ASICS Gel Fujisetsu 3 G-TX Winter Shoe with Studs Review

In the last 2-years I have tested many pairs of winter running shoes. By ‘winter’ shoes I mean specific shoes that are designed to handle snow and more particularly, ice. A winter shoe for me must have studs.

Read about Running on Ice Here


Key brands are VJ Sport and Icebug. The duo have very much paved the way for shoes that are designed, not surprisingly, for Scandinavian winter. There are multiple shoe reviews on this website, two stand outs are the VJ Xero and the Icebug Route. Ironically, the Route was a very much entry level shoe (which I believe they do not make anymore) and despite some flaws it was my ‘go-to’ shoe in the winter of 2020 and early 2021 and the VJ Xero my shoe for shorter runs.
I had constantly been enticed by the ASICS Gel Fujisetsu 3 G-TX but a very good friend advised me against using them, they didn’t like them… Turns out they had used a previous version and not the third incarnation of the shoe.


Cut to the chase, they are superb!


Every winter shoe I have used, and in particular the ones I have liked have always been about 80/85% perfect. The VJ Xero not cushioned enough and a touch narrow, the Icebug route great comfort, grip and feel but a cold shoe.

Read How to Find your Running Shoe Size and Fit Here


The ASICS Gel Fujisetsu 3 G-TX has hit my 100% mark. It really has been a revelation and surprisingly, for me, Asics have produced a really incredible winter shoe.


The shoe is cushioned and has great comfort with front and rear cushioning that provides the right amount of ground feel in either soft snow or hard ice. I have struggled to find the exact measurement of front/ rear cushioning but have been informed (tbc) it is 18mm front and 28mm rear. FlyteFoam and layered GEL offer the protection and it works great.


A 10mm drop is high these days and just like the VJ Xante (same drop) I had concerns it was too high. Not so. The drop has not even been a consideration. On a recent 23-mile run in fresh snow and hard ice, the ASICS Gel Fujisetsu 3 G-TX performed perfectly with great comfort.


The upper is Gore-Tex and yes, I am am well aware of the downsides of Gore-Tex in a run shoe. But 6-hours of running in -10 in thick snow and I had warm feet all-day. Just make sure you use excellent socks such as Merino. In addition, I also use a barrier sock such as SealSkinz. Getting socks right is personal, the above works for me.


The outsole is the star of the shoe with 14 studs placed strategically from front to rear. There is no missing grip despite run style. I have had top-notch grip on every run and complete confidence the shoe will do its job. In snow and ice, there is definitely a gait change when running and most certainly, the flatter you can place your foot, the more grip you will have as you will engage more studs. But, running uphill, when just the forefoot is engaged, and the 8/9 front studs really provide incredible traction.

The 5 rear studs work exceptionally well for heal strikers with an emphasis on the outer of the shoe, 3 studs on the edge, 1 in the middle and the other to the inside middle.


The tongue has a sock-like fit and and is well padded adding the overall comfort of the shoe. It also has a lace garage at the top to stowaway the lace after fastening. Five sets of eyelets and good laces allow the shoes to be pulled tight with really excellent foot-hold, added to with a plush and comfortable heal area that gave me no slipping. There is no option to lock-lace or similar.
The toe box is wider, definitely a 3 and edging to a 4 on a 1-5 scale, 5 being wide. Importantly there are no seams or stitching in this area so comfort is top-notch, especially in the propulsive phase. A good toe bumper adds to the protection.


Weight is on the heavier side, this is typical on a winter shoe as they need to be more robust, plus you have the addition of the studs and a more substantial outsole to hold them, my EU45 were 338g. A note on sizing, I am always EU44 but for the Asics I chose EU45. The shoe does size a little smaller BUT I also knew I would be using Merino and SealSkin socks. The EU45 is perfect.


The shoe is neutral.


Colour-way is black and red which works really well, it’s a nice looking shoe.


Conclusion

Designed to enjoy running in the dead of winter, the ASICS Gel Fujisetsu 3 G-TX is equipped with several technical components that enhance the running experience in complex and demanding terrains. I have waited sometime to find a shoe that ticks all my winter boxes and this pair of Asics does that. There are no more excuses, it may have taken 3 versions to get it right but the features all combine to make this a stunning shoe: outsole studs, optimal grip, protection, comfort and great feel for the ground. Highly recommended.

Read about Winter Running Here

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

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DIY Winter Run Shoes – Spikes for Snow and Ice

Hoka One One Torrent 2 with 10 Best Grip studs

Winter running can be challenging for many reasons, but for most, conditions underfoot are a deciding factor if running outdoors is viable.

In all honesty, running outdoors is always viable, you just need the correct equipment.

For me, winter is arguable one of my favourite running seasons. I like the cold, brisk and dry air, I love running in the snow and YES, I love running on ice.

First and foremost, a specific winter run shoe with studs is always the best option. You can read an article, Running on Ice for more specifics.

