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 highly versatile hiking shoe, performing reasonably well in various 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.Editor's Note: We've updated this review on March 6, 2022, with new sections on which shoes we recommend and why.
Asolo Nucleon GV Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Comfortable fit, great traction
Cons: Very expensive, poor water resistance
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Asolo Nucleon GV
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|Pros||Comfortable fit, great traction||Excellent performance, lightweight, great traction, water resistance, support||Secure fit, strong traction, stability||Supportive, versatile, well-cushioned||Lightweight, breathable, great dry traction, inexpensive|
|Cons||Very expensive, poor water resistance||Cuff can be uncomfortable on ankle for some, Quicklace lacing not everyone's favorite||Narrow, tongue absorbs water||Average traction, regular width is relatively wide, hard to lace tightly||Durability 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 traction||This is a rugged hiking shoe that can do everything from day hikes to tackling long multiday backpacking trips||This comfortable and waterproof shoe has solid traction and a narrow fit||A comfortable and versatile pair of hiking shoes with a casual look great for taking from trail to town||A 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...||Salomon OUTline Low...||Columbia Facet 60 O...||Vasque Juxt|
|Water Resistance (5%)|
|Specs||Asolo Nucleon GV||Salomon X Ultra 4 G...||Salomon OUTline Low...||Columbia Facet 60 O...||Vasque Juxt|
|Weight (per pair)||1.80 lbs (size 11)||1.76 lbs (size 11)||1.62 lbs (size 10.5)||1.78 lbs (size 10.5)||1.90 lbs (size 11)|
|Upper||Suede leather||Synthetic, textile||Waterproof textile||Seamless mesh||Suede leather|
|Width Options||Regular||Regular||Regular||Regular||Regular, wide|
|Waterproof Lining||Gore-Tex membrane||Gore-Tex membrane||Gore-Tex||OutDry||None, just a gusseted tongue|
|Flood Level||2.5 in||3.25 in||4.25 in||4.25 in||2.5 in|
|Last Board/Shank||None||ADV-C chassis||TPU arch shank||Not specified||Torsion stability TSS|
|Midsole||EVA, Lite 2 footbed||EnergyCell||Injected EVA||Techlite+||EVA|
|Outsole||Asolo/Vibram Megagrip rubber-EVA||Contagrip MA rubber||Nonmarking Contagrip rubber||Omni-Grip rubber||Vasque OTG|
Our Analysis and Test Results
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, 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 laces are made of a thin cord, which is too long and too slippery to be user-friendly. Multiple knots need to be made to eliminate the excess length, and the knots would easily loosen.
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 of ounces heavier than the lightest model in our hiking shoe review. 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.
The Nucleon GV, as a lightweight hiking shoe, is an average performer when it comes to support. The sole is good and provides a good base that resists 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 is one area where 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 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.
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 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. However, we would not recommend using this shoe for prolonged usage in wet environments.
During our two-month test period, we had no issue with the Nucleon GV hiking shoes 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.
Should You Buy the Asolo Nucleon GV?
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. These are very expensive hiking shoes, 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.
What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?
The Asolo is an expensive shoe that didn't perform as well as much of the competition. While it is relatively lightweight and offers impressive traction, it struggled in testing compared to the significantly less expensive competition. The Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex has a similar weight, lower price, and better performance in most metrics. This shoe is comfortable with good traction and water resistance. It offers better support and versatility, making it a shoe we prefer over the Asolo. If comfort is your thing, the Hoka One One Toa Gore-Tex offers superior comfort and support with some of the best water resistance in the group. While it might not have the traction that impresses, we believe you won't be disappointed if you prize general comfort.
— Ryan Huetter
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