12 In Reviews

Running on Clouds with the Asics Gel-Kayano 21

Hey everyone!

So, what’s the number one thing you look for in a running shoe? But really, what would you say? Would you say color? Brand? Technicalities? Fit? Comfort level? Or all of the above?

asics gel kayano womens running shoe

Asics Gel Kayano 21 Review

I generally look for a combination of the above, but when it really boils down to the nitty gritty, my running shoes have to be COMFORTABLE if I’m going to run miles and miles and miles in them. Am I right? Or am I right? Now, I have several pairs of ‘comfortable’ running shoes. And I’ll swear by almost all of them. But I wouldn’t say that all of them are as plush, cushy, and equivalent to walking on clouds as the Asics Gel-Kayanos are. I also wouldn’t say that all of them are comfortable enough to take the beating that 26.2 miles promises! I realize “comfortable” can easily be overused and have the meaning stripped away, kind of like saying “I love” about everything. But hear me out. This shoe is straight up COMFY, ya’ll!

asics gel kayano review

I’d say there is a scale of comfort when it comes to running shoes. Similar to a good purse. They either get the job done and are cute and will last a few seasons, or they’re super expensive, top of the line, and you want to use them for years. I think I fall right in the middle of that spectrum when it comes to running shoes, and I think these Gel Kayanos are definitely suited for the comfort seeking, top-of-the-line plush runner who wants to keep their finest assets, their feet, happy. Which I admit, I can definitely be that runner too, especially when it comes to extra long distances! If my feet aren’t happen, my entire run won’t be happy. It’s as easy as that.

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About a month ago, Asics very generously sent me a pair of their new Gel-Kayano 21 to test out and give my two cents on. I was not compensated, and Asics is just that cool of a company that they sent me ridiculously nice shoes out of the kindess of their heart. (thanks guys!!)

asics gel kayano 21 review

The Gel-Kayano 21 is one of Asics’s best shoes, as far as cushioning and technology goes. It’s technically considered a stability shoe and is neutral enough for a neutral pronator, but will suit a mild to moderate over-pronator as well. Talk about hitting the nail on the head – I feel like this shoe could really serve a very wide range of runners. I usually talk about being a neutral runner and choosing to run in a neutral shoe but with added support via my orthotics, but goodness, these Kayanos by themselves really feel good! They’ve got good overall support, cushion, and my feet felt tightly held and positioned correctly. I haven’t found many shoes that I feel comfortable with right out of the box, but these I do. Since I tend to prefer the lightness and simplicity of a neutral shoe, adding my orthotics helps to give me just enough support and help control my  overpronating by properly aligning my feet from the get-go. But, I kind of felt like the Gel-Kayano is like a one stop shop. It’s got the support that I need, and the comfort level is insane. Although, I still waiver a little bit on how cumbersome they feel. But not enough to not love them.

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This shoe is loaded down with a butt-ton of technology, that I only pretend to understand! It’s amazing really. To read more about the specifics, visit the Gel-Kayano 21 page HERE. 

Two things that really stood out to me are Asics attention to gender-specific needs, such as:

Gender-Specific Cushioning – Women’s models feature a lower-density top layer in the midsole, allowing female athletes to better enjoy the benefits of midsole compression and Plus 3® – 3mm of additional height on women’s models helps relieve achilles tension.”

Take THAT boyyyzzzzz.

asics review

The first thing I noticed when I put these on was really just how cushioned they are, and how soft and flexible every part of the shoe is. It felt like my feet were instantly happy when I slipped these on. Seriously, SO comfortable. I would consider these my most comfortable and fanciest shoes to date. The mesh on top of the shoe helped my feet feel like they were being hugged by angels, and every step felt like I was walking on a memory foam mattress. That’s an exaggeration, but really, these pretties are so. dadgum. comfortable.

back of asics gel kayano shoes

When I ran in them, I could definitely feel the added cushioning, and it gave me a bit more “bounce” to my stride. I’d imagine that running a marathon in these would feel like riding in luxury car on a long roadtrip. That’s the best I can describe it!

