I’ve had the privilege to test the DS Trainer 19 and 20 in the past, so when I saw I would be getting the lighter DS racer I was stoked. These were some of my favorite shoes to test because of how fast they were.
The DS racer 11 takes some of the best aspects of the DS trainer and incorporates them into a much lighter model. It was incredibly responsive and flexible to do my runs in, but provided me with a generous amount of support for my over pronation.
I’ve ran in other racing shoes before, including the Saucony Fastwitch and this was a step above the rest. With it being a racing shoe, save it for tempo runs and events as it did wear down a little faster during testing.
ASICS GEL-DS Racer 11 General Info
As the name suggests, the is the 11th edition of the DS racer. It stands alongside the DS trainer line, providing a lighter ride. It competes with the likes of Saucony’s Fastwitch line, providing a racing flat with a touch of stability in it.
When I first opened it up, I was immediately drawn by how bright this shoe was. It really pops out and I am a huge fan of these style of colors. I feel like racing flats always go above and beyond with the bright colorways.
The shoe is incredibly light. Probably the lightest shoe I have ever worn. Lacing them up, the shoe felt tight at first, but the upper material gradually stretched and I didn’t have any flexibility issues in them.
ASICS GEL-DS Racer 11 Sole Unit
ASICS really went above and beyond with construction of the sole unit. Being that it is a racing flat, there isn’t a whole lot to work with, but since this shoe is made for those looking for a stability ride, it has quite a bit to offer.
The sole has everything that ASICS has been known to offer; the guidance line to give control, the Duomax system to provide midsole support, and extra foam on the outter portion of the shoe to absorb over pronation. My favorite part though has to be the treading in the front, part of the Duosole system.
There are individual small pieces of hard foam that stand up off the shoe, which translates into exceptional grip and control.
I first came across this style when I was testing the DS trainer 20s and fell in love with it immediately. I am very happy that this has been introduced into the DS racer line.
Overall, the ride pushes you forward and allows you to go very fast. The front of the shoe acts as a spring board but keeps you stable when you land.
There is more focus on the front of the shoe because of this, but the end is there to help in case you start to heel strike.
ASICS GEL-DS Racer 11 Upper Info
The upper is pretty similar to the DS racer 10. Seamless material throughout and hard plastic around the heel to keep my foot from slipping out.
It is incredibly breathable and dries very fast. One of my first runs in these were in a terrible storm that had me drudging through pouring rain and lots of standing water.
There was no way getting around the shoe and my feet from getting wet, but the way it handled was second to none.
The water did not affect the weight of the shoe and i was able to keep going. By the next day, they were completely dry and ready for another go around.
The fit is very true to size and can feel a little constricting at first, but it stretched out over time. This is especially apparent with this being a racing flat.
The toe box still gives me enough wiggle room and there is an extra layer of hard rubber on the end for extra protection. Lastly, the lacing system is very simple but is snug, giving no pressure on any parts of the top of my foot.
The overall fit is par to the course to ASICS. As someone with a foot on the wider range, I don’t have issues with how ASICS are sized but if you do, buy a half size up.
ASICS GEL-DS Racer 11 Conclusions
The official product description says that this can be used from a 5K to a marathon, but I would save these for tempo runs and races up to 13.1 if you are like me and normally run in trainers.
I will say that it was a very fast race, but after about 9 miles I could really start to feel it in my ankles and calves. I will say that me being a larger runner (6’2, 200 lbs) had a little bit to do with it as well, so you might not have this issue if you are not my size.
With that said, I did have some issues with how the shoe wore on my body. Some of my faster, longer runs were hard on my legs and I was pretty sore the next day from it.
This was only temporary and it partially had to do with the fact that I am on the larger side of the spectrum for how fast I run.
In the end, ASICS continues to produce a shoe that is great for both the athlete looking to dip their toes into lighter shoes and one that is looking for a flat with more support. It’s a great addition to your shoe arsenal and won’t disappoint.
We thank the nice people at Asics for sending us a pair of GEL-DS Racer 11 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.