Asics GEL-FujiSetsu 3 G-TX

However, for many, spending money on a winter run shoe can be prohibitively expensive. Don’t worry, a solution is at hand.

You can DIY your own winter run shoe.

TOP TIPS

  • Pick a shoe that is coming towards the end of its normal day-to-day run life.
  • Ideally, a shoe with a little more cushioning is a good idea as you will be screwing winter studs through the outsole and in to the cushioning of the shoe.
  • Check wear marks on the outsole. This will provide you invaluable information about you and your run style, importantly, it will tell you where you strike the ground. The is the place for the studs to go.
  • Plan on the outsole where you will add the studs in advance.
  • Take your time.

HOW TO?

I use a specific winter stud from Best Grip (code BG3040) which comes with 20 studs and the tool  for easy and convenient placement. The tool is made of two parts, the handle BG5000 and the BG4000 attachment which holds the stud when applying.

BG5000 Handle
BG4000 tool

If you already have the tool, you can purchase just the studs, the BG1000 has a thickness of 6mm and 6.2mm mounting depth which is ideal for most shoes.

BG1000 stud

20 studs provide 10 per shoe. I consider 10 to be a minimum and personally, I often prefer 14 or 16 depending on the shoe. My current specific shoe of choice for winter is the Asics GEL-FujiSetsu 3 G-TX (review to follow) which has 14 studs in a specific winter shoe with Gore-Tex upper.

Asics GEL-FujiSetsu 3 G-TX

I used a Hoka One One Torrent 2 for the purposes of this demo. This is a shoe that has served me well recently with 600km of use. It’s about ready to be shelved BUT it does have life left in it for winter.

The Hoka Torrent 2 is one of Hoka’s least cushioned shoes (why I like it) but it still has plenty of cushion to take studs.

You can see on the outsole how I am very much a forefoot runner with some supination. This makes it easy for me to decide where to place the studs. Of course, run style and technique does change in snow and ice, so, always make sure you have good distribution for added comfort and security.

Apply the screws one at a time. Ideally choose larger lugs that can host the screw better. Some outsoles will just not work, so think ahead.

Place the studs with at least 6 at the front and 4 at the rear. Typically, 3 rows of 2 works at the front and 2 rows of 2 at the rear, but one advantage of applying the studs yourself is that you can be specific to run style as tho where to place the stud of optimum grip.

ON THE CHEAP

If purchasing a specific winter stud such as the Best Grip is still a little more than you want to pay, you can purchase self drilling Hex Head screws (ideally slotted) ⅜ inch size #8 or #10 usually works.

I recommend pre-drilling pilot holes with a drill bit, maybe 1/16th in size. Make sure the shoe is held secure either by another person or ideally in a workmate or similar.

Drill the pilot hole slowly and obviously, make sure you go straight.

Once you have made pilot holes, you can then add the screws.

SUMMARY

A specific winter run shoe is the best option, without doubt. They are specific for the job and provide a great run feel and experience. However, spending upwards of £120 for another pair of shoes with a very specific use, is just too much for many. Therefore, adapting a used shoe for winter makes sense. It puts additional life in to a shoe and provides an option for winter running that would not have existed before.

Using a specific stud like the Best Grip (or similar) provides the next best thing to a specific winter shoe, with the added advantage that you ca actually apply the studs where you want them.

If spending money on a specific stud is still too much, Hex Head screws have been used for adapting shoes for a considerable time, they are tried and tested and while not as good as studs, they can do the job.

Of course, the final option is to use any run shoe and add a micro spike such as Nortec. A micro crampon has uses but they provide a less than desirable running experience.

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

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Icebug Route Winter Studded Shoe Review

Icebug are specialists at studded shoes, be that for orienteering, trail running or winter running. The ICEBUG ROUTE is considered an entry level shoe with a combination of features designed to appeal to experienced or novice runners. I have been using the Icebug Route in rotation with several winter shoes: VJ Sport Xante, inov-8 Arctic Talon, inov-8 OROC and notably, the Icebug Pytho 5.

Read articles on winter:

Winter Running HERE

Embrace Winter HERE

Fastpacking and Camping in Winter HERE

Clothing Layers HERE

The Icebug Pytho 5 is solid shoe, I wrote, “works exceptionally well as an ‘all-rounder’ and is sold as such, recommended for trail running, forest running, orienteering and winter ice running.” The Pytho uses BUGrip and so does the Route.

BUGrip is the secret weapon of Icebug winter shoes and it this technology that provides grip in the most demanding and slippery conditions. The outsole is made from a special rubber compound, there would be typically 15-19 studs inserted. The Pytho 5 has 17 and the Route a maximum 19. The studs work independently from each other and are not completely fixed. When weight is applied, the studs push in toward the surface of the sole. How far they are pushed in depends on the pressure exerted by the user and the resistance from the ground. Quite simply, the secret of running in studded shoes is ‘trusting’ the outsole to do its job. The more confident you are, the harder you place your foot and the more you believe in the outsole, the better the grip will be.

