The ASICS Gel Kayano is a high-quality line of shoes made for running and stability. None are better than the Gel Kayano 27, which has subtle tweaks to enhance breathability and comfort individualized for men and women’s needs. There have been 27 different variations of the Gel Kayano range so far, indicating that it’s a successful range. We’re going to dive into the newest release and see how it compares to the previous shoes.
What Is ASICS Gel Kayano?
The ASICS Gel Kayano range’s focus is as a long-distance running shoe made by the Japanese shoe manufacturer. It’s intended for serious athletes and marathon runners. Although, they could suit the casual neighborhood jogger, too. Flexibility makes the Gel Kayano ASICS line fantastic—it suits anyone, at any expertise, across any distance.
What Is the Best ASICS Gel Kayano?
Although there have been 27 iterations of the Gel Kayanos ASICS shoes, newer doesn’t always mean better. But, this doesn’t apply to the Kayano range—the 27 is the best. With men and women’s shoes in the same range, there aren’t often many differences between the two. The sizing is different, and sometimes, the color options are more stereotypical for each gender. But, there are basic differences between men and women’s feet that go ignored. The Gel Kayano line has been no different, until now. The identically priced, identical-looking shoes have been newly optimized for men and women’s feet. ASICS has taken foot size and shape, the average body weight and gait length into consideration when making the 2020 ASICS line. The tweaks are subtle, but the difference it makes for the wearer is measurable, especially in terms of:
Gel Kayano 27: How They Fit
Many shoe manufacturers stick to basics and don’t do anything to ensure an incredible fit. We can’t say the same about the Gel Kayano 27. For many, they feel like you’ve just stepped into them and that they’re at-one with your feet. That’s because they’re accommodating and roomy but fit snugly because they lock in your heel, which is due to the external heel counter’s structure. This excellent craftsmanship lets you wiggle your toes with ease, while your feet don’t slide around in the shoe. Being so roomy also means there’s more room for air to circulate, making the shoes more breathable by default. So not only are you getting fantastically form-fitting footwear but sweat and odor-reduction, too.
How They’re Constructed
All ASICS shoes feature the finest quality materials. The Gel Kayano 27 is no different. This makes the shoes feel plush and luxurious. But, despite the cushy feel, the shoes are immensely durable. The Jacquard mesh upper is sturdy—almost rip-proof—while remaining lightweight. This ingenious style of mesh has a more significant gap between mesh fibers, which increases airflow while evenly distributing the mesh’s weight, making it feel lighter. Going around the back, the mesh disappears where the lock-in heel counter is. This area isn’t so hard that it hurts or is uncomfortable, but it’s inflexible to ensure its durability and stability. On the inside, the plush, padded collar and silky fabric coats the midsole. Padding always helps with comfort and absorbing shock when running long distances. Since your feet take your bodyweight, and then some, when running, this is a key part of the shoe. Even if your feet wiggle around inside, the smooth fabric means your socks just slide back down again. Thus, removing the possibility of chafing.
How They Perform
The sole of the shoes are stable but never restricting. They feel as plush as the padded interior, which is thanks to the FlyteFoam midsole. On top of this, they have bouncy foam, which will make you feel motivated and lively as they help spring you back into action with every step. The gel cushioning in the center of the FlyteFoam aids this and helps absorb shock, especially in the heel. This is ideal since your heels take most of the weight as you run. As the gel absorbs the shock, it spreads it evenly through the rest of the shoe, so no single area is doing too much work. Such a feature ensures a smooth feel and ride with every leap and bound. You’d think with all this premium padding and gel that the Gel Kayanos would weigh you down. But, they’re neither heavy nor light, weighing 8.8 and 11.1 ounces for women and men, respectively. Even the Dynamic Duomax stability technology doesn’t add much to their weight. All it does is prevent uneven pronation by using a firm piece of foam to balance out any issues. It does this without making your feet feel restricted when running, so it’s definitely doing a fantastic job. The shoes don’t resemble the typically clunky, weighty stability shoes most brands make at all.
How They Differentiate
While it’s true that the Gel Kayano 27s feature different optimization for men and women, the differences are subtle.
The Trusstic system is the plastic within the shoe that supports the arch. It helps stop your feet twisting when in motion. ASICS states that, for women, the Trusstic system design adds extra support for forward arch-movement. But, for men, the main support lies towards the inner part of the arch. The company hasn’t stated why they’ve included this difference. The type of arch support you need depends on your gait and weight, not your gender. Either way, they’re both excellent forms of support.
