When it comes to lightweight support, the Asics Gel DS Trainer has quite a pedigree and a pretty substantial cult following. The DS Trainer was the frontrunner in the evolution of lightweight trainers and their explosion in popularity during recent years. To this day, the DS Trainer remains a staple for many runners. Use the scroller below to follow the history of this iconic shoe.
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Images courtesy of Asics America.
- DS Trainer 1 The DS Trainer launched in 1995, offering a lightweight trainer designed for serious, high mileage runners. Derived from the Gel-Epirus of the late 80’s and the Gel-Exult of the early 90’s, the DS Trainer introduced a polyurethane DuoSole outsole pattern, from which the DS moniker is taken. Other features included the bootie-like Mono Sock upper construction and a DuoMax support system. The DS Trainer retailed for $100, or roughly $145 in today’s dollars.
- DS Trainer 2 The first update to the DS Trainer brought a slightly trimmed down look, and introduced a Trusstic system in the outsole for increased torsional rigidity, a feature still seen on the current version of the DS Trainer.
- DS Trainer 3 The DS Trainer 3 took on a wild new look, a departure from the toned down styling of the previous version. Aesthetics aside, this model featured carbon rubber under the toes for improved toe-off and offered a traditional tongue design for the first time.
- DS Trainer 4 The DS Trainer 4 switched back to the attached tongue design of the second model. The midfoot Trusstic shank was reduced, making way for increased outsole ground contact.
- DS Trainer 5 1999’s version of the DS Trainer remained stylistically similar to the DS Trainer 4. Changes included a new outsole pattern and an expanded Trusstic plate.
- DS Trainer 6 The DS Trainer 6 was the first in the series to use SpEVA midsole foam. Touted for its bounce back and durability, SpEVA is a material still used in many Asics shoes today.
- DS Trainer 7 Released in 2002, the DS Trainer 7 is revered among many longtime runners as the best performing version to date. It offered a good amount of support in a lightweight package, and also brought back a traditional tongue design.
- DS Trainer 8 This major update introduced several innovations still in use today, such as the Impact Guidance System (IGS) and Propulsion Trusstic system. The upper, however, proved unpopular, being too narrow in the midfoot and toebox for a large number of runners. A reduction in pronation support also prompted many runners to look elsewhere.
- DS Trainer 9 The DS Trainer 9 featured the debut of Biomorphicfit, comprised of a number of stretch panels on the upper in order to remedy the fit problems of its predecessor. With a carryover platform, however, nothing was done to address the reduction in support of the DS Trainer 8, and the 9 continued to receive only fair reviews.
- DS Trainer 10 In 2005, the DS Trainer 10 was introduced with a new Space Trusstic system that boosted pronation support to levels last seen in the 7th version. For this version, Asics also dropped the hidden eyelets of the prior two models in favor of a traditional lacing system.
- DS Trainer 11 With 2006 came the debut of Solyte midsole foam in the DS Trainer, treating runners to a plusher ride and lighter weight. A more accommodating fit made this version of the DS Trainer more popular than the prior several models.
- DS Trainer 12 The DS Trainer 12, released in 2007, didn’t bring much new to the table. A new last made for a snugger heel fit, and for the first time in the DS Trainer lineage, the heel Gel unit was made visible, highlighting Asics’ chief cushioning technology.
- DS Trainer 13 The upper underwent a radical change in the DS Trainer 13. Featuring an asymmetrical fit including a lacing pattern that curves towards the medial side of the shoe, the 13 was well received among fans.
- DS Trainer 14 In 2009, Asics revamped the tooling of the DS Trainer, looking to replicate the performance of the well-received DS Trainer 7. The upper took on less radical styling than its predecessor, while retaining the asymmetrical fit. For the first time the history of the series, the DS Trainer saw a price increase, from $100 to $110.
- DS Trainer 15 Following the positive response to the DS Trainer 14, Asics kept changes to a minimum with the DS Trainer 15 in 2010. Lighter materials in the upper brought a small decrease in weight, while the platform carried over from the previous model.
- DS Trainer 16 Bigger changes came in the DS Trainer 16 in 2011. Underfoot, Asics incorporated their Guidance Line to the platform for a more efficient and smoother transition. The upper featured a new Clutch Collar system for an improved heel fit. These changes, along with an increase in weight, weren’t entirely well received and prompted some runners to look elsewhere for their lightweight trainer fix.
- DS Trainer 17 Minor changes to the asymmetrical lacing and the Clutch Collar mark the current DS Trainer model. This update saw a slight drop in weight from its predecessor, but it remains on the heavier side of the lightweight supportive trainer category.
- DS Trainer 18 For 2013, Asics will revamp the DS Trainer lineage with a complete top-down redesign. Gone are the asymmetrical lacing and the Clutch collar of the two previous models. Decreased weight and a bold new look are on tap. The DS Trainer 18 adopts Dynamic DuoMax, Asics’ new dual-layered support system for a stable, yet smooth ride.