The ground. It’s hard, and full of knobbly and sharp bits that want to hurt my feet. I don’t really count myself as a fan of the barefoot running craze which is sweeping the outdoor industry at the moment and I specifically bucked that trend when I asked Asics to send over a pair of their most cushioned trail running shoes to help get me running more happily. You see, I generally hate running. I’d rather be doing anything than running. But I was determined to try and wanted some shoes to break my feet in gently. Asics provided a pair of their Sensor shoes and I’ve been putting them through their paces over the last few weeks.
First you’ll notice that they’re yellow. In reality they’re so yellow that a blind person could see them from several miles away. This is not a pair of shoes for those who are self-conscious or like the subtle things in life. Not a problem for me because if I’m ever out running people tend to stare at my bright red face and get distracted by my wheezing.
Secondly you’ll notice when you turn the shoes over that the soles seem to have been carved out of giant chunks of rubber, leaving enormous valleys for mud to channel out through. They’re chunkier than a Dairy Milk and actually pretty grippy out on the trail (note: it’s been fairly dry during testing).
The Asics Sensor features a host of marketing-speak technologies which all sound very impressive, so let’s work our way up from the sole and see what’s what.
The sole itself is indeed very chunky and supposedly compounded with a more durable rubber in the places that it would wear more readily (the edges, if colour is anything to go by). The sole seems to have been designed in such a way that it hinges around the black channels, making for a shoe with a lot of flex and roll. I quite like this, and in combination with what Asics call their ‘Impact Guidance System’ you can feel that the Sensor wants to encourage you to roll and run. Asics state that they designed this midsole to compliment, not correct the way you run, and as someone with an atypical gait I can appreciate that.
There are great lumps of Asics Gel in the heel and forefoot of the Sensor, which is what provides most of the impact protection. Many years ago when I worked in a sports-shoe shop, Asics Gel shoes were the choice of anyone with Shin Splints, and I can see why; they cushion amazingly well.
The lacing system on the Sensor is really secure and didn’t feel like it was slipping or ‘giving’ under duress. The lace-holes towards the top of the shoe in particular grip the laces fast and keep the pressure where you want it. The two grey lace holes are actually connected to a separate inner-layer of the upper which feels like it adds a lot of structure as it wraps over your foot.
The Sensor has big pads of what feels like memory foam around the ankle. This makes for a snug fit that keeps out some of the dirt you’ll inevitably kick up.
In wear, the Sensor is cool and breathable. It didn’t feel too sweaty after a fairly hot, humid few weeks doesn’t smell too bad either. Your feet aren’t directly exposed to the elements at any point, but the shoe, despite its padding, feels light and airy.
Lastly, the Sensor features a lace pocket to stop you getting caught up on any snagging objects off-road.
SUMMARY: The Asics Sensor is a trail running shoe for those who don’t mind feeling disconnected from what they’re treading on. They’re flexible enough and I found them supremely comfortable with enormous amounts of underfoot cushioning. They also complimented my supinating gait well, being designed as a neutral shoe. They’re not for everyone though, with their brash colours, high price and lack of ‘feel’.
Note: as per all footwear reviews, never buy before you try a pair yourself.