The gecko XT is an all new trail model from Asics. The Gecko XT weighs in at 10.2 ounces and has a 6mm heel to toe drop. The main feature being marketed by Asics is the “Geckotrack” and “Asicgrip”.
As you can imagine these both have to do with grip and tread. Asics called this shoe the Gecko for a reason.
They’ve developed a proprietary blend of rubber that promises to in their words “provide high grip on various terrain, without compromising durability”.
After reading about the shoe I was excited for it to arrive and see if the hype I had been reading about was real.
The first thing I noticed about the shoe was the lace garage. This is a feature I’m used to seeing in Salomon trail shoes so I will admit that it seemed strange seeing it incorporated into an Asics shoe.
It did make me think that maybe Asics really did put a valid effort into creating a trail running shoe. A lot of previous Asics trail models seemed to be more of an afterthought.
Taking an upper, adding some lugs to the outsole, and calling it a trail shoe. I checked out the outsole of the Gecko XT and saw the reverse lugs and tread. There was nothing too exciting or surprising here, the lugs seemed small.
The cushion was not to soft and not to firm. It was unremarkable but decent. It had me thinking that maybe the magic was in the rubber.
Asics Gecko XT Sole Unit
The midsole of the Gecko XT uses flytefoam. This is a foam designed to provide exceptional bounce back and responsiveness no matter the distance. The shoe also features a rock plate in the forefoot for protection.
This was my first experience running on flytefoam and I found the cushioning to be pretty good but felt there was room for improvement.
The shoe is responsive but the rock plate in the forefoot gives it some firmness. I am a fan of highly cushioned shoes and did feel more cushioning would have made for a more comfortable ride.
The outsole of this shoe was supposed to be the main attraction. It features both “Asicgrip” and “Geckotrack”. Asicgrip is the proprietary rubber they’ve developed to provide excellent grip.
Geckotrack refers to the lug pattern and reverse lugging to provide grip on both uphill and downhill trail surfaces.
I would describe the grip provided as standard. It does well on smooth trails, and faulters some over technical terrain with rocks, roots and mud. There really is nothing that sets it apart from any other trail shoe.
The lugs are small and almost have a flat appearance, so the grip provided is standard. There is no special ingredient in the rubber that makes it grip better than any other trail shoe.
The combination of the midsole foam, rock plate, and outsole make for a smooth but firm ride with decent grip.
Asics Gecko XT Upper Info
Asics uses seamless construction in the design of the upper. The mesh is thin yet resilient and the shoe drains well after being soaked.
The Gecko XT also sports an anti-gravel tongue that is gusseted to provide a comfortable fit and prevent dirt and debris from entering the upper. The tongue also has a “lace garage” for storage of your shoe laces after tying.
In terms of fit, the upper loosely hugs the midfoot and provides adequate room for the toes. The upper is made of a thin mesh material that is breathable and dries quickly after becoming wet.
There is a small amount of material overlaid along the base of the upper where it meets the midsole to reinforce stress points and provide some protection.
I would have liked to have more protection built into the upper on technical trail runs but found it to be adequate on well groomed trails. As simple as it sounds, my favorite part of this upper was the “lace garage”.
There are hundreds of shoes out there with decent fitting uppers, but there are very few with this feature. It is one of those things that isn’t necessary but is nice to have.
Obviously, you wouldn’t ever purchase a shoe based solely on this feature but it definitely makes the shoe stand out a bit more when comparing.
The upper was comfortable for the most part. I experienced no rubbing or irritation from the midfoot forward but did find the heel cup and materials used to cause some rubbing.
I ended up getting some heel blisters on my first few runs in the shoe. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten blisters in this area while testing a shoe until the Gecko XT.
Asics Gecko XT Conclusions
The Gecko XT is in my opinions Asics best attempt yet at creating a real trail shoe. They’ve incorporated various technologies and features into the shoe that exhibit this. Some of these features work as intended and some of them fall short.
What we are left with is more of a road to trail shoe that incorporates some features that you typically find in a more refined trail shoe (lace storage, rock plate).
It is decent overall but there is room for improvement. I can’t help but wonder what this shoe would be like if they added some 4mm lugs onto the outsole and reinforced the upper.
The Gecko XT is an option to consider but I couldn’t recommend it over a shoe like the Nike Air Zoom Wild horse 4.
The two shoes are in the same price range, but the wild horse provides much better protection in the upper and slightly better grip.
We purchased a pair of Asics Gecko XT from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.