Asics Gel DS Trainer VIII £75

Posted: 11 February 2003

Weight 306g
Evaluation Every year, Asics updates its lightweight gem of a racer/trainer, but usually the changes are barely noticeable. But this eighth version of the DS-Trainer has had a complete overhaul. The most important change is to the rearfoot, where Asics has added a lighter version of its Impact Guidance System to smooth the heelstrike and slow the rate of pronation. There’s also a new upper, with a tighter pattern and a more rounded toe. And a new plastic midfoot shank – the Trusstic System – allows for a light but stable midsole.

In the forefoot, the DuoSole pattern has been drastically changed. Gone is the traditional small lugged outsole that has proven so popular. It has been replaced with a more conventional outsole. Asics claims that this will slip less on wet pavements. Overall, the weartesting was mixed on this shoe. Some felt the midsole was too firm, while others said the ride was as responsive as ever. And there was a mixed reaction to the new upper, too. Some weren’t enthusiastic, others loved the supportive feel that the thicker material offers. One point not in dispute, though – the new DS Trainer is heavier than last year’s model.
In short Whenever a company makes drastic changes to a popular shoe, it can guarantee a mixed reaction. The DS Trainer still has that firm ride, and it’s still one of the most stable shoes in this category. But – on balance – this may not be one of the best updates of the DS Trainer.
Try it on if you liked Asics Gel DS Trainer VII (£80); Mizuno Wave Precision (£60); New Balance 770 (£55)

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Asics Gel DS Trainer VIII

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Anybody out there tried the new DS Trainer VIII. How does it compare to version VII. Is it lighter/heavier? More/less cushioning? etc.

Posted: 12/01/2003 at 13:41


Anyone? Please.
Posted: 15/01/2003 at 17:17

Have just ordered a pair - will let you know how they shape up against the VIIs (which are on the way out, but a fabulous shoe) after a few runs...anyone else?
Posted: 22/01/2003 at 18:57

Okay, have done 12 miles in them today, so here's the news. Pete Bland Sports delivered them within 48 hours of ordering for a fantastic 67 quid. Out of the packaging at home, holding them next to the old DST VIIs. Hmmm, footprint is almost identical which is a good start, though a slightly slimmer toe box (initial alarm dispelled when my (quite wide, with padded Thorlo socks on) feet felt snug but not crowded in the shoes on the run).

Clearly there's more complete stability in the mid-foot region (found not to be constricting for a neutral runner when taken for the practical test) and the bouncy blown rubber has given way to a more complete, ultra-responsive, SpEVA forefoot padding. How can Asics have made all these improvements and kept the weight down so that it's still a "Lyte" shoe in their eyes.

Hang on a sec...out come the kitchen scales. DST VIIs go on to check scales are functioning properly. Men's size 9.5 - 300g, as it should be. New VIIIs - 335g. Mild diappointment sets in - that's just not on I think to myself - now I won't really want to double the trainer up as a racer.

Or will I? Running in these shoes was a very different experience to the VIIs. I love the feel of the VIIs - that "you want to go fast" feeling when you run in them. These are different - they order you to run and by god is it fun - these are certainly quite a ride.

The lace-up system is comfortable and the shoe, when on, is definitely snugger than the VIIs. The heel is still as low as the VII's heel (just firmer). The stability is definitely there, but there's no restricting feeling that I was getting from 2070s when I wore them - I put this down to the position of the mid-foot support, not the amount of it. The toe-off is very clean - no messing around, you are propelled onwards and onwards. The cushioning is excellent - ridiculously responsive on first outing - effectively feels like a Mizuno Wave Creation's (which I'm also running in at the moment but am wondering why I bought them now...and actually, the toe box is very similar) sleeker, more evil brother - seriously, these could be the only trainer I want to run in ever again.

The design (which you may have seen in adverts) has gone from Asics most outrageous, ostentatious shoe, to their most understated. The shoe used to have to shout at people to make them buy it - no longer will that be necessary.

If you used the VIIs for racing because of their weight then you'll need to get flats if weight matters. However, if you used this as a performance trainer, then, regardless of the extra weight sticking it back up to the heavier side of the class, this you must go to a good running shop and try out.

I'd completely recommend a try-out for any of the following:
- DST VII lovers
- lovers of 2060 who just didn't suit 2070s and were wildly disappointed with Asics for "ruining their shoe"
- anyone wearing Mizuno Wave Creation or Rider.
Posted: 26/01/2003 at 12:55

I've used DS Trainers for the past 3 years and haven't bought two pairs of the latest have to admit I'm disappointed.

A bit to snug for me. Result: blisters for the 1st time in years.

Had been intending to use them for FLM this year (as I did last year) but won't risk it now so I'm on the look out for some new shoes. Any recommendations for a former fan of the DS Trainer?
Posted: 26/01/2003 at 14:25

The VIIs are still generally available - if they suit, then I suggest stocking-up in the hope that the IXs will arrive before your stocks wear is still advertising them (though call them as recently I've had shoddy service from their internet ordering).

Think that the snugness may be the main weakness for the new version.
Posted: 26/01/2003 at 14:38

thank's shufflebuster - think that's what I will do. I can still use the VIIIs just can't run hard for more than an hour in them that's all
Posted: 26/01/2003 at 16:03

Just thinking about going to try and pair, have been a fan of the DS for a couple of years, and also the Mizuno Wave Rider - need a pair fairly quickly as my others are
worn out so had better trot off down to the shops

Posted: 27/01/2003 at 13:40

Guess i was "fooled" into thinking what a great trainer the VIII looked. For the last 3 years i have done all my races in the DS Trainer series (VI, VII). Silly me, went and bought 2 pairs on Saturday. Now i'm thinking .....RWs review isn't that great, forum runners saying similar. I won't know until i can run in them (after my peroneal tendon injury is better). I also planned to run FLM in them but who knows. I really and truly loved the DS Trainer VI (had 5 pairs).
The VII was ok and i only ever bought i pair, in Australia (June 2001). Whilst i waited patiently for the launch of the VIII, i switched to Mizuno Wave Precision 3. The UK size 10 came up to small, so i settled for 10.5, which seemed too big.
Nice trainer though.

What's the verdict on the 2080 ????
Any good ?

Posted: 29/01/2003 at 14:13

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