Archive for triathlon shoes

Asics DS Trainer 18

Posted in Product Review with tags , , , , , , , on May 16, 2013 by brianestover

Asics’s latest version of their popular DS Trainer series is the DS Trainer 18.

Bold colors, great ride, Asics DS 18

Bold colors, great ride, Asics DS 18

The ABQ Running Shop sent me a pair to test out. When I laced these shoes up I noticed two things right away. The most significant thing Asics did was get rid of the ill conceived Clutch Collar that they introduced in the DS 16’s. They added a Heel Clutching System in the exoskeleton of this shoe. The second thing is the shoe laces are longer, long enough to double knot on my high volume feet.

Asics DS Trainer 18's Heel Clutching System

Asics DS Trainer 18’s Heel Clutching System

Several things carry over with this shoe from previous models. Asics brought the fore and rear foot gel pads and their Impact Guidance System (IGS) over. The DuoMax Support System which is their dual density mid sole comes along for the ride from the 17’s. Asics also incorporated the Propulsion Trusstic system and Guidance Line in the DS 18’s sole as well as their SoLyte Midsole Material in it. This shoe loses just over an ounce from the DS 17’s. Something that is noticeable right off the bat when you run in this shoe.

What’s new is seamless uppers and the Wet Grip Outsole. Many shoes in the lightweight category have gone to seamless uppers giving them a leg up on Asics. This neutralizes that advantage. The Wet Grip out sole though may not be a better thing. I didn’t get to run in the rain in Tucson in this shoe to see how it fared compared to the 17’s but I did make sure to run through some puddles when I was in Asheville. I can’t say for certain the Wet Grip outsole is a step up in wet conditions but it’s a step backward on the type of trails I run daily. This shoe lacks grip on the loose layer of sand and tiny rocks on top of the hard packed dirt trails that I run. It’s lack of grip is so noticeable that I took it out of the rotation when I run on the Rillito River path. If you run on something similar there are better shoes out there for traction and grip.

The soul of the sole

The soul of the sole

When you run in this shoe you notice a few things. It’s lighter. It rides lower to the ground, not much lower, but it’s noticeable and welcomed. It’s softer. Softer in a good way. The DS 18’s possess the awesome Asics ride that you are used to. The transition from landing to toe off is smooth and predictable. When you want to run fast this shoe will go fast with you and you won’t have to think about your shoe choice. I found this shoe to be more comfortable after running four days alternating between the DS 17’s and 18’s.

Asics DS 18's

Asics DS 18’s

I see this shoe as being a great shoe for going to the track, doing tempo or threshold runs or even long runs with fast main sets. This would be an awesome shoe for long course triathlon especially the ironman distance. I’d put it in my top two or three choices for half’s. There is another Asics shoe I’ll be reviewing that I think may be a better half ironman racing shoe if you like certain things from your racing shoes. If you need unparalleled traction on trails, the Asics DS 18’s aren’t your shoe. As a day in day out runner the DS 18’s are a great choice to meet your needs. Comfortable, fast, light, everything you want when it’s time to go fast.

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Brooks Launch – Shoe review

Posted in Product Review with tags , , , , , on August 30, 2012 by brianestover

Over the past few years I have found myself drawn more often towards Brooks running shoes. Brooks used to be the shoe that your Dad wore. The big, heavy Beast built up to prevent pronation and anything else, that graced the feet of many a middle age runner. Over the past several years, Brooks has transformed itself from that shoe to That Shoe.

The Brooks Launch continues that evolution. This is classified as a lightweight neutral trainer based on their universal platform. There is a 9.5mm heel to toe offset. For you minimalist low to no offset people this may be too high for you. I gave it no thought after the first four steps of running.

Brooks Launch, a very bright shoe

It’s a colorful shoe, bright, light green with an orange midsole. The first thing you notice is how soft this shoe is. Comfortable with a good fit. My extra high feet found no complaints with this shoe. I can actually double knot the laces with ease, although I’ve yet to have to retie a single knot in any run with with the Launch. The sole provides good traction on the groomed dirt/sand trails I run on. They are holding up quite well to the abrasive nature of the trails.

Medial view and the “soul” of the shoe

This shoe runs quite well. Initially I was worried about how soft this shoe might run. I thought I’d feel like I was running on squishy, wet ground. You know that feeling where it seems every time you push off you sink half an inch. Not the case. The ride is soft and firm (a contradiction I know) but no squish. It runs well, a nice transition from strike to toe off. There is no heel slippage as you run even in my case where my feet are half a size apart. The toe box is roomy, no pinching or compressing toes together. If you have a narrow forefoot this could be an issue. You will want to check out in the store before buying. My high volume, wide feet are rather comfy in these shoes.

My only complaint is there is no hint of a medial wedge. If you pronate at all, this shoe will not slow down that rate of pronation. It’s not enough to cause me concern in the foot that pronates, but occasionally on uneven terrain I could feel a bit of a twist upon impact. 99.9% of the time when I run in this shoe there are no second thoughts as to what is on my feet. This shoe is equally adept at running fast for those threshold runs as it is cruising along just logging miles.

Brooks Launch, Accelerate 3 Coaching

The Launch, toe and heel views

This shoe, along with several other of the Brooks models, shows that they have listened to what the runners have had to say. The Launch is what you want in a running shoe. Comfortable, good fit, runs well, good transition through the foot strike. I can see Brooks making a sizable dent in the market share of other running shoe companies. This shoe warrants a look if you like lightweight neutral trainers.