ASICS returns with their uptempo trainer, the aptly named DS Trainer. The upper has been upgraded in this year’s edition; offering a new adaptive mesh that wraps to the foot.
This shoe has always held a special place in my heart as the DS Trainer 19s were the first pair of shoes I reviewed for Running Shoes Guru. With the exception of one year, I have reviewed every model since then.
Asics Gel DS Trainer 23 General Info
Now in its 23rd incarnation, This is one of the longest standing models that is offered by ASICS.
First impressions lacing up were mixed. I liked the snappy and fast ride, but they felt tight and narrow in the toe box. I did like the feeling that I could go fast with some extra support
The pictures I took do not do justice to how bright these shoes are. It is like wearing a safety vest on your feet! Certainly good for night running.
Asics Gel DS Trainer 23 Sole Unit
The sole unit is unchanged from last year. Product information on ASICS’ website claims that the sole has been updated, but I see no difference when holding these up to my DS Trainer 22s.
ASICS’ fancy new Flytefoam midsole returns. It is a material that boasts to be substantially lighter than the competition; 55% to be exact! It feels sturdy, dense and firm; long lasting for sure.
My favorite part of the sole is in the forefoot. Tiny raised individual lugs scattered in the outsole; offering enhanced control and grip. I could turn on a dime and was in complete control in any weather condition.
There is a high amount of stability control thanks to the incredibly firm Dynamic Duomax medial foam, the Propulsion Trusstic plastic shank and a 10mm drop.
Tech terms and numbers aside, it is incredibly responsive. On the surface, the sole feels stiff but it gave me a springy ride with optimal support. I found myself landing on my midfoot and lifting off on my forefoot. It was easy to go fast in these.
Asics Gel DS Trainer 23 Upper Info
The upper has been overhauled. Synthetic no sew ‘Adapt Mesh’ is now present throughout and wrapped to my foot eloquently. It is comfortable and feels sturdy. It breathes nicely and handled great in bad weather.
ASICS is notorious for being a narrow shoe and this is no exception. While it did eventually stretch, the toe box is very snug. I would absolutely buy half a size up.
The tongue is still too thin. Many times it would fold into itself, exposing the top of my foot. This was a big issue I had with last year and it was disappointing to see it return; especially after the upgrades. Thankfully the lacing was comfortable and didn’t irritate my foot.
Rounding out the upper is a reinforced heel. A plastic exoskeleton goes over the mesh wrapping like a horse shoe. It locked me in but wasn’t restrictive.
Asics Gel DS Trainer 23 Conclusions
My running club friends put the type of this shoe best; a ‘tweener’ shoe. A shoe that feels like a racing flat but has the support of a daily trainer is a deadly combination!
I love that I can run a tempo workout in these, but also use it on my long run days. It is versatile and well rounded. My natural stride pushed me forward, but it did not wear hard on my body like some racing shoes do.
As the years go by, the DS Trainer continues to be a favorite of mine. This shoe continues to impress me and makes me wonder why ASICS doesn’t put as much marketing into it as they do with their Kayano of GT2000 line. Would it hurt to get an extra colorway for once?
We purchased a pair of Asics Gel DS Trainer 2 from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.