There are plenty of trail racing shoes in the market to suit most conditions you could encounter. From tracks in alpine areas where you can expect mud and snow, to lighter models more like a road racing flat and suited to fast courses with smooth underfoot paths.
The Gel-Fuji Racer 2 is where a road running flat meets an off-road racer. Its fit and feel are a lot like an ASICS road flat, but the hard wearing construction and increased support leans towards the trail running end of shoe spectrum. Starting at the top, the snug fitting heel widens up to a more roomy forefoot, typical of ASICS footwear. The upper also features dual density mesh that’s breathable and drains well in wet conditions. Plus there’s reinforcing in areas of high wear as well as a rubber toe rand that provides a small amount of protection from rocks that could stub your toes.
The supple, mildly rigid sole allows for flexion throughout foot strike, but not so much that you feel unsupported. The Solyte EVA foam midsole runs throughout the Fuji Racer to give a firm and responsive feel and decent protection from rocks underfoot. Asics High Abrasion Rubber (AHAR) is used on the sole of the shoe and the lug design provides decent grip in all conditions but the most slippery. To improve drainage there are diamond shape cut-outs in the forefoot and midfoot of the outsole which go through to the footbed underneath the insole. This means you can run through a creek and then in a matter of five minutes they feel relatively dry.
Overall these are a great shoe for those looking for a lightweight racer that can handle shorter trail events or even cross over to road use. They’re best suited to lighter runners and events where you’re on gravel, grass and dirt, not so much the sharp, rocky fire trails you can sometimes encounter.