This was my first time running in the DS Trainer after having run thousands of miles in various other ASICS models over the years so expectations were high. I had heard lots of positive feedback regarding the major updates from last year’s model.
The shoe definitely met my expectations as a durable, lightweight shoe designed for speed while providing a bit of stability.
The DS Trainer received a total revamp in the previous version and the only issue that some runners had noted was how quickly the upper seemed to break down around 100-150 miles.
The only major update you will find in this new version includes a new seamless material used in the upper which has held up well with 200+ miles which I have run in the shoe during testing.
I have put the shoe through quick, fast-paced tempo runs and longer runs up to 17 miles and the shoe has been durable and comfortable.
ASICS GEL-DS Trainer 21 General Info
The ASICS GEL-DS Trainer 21 is a go-to shoe those runners looking for a multipurpose, fast trainer with mild support.
This latest edition continues to offer a great blend of speed and mild support. One of the benefits of this shoe that stands out is its ability to deliver comfort during quick speed sessions as well as durability during long runs.
The only major design change which was to the seamless mesh upper created a snug fit and held up mile after mile. The cushioning in the midsole and durability in the outsole remained intact from the previous model.
The upper and sole combination provided me with smooth, quick transition during the entire foot strike along with reliable grip from my very first run.
The shoe keeps true to is long history along with a majority of the updates from the previous model as it remains a quick daily trainer offering mild support along with a smooth, fast ride that even neutral runners will enjoy.
ASICS GEL-DS Trainer 21 Sole Unit
The sole unit was updated in the previous version and it stayed unchanged and comes with a 10 mm offset. The DS Trainer 21 has a durable sole design similar to many in the ASICS family and I found it to be both comfortable and reliable – two features I look for in a trainer.
The shoe features GEL cushioning in the forefoot and heel while the midsole is designed of a lightweight, Solyte material all which provided me with soft ground contact and a smooth, reactive ride underfoot during my runs.
There is ample cushioning similar to other fast-paced stability trainers such as the Adidas Adizero Boost and the Saucony Mirage and a bit less then shoes like the Brooks Launch 3 (neutral shoe) for those who need it.
The overpronation support comes in the format of the Dynamic DuoMax Support System designed of dual-density material throughout the midfoot.
I found that during my runs the support was subtle and I never felt like there was “too much” which is why I feel some neutral runners could insert this shoe into their rotation.
The sole provided me the control and traction I needed in various running conditions. I put the shoe through fast paced workouts and long training runs of up to 17 miles, some in zero degree, snowy weather thanks to some fun winter storms!
The DuoSole outsole along with the DuraSponge in the forefoot delivered a responsive ride and just the right amount of cushioning I was seeking.
The sole delivered confidence as I felt in control during each of my runs in the varying types of conditions and terrain.
After logging over 200+ miles, I found the outsole to be durable with normal and very little wear. The DS Trainer provided a quick, responsive transition throughout the entire ground contact.
For runners who seek a nice blend of cushioning without giving up the mild support, they will be pleased with the ride as it is the same as the previous version.
ASICS GEL-DS Trainer 21 Upper Info
There were very few changes to the DS Trainer this year but the main update was the use of new material in the seamless mesh upper. The upper was overhauled last year to a new seamless design but has some durability issues.
The use of a new lightweight material was made, largely impart, due to some runners noting the upper breaking down too quickly.
As I noted, I have put on over 200+ miles during testing the upper has remained durable and had no signs of breaking down.
I found the entire upper to be fit true to size and I never felt hot spots or felt my foot slip. This sung fit provided me increased control during each foot strike mile after mile.
The seamless mesh upper is made up of a lightweight, breathable material which wraps the foot keeping it secure along with thin overlays strategically placed to add additional support.
The plastic heel counter is non-intrusive and provides further stability while keeping my heel securely locked in place.
ASICS GEL-DS Trainer 21 Conclusions
The DS Trainer maintains its long history of being a speedy and durable trainer. I found the shoe to be ideal for a wide range of runs from shorter, speed sessions to longer outings.
This latest version continues to offer a nice blend of speed and mild support all while doing so with a smooth, responsive transition during ground contact.
The shoe kept all the design changes from the previous model with the exception of changing the material used in the seamless upper to increase its durability.
This shoe is a solid choice for those runners seeking a reliable and fast daily trainer with mild support for those who need it.
The DS Trainer 21 is one that has found its way into my rotation due to it being a versatile shoe combining speed, durability and comfort all in one package.
We thank the nice people at Asics for sending us a pair of GEL-DS Trainer 21 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.