Category: Running
Weight: 6.9 oz
Best for: Runners craving a lightweight shoe with plenty of midsole support.
Star Feature: Heel GEL Cushioning Support

Long distance running can pay a toll on your feet and if any brand knows about putting in work, it's Asics. As a runner that deals with extremely high arches and a history of plantar fascistic, I have been sacrificing lightweight shoes for heavier, supportive models for years—but not anymore. Asics met the idea of midsole support and a light overall frame head-on in the Gel-DS Racer 9, a shoe that offers thickness through the middle all the way into the rearfoot cushioning system.

Finding a cross trainer that yields this much support while maintaining a flyaway, weightless feel seemed impossible, but two new materials made it possible. The midsole material is composed of a lighter-than-normal substance called Solyte and the overall shoe is supported by a Trussic system that keeps it light throughout the entire structure. Running in a shoe this light feels like a dream after the clunkiness of the GT-1000, which was the best compromise I could find before this of price, weight and style.

Another problem with most highly-supportive shoes—aesthetically they usually look like a model that would appeal to a 60-year-old man and not many other people. Asics thankfully gave this shoe a sleek, futuristic look by combining hot pink with baby blue, and using a sheer white mesh to cover the breathable toe box and sides. That mesh isn't just for looks either, it allows moisture to escape making the shoe that much more breathable. The classic Asic stripe down the right side is done in hot pink but the laces are pink and blue. Basically, Asics realizes that making a woman's shoe doesn't just mean changing the shape or sizing, it also means altering the visual appeal ever-so-slightly.

Bottom Line: This updated take on a trainer with loads of support is a dreamy alternative to its clunky counterparts. At a cool $100 it doesn't break the bank but stylish accents make it look like a nicer, fresher shoe than most highly stable models that focus on support systems. It fits like a glove and the lightweight feel of the model encourages a re-focusing back to improving personal records instead of worrying about arch and heel pain.