Asolo Dominator Trail Running Shoe Review

Asolo Dominator Trail Runners: Comfortable, Stable, and Rugged

Asolo Dominator. Click to enlarge.By Rick Shandley

Trail running shoes like the Asolo Dominator are the reason trail running is fun. Running is fun, and so is churning up Indian Truck Trail. It’s just an old trail American Indians commuted on in early days of California. Now, this particular trail will also take the run right out of you and force you to simply hike continually upwards. Oh yeah, there’s the downhill run, but on the ascent you must pay the price with the loss of electrolytes and calories.

These Dominators have been the weekly off-road shoe for one of our testers going on several months, and still are used on a weekly basis because they are capable, comfortable, and very stable on that typical coastal mountain range kind of a fire road.

Other, more linear trails are also test tracks for some of the trail shoes we assess, including Dominator. Uphill, downhill, flat ground, Dominator really didn’t seem to bring out any weakness we could report. As you research for your next pair of running shoes, the only real characteristic that matters is whether a specific pair meets your individual needs…or not. All we can do is share our experience with a trail shoe we researched enough to think it would do a good job for us. And Dominator did a great job for us. Below are the some of the design elements that worked to make a trail shoe we enjoyed.

Propulsion Plus suspension technology is the layered combinations of EVA mid-sole chassis and other individual shock absorbing and foot support components through to the outsole. EVA is the closed-cell cushion component of the midsole that runs the full length of the foot which incorporates the footbed and transitions into the shoe upper. Taken together, all these components are a technical testimony to computer software capabilities and engineering skill to create five separate parts, all inter-locking and feather light.

Asolo Dominator heel structure. Click to enlarge.
This heel is real. Asolo Dominator’s heel structure holds the foot securely, and didn’t blister or hotspot…ever.

One of these five suspension components is the molded heel insert between the Propulsion 1000 outsole and the mid-sole. It’s the thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer (TPU). This TPU is a rubber heel insert that helps soak up the trail shock upon the heel strike. On the Asolo Dominator, the two-color TPU component enshrouds the EVA at the heel and distributes torsion and trail flex forward to the front of the shoe.

Below the TPU is an independent rubber shock absorbing component to cushion the heel strike and contribute to balance and control as you move along the trail.

Dominator’s three-colored Propulsion 1000 outsole is a two-piece component that provides solid traction on a variety of dirt surfaces.  The outsole design is open enough to allow debris and small rocks to clear out fairly easy. Good traction lugs and voids in the outsole worked well whether the trail run was on level, flat ground, uphill, and as is always the case after long accents up fire roads, the downhill run.

Lacing up, the nylon mesh and microfiber uppers are held fast with a sure lace system that secures the Dominator to the foot. On the runs and hikes our test pair of Asolo Dominator trail shoes were worn, the lacing system consistently and comfortably kept the shoes on the feet without binding at the toe, along the top of the foot, or at the knot point.

Upper Velveteen padding is comfortable on the sides and top of the feet. Our test pair of Asolo Dominators hit the trail as soon as they arrived and were put into motion right away. If there were going to be blisters, hotspots, and any foot discomfort, it would have started from day one, especially on our killer trail routes up in the Las Padres National Forest. Dominators never created any foot problems associated with friction on the skin. Out of the box, they fit right and were ready for trail training.

From the sophistication of the shock absorbing rubber platform, the uppers laced on with top comfort and snug fit. On the uphill portion of our training trails, these Dominators are good for swift hiking, even trudging. On flat dirt trails and downhill fire roads, Dominator is happy on dirt. But the Dominator is not so happy on the street. And why should they be? They are purpose-built for unpaved countryside. Simply two distinct purposes and build design that provides the shoe structure for performing on uneven ground.

Color options are light grey/black, black/light grey, and this red/black pair we tested. Sizes range from men’s size 6 to 13, 5 UK.  In terms of weight, Dominators in men’s size-8 come in at 350 grams. That’s about .77-lb. or less than a pound each. Our Dominators, as tested, are size 9. Regarding the weight of the Asolo Dominators, they are extremely light on the feet and did not give any sense of being cumbersome.

You can go to to continue your research of the Asolo line of Access series shoes. As for pricing, we saw a range of U.S. retailers that varied from $130 per pair and down. What is instructive about this specific Asolo trail shoe is that this pair has become the Go-To pair for those trail runs where the only purpose for lacing up is to clear the head at the end of the day.

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