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 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!
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.
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!!)
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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?