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

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VJ Sport Xero 5 Winter Studded Shoe Review

If you read my shoe reviews on this website, you will already know how much I appreciate VJ Sport shoes, the trio of iRock3, XTRM and MAXx for me, set the bar when it comes to running shoes for mud, rock and mountain terrain. I have yet to find shoes by any other brand that matches them… Admittedly, Scott and inov-8 do come close with some recent offerings, in particular the Supertrac RC2 and the Terraultra G270.

In October 2020 I reviewed the Xante by VJ Sport, a winter studded shoe that excelled in snow and ice bringing all the many attributes seen in the MAXx and providing an awesome winter shoe. My only negative of the shoe was a 10mm drop BUT in all honesty, it never impacted on my running experience. I did mention however that a lighter, 8mm drop shoe was available, the XERO 5.

The Xante was a fit 4 with 10mm/20mm cushioning and 20 carbon steel studs, 5mm lugs and weighs in at 336g for my EU44/ UK9.5.

The Xero 5 is a fit 3 with 10mm/18mm cushioning and 20 carbon steel studs, 5mm lugs and weighs in at 294g for my EU44/ UK9.5. A significant weight saving between the two shoes considering the cushioning is only marginally different.

Further Reading:

Ice Running HERE

Winter Running HERE

Embrace Winter HERE

Winter Camping & Fastpacking HERE

The XERO 5 first off looks great in black and orange with a hint of red. Although listed as a fit 3, I personally have found little difference between the Xante and Xero and in all honesty, I would even say the Xero may be a little wider in the toe box? Feels more like a MAXx.

Light, agile and responsive, the Xero are a real pleasure to run in and not at the compromise of comfort.

Like the Xante, the upper is windproof and has a water-resistant upper but it is not insulated. While insulation is not absolutely necessary, it does make more sense, particularly for a winter shoe. Having said that, I compensate by using neoprene socks by inov-8 or Sealskinz. This ensures warm feet, even in the coldest and trickiest conditions.

VJ uses FITLOCK on the upper which provides the most secure and reassuring hold. The upper feels like a part of the foot and not something extra making sure there is no unwanted movement, especially important when running on any technical terrain. Integrated with the shoes lacing system, the FITLOCK tightens the shoe on the inside of the arch and provides incredible hold. It’s the best there is!

The 5mm Butyl outsole lugs grip both in the wet or dry and the addition of the 20 carbon steel studs provides the ultimate reassurance when running in snow and particularly ice. The secret of winter running is to trust the shoe, the outsole and the studs. The studs perform superbly gripping as and when required, the only time for caution is after rain and then a quick freeze. If the ice looks shiny and like water, take care, I have yet to find a winter stud that grips 100% in these conditions. In 99% of cases, the reassured application of your body weight pressing through the shoe and making contact with the ground is what provides the grip.

Sizing is true to size; I use an EU 44 for all VJ shoes and the Xero 5 sizes the same even when using a neoprene sock or thicker merino sock. The lacing system is so good, there is incredible flexibility to loosen or tighten and there is the option to lock lace if required.

Toe protection is excellent and the heel box, as on all VJ shoes is relatively minimal and unpadded but has superb and reassured hold.

IN USE

You need to trust studded shoes and once you do, you will just love running in winter conditions. Don’t be shy, make sure you plant your foot firmly and let the studs with the addition of applied body weight allow the shoe to grip.

The Xero 5 as with all VJ shoes just holds the foot wonderfully and there is an extra comfort in this incarnation that I have not found in the XTRM or MAXx.

The cushioning is balanced and the 8mm drop ideal. The 10/18 works well allowing feel for the ground without any compromise. Ice running can be tiring but I have found the Xero 5 a pleasure.

The upper does its job protecting from wind and water but insulation would be nice.

Summary

There is nothing not to like in the Xero 5, well, ok, maybe a lack of insulation… Other than a lack of insulation, this VJ offering is everything the Xante was and is but in a lighter and lower-drop package. Of course, winter shoes for many are a luxury, it all depends on how much snow or ice you get. But trust me, if you get regular ice, a specific bespoke shoe for winter running is so much better than any ‘add-on’ micro spikes. You get a true real run feel, and the Xero 5 give me everything that a XTRM would give me but with 20 carbon steel studs. I personally get to run for 3-5 months on snow/ ice so I can expect a pair of winter shoes to last one or two winters, for many though, winter shoes will last several years basically down to the fact that snow and ice does not really impact on the outsole. Just make sure you clean the shoes and dry correctly after use. And don’t worry if you see the studs go rusty, that is normal! 

I have been using five pairs of winter shoes with studs over the last 3-4 months and two are standouts, the Xero 5 being the winner and the Icebug Route a close second.

Light, agile and responsive, the the VJ Sport Xero 5 are a real pleasure to run in and not at the compromise of comfort. The 20 carbon steel studs provide grip in snow and ice conditions all with great cushioning and an 8mm drop. They are a winner!

These shoes were purchased to test, 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

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