Wednesday, January 04, 2023

ASICS Fuji Lite 3 Review

Article by Bryan Lim

ASICS Fuji Lite 3 ($120USD, $170AUD)


Bryan: The Fuji Lite 3 is my fourth pair of Asics trail shoes which includes the first iteration of the Fuji Lite model, then known as Fuji Trabuco Lyte. The original Lyte is firm, fast and quite capable. The Fuji Lite 2 then saw the introduction of a softer variant of FlyteFoam which propelled the shoe into popularity amongst a sea of higher stacked and maximal trail shoes. 

Whilst I have not run in the Fuji Lite 2 (RTR Review), it is my understanding that the only update the Lite 3 has seen is a new upper. I’ll be reviewing this shoe on its own merits not having worn the Fui Lite 2. Regardless, the Fuji Lite 3 is a lightweight, versatile and flexible trail and trail hybrid (door to trail) shoe, and holds its own value proposition with the advent of the Novablast 3 TR which has a higher stack, but less capable outsole traction and shallower lugs.


  • Highly versatile, including solid capability on road 

  • Lightweight

  • Great traction and capable on up to moderately technical terrain

  • Capable of slow or faster days

  • Lively ride


  • Limited range due to lack of rockplate / protection through increased stack 

  • Limited to moderately technical terrain and less suitable for steep descents or rocky terrain

  • Tongue could be gusseted for greater confidence on more technical terrain 


No official weight or stack height provided for the Fuji Lite 3.

Weight (Fuji Lite 2): men's 9.3 oz / 264g (US9) women’s 7.82oz / 222g (US8)

Stack Height (Fuji Lite 2): 18mm heel / 14mm forefoot 

Measured (Fuji Lite 2), 30mm, Spec Drop 4mm, 26mm forefoot

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Bryan: Having read our review of the Fuji Lite 2, I was pretty excited and had high expectations, knowing that the Fuji Lite 3 retains the same platform as its predecessor. Whilst not overly impressed with the only colourway available in Australia, my first step-in was as expected; far softer than that in the Fuji Trabuco Lyte, but not overly soft. The fit was perfect in both length and volume, and it was easy to find a locked-down fit. Unlike the Trabuco 9, the toebox was not overly roomy for me. 

The tongue is non-gusseted and quite minimal. Whilst I did not experience any issues with it, it would have been an appreciated update if it were gusseted, as it would add a level of midfoot support, given the flexibility of the shoe. 

What’s cool with the tongue is its shoe lace pocket that hides the laces to prevent them from coming undone, and incidentally for a clean look. Neat! Also no issues with the heel counter.

Breathable mesh upper

From a sustainability point of view, I commend Asics for choosing to make the main upper material (mesh) made of a minimum of 50% recycled textiles.The mesh upper is thin and breathable, and support is provided through overlay reinforcements including a sufficiently protective toe box. I really appreciate the updated pull-tab (as a lazy runner!), which makes wearing the shoe after not undoing the laces from the previous wear. 

The fit overall is secure and works perfectly for me, although I suspect it may be too snug and narrow for some.


Bryan: This is a nice change from the Fuji Trabuco Lyte and complements the longer-range Trabuco 9, with a softer, bouncy and not squishy formulation of FlyteFoam. Essentially what we have here is a slab of FlyteFoam that sits above a full outsole coverage and below the afore-discussed upper. No frills.

I suspect that if this formulation of FlyteFoam and construction was applied to a higher stacked shoe, it might be unstable, but the low(er) stacked nature of the Fuji Lite 3 makes for an appealing ride. There still is ample underfoot cushion and some protection from rocky ground feel, but there is still firmness and stability that shines through. More of this in the Ride section below.

After several trail runs and hikes, the midsole foam retains its initial bounce and liveliness. The nice balance of bounciness and responsiveness makes this a versatile shoe. I would personally take this shoe for up to 30 km / 19 miles and up to moderately technical terrains that are not too rocky and uneven for prolonged distances.


Fuji Trabuco Lyte (Above), Fuji Lite 3 (Below)

Bryan: If I were to sum this section up quickly, it would be that the outsole coverage and traction offered works a treat. As with other Asics trail shoes, AsicsGrip is phenomenal in that it is ultra sticky. Add that to 4mm lugs throughout and utilized in an effective pattern, the shoe just grabs on dirt, gravel, sand and rocks with ease. The outsole does not hinder the flexibility of the midsole and the overall shoe, and adds to the traction offered, where the foot is able to flex with ease to grab onto the ground surface and conditions. This is a pro and a con, where range is compromised due to likely fatigue over longer distances with a lack of support.

Significantly more aggressive forefoot lugs in the race ready Asics Fuji Trabuco Pro


Bryan: The culmination of a well designed upper, a flexible, bouncy and responsive midsole, the ride is lively and fast. I’ve taken the Fuji Lite 3 on short hikes and runs in the Swiss Alps with steep inclines of up to 30%, and technical and less technical hikes and runs locally in Australia of up to 20km. Overall, my experience in them has been fun as I really appreciate the bounce and flexibility offered. Although it's well cushioned and agile, and that my feet generally did not tire too much after reasonable time and mileage, the lack of a rockplate and the relatively soft ride meant that there was quite a lot of ground feel, including rocks on more technical or uneven surfaces.