The Icebug Route has been somewhat of a revelation. And I say this as many of the selling points are not what I would typically look for in a shoe, notably, 12mm drop. I am a neutral runner and typically run in anything from 0 to 8mm drop.

Designed for winter road conditions, I have been using the Route on trails with rocks, tree routes covered in snow and ice, frozen lakes, iced pavements and iced single-track, so in summary, pretty much everything… I have not used them on mountain terrain.

The Route is light, for example, in comparison to the Pytho 5 they are 30g lighter and they feel it. There is a life in the Route that I did not expect and comparison to the Pytho 5, the feel is considerably more preferable.

Listed as a cushioned shoe with a comfortable feel, I can confirm the ride is very plush with great flex, bounce and still with a feel for the ground. The propulsive phase is very good with great flex around the metatarsals. The midsole is Bloom Foam, EVA with ESS stabilizer. I have not been able to find any measurements for front and rear cushioning, but based on other test shoes and experience, I would estimate 8mm front and 20mm rear – this is a guess though!

The upper is not insulated and this is a notable point, the shoes in sub-zero winter runs of snow and ice are noticeably colder than some of the competition. Top tip – I use neoprene socks as standard with temperatures below zero and this makes a huge difference, especially with the Route. Breathable is not a good selling point for a winter shoe. Made from 100% recycled polyester textile, the upper is very durable to winter conditions. Toe box protection is minimal. There are no reinforced panels on the upper and the shoe does not suffer from it.

The toe box is wide and spacious, ideal for a winter shoe allowing the toes to splay and move. You don’t want your toes squeezed in a shoe in cold weather, some space allows for blood flow.

The lacing is simple with 5 eyelets on either side and an optional lock-lacing eyelet at the top. Importantly, the laces really pull and hold the foot providing reassurance on any terrain.

The heel box is comfortable, holds firm, caused no abrasion and importantly, when going uphill, causes no slipping. It’s well-padded and very comfortable.

The insole is Ortholite Hybrid designed to create a cooler, drier environment inside the footwear.

The outsole is the star of the shoe and the 19 dynamic steel studs perform superbly adjusting to the terrain and conditions providing supreme confidence. Notably, when running on road sections lacking snow or ice, the Route is still comfortable and unlike other studded shoes, I don’t feel the studs coming through to the insole. It goes without saying, that running on roads or pavements without ice or snow should be kept to a minimum. It is easy to lose studs and the BUGrip outsole is designed to work effectively with 2 or 3 studs missing. It is possible to replace studs, you just need to contact Icebug for spares. Notably with studded shoes, they work remarkable well on trail providing exceptional grip on tree roots, rocks and other obstacle; they are not just for snow and ice.

Finally, the Route has a good look with a blue fade and yellow patterned overlay including the Icebug logo.

IN USE

True to size, the Route is immediately comfortable when you slide your foot in. There is little to distract in this shoe, quite simply, lace up and off you go.

The width in the toe box is notable but not so wide that you lose feel or precision when running on more technical terrain.

Comfort is immediately noticeable from the cushioning and not at the expense of feel for the ground or flex in the propulsive phase.

Considering the shoe has a 12mm drop, I have to say, the Route did not feel out of place and at all times, on every run, has felt comfortable. This has made me very curious and I still do not have an answer? Maybe the soft snow, ice and the mixture of conditions masks the higher drop? Ultimately, the only consideration is comfort, and the Route is extremely comfortable.

The studs have been superb at providing the required grip as and when required, noticeably, in comparison to some other studded shoes, I like the way the studs adapt to the terrain and pressure from the runner to provide the grip required only when needed. Don’t get me wrong, the studs don’t disappear when there is no snow or ice, they are just not as noticeable.

The upper is surprisingly not ideal for a winter studded shoe. It’s durable, however, it lacks warmth and insulation. So, make sure you use appropriate socks for conditions. I recommend Merino socks as a base layer with a warmer sock over the top. I personally use neoprene socks as I know they work and keep my feet warm. Other options would be Merino socks with a Gore-Tex sock. Top tip – Ideally take appropriate socks when trying for size. It’s not unusual with winter shoes taking a half-size larger to compensate.

CONCLUSION

Before I used the Icebug Route I had wrongly anticipated I would not like the shoe. After all, who uses 12mm drop shoes these days? I was completely wrong. Light, cushioned, great comfort, amazing outsole and room in the toe box all combined together to make the Route one of the best winter shoes I have used. Alongside the VJ Sport Xante, they are now one of my preferred shoes. I even prefer them to arguably, in Icebug terms, the better shoe Pytho 5 which in comparison feels a little over engineered and heavy. I must clarify here, the Pytho 5 is a really great shoe. One thing the Route has taught me, is not to let shoe specs and details get in the way of how a shoe feels and runs. The Icebug Route is a really excellent winter shoe that excels on hard iced trails. The downside of the shoe is the lack of warmth in the upper which can be compensated for with good socks.

To clarify, the shoes were provided to test, as are all the shoes that I review. But this is not a paid review.

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

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