Review: Asics Alpine XT 2

Written by

Henry Howard

Ultra runner and certified running coach.

This expert review is written by

Henry Howard

Ultra runner and certified running coach.
Henry Howard has come a long way since a teacher called him "molasses" during a fifth-grade track and field event.

Now living and running in Indiana, he has completed more than a dozen marathons and is a regular age-grouper in shorter distances.

Weight

We usually consider 10 ounces a "medium" weight for a running shoe: less than 10 and we are entering the lightweight category and above 10 the shoes start to be heavy.

Heel-to-toe drop

Heel drop is the measurement in mm of the difference between the height of the heel and the toe of the sole.

A lower drop (0mm - 5mm) promotes running on mid-foot and fore-foot, while higher drops (8mm - 12mm) are more traditional and meant to support a heel-striking gait.
Expert score
6/10

Quick overview

Best for
Regular training
Terrain
Best for moderate trails, technical trails
Grip
The Alpine XT 2 does not always provide appropriate traction on wet and slippery surfaces
Lack Traction
Average Traction
Provide Traction
Cushioning
The Alpine XT 2 offers just the right amount of cushioning
Little cushioning
Medium cushioning
Highly cushioned
Weight

10.5

 oz
298 g
Heel to toe drop
Drop

6

 mm

Pros and cons according to our running expert

Pros and cons according to our running expert

  • Ideal for new trail runners
  • Transitions well from trail to paved surface
  • Inexpensive
  • Lacks solid gripping on wet surfaces
  • Stiff, not very comfortable
  • The shoe is very narrow

Our verdict

The Asics Alpine XT 2 is a good, not great, option for new trail runners. While it transitions well from dirt trails to paved surfaces, the shoe lacks comfort or other amenities that even novice trail runners should be able to count on.

Introduction Asics Alpine XT 2

When I did my very first trail race many years ago, I had no idea trail shoes were a thing. My road shoes did not fare well on the slippery, muddy course.

Having an introductory pair of trail shoes like the Asics Alpine XT 2 would have made that race experience so much better.

Cushioning Type
The Alpine XT 2 is a perfect mix of... Read more responsive and plush: good shock absorption
Responsive
Plush
Cushioning Amount
The Alpine XT 2 offers just the right amount... Read more of cushioning
Little cushioning
Highly cushioned
Flexibility
The Alpine XT 2 is quite rigid and does not... Read more flex easily
Rigid
Flexible
Stability
The Alpine XT 2 has some inherent stability... Read more and support
Not particularly stable
Very stable

Impressions Asics Alpine XT 2

Asics Alpine XT 2 - Pair

Asics Alpine XT 2 – Pair

And that’s who Asics is targeting with this basic trail shoe — road runners who are interested in trying out trails.

The shoe (6 mm drop) is middle-of-the-road when it comes to weight, 10.5 ounces for an average men’s size.

Don’t think too much about the name, the Alpine XT won’t help you traverse the Alps.

It will, however, allow newer runners to experiment on smooth dirt trails, especially ones that are accessible via a sidewalk or other paved surface.

The shoes can handle basic dirt trails. But are not recommended for even moderate terrain, wet surfaces or rocky sections.

For beginner runners the shoe can work well because it does offer a balanced amount of protection and cushioning. The shoes are snug; some would say tight.

So if you are interested in trying out trails — and these shoes — definitely try them on first to get a good idea of the sizing.

Protection Asics Alpine XT 2

Asics Alpine XT 2 - Toe

Asics Alpine XT 2 – Toe

Beginner trail runners will likely experiment on basic trails, getting used to running on a new surface, some uphill runs and a windy, twisty path. The Alpine XT will be quite useful in this scenario.

However, as the runner becomes more comfortable with the great outdoors, he or she will find that trails are often technical. The shoe’s protective layers will only go so far.

For example, its toe box does not offer the protection of most other trail shoes I have tried.

Bottom line is that a jagged rock in the runner’s way could be more problematic with this shoe than most others on the market.

On the plus side, its gusseted tongue is useful in protecting the foot from loose dirt and debris.

The minimal overlays are tight but lock down the midfoot and heel while the lacing system works well to keep the foot secure.

Rockplate
The rock plate in the Alpine XT 2 does not... Read more adequately protect from sharp rocks on the
Not present
Solid protection
Lugs
The Alpine XT 2 does not always provide... Read more appropriate traction on wet and slippery
Lack Traction
Provide Traction
Water resistance
The Alpine XT 2 performs badly in wet weather... Read more conditions, getting wet rapidly and taking
Poor
Water Resistant

Durability Asics Alpine XT 2

Asics Alpine XT 2 - Top

Asics Alpine XT 2 – Top

The shoe’s durability is not in question within limits. It should last as long as the newbie runner needs to assess whether trail running is something they want to continue.

The shoe should easily get 300 to 500 or more basic trail miles.

Although my suspicion would be that most trail runners would be looking for a more sophisticated shoe by that point as they become more familiar with trail running.

But all is not lost with the Alpine XT — the shoes could easily be transitioned to a hiking shoe or one that is worn while doing yardwork.

Responsiveness & Speed Asics Alpine XT 2

Asics Alpine XT 2 - Lateral Side

Asics Alpine XT 2 – Lateral Side

Since these shoes are targeting newbies to trails, speed is not part of the equation.

However, when I pushed the pace on basic, flat, runnable sections, the shoes did not hinder me from hitting a sustainable fast pace.

That said these won’t make the runner faster, and they won’t provide the responsiveness needed for more challenging trail runs.

The lug pattern is intended to allow the runner to transition between roads and dirt trails, which is in line with its target audience.

However, that also means that the lugs don’t provide enough grip to suitably handle mud, snow, ice, roots and other conditions that more experienced trail runners covet.

Comfort and Fit Asics Alpine XT 2

Asics Alpine XT 2 - Closeup

Asics Alpine XT 2 – Closeup

The mesh upper is fairly comfortable, highly breathable and adaptable. It follows the rest of the shoe in being a lightweight solution for trail runners.

Asics uses what is calls an SpEVA full length-midsole foam with a sockliner that lies atop a lightweight midsole as an extra layer of comfort.

SpEVA provides lightweight underfoot cushioning, thanks to its blend of EVA and rubber ball material. What this means to the runner is that the shoe is designed to prevent an early breakdown.

The fit can be on the tight side, hence the advice to try out a pair first to ensure the correct fit. Or order a half-size larger, especially if you have wide feet.

Sizing
The Alpine XT 2 fits a little small: buy half... Read more a size bigger than usual
Buy size smaller
Buy size bigger

Conclusion Asics Alpine XT 2

Asics Alpine XT 2 - Heel

Asics Alpine XT 2 – Heel

The second version of the Alpine XT offers very few upgrades from the original. The SpEVA foam is the most notable addition while the upper has a new design aimed for a more secure fit.

Asics is likely spending more time in research and development of higher-end trail shoes.

They know what this model can do and who the intended consumers are — neutral pronators who are new to the trail running experience.

Simply put, this is a good, basic option for those looking to try out the trails. For anyone else, take a pass and look for trail shoes that are more in line with your specific needs.

This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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