Asics may not be a $40 Billion brand that Nike is, and its $3.5 B revenue doesn’t even come close to adidas’s $14 Billion in sales.
The Japanese sportswear company is often perceived as a running shoe brand, it’s a lot more than that. Going by Asics’s annual reports, the performance running category contributes to just 31% of its total sales.
While 31% is by no means a small number, it also tells us that nearly 70% of the business comes from other categories.
Asics is one of the very few brands that’s been successful in multiple product categories, including apparel – which is usually a tough nut to crack. Their Onitsuka Tiger sub-brand is an established player in the lifestyle sneaker industry.
In other words, Asics has a product for nearly every sportswear-related need. The Japanese brand also gives its running shoe line the same treatment, so you’re likely to find a pair that meets your performance requirements.
That includes waterproof and water-resistant running shoes.
If there’s one thing that Asics is very good at, it’s consistency. Just look at some of their long-continuing models. The Kayano has been around for nearly three decades, and both the Cumulus and Nimbus are over two decades old.
The same consistency also ensures the existence of Gore-Tex running shoes in their catalog. For example, a GTX version of the GT-2000 and Cumulus is always available for sale, along with several others.
Recently, Asics also introduced a water-resistant pack called ‘AWL’ – short for All Winter Long.
The AWL upper isn’t backed with a Gore-Tex membrane, but relies on a water-resistant shell that’s also insulated for warmth. The upper is also reinforced with layering, and the toggle-based lacing makes the cinching process easier for gloved hands.
However, given its cold-weather bias, an AWL running shoe cannot be used all-year around.
Over the years, we’ve noticed that there’s a lag between the release dates of the regular (non-waterproof) model and its Gore-Tex version. For example, the GTX version of the Cumulus 23 arrived nearly six months later, and the waterproof version of the GT-2000 10 is just showing up in the stores and online.
As with all our product guides, we’ll keep updating it as newer versions appear.
Solereview recommends: Asics Cumulus 23 GTX
If Solereview had to pick just one shoe out of Asics’s entire running assortment, it’s probably going to be the Cumulus. This everyday neutral trainer can do it all.
The Flytefoam midsole is comfortable enough for any distance, yet doesn’t feel slow at all. The dual-density foam stack helps with smooth and consistent transitions. This makes the Cumulus versatile for even higher-paced runs.
And the 10-mm heel-to-toe offset makes the Cumulus suitable for runners of all experience levels – be it novice, intermediate, or expert.
From the outside, it’s hard to tell that the knit mesh shell is backed with a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane. But it is – and that makes the Cumulus GTX excellent for rainy days and walking on damp roads.
Like the standard Cumulus, the comfortable upper features a plush foam-filled heel and tongue for a secure fit.
1) Asics GT-2000 10 GTX
If you haven’t already read it, here’s our review of the standard Asics GT-2000 10. There are several improvements on this popular stability running shoes, and that includes a softer ride and more comfortable interior.
Just know that the GT-2000 10 has been thoroughly refreshed for 2021-22, so the GT-2000 9 is the last in the series to advertise the ‘Duomax’ medial post.
The GT-2000 10 also has a firmer wedge that’s co-molded into the main midsole, but it’s not visible (or advertised) on the outside.
The Gore-Tex variant has an identical ride character, but it has two things the regular GT does not – an internal gusset and a waterproof Gore-Tex lining.
Like most GTX Asics running shoes, only a small Gore-Tex label on the outside indicates that the knit upper is waterproof. Else, the fit and feel of the upper is a bit stiff but doesn’t lack interior comfort.
The plastic midfoot shank of the GT-2000 9 has been replaced with outsole rubber. The result is a smoother ride, but with a slight hint of cushioning bias – just like the GT-2000 9.
Both the GT-2000 models are great everyday trainers that run firmer than the Cumulus.
2) Asics Pulse 13 GTX
The waterproof Asics Pulse 13 GTX’s $110 price makes it excellent value for money. There aren’t many Gore-Tex running shoes in this price band, and the Pulse is also surprisingly well put together for its price.
Over the waterproof GTX membrane is a ripstop-like mesh upper with fused details for protection and support. A fused toe bumper protects the toes, and a stiff internal heel counter prevents slippage.
The secure upper has a quilted tongue and heel, along with a 6-row lacing setup. Instead of Flytefoam, Asics uses another EVA foam variant called Amplifoam that delivers sufficient everyday cushioning. A five-piece outsole adds traction and durability in high-wear and transition areas.
3) Asics Trabuco 9 GTX
We prefaced this product guide by saying how good Asics was at offering something for everyone. So it’s somewhat of a letdown to see that Asics hasn’t figured their go-to trail running shoe yet. You know, the Asics equivalent of the Saucony Peregrine or Brooks Cascadia.
Within Asics’s small catalog of trail running shoes, the Trabuco 9 tries hard to fill that gap. The Flytefoam midsole packs sufficient ride comfort for high-mileage trail runs, and the specially-formulated outsole rubber offers trail-worthy grip.
The presence of a medial post makes the Trabuco a unique trail running shoe. The firm wedge makes the midsole supportive, but without a noticeable cushioning bias that we’ve come to associate with motion-control running shoes.
The closed mesh and decent coverage of fused overlays make the Trabuco 9’s upper secure and protective on the trails. And of course, let’s not forget the Gore-Tex membrane that justifies the Trabuco 9 GTX’s existence on this page.
4) Asics Sonoma 6 GTX
The Pulse 13 GTX offers great value for money within Asics’s road-running catalog, and the Sonoma does the same for the trail running category. The waterproof $100 Sonoma 6 GTX has all the functional bits that a basic trail running shoe is supposed to have.
A firm, single-density EVA midsole makes the Sonoma cushioned yet stable on the trail; a full rubber outsole with widely-spaced lugs provides reliable off-road traction.
The Gore-Tex equipped upper design is a mix of the old and new. We say that because the toe-bumper and heel overlay gets a traditional treatment; they are stitched on instead of being fused. However, both construction methods achieve the same result. The overlay-reinforced upper protects and secures the foot on the trail.
5) Asics Kayano 28 AWL
Both the Kayano 28 AWL and Pulse 13 AWL are not waterproof, but water-resistant without a Gore-Tex membrane. As mentioned at the start of this guide, AWL (All Winter Long) models are winterized doppelgängers of the road versions.
Though the Kayano 28 AWL shares the same midsole as the standard Kayano 28, the upper is insulated, water-resistant, and easier to lace due to the bungee lacing with a toggle closure. The reflective and florescent accents make the shoe visible during low-light conditions.
Even though a Gore-Tex membrane is absent here, the AWL upper offers a respectable level of water resistance. The molded overlays on the front and side block the water, and the closed waffle-patterned mesh is water-repellant as well.
Interestingly, Asics does not charge a price premium for the feature-laden Kayano AWL. Nice.
6) Asics Pulse 13 AWL
Just know that a Cumulus 23 AWL also exists, but its availability is scarce. The Pulse 13 AWL is the second-best thing. It shares the same midsole with the standard Pulse 13, so it delivers an identical level of ride comfort that works for everyday runs.
The upper is highly water and wind-resistant, thus making the Pulse 13 AWL suitable for winter runs. Given the insulated upper design, we don’t recommend using them during the summer season.