Asics Gel – DS trainer 15/17
The DS trainer has been my workhorse for the longest time; they were one of the most popular Asics shoes and many people wore them for marathons even when it was considered a “light weight” trainer. Now it just looks chunky compared to my Kinvara 3 and MT01. I wore the DS Trainer 15 for my 2nd marathon (Mid 2012) and they did the job, it was the runner that wasn’t up to it that night. This shoe provides really good support without being such a heavy weight in the stability shoes category, however the popular wave of minimalist shoes have swung into full force and I’ve been using my other trainers more often now.
The shoes are pretty hardy, I am now using my old DS trainers for trail running in Bukit Timah and Mac Ritchie. It does a decent job despite not having a water proof upper or deep “teeth” for traction on the trails. The current DS trainer 17 I’m using has a similar feel, I bought it cheap during a clearance sale for under SGD$100 so I have no complaints.
That being said, my current favourite training shoes would be the Kinvara 3, I’ll most probably keep the DS trainers for trail running at the moment.
Saucony Kinvara 3
I first got this shoe while attempting to change my foot strike; and after using them for a while, I still don’t know if my running style has changed. I didn’t make a conscious effort to change my foot strike, I just ran as “light” as possible and try to land my feet as close to my CG as mention in this post.
I didn’t really like it initially as (deep) heel cup was cutting into my ankles and giving me abrasions (I wore low cut socks), now I’ve got thicker skin around that area so that doesn’t bother me anymore. After a few months, I really enjoy the feel of these shoes, it has a relatively low heel drop (4mm) so it’s in someways, a transitional shoe towards the minimalist shoes (with 0mm drop). I feel I can run a marathon in these shoes as they are as light as most racing shoes. Really comfortable and highly recommended if you want to move away from the conventional stability shoes to something more lightweight.
The Kinvara 3 is currently one of my favourite shoes for tarmac running but the downside is that it seems to be wearing out pretty quickly.
Asics Gel – DS Racer 9
These are the shoes I use for races, they are really light and yet able to provide sufficient support for longer races like a half marathon or longer. They are very comfortable and built on the DS trainer “chassis” so I have no problems adapting to the feel of the shoe.
The downside (some see it as an advantage) of this shoe is that the vents at the bottom lets the slightest puddle on the ground to soak up your socks. Of course the same vents allows your socks to dry very quickly, but I remember my socks getting wet and dry and wet again on my Megatri event.
I feel like superman in these shoes.
New Balance MT01
This review will not do these shoes justice. I’ve heard many good things about it but they just didn’t work for me. I’ll admit I didn’t do it right, to start of slow and build up the distance gradually, instead I went for a 5km rampage on my first go and got myself injured for a while.
You need to get used to these shoes before putting in the mileage, it’s excellent for trail because you can feel everything and still get good protection and grip from the legendary Vibram soles (they’re really good rubber on La Sportiva Climbing shoes).
Unfortunately because of the bad experience I had with these shoes, I’ve limited my usage in fear of injury. They are however, very good traveling shoes because they are easy to pack and good for treks up tricky terrain.