Asics Gel Sonoma 3

Investing in a pair of great trail running shoes is important as terrain like boulders, soft dirt and rocks are very hard on the joints and knees of a runner. Without proper protection from this type of terrain, it can be easy to get injured. When you set out to look for the right trail shoe for your needs, it’s important to take into account a few different characteristics. You’re going to want to find a shoe that has a lugged sole to help with traction on unstable terrain, a durable construction to help eliminate pronation or supination, and an upper made of material that can withstand what you’re going to throw at it.

The Asics Gel-Sonoma 3 is made for the off-road adventurer in all of us. It is rife with features that will appeal to the hardiest trail runner. Though it may not be the best option for everyday wear, this model is a perfect choice for consumers who wish to take their runs out on the trails. It has all of the important characteristics listed above, and then some.

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Where to Buy
Road Runner Sports Link
See Deal
Where to Buy
Road Runner Sports Link
See Deal
Pros & Cons

-Can be used in the gym as well as on the trails
-Some reviewers with plantar fasciitis found that this shoe helped with their foot pain
-Aggressive tread is perfect for rugged trails
-Short break-in period
-Available in different widths


-Not totally slip-proof
-May not be the best choice for people who want to wear them off trails
-Sizing seems to be inconsistent
-Could use more arch support

Key Features
The outsole of this shoe is exactly what you’re going to want to look for in trail running footwear. The lugs are multi-directional, providing fantastic traction for rocky terrain as well as the stability required to traverse up and down hill. Some reviewers mentioned that the lugs of these are also larger than what one might expect, which may make them strange to use on pavement as they sort of act as a clamp when used on difficult terrain. The outsole also features the company’s AHAR technology which stands for Asics High Abrasion Rubber. This is just a fancy way of saying the midsole is fitted with a material that is meant to withstand a beating and will prove to be quite durable in the long-run.
The midsole of this trail shoe is made from a material called SpEVA – a durable material that helps to encourage the lifespan of the shoe. Nearly all of Asics shoes are made with this material because it’s lightweight and won’t add bulkiness to your footwear. SpEVA will also help to provide some energy return during your run or hike. This special material is known for its bounce-back qualities that will help you to feel that with every step you take, your shoe is helping you move forward. The midsole also features their Rearfoot Gel Cushioning System which has been the core of many of the company’s since the 1990’s. The tech behind this system addresses the heel strike motion. An athlete’s body is submitted to vertical impact that is three to five times as much as their own body weight during the heel strike motion of their runs. The gel cushioning found in many Asics shoes is present in the midsole to help reduce some of the shock as well as help to stabilize the foot during this very important portion of the stride.
The upper of this shoe is made from a durable material called Gore-Tex. This material is typically used a lot in athletic and sportswear as it provides a comfortable and water (and sweat) resistant experience. In the Asics Gel-Sonoma 3, the Gore-Tex layer in the upper acts as a membrane to keep your feet dry during rainy hikes or trail runs. This material will also help to let just the right amount of air in, ensuring that your feet will stay dry and comfortable during particularly grueling runs.
The men’s version of this shoe weighs in at 11.3 ounces, while the women’s is quite a bit lighter at 8.7 ounces. While the men’s version weighs a bit more than its predecessor – the Gel Sonoma 2 – it still isn’t as heavy of a shoe as other trail runners on the market. It’s important for both trail and running shoes to remain as lightweight as possible in order to reduce foot fatigue in the middle of your run or hike.
Thanks in part to the mesh material found in the upper of this shoe, the Gel Sonoma 3 offers a fair amount of breathability. The Gore-Tex membrane mentioned above also helps to maintain this shoes ability to breathe, aiding in keeping your feet dry and comfortable. No one wants to run in shoes that make their feet sweat the moment they step inside. There is also a fabric lining present inside this shoe that aids in breathability, helping to keep you cool and dry for your entire outdoor adventure.
Most reviews online raved about the comfort of this shoe. This is due in part to the gel cushioning found in the shoe, which should come as no surprise as the name of this model has the word “gel” right there in it. The sock liner is removable which is helpful for runners who require space for orthotics. But for those who don’t require that extra space, they will find that the OrtholLite sock liner featured in this shoe provides extra cushioning and support not found in many other trail runners available on the market. There were a few comments about the sizing being a little off and the shoe not fitting similar to its predecessor. It tends to fit a little snug which may not necessarily be a bad thing. You want your trail running shoe to fit you snugly without being too over-restrictive. Some reviewers mentioned that the toe box for this model is wide. This may not be an issue, depending on the size of your foot. But if you have narrower feet, you may want to try a different style.
The Gel Sonoma 3 are a stylish pair of shoes for the fashion-conscious adventurer in all of us. The men’s version is available in seven different color combinations, while the women have a few more options with eight different varieties to choose from. The men’s are available in color combos like blue/yellow, blue/green or even a classic black/grey while the women can choose from brighter options from pink/silver to lavender/black and blue/pink. The color options are a nice change from the usual earth tones that are available in traditional trail running shoes. The linework on the side of the Gel Sonoma 3 is pleasant to look at as well, making it a trendy option for the modern person.
This shoe practically screams durability from its Gore-Tex membrane upper to the gel cushioning in the rearfoot to the rubber outsole made for rugged terrain. Most customer reviews also attest to the Sonoma 3’s durability, some even going as far as to say the third generation of this shoe feels much more durable than its predecessor.
This is the shoe you want to have on you when you’re out running the trails or are faced with rugged terrain on a hike. Investing in a solid pair of trail running shoes such as the Gel Sonoma 3 will really help to save your knees and joints in the long run, especially if you fancy hitting the trails more than a few times per month. The multi-directional lugs found in the outsole will help to keep your feet stable on uneven terrain and prevent slips or skids that can cause pretty serious damage to a trail runner or hiker. The SpEVA in the midsole will give you some bounce-back to help with softer landings and more energy return during your runs.
The SpEVA found in the midsole of the Gel Sonoma 3 is where a lot of the responsiveness of this shoe comes from. Though, as we will cover in the Flexibility section, this isn’t the number one most flexible or responsive shoe on the market, but it does have that responsiveness from the cushioning in the midsole on its side. It responds well to the type of terrain it is meant to be used upon and consumers will find that the Gel Sonoma 3 will be their ally for the days they hit the trails.
The Gel Sonoma 3 is the shoe for you if you are a known under-pronator. If you tend to supinate when you’re out running (or even walking), you need to look for a shoe that offers a lot of cushioning to help take away some of the impact from your stride. Underpronators are very susceptible to certain types of running injuries like stress fractures, so it is important to invest in a shoe that’s cushioned in the heel and midsole to eliminate the likelihood of getting a shock-related injury.
The Gel Sonoma 3 is a trail running shoe, through and through. The outsole used for this model is considered trail-specific, meaning that it was made specifically for use on trails. Many reviewers commented that they used their Sonoma 3’s for work and play with no problem, but others found that the large lugs were too much to use for every day wear. Regardless, if you plan on using these shoes for their intended purpose – on the trails – you will find that they will serve their purpose well.
This is an affordable shoe with the price point being lower than other trail running options currently available on the market. Though the price fluctuates greatly depending on the size and color that you choose, you shouldn’t expect to pay more than $100, and in some cases, much lower than that.
As mentioned above in the outsole section, the Gel Sonoma 3 shoes provide excellent traction for rocky and rugged terrain. The treads are multi-directional which will help you gain traction on uneven surfaces and will really come in handy when traversing both up and down hill. Some reviewers stated that the outsole of this shoe makes it uncomfortable for day-to-day use, but if you’re looking for a shoe to give you traction on your outdoor adventures, this is it.
These aren’t the most flexible shoes on the market. Trail runners, by definition, are built stiffer than their city street counterparts. This is to help stabilize your feet on rugged terrain and uneven surfaces.
This is a very stable trail running shoe option. The Gel Sonoma 3 features Asics famous gel cushioning and SpEVA midsole material that offer trail runners fantastic support in terms of stability. You won’t feel unsteady as you traverse rugged terrain such as hills, boulders, loose dirt and rocks as long as you have these shoes on your feet. The reversed lugs, as previously mentioned, will also aid in stability and traction. The heel features a tread that angles downward to help you stay upright on downhill sections of trail.

