Monday, June 01, 2009

Brooks ASR 6 trail shoe review

This shoe is the trail or “All Season” version of the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 9.

That's actually a light grey not white.
They don’t just slap a lugged trail outsole on it, for traction, and call it a trail shoe. They also changed the uppers to better handle the rain, dirt and mud. The upper is made of a tighter weaved material to keep out the mud and there’s some Hydrophobic foam in the tongue and toe that won’t get heavy when wet. The ASR 5 had a different upper pattern from the GTS. Now the ASR 6 has the same pattern in the upper and the same mid-sole as the GTS 9. That means it now has full length BioMoGo and all the other fancy gadgets that make the GTS so smooth and so popular. To me this made the shoe feel a little softer than the ASR 5’s.

Here is a video from Brooks about the new ASR 6.

So what did I think? As with any Brooks shoe I didn’t waste any time breaking them in. I tried them on when they came in the mail, just to make sure they fit OK, and then I was off and running and running.

On Saturday I ran the Blanchard Mt. Ultra which is 33 miles of trails and logging roads. It has a little of everything (except pavement). I normally wear a straight neutral shoe like the Defyance or the Cascadia. This shoe is more controlling than either of those and it felt a bit more controlling than last year’s ASR 5. It doesn’t twist as much as the Cascadia’s on uneven ground or screaming down switchbacks. That can be a good thing if you’re looking for a little more protection on those longer events. They were comfortable all day (5 hours and 44 minutes) with no blisters or hot spots. The shoe had plenty of cushion while running downhill on the logging road but if you kick a rock or root on a technical trail make sure it’s not on the top of your foot because the tighter weave might help keep out water and dirt but it doesn’t do much against roots. I have the bruise on the top of my foot to prove it.

I also ran another 12.5 miles the next day on Tiger Mt. in the ASR 6’s just to make sure I didn’t have any ill affects from the extra pronation control. I’m happy to report that there were no problems with my IT Bands, knees, hips or ankles. If you are a neutral runner feel free to give them a try.

The new improved lug pattern did a good job (better than the ASR 5) on the steep climbs and the steep descents. I didn’t slip once or fall once either day. There was very little mud but I didn’t have any problems there either.

I would definitely recommend this shoe.

You can see the new improved outsole is a little beefier.

ASR 5 and ASR 6

Yes they gave me plenty of protection against the rocky trail sections, even hammering downhill, but I don't step on any large pointy ones.


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Wayne.Tomenchok said...

Hi King,

Great Review!

I have run trails for several years in the Brooks ASR models. The first thing I noticed with the ASR 6 is the softer shoe.
I totally agree with your assessment; it reminds me more of the ASR 2 & 3 which I much preferred to the ASR 4 & 5 models.