Asics Gel DS Racer 10 Review
I had low expectations of the DS Racer, but it still managed to disappoint me. The cushioning is better than I expected, but the upper is rather uncomfortable and the drop is too great. If you're looking seriously at the DS Racer, I'd suggest trying the Asics Gel Hyper Speed or the Saucony Kinvara first. You should only consider this if you really want some anti-pronation in a lightweight shoe. (I use The Science of Running Shoes as the basis of how I test running shoes and what you should look for in a running shoe.)
- 1 Characteristics
- 2 Comparisons
- 3 Cushioning and Shoes
- 4 Visualizing the Attributes of the Asics Gel DS Racer
- 5 A Comparison with other Recommended Shoes
- . The DS Racer is not a shoe I like, so it's hard to recommend. If you think that the dual density foam is worthwhile, in spite of the evidence to the contrary, then this is one of the few lightweight shoes you have to choose from.
- . The cushioning is quite springy and smooth. With less drop, the midsole would have been quite pleasant.
- . The 6mm drop is enough to start to cause me issues, and I suspect that it's actually a little more than 6mm in practice. The DS Racer has enough drop for me to feel like I'm running in high heels and for it to mess with my stride slightly.
- . The DS Racer includes multiple densities of foam, called DuoMax, which make the inside of the heel firmer and attempts to interfere with the natural movement of the foot. The research indicates that these techniques don't actually change the foot movement much, even with the more extreme "motion control" shoes. However, I would not have noticed the dual density if I hadn't been looking out for it as it is very mild.
- . The DS Racer is less flexible than you'd expect for a lightweight shoe. This is partly due to the extensive outsole, and partly the hard plastic shank that Asics call their "Trusstic System". There are some gaps in the outsole that improve flexibility at those points, but that causes the shoe to crease at specific points, which are not necessarily the points your foot bends. I found the lack of flexibility reduced the comfort of the shoe, even when compared with shoes like the Hoka. This is possibly because the massively cushioned Hoka shoes don't bend, but they do compress in a way that allows the foot to bend within the shoe.
- . There's a good layer of harder rubber outsole over the forefoot contact areas, and most of the heel.
- cut open the toe box for my feet to move naturally. (I recommend cutting open the toe box of virtually all running shoes, with the exception of a few shoes like some Altra shoes. When you have some worn out shoes, you should try cutting open the toe box. I've found that it's a big improvement, allowing my toes to move naturally and engage for toe off, as well as reducing the possibility of blisters.) . The DS Racer is not designed to fit the human foot, and I had to
- . In today's market, nearly every shoe has a comfortable upper. Unfortunately the DS Racer bucks this trend and I found it rather uncomfortable. The upper seems quite thick and inflexible, with reinforcement strips that make things even worse. When combined with the outsole that causes the shoe to crease at specific points, I found the upper dug into the top of my foot. I also found the ankle opening caused pressure, even though it was well padded.
- . The DS Racer has a traditional tongue that is has a tab to attach it to the laces. The tongue has some padding, but it also a seam half way up that's less than ideal.
- . The DS Racer has thin flat laces that stayed tied.
- . The DS Racer has a moderately strong heel counter, but it didn't cause any problems.
Here are some direct comparisons with its potential competition.
2.1 Asics Gel DS Racer and Asics Gel Hyper Speed
The Asics Gel Hyper Speed is far better than the DS Racer in every way. It's lighter, better cushioned, less drop, and a more comfortable upper.
2.2 Asics Gel DS Racer and New Balance RC5000
The DS Racer lighter than many shoes, but the New Balance RC5000 is extreme. The RC5000 is about half the weight of the DS Racer, and while not as well cushioned, it does the job. If you want to run faster, and you're okay with the cushioning of the RC5000, then it's by far the better shoe.
2.3 Asics Gel DS Racer and Hoka Clifton
It's hard to believe that the DS Racer and the Hoka Clifton are so close in weight; the Clifton is just over an ounce (30g) heavier, but the Clifton is vastly better cushioned. The Clifton is nearly as flexible as the DS Racer, another surprise. The Clifton is also more comfortable, which is icing on the cake.
2.4 Asics Gel DS Racer and Saucony Kinvara
The Saucony Kinvara and the DS Racer are close in weight and cushioning, but they appear to be trying to do different things. The Kinvara is a transition between a traditional shoe like the Asics GT 2000 and either a cushioned Maximalist shoe or a light weight optimal shoe, where the DS Racer has aspirations of being that light weight optimal shoe. The Kinvara succeeds in its goals, and is a comfortable shoe, where the DS Racer falls short. The comparison highlights for me the problems in the DS Racer; it's not light enough to be an optimal shoe, nor is it comfortable enough to be a transitional shoe.
2.5 Asics Gel DS Racer and Asics GT 2000
I tend to compare shoes against my benchmark "normal running shoe", the Asics GT 2000. The GT 2000 weights more than half as much again, but at least the upper is comfortable. Where the DS Racer makes a vague attempt to interfere with your biomechanics, the GT 2000 is more determined, though probably no more effective. However, when you run in the two shoes, the GT 2000 feels more like a concrete clog in comparison with the DS Racer. At least in the company of the GT 2000 it can appear light weight, if not comfortable.
