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Reviews

Review: ASICS Gel-DS Trainer 15

The Asics Gel-DS Trainer 15 was the precursor to the latest Gel-DS Trainer 16. These cuties are still available, and I’m sure some DS fans would still prefer these to the newer 16s. These shoes are simple, yet elegantly constructed with high-quality materials.

Fit

These would have been my perfect running shoes. They were light. They felt solid and stable. The heels fit snugly, and although the shoes had a narrow profile, my wide feet felt at home in them. The insoles sport a awkwardly molded heel cup which did not work well with my right heel. I felt this discomfort right away at the running store, but ignored it, hoping it wouldn’t be much of a big deal once I began running in them. Little did I know how wrong I would turn out!

Ride

I took these shoes for an 8-mile run the day after buying them. They felt quite stable, and the cushioning was just right—not too much, not too little. The Trusstic system seemed to keep my feet steady, as I maintained a midfoot-striking form. After the first three miles, though, I began to feel some discomfort in my right heel. Even though I had minimal contact between the ground and the heels of the shoes, my right heel was rather sensitive to the unusually narrow heel cup of the insole. Around mile 7, I sensed some pain in my smallest left toe. I have never got blisters from running, so I thought this was going to be a first. After the run, I discovered that the insole was a bit loose in the toe box and part of the toe got wedged into that tiny space, causing the pain. My right heel hurt a lot from the discomfort, and the shoes would have been a perfect fit otherwise.

I decided quickly that the DS 15s were not for me. Unfortunately, my retailer would not accept a return, as the outsoles were visibly dirty from the long run (even though I tried to clean them up a bit). So, I was stuck with these shoes. After a couple weeks of dormancy, I took these shoes out on another long run. This time, I took the insoles out. They felt great, and my heel did not hurt at all. The shoes felt roomier without the insoles, but I had to deal with pain in my right ankle (an unrelated injury) and this wasn’t helped by the fact that my feet slid around a lot on the smooth midsole exterior. I tried to correct for this by stiffening my arches, especially on heel descents.

After these two runs, I knew I couldn’t run any further in these shoes.

Verdict

Great shoes overall. Would work well for narrow feet, and especially narrow heels. Cushioning is moderate. Stability is excellent. Should be great as an everyday trainer, and light enough to race in. Too bad they didn’t work for me.

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