I have strayed many times, looking for something sleeker, racier, and more colorful. Yet I always return, chastened, to my tried and true Asics Gel-Trail Sensors. There are a number of better looking, lighter, and more responsive shoes out there, but when it comes to the total package that can go for miles and miles over all types of terrain, I've yet to find a shoe that works better than the Sensor, and in its third incarnation (Gel-Trail Sensor 3; retail $110.00), it's better than ever.
In many ways, everything I said in my review of the original Sensor still stands, captured in this excerpt:
"Though it's a bit beefier than some might like, and it certainly won't win any fashion awards, you'll likely be singing its praises at hour three on your five hour run when the shoe's solid stance and mid foot rock protection keep you feeling nimble on even the craggiest of trails."
In the Sensor 3, they've improved the looks a bit, but not enough to keep you from looking longingly at others' hip Inov-8's and Cascadia 4's (my review). And although it's still a beefy shoe, Asics has progressively made it more and more comfortable, with the 3's feeling about as good as any road shoe you'd wear. But, don't let the nice feel fool you, they still eat up the trail and spit it out like each of its predecessors, from technical descents to rock-strewn plateaus to buffed out singletrack.
Though shoes are a very personal preference, if you need to bang out 80 mile weeks and feel confident toeing the line at your next 50 or 100 mile race, it'd be hard to beat the Asics Gel-Trail Sensor 3.
More shoe reviews on Run Junkie (shoe reviews).