3 Cushioning and Shoes
It's intuitively obvious that the cushioning in a shoe will reduce the impact on your body when running. However, The Science of Running Shoes indicates that the reality is rather more complex. While slight cushioning may reduce the effort needed to run by improving your Running Economy, most scientific research indicates that more cushioning does further improve Running Economy. In addition, cushioning does not generally reduce impact and may actually increase it. This is counterintuitive, but is likely to be due to the way a runners mind and body adapts to softer cushioning. Unfortunately, the scientific evidence is far from complete and it's hard to give clear recommendations. I believe that some runners will prefer more cushioning, while others prefer less, and typically those running further have a fondness for greater cushioning. I also believe that a shoe should be as light as possible, and a shoe should justify its weight with the cushioning it provides. My advice is to decide what level of cushioning you're looking for, and then find the lightest shoes that also fit well and are comfortable.
4 Visualizing the Attributes of the Asics Gel DS Racer
5 A Comparison with other Recommended Shoes
For a more detailed comparison of these shoes see the Recommendations for Best Running Shoes. This table lists the key attributes of What to Look for in Running Shoes. For more detailed information, on the shoes see detailed shoe comparison.
|Full Review||Name||Rating|| Recommended
|Asics 33-DFA Review||33-DFA||Worth considering||$90||5.7||10.6||16.5||27||27||0||6.1||6|
|Saucony Type A6 Review||A6||Highly Recommended||$100||8.2||6.1||9.5||17||21||4||5.0||8|
|Adidas Adios Boost 2 Review||Adios||Worth considering||$140||4.7||8.6||13.4||17||27||11||4.0||7|
|Skechers GO Bionic 2 Review||Bionic||Highly Recommended||$95||6.4||7.0||10.9||15||18||2||4.5||9|
|Hoka Bondi Review||Bondi||Highly Recommended||$150||8.0||10.9||17.0||41||45||5||8.8||0|
|Hoka Clayton Review||Clayton||Best of the Best||$150||8.8||8.3||12.9||26||30||3||7.3||5|
|Hoka Clifton 3 Review||Clifton3||Best of the Best||$130||9.1||9.8||15.3||34||38||3||8.9||6|
|On Cloudracer Review||Cloudracer||Worth considering||$130||5.7||8.2||12.8||19||27||5||4.7||8|
|Hoka Conquest Review||Conquest||Worth considering||$170||5.0||11.9||18.5||28||34||5||6.0||3|
|Saucony Cortana 4 Review||Cortana||Worth considering||$150||4.4||9.9||18.7||22||28||5||4.3||5|
|Mizuno Wave Cruise Review||Cruise||Worth considering||$120||6.6||5.9||12.5||17||20||7||3.9||7|
|Newton Distance IV Review||Distance||Worth considering||$155||7.5||9.1||14.2||26||31||3||6.8||6|
|Asics Gel DS Racer 10 Review||DS Racer||Worth considering||$110||8.2||7.0||10.9||21||26||6||5.8||6|
|Mizuno Wave Ekiden 8 Review||Ekiden||Worth considering||$115||5.7||5.7||14.6||13||18||6||3.2||8|
|Saucony Endorphin Review||Endorphin||Highly Recommended||$125||11.1||4.1||6.4||14||13||-1||4.5||9|
|Adidas Energy Boost Review||Energy||Worth considering||$160||7.2||10.0||15.6||20||30||7||7.2||6|
|Puma Faas 100 R Review||Faas 100||Highly Recommended||$90||8.4||6.1||9.4||15||20||1||5.1||9|
|Saucony Fastwitch Review||Fastwitch||Highly Recommended||$90||9.5||7.1||11.1||20||22||4||6.8||8|
|Topo Fli-Lyte Review||Fli-Lyte||Highly Recommended||$100||6.0||9.4||14.6||23||24||4||5.6||6|
|Nike Free 4.0 Review||Free||Recommended||$120||5.3||8.2||13.6||24||30||6||4.4||6|
|Saucony Freedom Review||Freedom||Recommended||$160||5.4||10.7||16.6||11||11||3||5.8||7|
|Asics Gel Lyte 33 3 Review||Gel Lyte||Not recommended||$90||8.0||7.3||11.4||17||24||4||5.8||9|
|Skechers GOmeb Speed 3 Review||GOmeb 3||Worth considering||$120||6.9||8.1||12.6||20||24||4||5.5||8|
|Skechers GORun 4 Review||GORun||Not recommended||$100||6.1||7.5||11.7||15||23||3||4.5||7|
|Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 Review||GRU||Worth considering||$90||7.5||10.0||15.6||28||34||8||7.5||5|
