Asics GEL-Kayano 28 - Shoe Review

The Asics GEL-Kayano has long been a titan in the support shoe world and this 28th version has received some interesting and welcome developments.
 
4.7 out of 5 rating | 305g (men’s) 258g (women’s) | 10mm drop (men’s) 13mm drop (women’s) | High cushioned supportive road shoe | £155  

First impressions 

Allison says: I love a brightly coloured shoe, and this certainly doesn’t disappoint – it's a perfect colour for the summer but will continue nicely through autumn. It definitely makes me want to lace up and just run. It looks like it’s got good ventilation on the forefoot, extra eyelets so I can re-lace it the way I want, the tongue is soft and plush for supreme comfort, and the heel cup is also really nicely padded, so I think it’s going to be very comfortable.  It’s reasonably lightweight and quite flexible for a supportive shoe so it should feel good on the run. I’m really looking forward to trying these out. It has a big price ticket, but for that you get the latest technology, superb comfort and it’s quite a bit lighter than its predecessors.

Harry says: The legacy of the Kayano has been a great one, it has helped many runners achieve their goals and now we’re going to delve into the newest iteration - The GEL-Kayano 28. This shoe has seen significant changes from the previous version with the addition of an exciting new foam and a shiny new upper while still retaining the protective and caring nature that many runners know and love. Before testing this shoe, I had just completed a 50 mile stint in a shoe which is the polar opposite in terms of the type and style of shoe on the shoe spectrum, therefore I was initially a little sceptical about how I was going to feel in something a bit heavier and also with a lot more rotational support and control.
Initially this shoe looks really good. There is noticeably less plastic on the outside of this shoe than the previous versions, especially towards the heel and on the base of the sole. The shoe sees the introduction of the FFBlast cushioning, which is softer when compressed than previous foams used in the Kayano 27. The FF Blast seems to be found in the entire midsole, complemented with the usual Dynamic Duomax and Flytefoam that Asics typically use in their support shoe range in order to provide a plush yet stable feel. When squeezed, I could definitely feel the difference in the densities of these two foams so it will be interesting to see how these cushions work with each other, especially with FF Blast being so responsive in comparison. Also, as given in the name, the Asics GEL compound is in use under the heel and seemingly under the forefoot too. Finally, the weight of this shoe in hand definitely feels lighter than the previous versions. 

Our thoughts

Allison says: Super cushioned and plush. Surely this is one of the most luxurious shoes ever. The more I run in this shoe the more I love it.  The addition of FF BLAST™ cushioning to the midsole of this latest version improves, comfort, stability and responsiveness. There is no doubt, I was definitely surprised at how responsive the shoe is. I’ve run on tarmac, gravelly off-road, wet footpaths and I feel really confident that these shoes are not going to let me down. Interestingly, I’ve had no muscle soreness on the days following a run in these shoes, so the gel technology in both the rearfoot and forefoot is doing its job. 

I love the fact that Asics have added an extra 3mm of thickness to the midsole for the women’s version. This is because it is more common for women to have lower bone density, and so are more prone to shin splints and stress on the tibia, in addition, monthly changes can cause issues with the achilles and the tendons that run under the feet. This extra 3mm will just give that bit more protection.  They have also added a gender-specific 3D SPACECONSTRUCTION ™ which is designed to improve cushioning and stability and address the gait differences between male and female runners. They’ve also added some tougher rubber for the heavy wear areas so helping to prolong the life of the shoe. 

Harry says: The midsole of the Kayano 28 tells a story of two sides for me, yet they both somehow meet in the middle perfectly and co-exist in such a way that makes so much sense. The Flytefoam Blast mainly found under the forefoot  gives a sense of freedom while the Dynamic Duomax/Flytefoam combination under the heel feels like a warm hug, comforting and relaxing when needed. These two cushioning systems are met in the middle with the Asics Trusstic support system that has evolved from its predecessor into this new, lightweight, non-protrusive arch support in the midfoot. This, along with a firmer Dynamic Duomax medial wall and a wide base provide a very stable and supportive platform for runners that want more structure around their feet. This shoe also found the addition of the new 3D space construction technology which is a small ‘honeycomb’ shaped piece that sits under the heel in the men's Kayano 28, and under the heel and forefoot in the women's version. This is to provide a softer and more plush platform for the foot to land on and transition through. I can’t say that I noticed this very much but nonetheless my heels felt very protected. For me personally, the blend between the more responsive forefoot and plush heel was pretty spot on in most situations, however, there were a couple of occasions where the heel was just a bit too heavy and bulky for me to really get going in the shoes. The outsole rubber is insanely durable as far as outsole compounds go and importantly doesn’t feel too stiff which allowed for my foot to transition quite smoothly without any cause for concern. During my 50 miles, I saw no early signs of wear which is to be expected. 

