Asics Gel DS Trainer 18 Product Review

Short Take

A lightweight performance trainer with a bit of support and a responsive ride, the Asics Gel DS Trainer 18 tempts you to pick up the pace.

Big Updates

  • New Support System: Asics has introduced their Dynamic DuoMax to the DS Trainer line for a more uniform underfoot feel.
  • Traditional Heel Design: The Clutch Collar system of the 17 worked well for some but won’t be missed by others.
  • Reduced Weight: The DS Racer 18 weighs in at 9.6 oz, down from 10.4 oz in a Men’s size 9. On the Women’s side, the shoe is down to 8.2 oz, from 9.2 oz in a Women’s size 8.
  • Bold New Styling: The DS Trainer 18 takes on some bright new colors sure to turn some heads. It’s a departure from the relatively bland design of its predecessor.

Road Test

The DS Trainer is Asics’ franchise performance support trainer, entering its 18th year (if you want to geek out on all the old models, check out the DS Trainer Photo History on our blog). Through its lineage we have seen a fluctuation in the weight and structure of the DS Trainer. The prior model was one of the heaviest, so it’s great that the DS Trainer 18 returns to a more performance-oriented offering.

The feel of the DS Trainer 18 is a familiar one: a balanced ride with lots of rebound and responsiveness, but without feeling overly firm or lacking in cushioning. The new Dynamic DuoMax system delivers a seamless heel-to-toe transition, though more severe overpronators will want to note that testers felt a touch less support in the 18 than in prior models.

Across the board, our testers were pleased with the DS Trainer 18’s fit. The overlays around the shoe hold the foot securely in place for faster paced running without being overly tight. The traditional heel cup design is snug and slippage is near non-existent.

The DS Trainer 18 is a versatile shoe capable of a range of tasks, from everyday use to speedwork or even race day duty for some.

Runners Say

Matt

“The DS Trainer 18 is a fantastic feeling shoe. I’m not a huge fan of the bumble bee look of the men’s model, but looks really don’t matter when a shoe feels this good.”

Tami

“For a lightweight trainer, this shoe offers a good amount of cushioning and it doesn’t sacrifice a ton of support or a smooth ride.”

Erik

“I’m happy to see the DS Trainer get slimmed down in this update; longtime DS Trainer fans will appreciate the performance oriented ride of this version.”