|Skechers GOrun Ultra Road Review||GRU-R||Worth considering||$105||6.5||11.3||17.6||30||40||6||7.4||7|
|Asics GT 2000 Review||GT 2000||Not recommended||$120||4.8||11.2||17.4||28||35||5||5.4||4|
|Asics Gel Hyper Speed 7 Review||Hyper Speed||Highly Recommended||$75||10.9||6.3||9.8||22||26||5||6.8||7|
|Altra Instinct 3.5 Review||Instinct 3.5||Recommended||$115||4.9||9.3||15.2||24||23||0||4.5||6|
|Asics Tarther Kainos 3 Review||Kainos||Worth considering||$130||10.0||6.9||10.7||17||27||9||6.8||7|
|Saucony Kinvara 7 Review||Kinvara||Best of the Best||$110||7.4||8.2||12.8||23||27||3||6.1||6|
|Nike LunaRacer 4 Review||LunaRacer||Recommended||$90||9.9||7.0||10.9||22||30||7||6.9||6|
|Nike LunarSpider R5 Review||LunarSpider||Recommended||$125||6.9||6.7||10.4||17||21||3||4.6||7|
|Hoka Mafate Speed Review||Mafate||Best of the Best||$170||7.6||11.9||18.5||39||40||4||9.0||3|
|Pearl Izumi EM Road N0 v2 Review||N0||Highly Recommended||$100||7.9||6.5||10.1||14||20||4||5.2||8|
|New Balance 980 Review||NB 980||Worth considering||$110||4.6||10.1||15.7||21||30||5||4.6||5|
|Hoka Odyssey Review||Odyssey||Highly Recommended||$130||8.5||9.4||14.6||37||45||5||8.0||4|
|Altra Olympus Review||Olympus||Highly Recommended||$130||5.4||11.8||18.4||27||27||3||6.4||4|
|Altra One 2.5 Review||One||Highly Recommended||$100||8.5||7.1||11.1||22||25||2||6.0||8|
|Altra Paradigm Review||Paradigm||Highly Recommended||$130||6.4||9.9||15.4||25||25||1||6.4||4|
|Asics Piranha SP 5 Review||Piranha||Recommended||$100||10.1||4.2||6.5||11||15||3||4.2||9|
|Brooks PureFlow 5 Review||PureFlow||Worth considering||$110||6.0||9.7||15.1||26||29||5||5.8||8|
|Salming Race Review||Race||Worth considering||$130||6.9||6.5||10.1||16||19||4||4.5||7|
|New Balance RC1600 v2 Review||RC1600||Highly Recommended||$110||8.8||5.6||8.7||15||21||5||4.9||8|
|New Balance RC5000 Review||RC5000||Best of the Best||$125||12.2||3.4||5.3||13||17||3||4.2||8|
|New Balance RC5000v2 Review||RC5000v2||Best of the Best||$125||14.2||4.0||6.2||13||21||6||5.7||8|
|Skechers GoRun Ride 3 Review||Ride||Worth considering||$85||5.9||8.5||13.2||18||28||6||5.0||9|
|Inov-8 RoadXTreme 220 Review||RXT-220||Worth considering||$120||5.2||8.0||18.2||14||17||3||4.2||9|
|Hoka Stinson Lite Review||Stinson||Highly Recommended||$160||7.3||11.6||18.1||35||40||6||8.5||2|
|Nike Zoom Streak LT 3 Review||Streak LT||Best of the Best||$80||8.8||5.4||8.4||16||21||4||4.8||6|
|Adidas Takumi Sen 3 Review||Takumi Sen 3||Highly Recommended||$160||7.7||6.6||10.2||17||21||4||5.1||6|
|Altra Torin 2.0 Review||Torin||Worth considering||$125||5.8||9.6||14.9||28||25||-1||5.5||5|
|Hoka Tracer Review||Tracer||Recommended||$130||7.2||7.4||11.5||21||24||2||5.3||6|
|Merrell Trail Glove 3 Review||Trail Glove||Best of the Best||$100||2.9||6.9||24.7||11||11||0||2.0||9|
|Brooks Transcend 2 Review||Transcend||Recommended||$170||5.1||12.6||19.6||30||36||6||6.5||4|
|Topo Tribute Review||Tribute||Recommended||$100||5.9||7.3||11.4||20||18||-1||4.3||7|
|Mizuno Wave Universe 5 Review||Universe||Highly Recommended||$125||10.7||3.1||10.6||9||12||1||3.3||9|
|Merrell Vapor Glove 2 Review||Vapor Glove||Highly Recommended||$85||2.1||6.1||27.6||6||5||0||1.3||10|
|New Balance Vazee Pace Review||Vazee Pace||Worth considering||$110||6.0||8.6||13.4||18||24||6||5.2||6|
|Asics TartherZeal 3 Review||Zeal||Worth considering||$140||10.9||6.3||9.8||17||27||9||6.8||7|
It's not a running shoe, but I love the Hoka Tor Ultra hiking boot and I've tested the Altra Lone Peak Boot.
Older shoe reviews: Saucony Hattori Review, Mizuno Cursoris Review, Skechers GO Bionic 2 Review, Hoka Clifton Review, Saucony Virrata 2 Review, Brooks PureCadence 3 Review, Brooks PureConnect 3 Review, Brooks PureFlow 3 Review.
Reviews of shoes that are not worth including on the table: Hoka Huaka Review, Patagonia EVERlong Review.