The midsole’s extensive softness is high for men and women, but higher for women. Gel Kayano’s female shoes contain 3mm more padding than the men’s. This is for what ASICS calls the “biomechanical needs,” which are different and unique in women’s feet.
Great, gender-specific comfort.
Strategically placed gel technology for shock absorption.
Breathable, mesh uppers.
Some customers find the toe box too roomy.
Users claim the toe box sinks inwards with time.
Gel Kayano: 26 vs. 27
The Gel Kayano’s evolution is impressive, so what’s the difference between the 26 and 27? Let’s take a look.
The spec differences between the 26 and 27 are minimal. The 27 women’s shoes are less than an ounce lighter than the 26. Besides that, there’s not much else to point out specs-wise. Here’s what stayed the same:
Drop:10mm for men, 13mm for women.
Stack height(heel/toe): 22/12mm for men, 24/11mm for women.
The stability technology is more or less the same, too, apart from the new gender specifics added to the Trusstic system.
The technology in the shoe has undergone minimal changes, but the tweaks in the construction make more of a difference.
In the Gel Kayano 26, the heel counter is tall and wraps around the sides. The risk here is that the hard counter causes chafing at the back of the heel and compresses the heel’s sides. However, it’s now lower, rounded off and pulled back from the sides in the 2020 ASICS. So, there’s no risk of discomfort but plenty of support.
The heel’s gel cushion went through tweaks for the 27, but the designers haven’t commented on the specifics. We could theorize that with the other comfort-related tweaks, it may be for the same purpose. Perhaps the company added more gel or repositioned it to distribute shock more evenly. Either way, you’re likely to feel it if you have both pairs of shoes.
The mesh upper underwent alterations to have more of a gap between the fibers. The Gel Kayano 26 doesn’t have this feature, meaning the 27 have improved breathability.
Although there’s not much of a tangible difference, the flex grooves are different, and a piece of rubber vanquished from the heel’s outsole.
There areas that stayed the same in the shoe’s redesigning:
To the untrained eye, the Kayano 27 looks almost the same as the 26. You’ll notice the difference around the heel, but the rest is static right down to the classic lacing.
The rubber outsole remains the same, continuing to resist abrasion. Meanwhile, underneath, the sole features a strong grip on any surface but is best on tarmac and trails for those long-distance runs.
The Dynamic Duomax support has remained. This support comes from firmer padding on the footwear’s sides, putting the Gel Asics Kayano range firmly in the stability category. The medial-side foam prevents an unhealthy gait and pronation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Difference Between ASICS Gel Nimbus and Gel Kayano?
The difference between the ASICS Gel NImbus and Gel Kayano is that the Nimbus shoes are neutral running shoes. So, the difference is in how the competing lines handle the wearer’s gate. ASICS Gel Nimbus shoes won’t correct over or under pronation. However, they provide a strong, platform-like base for you to walk on. In contrast, the Asics Kayano Gel shoes will correct improper pronation.
Is the ASICS Gel Kayano a Stability Shoe?
Yes, the ASICS Gel Kayano is a stability shoe. It’s designed to correct over and under pronation while remaining flexible. The flexibility is so you move naturally when running while remaining stable and supported. They also feature athinner sole than some other ASICS running shoes, helping flexibility.
Do ASICS Kayano Run Small?
ASICS Kayano do run small since ASICS shoes as a whole tend to run small, so consider ordering a size up if you buy online. If the shoes feel tight, but you think you can stretch them out with wear, stop. Don’t settle for anything except a perfect fit from the first wear. You can find tips on the importance of the shoe fit in our article, Shoes: Everything You Need to Know.
Are ASICS a Good Brand?
ASICS is a good brand but is currently 66th in popularity as a footwear and clothing company. These positions seem far down the line, but when you consider the sheer number of footwear and clothing brands, ranking in the top 100 is an achievement. As of 2020, there are almost 200 shoe brands popular enough for their own Wikipedia page.
The Bottom Line
No matter what the iteration, ASICS’ Gel Kayano range for long-distance running is a treat. They’re stability shoes combining function and a smart, sporty look to create some desirable footwear. Although changes are minor, each new release is better than the last. With the 2020 ASICS 27 version, the subtle changes cater to both men and women. The differences are quite noticeable, so the new 27’s changes haven’t gone to waste. We hope this review has been helpful to you. Let us know what you think below, and feel free to send this guide to family and friends.
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