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ASICS DS Trainer 26 ReviewBy Chief Editor/Founder Matt KleinCertain shoes seem to fly under the radar despite being staple trainers for both recreational and elite athlete. The ASICS DS trainer series is one of them. A rare lightweight light stability shoe that has served as a racing/workout shoe for some and a daily trainer for others. The Asics DS Trainer returns for its 26th iteration, outlasting any other light stability lightweight trainer. At this point this shoe is carrying this category almost solo and deserves some attention doing this for so long.
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RUNNING SHOE SUMMARYThe ASICS DS Trainer 26 is a classic light stability lightweight trainer that returns with a soft accommodating upper and a more forgiving ride. Featuring a more traditional ride with light posting in the midfoot and a super comfortable knit upper. An extended forefoot trusstic system provides a snappy ride on toe off while a Flytefoam lite keeps the ride light yet still protective. The DS Trainer 26 has the versatility to be a lightweight trainer for some and a workout/racing shoe for others looking for light stability, a comfortable upper and a snappy ride.
FIT The ASICS DS Trainer 26 fits me true to size, if not a hair short with socks in my normal US men's size 10. The upper is a flexible and soft knit that provides a high level of comfort both with and without socks. Although the shape of the upper is on the narrow side, the forefoot in particularly stretches easily to accommodate narrow, normal and slightly wide foot types up front. The shape of the sole is more narrow, so those with wide feet may spill over the sides. Despite the accommodating upper, there is still a decent amount of security. The heel has a light heel counter that I almost did not notice, but combined with a more snug fit locks the heel in well. Those sensitive to heel counters will have no problem here as the counter is flexible and there is still some padding in the heel collar. I did not have to lace lock this shoe and experienced no slippage with or without socks. The ASICS log in the midfoot provides decent security through this area. The laces do need to be snugged up a little, but it is easy to get a great fit. The tongue is slightly thin but still cushioned. It is gusseted and stays in place well. As mentioned, this shoe is excellent for sockless wear. Although I prefer wearing socks these days to keep my shoes smelling halfway decent, the knit material is extremely soft and there is no major stitching. So those wanting a lightweight trainer to race, workout or run in sockless should take a look at this shoe. The overall fit is more like a snug racing shoe, but one that still has a flexible and wider forefoot.
PERFORMANCE The ASICS DS Trainer 26 is a lightweight performance shoe. Coming in at 8oz, 227 g for a men's size 9, this shoe is light on the feet. However, despite the more traditional stack height, the Flytefoam Lyte provides a slightly softer and responsive ride. The DS Trainer 26 is especially good for workouts on the road and track, given the lower 20mm stack height in the forefoot lending to excellent ground feel. The ride is flexible and snappy thanks to the split extended trusstic system into the forefoot. The heel has a tiny bevel, but thanks to the softer foam transitions fairly well. The midfoot has a quick transition thanks to the trusstic system. The forefoot as mentioned is flexible but snappy thanks to the split trusstic system up front. There is toe spring, but it integrates well with the other features. The forefoot is most smooth at faster paces and the nubs on the outsole provide excellent traction, particular on the track. There is an 8mm drop listed and that is exactly what it feels like. Not too high or low. The foam does compress particularly in the rearfoot, so heel strikers running at faster speeds may feel like it is lower. The midsole has a nice balance of protection and responsiveness for such a light shoe. Those used to training in the DS Trainer series will be right at home and may notice that the ride is slightly softer. Those new to this series or new to such lightweight trainers/workout shoes should transition as the shoe is very light and a little closer to the ground. Some may be able to use this as a versatile daily trainer/workout shoe, while others will find this makes an excellent workout/long distance mild stability racing flat. The sole has the ability to tolerate a wide variety of uses and will only be limited by what your body can handle. Durability-wise this shoe is excellent. I have almost 50 miles on my pair and barely see any wear on the outsole. The ASICS High Abrasion Plus Rubber (AHARPLUS) does its job well and I expect a far higher number of miles out of these despite being a lightweight trainer. Overall the ASICS DS Trainer 26 is a versatile lightweight trainer/workout shoe/racing flat for those that want a more traditional lightweight ride.
RECOMMENDATIONSI really have enjoyed the ASICS DS Trainer 26. The ride is not harsh like previous versions, the upper is comfortable and accommodating, the heel counter is minimal and it is a great shoe for workouts. The challenge for ASICS is whether to keep this shoe tried and true or move the route of more stack height. My recommendation for them is to actually keep it the way it is. There are several other light high stack height shoes in the ASICS line up, specifically the ASICS Evo Ride 2 (REVIEW) and the Noosa Tri 13 (REVIEW). Both shoes are in a similar weight range (8.0-8.4 oz, 227 g men's size 9) but have very different rides. My actual recommendation to ASICS is to keep the DS Trainer the way it. This is a unique shoe for those wanting a light stability, lightweight, more traditional stack shoe and holds a special niche in today's market. The only small recommendation I have is to utilize more forward thinking methods of stability, the most obvious is to widen the midfoot slightly. It is common in performance shoes to have a narrow midfoot, but in a light stability shoe that is counterintuitive, especially with the medial post. I would encourage ASICS to make the midfoot last a little straighter, which will naturally increase stability in that region. WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR The ASICS DS Trainer 26 is for those wanting a lightweight light stability shoe with a snug, but flexible and accommodating upper. The knit upper stretches well, provide a comfortable and custom fit for those with narrow to slightly wide feet. The sole is snappy with good ground feel and a surprising amount of softness for the lower stack height. The torsion system and mild post provide forward guidance, providing gentle support over longer and faster miles. For those with neutral mechanics, this shoe may serve as a lightweight trainer/workout shoe if you tend to fatigue over longer miles. For those with stability needs, this is a light stability shoe that will work well for workouts and racing. In an era where light stability racing flats are almost gone, this one continues to shine. 041b061a72