154 users: 4.3 / 5
2 experts: 90 / 100
Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 9.1oz / Women 7.7oz
Heel to toe drop: Men 10mm / Women 10mm
Arch support: Stability

Verdict from 8.7 hours of research from the internet

6 reasons to buy

  • The Gel DS Trainer 21 comes with an updated upper which is more durable and breathable.
  • The Seamless Construction allows runners to wear this shoe comfortably without using socks.
  • Many runners appreciated the Heel Clutching System, which makes use of an exoskeleton that secures the rear part of the foot in place.
  • The shoe’s traction and grip were enhanced and runners found it to be very effective.
  • The 21st version of the Asics Gel DS Trainer delivers a good blend of support and cushioning through high quality components in the mid-sole.
  • It features the ComforDry Sock Liner technology, which keeps the foot dry and odor-free.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Some runners noted that the outsole was a bit too hard that it didn’t quite hold onto the roads pretty well.
  • Others experienced the upper unit near the heel area rip apart after a few months.
  • A few felt their toes get clumped together by the narrow forefoot area.

Bottom line

The Gel DS Trainer 21 from Asics is a shoe that is ideal for road running. It has the necessary support and cushioning systems that are essential for performance training and high mileage running. Generally, the runners found this version more satisfying than the older versions.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

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  • The 21st iteration of the Asics Gel DS Trainer is a daily training shoe that provides plush underfoot support and mild stability to those who need it. The mid-sole cushioning systems are efficient and the upper gives a secure and comfortable wrap. Wearing this shoe makes running easier and more agreeable to the runner.
  • Moving away from the plain and simple design of the DS Trainer 20, the Gel DS Trainer 21 offers a more appealing look that has a modern and sleek style. The value of the upper unit isn’t just about its looks, though. It uses a soft and breathable material that keeps the foot well-ventilated. The coverage is also snug and secure.
  • A bevy of mid-sole systems make up the plush and dependable platform of this running shoe. Comfort is received through a soft foam that also delivers rebound mechanics. A forefoot-and-heel impact protection unit makes sure that the foot stays safe from landing shock. The gait and running efficiency is guided by this high quality mid-sole.
  • The purpose of the outsole unit of the Asics Gel DS Trainer 21 is to bring durable protection against wear and abrasion, as well as delivering responsible traction over the roads. It’s also meant to be lightweight, so that it doesn’t drag the mid-sole down while still allowing flexibility.

The Gel DS Trainer 21 features a standard running shoe length. It’s available in sizes that adhere to the regular measurements for men and women. The available width is medium, so it accommodates runners whose feet are medium-sized. This shoe’s semi-curved shape allows the natural shape of the foot to acclimate well to it.

The Asics High Abrasion Resistant Rubber or AHAR® is a high quality rubber material that’s meant to deliver durable protection against the abrasive nature of the asphalt. Made from carbon rubber, it doles out its purpose well, and it also doesn’t peel off easily.

The DuraSponge® is a forefoot rubber compound that adds a bit more cushioning to the runner, particularly during toe-off. Its responsive and flexible, so it allows the foot to move as freely as it can as it delivers traction and protection.

The DuoSole® design doesn’t make the external layer heavy or thick. It allows the rubber materials to do their job well, though it reduces weight. Traction, flexibility and durability are all preserved.

The outsole materials used in this version are also present in the new DS Trainer 24 running shoe.

The Solyte® is a full-length foam that delivers responsive cushioning to the runner. It has a springy nature, so it makes each step more efficient and energized. It’s made from high quality materials, so it doesn’t break down easily.

The Gel® Cushioning System is a gel unit that’s based from silicon. It’s placed separately in the heel and forefoot sections. It handles the impact shock when landing the foot on the ground, so the runner stays confident and protected throughout every running activity.

The Lightweight Dynamic DuoMax Technology is a dual-density mid-sole foam that stabilizes the mid-foot of the wearer. It responsibly supports the arch and guides it to a more neutral stance, so that the runner stays efficient and free from discomfort or injury when running.

The Guidance Line® is a visible vertical flex groove in the upper that leads the foot to a more efficient running gait, while an Impact Guidance System® is a mid-sole construction that balances the transition from the heel to the toe.

The Propulsion Trusstic System is a unit that’s made from thermal plastic. Used to connect the medial mid-foot and the lateral heel section, its purpose is to propel the runner forward on each step.

Open Mesh is a soft and breathable material that’s used in the Asics Gel DS Trainer 21. It constantly encourages air to enter the shoe and keep the foot cool and dry throughout every activity. It’s also pliable, so it follows the movements of the foot well.

The Seamless Upper Construction limits the use of stitching and virtually removes seams out of the picture. Instead, the overlay system is fused onto the upper, reducing the overall weight of the shoe and allows unrestricted movement.

The Heel Clutching System™ is an exoskeletal heel part that holds the rear of the foot in place. It prevents any slippage or accidental shoe-removals, essentially making the fit surer and more secure.
The ComforDry™ gives the runner additional cushioning. Placed just above the mid-sole unit, it also keeps the interior environment clean and healthy because of its anti-microbial and anti-moisture properties.

Size and fit

True to size based on 92 user votes
Small (0%)
True to size (82%)
Large (18%)
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Same sizing as Asics Gel DS Trainer 25.

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How Gel DS Trainer 21 compares

This shoe: 90
All shoes average: 86
58 99
This shoe: $120
All shoes average: $119
$40 $350
This shoe: 9.1oz
All shoes average: 9.5oz
3.5oz 16.2oz
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.