Tested on the Eiger Ultra Trail!

Conclusions and Recommendations

Bryan: The Fuji Lite 3 lived up to expectations set by the Fuji Lite 2 being mostly the same shoe. It’s found a worthy spot in my trail rotation for most non-technical trail training runs and perfect for uptempo efforts. I personally dislike training in my more protective and heavier (ultra ready) shoes, e.g. Asics Trabuco 10 so the Fuji Lite 3 is a perfect addition to the rotation. It’s also perfect for some of my trail runs where I chuck in bitumen sections. Notwithstanding that there’s the Fuji Pro out there but not in Australia, my recommendations and hopes for the Fuji Lite 3 would be that it could be more protective; a few mm more in stack height would make it close to perfect. Also, nicer colourways would be appreciated!

Bryan’s score: (9.20/10)

Ride: 9.5(30%) Fit: 10 (30%) Value: 10 (10%) Style: 8 (5%) Traction: 9 (15%) Rock Prot.: 6 (10%)



Index to all RTR reviews HERE

ASICS Fuji Lite 2 Review

Asics Fuji Trabuco Lyte

Bryan: The predecessor to the Fuji Lite 3’s predecessor, it's equally as fast and a tad less flexible, but much firmer. It’s very similar, but I find myself reaching for the Fuji Lite 3 time and time again instead of the original Lyte as it's more forgiving and fun to run in.

Asics Gel-Fuji Trabuco Pro

Bryan: The not-so popular Pro is one of my favourites. Both the Fuji Lite 3 and Pro are ‘low’ stacked trail shoes.The Flyte-Foam used in the Pro is much firmer, but it works extremely well with the deep and aggressive lug pattern that delivers an aggressive ride. There is also a rock plate. I would pick the Trabuco Pro over the Fuji Lite 3 for racing at all distances, but the Lite 3 is my preferred option for training runs.

Asics Trabuco 10 (RTR Review)

Bryan: The Trabuco 10 is the big brother to the Fuji Lite 3, with a rock plate, deeper and more aggressive lugs (1mm deeper). It is also firmer and has a roomier toebox for longer distance runs. Each has its own purpose but I prefer the Fuji Lite 3 overall due to its livelier ride and better fit.

On Cloud Ultra (RTR Review)

Bryan: The On Cloud Ultra as the name suggests is an (supposed) ultra ready shoe. However, it has shallow lugs with a dull and hard ride. I would much prefer to take the Fuji Lite 3 for an ultra even if it's not ideal, as its ride is far more lively and forgiving than the Cloud Ultra’s. The On Cloud Ultra however, looks amazing.

Adidas Terrex Agravic Boa 

Bryan: The Agravic Boa comes into a similar class of trail shoes as the Fuji Lite 3 being low stacked (22mm) and flexible. However it is more intended for racing. It too has a voluminous toe box. The Agravic Boa is a fast shoe, capable of holding road racing paces on less technical gravel trails. It is one of the first adopters of the Boa lacing system, and only having one Boa dial, it often comes a little loose after a while. The lug pattern is less aggressive than the Fuji Lite 3, making it less versatile. For non-technical trail races, I think the Agravic Boa is the quicker shoe, but I would pick the Fuji Lite 3 for overall versatility.

The Fuji Lite 3 is available now at our partners below

Tester Profile

Bryan is a road and trail runner living in Melbourne, Australia. He picked up running as a stressed out law student back in 2016 and has never looked back since. He runs and coaches a social track club, Glasshouse Run Club. His most recent race times include a 1:22 half marathon. Parkrun is his thing, and Bryan tries to run a sub-20 minute tempo effort every Saturday, and maintains a 50-70 km base mileage when not training specifically for a race. He is presently chasing a sub 3-hour marathon. He is 176cm tall and weighs about 68kg / 150lbs. 

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silverm said...

I think an interesting comparison would be to the s-lab pulsar. Both seem to be lower stack, bouncy, speed-oriented trail shoes. Have you/anyone tried both?

Anonymous said...

Could you also compare them to the terrex speed ultra as well please?

ninedeeb said...

@silverm, not much to compare to in terms of performance as I've run in both. The Pulsar has a more precise upper and a versatile/lively midsole, tending to better control in all types of terrain. Some, however, have commented on the outsole being too narrow/restrictive. I find it much easier to run fast in the Pulsar compared to the Fuji Lyte 2. I also found that the more technical the terrain got in the Fuji Lyte, the more stability I lost. Let me reiterate that this is a comparison of Fuji Lyte 2 to the standard Pulsar.

Now, if you are comparing the Pulsar SG's to Fuji Lyte's, I found the compound on the Fuji Lyte, much more durable. I have a half mile on the road to my trails, and the reduction in lug depth is apparent on every run in the Pulsar SG's. Some may also debate that the life of the Pulsar midsole is shorter than the Fuji's. From a performance standard, I just have more fun in both versions of the Pulsar and have regulated my Fuji's to hikes.

ninedeeb said...

In my comment above about the Pulsar SG vs. Fuji Lyte, I was referring to the outsole compound when I stated that the Fuji Lyte was more durable. It wouldn't allow me to edit my comment, so I apologize for the confusion.