Asics DS Trainer 16 General Info
The DS Trainer is marketed as a ligthweight training shoe with added stability. DS stands for “Duo Sole”, a combination of two different outsole material that provide both grip and a feel for the road. The DS series (both Trainer and Racer) is very popular and Asics tried and maintain the aspects that made this shoe a success only adding some details, such as the Heel Clutching System, the introduction of the Guidance Line and some weigth-shaving solutions.
Asics DS Trainer 16 First Impressions
I know I will say this more than once, but the first impression for me had to come from that great racing red colour. Shallow? Yes and no: I am a believer that the aesthetical aspect of a running shoe is important too and the DS Trainer in this colour really stands out from the crowd.
The second aspect that impressed me once taken the shoe out of the box was the weight: I use a lot of different stablity shoes and the DS Trainer felt quite light for a shoe that I plan to use in 10 and 15 mile training runs.
It was question of minutes before I laced them up and launched in my first 10km test run.
Asics DS Trainer 16 Midsole Unit
The midsole of the Trainer 16 is made of Asics’ Solyte foam in two different densities: harder in the heel and softer on the forefoot. This is the first thing I noticed during my first test run: the forefoot is amazingly flexible – but more on this later.
The main contributors of the stability and pronation control aspects of the sole unit are the medial post – the insertion of a harder piece of foam in the medial (internal) side of the midsole that runs from right under the heel up until the ball of the foot – and the use of the Space Trusstic System – a piece of thermoplastic that is placed right under the arch and controls the torsion of the sole unit.
On top of the Space Trusstic, Asics placed a Propulsion Trusstic, another piece of plastic that flexes during the gait and returns to its original position “snapping” right during toe-off.
Asics DS Trainer 16 Outsole
New introduction for the DS 16 is the Guidance Line, a vertically carved flex groove that is supposed to enhance your natural gait, favouring the correct alignment of your foot’s center of gravity during the whole phase.
The flex grooves (carves) in the outsole are not very deep nor that many, but they are aggressively placed – encouraging a fast toe off.
Asics DS Trainer 16 Upper Unit
In my opinion, the upper fit of the DS Trainer is where this shoe really shines.
The toebox is wide (my only complaint about the shoe: a little too wide for my foot) and open. There is virtually no overlay and it feels sock-like.
A stretch material (silver with red dots in the pictures) is inserted among the mesh and expands when your foot does to further prevent irritation.
Asymmetrical lacing: I love it. I hate when I can feel the laces of a shoe on the top of my foot. Run enough miles in a shoe and you will hate it too. Usually I prefer shoes with very padded tongues, as that helps to “hide” the laces feeling. But the asymmetrical lacing is just pure genius. The laces don’t sit on the middle of your foot, but actually follow the shape of your metatarsal bone. Even with a very thin tongue as the one on the DS Trainer, I can’t feel the laces on top of my foot and that really feels great.
Last, the Heel Clutching System. This is basically a different heel construction. A plastic cage is on the outside of the shoe (as opposed to inside the heel as in the majority of running shoes) and it’s slightly more than a thin line of plastic. This gets tensed by the lacing of your laces (the last two holes are connected to this element) and “traps” your heel safely in position. Don’t worry, there’s memory foam on the inside to keep it soft and comfortable.
Asics DS Trainer 16 Opinion
There are some of the technical aspects of the DS Trainer that you notice (the asymetrical laces, the heel clutching system, the flexible forefoot) and some that you don’t (the Guidance Line) but it doesn’t matter: whatever it is that contributes to the overall feeling, it works.
The ride is fast. The forefoot is amazingly flexible for a stability trainer, and you will notice that right away. The weigth of the shoe is closer to 10.5 oz than Asics’ advertised 10, but in a running shoe weigth is as much a feeling as it is a number on the scale. The DS 16 feels light, open, breathable… it feels almost like a racing shoe – but it does feel supportive !
It has become my go-to shoe for 10 km runs.
Please share your opinion in the comments!
We thank the nice people at Asics for sending us a pair of DS Trainer 16 to test. This did not influence our review of the shoes, written after running more than 60 miles in them