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ASICS DS Trainer 26 Review
By Chief Editor/Founder Matt Klein

Certain 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.

Specifications for the Asics DS Trainer 26 (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 8.0 oz / 227 g (men's size 9) 6.8 oz / 193 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 28 mm / 20 mm
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Light Stability Performance Trainer


The 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.


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.


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. 


The ASICS DS Trainer 26 is a light stability shoe. It is so light I almost didn't notice it. A more traditional DUOMAX medial post sits in the heel and midfoot, while the trusstic system comes up into the midfoot for further reinforcement. The split trusstic in the forefoot provides light guidance up front while the flexible forefoot creates an easy transition forward. The stability is again very mild and will work for those who want just a touch of stability for when they fatigue. For those with more neutral mechanics, this is a shoe that you may be able to use for longer runs/workouts if you know your form or stability starts to break down later. For those with higher stability needs, this amount of stability will work best for workouts or races. You will need to transition into this shoe as the stability is mild, but does become more apparent the faster you run due to midsole compression.


The ASICS DS Trainer 26 is a unique shoe for many reasons. Not only is it a rare traditional lightweight trainer, it is is a sparse category. There are few true light stability shoes out there at the moment, particularly those in the racing category. The only other option is the Saucony Fastwitch 9 (REVIEW) and that shoe is a very minimal racing flat. For most people, the DS Trainer is more of a racing/workout shoe and offers a rare chance to find stability in a faster shoe. So those that are not finding these super shoes stable enough and other racing flats too minimal, the DS Trainer 26 may be a great option.

The other reason the DS Trainer 26 is unique is that the stability is light enough that it can work for a variety of people. A question we are often asked is "How do people know they need stability?" The easiest answer is that if you find stability shoes more comfortable than neutral shoes, then you might need some stability (stable neutral shoes also may feel better). From a clinical standpoint, if you have a history of injuries of muscles that contribute to stability, including your posterior tibialis, calf, flexor hallucis longus, fibulas longus, etc you may benefit from a stability shoe. Evidence supports that if you have pronated/flexible feet and a history of the above injuries, a stability shoe may be something for you to consider (Malisoux et al., 2016). That does not mean you are stuck to those shoe types, as further evidence suggests that a variety of shoe use is best for injury reduction (Malisoux et al., 2015). Additionally, working on the strength of muscles listed above and foot stability may also increase the variety of shoes you can use comfortably.

The DS Trainer 26 has light enough stability that those with neutral mechanics who are not sensitive to posting can use them as lightweight trainers/workout shoes and those with stability needs can use them. These often are blended with stable neutral shoes, which often serve a similar purpose. For more information on stability shoes, from high level to stable neutral shoes, check out our Stability Shoe Guide.


Malisoux, L., Chambon, N., Delattre, N., Gueguen, N., Urhausen, A., & Theisen, D. (2016). Injury risk in runners using standard or motion control shoes: a randomised controlled trial with participant and assessor blinding. 
British Journal of Sports Medicine50(8), 481-487.

Malisoux, L., Ramesh, J., Mann, R., Seil, R., Urhausen, A., & Theisen, D. (2015). Can parallel use of different running shoes decrease running‐related injury risk?. 
Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports25(1), 110-115.


I 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.


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.


Fit: A- (Snug but comfortable and flexible performance upper. A little flexible for extreme turns but good security)
A-/B+ (Snappy shoe for workouts or races for some. Great grip and softer midsole than expected for such a light shoe with great ground feel. A little low by today's standards, so while versatile for some to use as a trainer, most will use this for faster stuff)
Stability: B+ (Feels more like a traditional neutral shoe. Traditional and mild stability methods in the midfoot and heel. Midfoot does narrow a bit which takes down a bit of stability. Will work for those with neutral or mild stability need)
DPT/Footwear Science: B (Mild post is well-integrated and should work well for a variety of people. Nothing too special here as this is fairly traditional. Would suggest midfoot be widened and use more new methods of stability.
Personal:  A-/B+ (A favorite shoe type of mine. Lightweight shoe with light stability. Versatile for those who can handle less shoe and want something that can handle training, workouts and races. This has been a staple workout shoe when I want something a little more traditional.)
Overall: B+ (A great traditional lightweight light stability workout/racing shoe with a comfortable knit upper)

Find the Asics DS Trainer 26 at Running Warehouse here. Using the link to purchase helps support Doctors of Running. Thanks so much!

Visit our Holiday Gift Guide for Runners for our favorite gear of 2021!

Check out Gear We Love
New Balance Rebel v2
One of the most fun trainers of 2021 so far
Asics Metaspeed Sky: Chief Editor Matt Klein can't stop racing in it, even on trails (not advised)
Hoka Arahi 5One of the best stability shoes of the year, and the best walking shoe as well. Versatile.
Feetures Socks: Massively grippy socks that will make you feel more one with the shoe
Huma Chia GelNatural and goes down easy. Powered Contributor Nathan Brown to his marathon
Trigger Point Foam Roller: Help get those knots out post-run and feel better for tomorrow
Theragun Massager: This small version is great on the go for working tired legs
Ciele Hat: Our team's favorite running hat of choice!


Check out our Guide to Stability Shoes for more related options on stability.

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On Cloudace Review - On's premium stability trainer uses everything short of a post for stability
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adidas Prime X Review - The monstrous 50mm stacked shoe gets the DOR testing

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Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Dr. Matthew Klein is a 150 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  The stability guy of the group, he also prefers a little stability in his footwear. However, as a researcher, clinician and running shoe aficionado, he will run in anything. 

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your
local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at ASICS USA for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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