Fit and width

Allison says: It’s quite snug, so I wouldn’t recommend these shoes if you have very wide feet. I always wear running shoes one size bigger than everyday shoes, and in the case of the Kayano 28 it’s the perfect fit with lacing the shoes to hold the ankle in place. 

Harry says: The fit and width are both pretty top notch! There’s plenty of room in the toe box for me along with a really nice and secure fit through the midfoot. I usually have to do the ‘runner’s knot’ lacing technique as I have pretty narrow ankles so most shoes feel a bit sloppy initially but I have no issues in these at all. This type of heel fit is what I expect in most Asics running shoes as they tend to put plenty of cushion around the heel counter. The newly designed external heel counter feels a lot less protrusive than the previous model while still supporting my ankle. The shoe fits true to size, the upper is really soft, breathable and doesn’t feel tight at all. Very good job Asics! 

Where it works best

Allison says: Long runs, short runs, recovery runs – any road run at all they are great. 

Harry says: For me, this shoe is definitely not a shoe for speed work. It’s intended to be a high cushioned, high mileage trainer and it fits that bill to perfection. Whether you want a comfy 5k after a long day at work or a Sunday long run where you’ll need a shoe to really look after you, the Kayano 28 is just about perfect. The smoothness of the ride, topped with a really nice upper and general feel around the foot makes for a really solid everyday cruising shoe. The Kayano legacy lives on. 

Any sticking points... 

Allison says: On my first run it felt as though my feet were burning a little, so for the next run I didn’t lace them quite as tightly and they were much better. The burning could easily have been due to it being a very warm day, maybe my socks were too thick or just because it was a new shoe. As I have continued to run in these, that sensation has disappeared completely. They maybe too narrow for some people so I would suggest a try on in store if you have wider feet. I can’t recommend these shoes highly enough for any road runner. 

Harry says: When I was coasting around a longer run or my recovery runs they were great, but when I wanted to take the speed up just a notch I struggled to push past the huge amount of protection around the heel counter. When I did find a way to push myself to my midfoot/forefoot it was pretty nice. Personally I would enjoy 2mm more of the Flytefoam Blast under the forefoot to bring it to a 15/23mm stack height of cushion and drop it from a 10mm drop to an 8mm drop. This would allow me to generate just a little more power from my forefoot push off. 

This shoe has been tested by Allison and Harry. They have run in the shoes for a minimum of 4 weeks or about 50 miles before submitting their reviews. The scores they have given the shoes are based on their experiences, their running styles and their training types. These shoes were gifted by Asics for the purpose of this review, however no input was made by Asics. The views are entirely that of our testers. 

Hi I’m Allison,

I’m a trail runner by heart, but I do like to road run too. I try to get 20-30 miles in each week, usually running on the road during the week and a long off-road run on the weekends. I’ve been running regularly for about 15-20 years and get my miles in by run-commuting, accompanying my grandson on junior parkrun, running with the SRG and making sure I get a long run in on a weekend.

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Hi I’m Harry,

I’m a bit of a trainer fanatic who happened to fall in love with running and sport in general when I was about 14/15 years old. This passion of mine has allowed me to try a lot of shoes (some very unusual) and also understand how most brands tend to fit and feel. As it stands, I run about 10-15 miles a week so not tons but enough to keep the legs ticking over. Running for me has always been for headspace and that feeling of being out there with the world passing by is second to none. I hope I can provide you all with good feedback so you can make choices on which products might fit and feel the best for you.

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