortable shoe ideal for hard pack and less technical terrain. The grip on them isn´t as good but they are ideal for covering longer distances (I did two races in excess of 100km in my Fuji Rados in 2018). The Fuji Trabucco conversely has plenty of grip, but provides this in exchange for a stiffer sole and mid-sole, ideal for more technical terrain but obviously with less cushioning.
My feet didn’t feel clammy as you can sometimes get with less breathable GTX shoes, and I had enough protection from stones and rocks without compromising feel for the terrain. I can´t say that I felt the ´rearfoot gel´ but the shoes certainty provide a smooth ride. All in all it was a good run and I pretty much forgot they were new on, which is a good sign for longer runs to come.
Whilst ASICS badges the Gel Sonoma as an entry-level shoe designed for low to medium mileage runners, I tend to disagree slightly. I think it could hold place as a workhorse shoe for trail runners looking to bank some decent winter mileage. I´ll also be using it as a go-to for mountain hikes when boots are not required.
There is a non-GTX version, which I haven’t tried yet, but I assume it will be similar in terms of look and feel. I´m looking forward to logging more runs in this shoe, as always the test of time will be to come. Look out for an updated review along with other review in due course once they have a few more miles in them on this page.
Happy new Year 2019!