asics running shoes

As far as fit goes, they seem to fit pretty true to size. They didn’t seem to do anything funky with my normal gait or stride. I didn’t feel like I was having to change things up or overcompensate in any way. I felt like with each step my feet landed just how they normally would, and everything felt very natural.

asics gel kayno womens shoe

Aside from feeling like my feet were in a heavenly out-of-body experience, I do think that next time I would request the shoe in a ‘narrow.’ But that’s just me and my awkwardly narrow boney feet. I also think that they might be a *tiny* too bulky to be my everyday go-to shoe. However, I would sacrifice that feeling though for the outstanding comfort level, and the confidence in knowing that my feet would feel GOOD for many, many constant miles in these, i.e. a marathon.

I’d also say that if you’re someone who dreads running in the first place because you worry about your feet hurting, or your knees hurting, or yada-yada, this would for sure be a shoe for you! And with it being a good fit for both a neutral runner AND a mild to moderate over-pronator, I don’t think you could go wrong with the Gel-Kayano.

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I read a few of the “bad” reviews on the Gel-Kayano page, and I just kind of laughed because I really felt in no way could they be serious. But, to each their own, read into reviews what you will! I give these shoes two thumbs up and would definitely consider running a LONG race in them.

Everyone’s feet and body mechanics are completely different, so finding the combination that fits you the best is the most important thing!

asics gel kayano review - comfortable running shoes

Do you wear Asics? Have you ever? Do you prefer a highly cushioned stability shoe or a lighter, sleeker, more neutral shoe that’s not as plush?

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Melissa @ Mel's Miles
    November 5, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Those look like a comfy pair of shoes! I always wear Asics! They’re the best 🙂
    Melissa @ Mel’s Miles recently posted…Halloween 2014 & Life UpdateMy Profile

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      November 24, 2014 at 10:51 pm

      They are SO comfy!!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate
    November 6, 2014 at 7:30 am

    I have been an Asics Kayano girl from day one and I couldn’t recommend a better shoe! I haven’t tried the 21’s out yet, but loved the 20’s, per usual!
    Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate recently posted…10 Google Searches That Drove People To My BlogMy Profile

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      November 24, 2014 at 10:51 pm

      Nice!! I mean if they’re good enough for you… 🙂 You are amazing!

  • Reply
    Lacey@fairytalesandfitness
    November 6, 2014 at 9:07 am

    I have heard so many great things about these. I am afraid to try them on and really like them bc I think they are way expensive.
    Lacey@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…If the Disney Princess lived in the United States, Where would they live?My Profile

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      November 24, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      Very true, buuuuuttt the quality is amazing!

  • Reply
    Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie
    November 6, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Asics are the one brand I have tried where I did not like running in them. Maybe I got the wrong kind for my foot or something?
    Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie recently posted…I Mustache You Some Questions!My Profile

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      November 24, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      Maybe!! Shoes are so different on everyone, it’s crazy!

  • Reply
    Tara @ Running 'N' Reading
    November 6, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Sarah, I’ve been running in ASICS shoes since I was in high school; I’ve tried a few other brands, but I keep going back to what works best. I have had GEL-Kayanos, but tend to stick with the GEL-Cumulus; glad you were able to try these out! I am a HUGE fan of the brand!
    Tara @ Running ‘N’ Reading recently posted…Book Review: Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerneyMy Profile

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      November 24, 2014 at 10:34 pm

      That’s awesome!! Asics were the first brand of running shoes I ever tried, definitely impressed!

  • Reply
    Kristin @ A Mom on the Run
    November 10, 2014 at 10:09 am

    These are what I run in and I love them! I’ve tried switching to a few other brands, and they just don’t work for me. The GEL-Kayano’s are my favorite! 🙂

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      November 24, 2014 at 10:31 pm

      They really were so comfortable! No wonder you keep coming back to them!!

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