All that said, a few reviewers mentioned that this shoe didn’t fare too well in wet terrain. The outsole doesn’t seem to be the best option for running on wet pavement or in a muddy climate.
The men’s version of this model features a heel height of 20mm and a forefoot height of 10mm, meanwhile, the women’s model has a heel height of 19mm and forefoot height of 11mm. This means there’s a drop of 10mm in the men’s version which is pretty on par with most running shoes available on the market today (barring the minimalist trend which is a whole subset on its own). The women’s model features an 8mm drop, which is still pretty close to standard in running shoes.
Key Features
-SpEVA midsole
-Outsole made for the trails
-Neutral arch support
-Designed for under-pronators
-HAR outsole
Bottom Line
Though the Asics Gel Sonoma 3 is a fantastic shoe for trail runners, it may not be the best option for people who live in wetter climates. It is made of a breathable fabric and the aforementioned Gore-Tex material will help keep your feet dry, however, the shoe doesn’t seem to stand up well in situations where the ground is wet. A few reviewers mentioned that they slipped on wet pavement. This may be something to take into consideration. If you plan on sticking to dry trails, you’ll be fine. But if you live somewhere like the Pacific Northwest where you’re going to encounter rain eight months out of the year, you may want to look elsewhere for a shoe you can wear during the wetter months.

If you’re looking for a spring or summer shoe or are one of the lucky ones who live where the weather is temperate all year, the Gel Sonoma 3 may just be the shoe for you. It will stand up well against rugged terrain while keeping your feet dry, protected, and free from injury.
Where to Buy
Road Runner Sports Link
See Deal
By Abbie Copeland
Last updated:
Where to buy
Best offer on: Aug. 03. 2021

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