Asics DS Trainer 17 first impressions:
The last DS Trainer I ran in was the 13th edition so its been a few years since I got to grind some asphalt with Asics’ flagship performance trainer. The 17th version of the shoe looks to retain the lower profile feel I recalled and still sports an aggressive colorway. Asics targets this shoe for neutral to mild over pronators or as a race day shoe for folks who usually train in a more supportive ride. Now seventeen years strong, the Asics DS Trainer sports a successful heritage which also means there will be great expectations from its large fan base.
Asics Ds Trainer 17 upper:
Asics has recently been tinkering with the heel area of many of their most popular shoes. As seen in the DS Trainer 16, the newish Asics Heel Clutching System is easily the most prominent feature of the DS Trainer 17. The Heel Clutching System employs a sort of “dual heel” construction which anchors the inner heel padding to the external eyelet row almost forming a floating heel design that moves with the runner.
This design also moves the heel counter to an external position in hopes of reducing irritation in the heel area while still providing for a secure fit. The rest of the upper is rendered in a multi colored mesh that transitions from a gunmetal gray to ghost gray and finally to a lighter silvery white shade at the toe box. Asics Biomorphic Fit panels are located in the arch area and the lateral forefoot area in a design that reduces friction at key flex points. The tongue is of medium thickness and the eyelet row is slightly off center as seen in other Asics models. The DS Trainer 17 does get some new shoelaces as part of the update process. Asics is now using a flat lace on the DS Trainer which shaves some weight and lays down better when lacing the shoe resulting in less pressure over the foot. The shoe is almost free of overlays as the Asics tiger stripe logo tends to already cover a good deal of the shoe and lends a supportive fit on its own. The DS Trainer 17 also features a fairly thick OrthoLite style sock liner.
Asics DS Trainer 17 sole unit:
Although I did not test the DS Trainer 16, I have a friend who has a pair and after inspection I cannot see any difference between the DS Trainer 16 and 17 midsole. Good news if you were a fan of the previous version! The DS Trainer 17 is still built around a DuoMax medial post that begins at the middle of the heel and ends right behind the big toe. The DuoMax post is used to slow down over pronation, or the tendency for some runners’ feet to roll too far to the inside. Backing up the DuoMax posting is the Asics Torsion Trusstic mid foot shank. This device allows for a controlled deformation of the midsole and aims to balance both flexibility and stability at the mid foot. The shoe is also built on a combination last that features a more rigid foam (Solyte 55) in the heel and arch area to improve stability. Asics legendary GEL cushoning is found in the lateral heel area to cushion every footfall. The outsole features blown rubber in the forefoot and Asics AHAR+(Asics High Abrasion Resistant) carbon rubber in the heel. Rounding out the DS Trainer 17 ride is Solyte midsole foam, Asics’ premium foam formulation.
Asics DS Trainer 17 opinion:
I normally take any shoe I test on several treadmill runs but for some reason I ended up doing all my test mileage in the DS Trainer 17 on the road. The shoe certainly performs faster than its cousin, the Asics 2170, but I always had a feeling that the DS Trainer felt more like a low slung trainer than a ‘go fast’ shoe. Incidentally, DS is short for Distance/Speed. The DS Trainer 17 simply felt beefier underfoot than competitor shoes in the same class. This isn’t necessarily bad, it’s simply a matter of preference. The shoe was well cushioned and offered only mild stability. The DS Trainer DuoMax posting is about the same length as the posting found in the 2170 but it is not nearly as stable so don’t be surprised when you try it on.
I am definitely a fan of the new flat laces in the DS Trainer 17. They do a great job of releasing lace pressure on the top of the foot. The Heel Clutching System also did a good job and although it looks odd it feels quite comfortable. The arch is placed near the heel in the shoe, just where I like it. Overall, the DS Trainer 17 is a well built option for runners who want a hybrid trainer/racer with a bit more beef underfoot. I personally felt that the shoe would be best suited for a half or full marathon distance. Also, this shoe could work for many neutral runners as a daily trainer.
The DS Trainer 17 certainly got quite a bit of attention during my wear test. The shoe received many looks of approval and questions about its performance. One look at the shoe tells you why. Industrial, modern looking grays combined with an electric blue…it’s a very flashy looking piece of footwear! Asics did a great job on the visual aspect of the shoe. I know that function always precedes form but come on, a little jolt of color never hurt anyone. Nicely done, Asics.
With a seventeen year legacy, the DS Trainer keeps marching to its own beat and fans of the shoe should be pleased.
We thank the nice people at Asics for sending us a pair of DS Trainer 17 for testing. This did not influence our review of the shoes, written after logging more than 50 miles in them