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Asolo Nucleon GV Review

The Asolo Nucleon GV is a crossover between a climbing approach shoe and a hiking shoe, pairing comfort with traction
Asolo Nucleon GV
Photo: Asolo
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Price:  $220 List | $219.95 at Backcountry
Pros:  Comfortable fit, great traction
Cons:  Very expensive, poor water resistance
Manufacturer:   Asolo
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 11, 2019
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 17
  • Comfort - 25% 6
  • Weight - 25% 9
  • Support - 15% 5
  • Traction - 15% 8
  • Versatility - 10% 6
  • Water Resistance - 5% 3
  • Durability - 5% 7

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.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Asolo Nucleon GV
This Product
Asolo Nucleon GV
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $219.95 at BackcountryCheck Price at REI
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$109.95 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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65
Star Rating
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Pros Comfortable fit, great tractionExcellent performance, lightweight, great traction, water resistance, supportExtremely comfortable, lightweight, supportiveGreat value, waterproof, versatileLightweight, breathable, great dry traction, inexpensive
Cons Very expensive, poor water resistanceCuff can be uncomfortable on ankle for some, Quicklace lacing not everyone's favoriteNot as cushioned as previous Hoka models, some traction issuesAverage support, lacks long-term durabilityDurability concerns, not good for wet weather
Bottom Line The Asolo Nucleon GV is a crossover between a climbing approach shoe and a hiking shoe, pairing comfort with tractionThis is a rugged hiking shoe that can do everything from day hikes to tackling long multiday backpacking tripsA blend of top-notch comfort with support in a lightweight package that makes them an excellent choice for long-distance hikers looking to shave weight and increase mobilityThis shoe is a great value for the all-around performance as well as waterproofness that it providesA budget-friendly hiking shoe that is a perfect choice for those hiking in dry climates
Rating Categories Asolo Nucleon GV Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Hoka One One Toa Go... The North Face Ultr... Vasque Juxt
Comfort (25%)
6.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Weight (25%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Support (15%)
5.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
5.0
Traction (15%)
8.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Versatility (10%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
6.0
Water Resistance (5%)
3.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
1
Durability (5%)
7.0
6.0
5.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Asolo Nucleon GV Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Hoka One One Toa Go... The North Face Ultr... Vasque Juxt
Weight of Size 11 Pair 1.80 lbs 1.76 lbs 2.03 lbs 2.04 lbs 1.90 lbs
Upper Suede leather Synthetic, textile Synthetic Performance mesh Suede leather
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular, wide
Waterproof Lining Gore-Tex membrane Gore-Tex membrane Gore-Tex membrane DryVent membrane None, just gusted tongue
Flood Level (inches) 2.5 in 3.25 in 5 in 3.25 in 2.5 in
Last Board/Shank None ADV-C chassis EVA ESS Torsion stability TSS
Midsole EVA, Lite 2 footbed EnergyCell Rubberized EVA EVA
Outsole Asolo/Vibram Megagrip rubber-EVA Contagrip MA rubber Vibram MegaGrip UtrATAC Vasque OTG

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


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

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

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.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

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

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

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.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Value


These are a very expensive hiking shoe, considering their limitations. At that price, we do not feel that they are a good 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.

Lightweight enough to fly from one rock to another, the Nucleon GV...
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.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Ryan Huetter