Durable Upper?

It seems a lot (most?) of shoes have an all-knit upper. I’ve been wearing ASICS GT 2000 series for some time, but I’ve worn a hole in the upper, near my toe, of my GT 2000 9s, and the 10s seem to have a similar build. I have an old pair of 7s that have some protection in the toe box, but it seems like shoes are getting lighter, less durable, and more expensive. I’m going to be looking trail shoes, hoping the NB More Trail 2 works.
I wish I had a good recommendation for you but trail running is way outside my area of (amateur) expertise. I hope the NB MT 2 suits you!

I think you're exactly right that part of the problem rests in the fact that shoe manufacturers are doing whatever they can to shed weight because, by and large, it is what consumers want. A shoe that weighs 8.8 ounces is more attractive than one that weighs 9.2, even if that slightly heavier shoe is built like a tank.

Not to put the blame on you, but part of the problem may also be fit or form. I used to have issues with the inside of my uppers fraying near the laces and I discovered it was due to poor form (essentially one foot kicking the other as it passed). Disclaimer: I am not an expert, but if you're having durability issues near the toe then that suggests the fit may be too tight. I always go by the runners rule of thumb (should have a thumb's width of empty space between your big toe and the front of the shoe)
Last edited:
It may just go to toebox dimensions in this particular instance. Some manufacturers, taking cues from Altra/Topo, are keying on more rounded toebox in their trainers which usually allows for better toe splay and less pressure on the tops of toes. That might not include Asics, I cannot be sure. Also, uppers that are knit and more stretchy should be more accomodating of individual foot characteristics than more structured and confining uppers, in my experience. As a rule, it seems like the more performance-oriented a shoe is, like racing shoes and even lighter trainers, the less durable and more snug an upper will be. A lot of trail shoes have pretty bomb-proof and accommodating uppers.

I have a different issue that manifests in upper wear, a small bunion on my right foot (from running too many left turns in spikes long ago). For most shoes it's fine yet I've had shoes with more flimsy uppers (older version of Saucony Kinvara, Atreyu Base Model v1) which will predictably get a hole in that spot within 200 miles.


Staff member
Brands design shoes based in large part on what consumers are responding positively to. With the popularity of HOKA, specifically the Clifton - many brands have move their models in that direction. The Clifton is not particularly durable, but it is light, soft and comfortable - traits that appeal to the emotional side of runners. Durability is more a rational feature which is why tennis shoes tend to be heavy, not too comfortable and have quite a few overlays - tennis players value durability. Runners at the moment tend to be into comfort, looks, lighter weight, cushioning and rebound features durable shoes tend to lack or at the very least, have less of each feature by and large.

Your call on a trail shoe is a good one.