Asics Alpine XT Review Facts
With trail running growing in popularity, athletic wear brands are releasing their own lines of shoes that can withstand use on rough terrains. A common struggle that these brands seem to have is finding the perfect balance between protection and agility. Asics seems to have found this balance with their Alpine XT model. Thanks to its careful design and specially engineered materials, this flexible shoe gets the runner safely across dirt roads and rocky terrains yet easily transitions onto paved roads and everyday surfaces without feeling bulky. Its adaptive wear also makes it an excellent choice for beginning trail runners, as it gives them a lightweight fit and allows them to gradually progress towards more rugged landscapes.
The Alpine XT’s outsole features a trail-optimized design consisting of semi-structured gripping lugs placed throughout most of the foot. These multi-directional grippers allow the runner to easily move across dirt roads and mountainous terrains, providing an exceptionally strong hold while going up or downhill. Reviewers appreciate that, despite its proficiency on rugged landscapes, it can easily transition to paved roads and standard gym equipment. The outsoles on many trail running shoes don’t typically perform on everyday surfaces, so this makes the Alpine XT an especially good choice for beginners.
Created by Asics, SpEVA is created by combining standard EVA
foam with the material used in rubber balls. The result is a midsole that retains the same amount of shock absorption but has 20% more rebound and increased durability. This makes it the perfect choice to construct the full length of the Alpine XT’s midsole. Not only does it keep the runner properly supported and propelled forward while on rugged terrains, but it is also able to retain its shape for much longer. To provide better balance
, the midsole’s medial and lateral sections are slightly raised near the heel. A textile-topped footbed is also included for additional cushioning and can be switched out in place of a customized insole if need be.
Asics’ Airmesh material constructs the Alpine XT’s upper, allowing for a breathable wear without letting dirt or debris get into the shoe. Synthetic overlays are fused into this material to provide necessary structure and are thicker around the heel and at the toe for greater protection. Padding around the collar and tongue provide added support and comfort while ensuring that the foot is kept in place. Added durability comes in the form of stitching at the lacing
eyelets and around the collar. Finally, a pull tab is fixed onto the tongue for easier insertion and added stability.
The average weight of a men’s Alpine XT is between 11 oz and 13 oz, while the average weight for women’s models is in the range of 8 oz to 10 oz. This is standard for a trail running shoe, as the added protective features typically come with extra weight. That said, reviewers state that this model feels surprisingly light during their runs. Not only did they feel completely unrestricted on forest and mountain trails, but they never felt slowed down or interrupted when transitioning onto paved roads.
Aside from protection and durability, one of the top qualities that trail runners look for in their shoe is a breathable wear. The Alpine XT’s Airmesh upper features ventilation pores that allow for continuous airflow
without letting dirt and debris enter the foot chamber. It provides essential temperature and moisture control, as hotspots are eliminated and sweat is easily wicked away. Those who enjoy summertime trail running can depend on this shoe to keep them cool and dry throughout their activities.
For the most part, reviewers find the Alpine XT to be incredibly comfortable. The SpEVA midsole provides the perfect amount of shock absorption as the textile footbed feels soft and cushiony underneath their foot. The Airmesh upper, along with its soft inner sleeve, keeps the foot cool and dry. Even the tongue and collar are padded to give further support and prevent irritation that may be caused by tight lacing. There is, however, one unfortunate downside. Consumers have noticed that Asics is gradually reducing the size of their newer models, opting for a narrower fit with each new release. This means that those with wider feet will have to purchase this model a full size up.
Though trailing shoes are all about a protective and long-lasting wear, it’s an appealing design and color pattern that truly draws buyers in. When it comes to the Alpine XT, reviewers are especially attracted to the contrasting textures of its mesh upper and synthetic overlays as well as its use of accent colors. As with all of their shoes, Asics’ signature striped design is featured on both sides. While this shoe is mostly available in neutral colors
, a brighter hue can usually be found within the stitching and on the outsole for that much-needed pop. Men can choose between black/yellow, grey/black, and blue/lemon yellow. Women’s sizes can be found in fuschia/purple, black/grey/pink, grey/blue, and grey/yellow.
Though there is very little information about how durable the Alpine XT’s outsole
is, the fact that its rubber compound is engineered specifically for trail running already indicates its high level of sturdiness. Its SpEva midsole is engineered to not only provide more bounce than standard EVA foam but also to better retain its shape and resist degradation. The unrestrictive nature of its Airmesh upper ensures that there will be less damage caused by excessive usage. Stitching is also placed around the eyelets and collar, usually in a contrasting color, to ensure that the overlays stay put and won’t wear down quickly.
While it doesn’t appear to be a particularly protective shoe, the Alpine XT still does a decent amount of work shielding the runner from injuries
and the elements. It all starts with its outsole, which keeps the runner stabilized on rough terrains and shields them against any sharp objects they may step on. Its midsole design further enhances this balance, as its medial and lateral sections are slightly raised near the heel. The breathable nature of its upper works to reduce the likelihood of infections while still keeping dirt and debris out of the foot chamber. Finally, the synthetic overlays are much thicker around the heel and at the toe to strengthen stability and guard the foot against impact. It is, however, unable to protect the runner from wet conditions. Its upper is not water-repellent, and tests show that it has poor traction over wet surfaces.
