The Asics Gel-DS Trainer 16 marks a major number of changes to the DS. Arguably one of the cutest of the line to date, the DS 16 is roomier and better cushioned (compared to the DS 15; not necessarily a plus), sporting a comfortable heel clutch. This is not a technical review by any means, but hopefully you find this useful.
The DS 16s run true to size. For a 12.5, I had ample room in the toe-box. They certainly feel more roomy than the 15s. The heel clutch wrapped snugly around my ankle, and the asymmetric lacing system made for a snug and comfortable fit. I have wide heels, the right being a tad wider than the left. Having suffered with the molded heel of the 15, I fit better in the 16, but I had to test run to get a real feel for them.
I am definitely a fore- to mid-foot striker, and I was eager to see how the DS 16s would match my form, especially with the thick heel and the toe drop. I started out with a slow jog. Within seconds, my right heel began to hurt from trying slip off the high platform, hitting the side of the heel cup. I ignored the discomfort and focused on my stride. I must point out, however, that the cushioning in the DS 16s is superb. I felt like I was running on a bed of pillows. Then, I realized less cushioning was my cup of tea. After about 700m of easy running, I did a turnaround and went for top speed. It was unbelievable! If the DS 16s have one thing going for them, it’s their amazing combination of comfort and lightness. I roared into stride effortlessly, losing complete consciousness of the shoe. When I slowed down, I remembered my right heel was still rather painfully bumping into the heel cup and feeling rather unstable.
The DS 16s are well-cushioned, with a slightly wider architecture than the DS 15s. My heel is just abnormally wide, but if you are one those who had trouble with the right heel in the DS 15s (those were horribly narrow and molded), you should be fine with 16s, as ASICS duly fixed that. The 16s have a lot of sole, so they may not work well for minimalists and barefooters. They definitely feel more pillowy than the 15s. They are extremely light, however, and can be great for speed work on any terrain. The heel clutch, a major upgrade, provides an extra cushioned layer to wrap around your ankles. Some may find this bulky and unnecessary, especially in hot weather. Overall, they did not work for me, but definitely give them a shot and see if they do.