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$120, 11.9 ounces, www.asics.com
Weighing in at just under 12 ounces, the Gel Scout is on the heavy end of modern trail shoes. Still, testers were pleasantly surprised by the shoe’s balance of flexibility, comfort and cushioning.
A heel gel pocket absorbed shock, while a firm forefoot rock plate with added flex points protected metatarsals from rocks and roots. Testers lauded the shoe’s “tough structure.”
The upper features a “supportive cage” that loops through mid-foot eyelets. And, a breathable mesh lining kept feet comfortable, and a gusseted tongue and added PU overlays kept out debris. A lace-pocket stows surplus laces.
Traction: Thick, sticky tread with wide lugs performed well on a variety of surfaces including rocks, roots and slippery lichen.
Fit: The shoe best fits a medium- to high-volume foot. Testers praised the shoe for its out-of-the-box comfort and support, thanks to a roomy toebox, foot-wrapping lacing system and secure heel cup.
Best For: The Gel Scout provided a plush ride over gnarly terrain. According to one, the shoe “flows incredibly well from foot strike to toe off.” It is best suited for long, technical trail runs.
Drawbacks: With an abundance of heavy overlays, the Gel Scout may feel bulky on short-distance jaunts.
Tester-monial: “With their comfort, cushion, flexibility, traction and rock protection, the Gel Scouts will be great running companions for the 105 miles of varied terrain on the Colorado Trail that I am running this fall.”
—Sheri Atkinson, Broomfield, CO