It’s extremely important for all trail running shoes to have high responsivity. Not only does its outsole provide a strong grip on dirt and rocky terrains, but it can easily transition onto paved roads without feeling bulky. Compared to the commonly used EVA foam, this shoe’s SpEVA midsole is engineered to give the runner 20% more bounce with each step. The Airmesh material constructing its upper provides an unrestricted wear and quickly targets hotspots to keep the foot cool and dry. Due to its inconsistent traction and lack of water repellency, however, this shoe is not intended for use on wet conditions.
Reviewers seem to be split when it comes to the Alpine XT’s level of support. Its heel-to-toe drop is only 6mm, and its overall platform height is a few millimeters shorter than an average running shoe. Some runners find it substantial enough for trailing and even enjoy how close to the ground it lets them feel. Others believe it's too low and leaves them feeling vulnerable to injuries and accidents. They do agree that its poor traction on wet surfaces leaves a lot to be desired.
What makes the Alpine XT a truly unique trail running
shoe is its versatility. Reviewers can safely run across dirt roads, through forests, and over rocky terrains with ease. Yet they can just as easily wear this shoe on paved roads and even at their local fitness center without feeling impeded. This is thanks to the placement of its outsole’s gripping lugs, which face different directions to ensure a stronger grasp yet are streamlined enough that they don’t feel bulky. Where this model falls short, however, is its performance on wet surfaces. Runners notice that they lose their traction while running in slick conditions, and there is no information stating that its upper is water-repellent.
Across most online outlets, the Alpine XT runs for $100. Compared to many of Asics’ other models
, which can cost up to $250, this is a huge bargain. It is also considerably less than most other trailing shoes on the market, which is yet another quality that makes it the perfect choice for beginners. Those who still wish for a cheaper price can easily find deals on Amazon or eBay, so long as they check the reviews before making a purchase.
For the most part, the Alpine XT’s traction
is extremely reliable. Its lug pattern provides a powerful grip on dirt roads and rocky terrains, yet it’s streamlined enough to be used on paved roads. Several reviewers have even worn this model to the gym and never felt impeded or weighed down. However, a major disappointment for runners is this shoe’s surprisingly poor traction on wet surfaces. Considering that this is meant to be on outdoor terrains, and it otherwise performs incredibly well, it’s a wonder to many why Asics did not do more to correct this issue.
Most trail shoes are so centered around durability and protection that they lack the flexibility that runners need. The Alpine XT is able to balance out all three of these aspects perfectly, safeguarding the runner while still allowing more agile movements. Made from a combination of standard EVA foam and rubber
ball material, the shoe’s SpEVA midsole allows full range of motion without losing its original shape. The shoe’s Airmesh upper allows the foot to move freely, relying only on synthetic overlays and the shoe’s lacing system for support. And the trail-optimized outsole provides a sturdy yet pliable base on which the runner can move safely without feeling too restricted.
The Alpine XT does not offer added structure to those with flat feet or any form of pronation. All of its stabilizing qualities are built to add structure to the shoe and ensure the runner’s balance on rough terrains. The placement of its outsole’s gripping lugs ensures safe travels as the wearer runs across forest and rock trails, even as they climb uphill or downhill - yet they can always easily transition onto paved roads. Raised sections of its midsole work to balance the foot and avoid possible slips and falls. The synthetic overlays of its upper are substantially thicker around the heel, acting as a heel counter to keep the foot locked in place.
The Alpine XT’s heel-to-toe drop
is only 6mm, with a heel height of 18mm and a toe height of 12mm. Considering that the average running shoe has a drop of 10mm, buyers seem to be split over this feature. While some reviewers feel that it provides more balance when running across rocky terrains, others feel that it is too close to the ground and does not provide enough support. According to some reviewers, this feature also makes it an excellent shoe for weight training
. The wearer can keep their feet flatter against the floor, yet a good amount of heel support is still given.
- Trail-optimized rubber outsole
- SpEVA midsole for a greater bounce
- Airmesh upper for a breathable wear
- Synthetic overlays for protection and structure
- Padded collar and tongue
- Neutral and bright color schemes
- Good for use on trails and paved roads
- Lower than average platform
An adaptive trail running shoe that works just as well on rocky terrains as it does on evenly paved roads, Asics’ Alpine XT has proven to be as versatile as it is protective and breathable. Its outsole can easily adapt to multiple surfaces. Its SpEVA midsole is specially engineered to provide more bounce with each stride. And its Airmesh upper targets hotspots while still keeping out dirt and debris. There is still some room for improvement, such as its poor traction on wet surfaces and narrow fit that could make it unbearable to wear. But, overall, Asics has managed to create a near-perfectly balanced running shoe that could help beginner trail runners better acclimate themselves to this sport.