ASICS GEL-Fuji Runnegade (Crocodile)
A not very long awaited review of the new hidden shoe on the block for OCR Athletes. The Asics Runnegade is referred to as an off-trail running shoe, and has the ingredients to prove it. At first I was skeptical of the shoe, because I only have seen one person buy them, and it is VERY difficult to find any reviews of them. Below is a little bit of my short 8 mile journey with the shoes, so far.
Purchase: I really needed a deep lug shoe for longer or muddy OCR’s (they aren’t all super muddy) and my go to shoes are Cross Country flats because they are light, minimalist, fast and CHEAP. I was struggling with the purchase of INOV-8’s or IceBugs because of the price, and the unknown of fit, weight, feel, etc. I am always looking for a high quality shoe for a solid price, as I want to feel I am getting the value for my dollar. The Asics Runnegade’s were on my radar and at under $75 with some discount codes, I chose them as my new racing shoe.
Shoe: Without getting into a huge amount of detail, these shoes have a 6mm drop, weigh 9.2 oz and the trademarked Solyte midsole. That is about as deep as my real shoe technical knowledge goes, so the rest is about look and feel of the actual shoe. This shoe is a CROCODILE! It has a rough exterior that looks much more abrasion resistant than a lot of my trail runners and any other shoes I have seen on the market today. The sole is just as deep and just as mean as the leading competitors, and the sock liner is a bit of out of the box thinking. As with most brands the laces are junk, but the lace-eyes are reinforced with solid plastic and not just the shoe material.
Fit: I am not smarter then the people that sell these shoes, and they recommended a size 11, with my best fitting Reebok SubLite Duo’s being a size 10. I got these in the mail, and in the evening, after a day of being on my feet all day I slipped them on. They felt surprisingly light, but fit, and was afraid they were going to be to big because of my swollen feet. I went ahead and decided to try them out the next morning (6 mile tempo run with 2-3 obstacles every .5 mile). The next morning I slipped them on, and they seemed to fit like a glove, still. I was surprised at the comfort and stability of my foot in the shoe. The “sock liner/built in gator” held my foot in place through the entire run with little to no in shoe foot travel. They fit perfect throughout the entire run, with no blisters or point of rubbing or contention. Tons of room in the toe box, and a feel of the ground beneath you that you wouldn’t think you would get with a 6mm drop shoe. The only thing I am now cautious of with fit, is sever downhill running, and if my toes will constantly jam into the front of the shoe (time will tell).
Performance: The shoes slipped right on and it was off to the races. I knocked out my 6 miles tempo run and the shoes didn’t break a sweat, and they didn’t abuse my feet. They ate up the dry ground, and seem to be begging for a softer ground to dig through. The only thing that slowed them down over, under or through the obstacles were me, and they have now knocked out over 60 obstacles in two different workouts. The only thing I found as a decent difference was the slippage on a wet barkless tree, but then again almost nothing has traction on that.
Time will Tell: The couple of scenarios I am waiting for now is a significant and detailed trail run, which will be coming shortly (10+ miler), and a solid amount of water to come in and out of the shoe. I have already had a decent amount of water in them, and they drained well, but I need to better understand how they perform when introduced to water over and over again for several miles.
Overall: The ASICS GEL-Fuji Runnegade are a CROCODILE, mean, nimble, and surprisingly quick for as big as they look! Between the tough outer, the smooth but massive lugs to help dig into but shed mud, to the liner that although looks odd performs superbly well at keeping “stuff” out. I could not be happier to choose a shoe from a leading running company, that understands a runners needs and is designed for the off road and OCR athlete. All at under $75!
NOTE: I will be racing in these at Battlefrog Carolina on 4/25/15!