Hands-on Gear Review

Asolo Nucleon GV Review

The Asolo Nucleon GV is a crossover between a climbing approach shoe and a hiking shoe, pairing comfort with traction.
By: Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 3, 2018
Price:  $200 List  |  $190.00 at Amazon - 5% Off
Pros:  Comfortable fit, great traction
Cons:  Very expensive, poor water resistance
Manufacturer:   Asolo
68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 16
  • Comfort - 25% 6
  • Weight - 25% 9
  • Support - 15% 5
  • Traction - 15% 8
  • Versatility - 10% 6
  • Water Resistance - 5% 3
  • Durability - 5% 7
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Our Verdict

The Asolo Nucleon GV looks like a climbing approach shoe with its narrow fit, low height, and sticky rubber sole — but when you walk around in it, you realize that, unlike an approach shoe, it is quite comfortable and supportive. This combination makes for a shoe that is highly versatile, performing reasonably well in a range of situations. We liked the subtle styling of the Nucleon GV, as it looks comfortable paired with nylon hiking pants of blue jeans alike.

As a Jack-of-All-Trades, however, it is a master of none, and it does not excel at any one thing in particular. We recommend this as a good day hiking shoe or for casual walks but would opt for something more supportive if you were to put on a backpack and go for a long trek.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

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Performance Comparison


Perfect for an afternoon bouldering trip to the Buttermilks  the Asolo Nucleon GV combine comfort with a grippy sole for rock and sand.
Perfect for an afternoon bouldering trip to the Buttermilks, the Asolo Nucleon GV combine comfort with a grippy sole for rock and sand.

Comfort


Slipping into the Nucleon GV, one can immediately tell the difference between this elevated hiking shoe and the standard approach shoe, which usually feels much tighter and performance oriented than a hiking shoe. The suede upper is soft and easily conforms to the foot without any restriction, and the wide toe box is well suited to those who have wider feet.

We liked the Vibram Megagrip sole, which is thick enough to cushion our feet from the impacts of sharp rocks on rough trails. Overall though, the shoe feels rather soft, and without much arch support is not as comfortable over long distance hikes. This model is better suited for short jaunts, like day hikes.

The soft and flexible Schoeller panels allow the foot to easily move in these shoes.
The soft and flexible Schoeller panels allow the foot to easily move in these shoes.

The laces are made of a thin cord, which is both too long and too slippery to be user-friendly. Multiple knots need to be made to get rid of the excess length, and the knots would easily loosen.

Weight


We weighed this pair on our digital scale, and they were an astonishingly light 1.8 pounds for the pair in size 11 US — only a couple ounces heavier than the lightest model we tested. The light feeling on our feet certainly added to our overall comfort, as we could hardly tell that they were there. Not having to lug around a bunch of extra weight makes hiking much more enjoyable.

Support


The Nucleon GV, as a lightweight hiking shoe, is an average performer when it comes to support. The sole is a good one and provides a good base that resisted rolling when on steep sidehills, though the softer suede upper which features stretchy Schoeller softshell paneling did not provide as much stability as other more robust shoes.

Traction


Traction is one area in which the Nucleon performs well above average, thanks to its Vibram Megagrip outsole. This rubber compound is a compromise between a harder, more durable rubber often used in hiking boots, and a softer more tacky compound found on a climbing shoe. The blend of stickiness and wear-resistance makes it a good candidate for day hikers who find themselves on firm and rocky trails where they need to be more sure-footed.

The capable Vibram Megagrip sole is a solid performer on dry rock.
The capable Vibram Megagrip sole is a solid performer on dry rock.

Versatility


The Nucleon GV is an adequate shoe for longer hikes as long as the packs were not too heavy, and performs quite well as a day-hiker and casual around the town shoe, unlike several models we tested. The style of the Nucleon GV is casual and simple, with a soft grey color accented by yellow laces and stitching, and they look great. They are not quite an approach shoe, yet not a fully-fledged hiker, making them a perfect choice for moderate outings.

With a stylish look  these hiking shoes are equally adept at casual walks along your inter-urban trails.
With a stylish look, these hiking shoes are equally adept at casual walks along your inter-urban trails.

Water Resistance


Asolo used a Gore-Tex Extended Comfort waterproof membrane in the Nucleon GV, though we were underwhelmed by its performance in the water submersion trail. Within 2 minutes of our 5-minute test water began rapidly entering through the tongue at the height of 2 inches, which is below the flood height.

The suede upper is treated with a water-resistant coating, and between this treatment and the Gore-Tex lining short submersions may be tolerated, though we would not recommend using this shoe for prolonged usage in wet environments.

Water resistance was not the Nucleon's strong suit  letting in water at shallow depths.
Water resistance was not the Nucleon's strong suit, letting in water at shallow depths.

Durability


We had no issue with the Nucleon GV hiking shoes during our two month test period and found the suede and softshell upper material to resist the wear and tear of rock abrasion quite well. This would be a good shoe to use for on-trail approaches to climbing areas, or on trail systems that have a lot of exposed rock.

The suede and softshell upper held up admirably against abrasion.
The suede and softshell upper held up admirably against abrasion.

Best Applications


The Nucleon GV is a great choice for a comfortable day hiker who may find themselves scrambling up rock or scree during their outing. They are not as supportive as others for long hikes in the backcountry, nor are they as water resistant as others, making them most useful for short hikes and approaches where their comfort can be appreciated.

Lightweight enough to fly from one rock to another  the Nucleon GV is a great day hiking shoe with enough traction to ensure that you'll stick the landing.
Lightweight enough to fly from one rock to another, the Nucleon GV is a great day hiking shoe with enough traction to ensure that you'll stick the landing.

Value


With an MSRP of $200, these are a very expensive hiking shoe, considering their limitations. At that price, WE do not feel that they are a great value, though online retailers often have them on sale for a significantly lower price.

Conclusion


The Asolo Nucleon GV looks like an approach shoe but fits like a casual sneaker. While it has a similar look to the climbing approach shoe and uses a stickier rubber than most other shoes in this review, it is not as adept at far-flung backcountry adventures as other more supportive models. We recommend the Nucleon GV for shorter hiking trips and day walks around your favorite local trail system.

Ryan Huetter

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