The FlyteFoam magic of Asics Gel Kayano 24

97 / 100 by Frank DuCett • Level 4 expert

The Shoe

The Kayano model is a premium quality road shoe with revolutionary cushioning and excellent stability, designed in 1993 by Asics Designer-Engineer Toshikazu Kayano.

The Kayano team has never lost sight of the original design goal of striving to be the very highest quality stability road shoe available.

 

 

The Company

Asics, formerly Onitsuka Tiger, is today best known for quality sports shoes, was founded in 1949. 
Today there are more runners at many of the world's major races wearing Asics than any other brand and not very far behind in the number two position is Brooks.

The name Asics is an acronym for the Latin phrase "anima sana in capore sano" which in English translates to " a sound mind in sound body", or  "anima sana katika corpore sano." in Swahili, for my friends in Tanzania.

 

The Outer Sole

AHAR (Asics High Abrasion Rubber) is used in the area of the heel for durability while DuraSponge, a blown AHAR variation is used in the remainder of the outer sole for added cushioning and road adhesion.  

A trussic guidance system (small plastic gridwork under the arch) provides some added stability by resisting torsional twisting forces.
The flex grooves and guidance lines are all in the right places and seem to be doing their intended tasks.

However, my first impression was that these shoes were going to be far too stiff to enjoy running, I considered returning them even before trying them out, but I went running instead.

 

The Midsole / Cushioning

The Foam-Wars continue between SpEVA, BioMoGo, Boost, Lunarlon, Solyte, FlyteFoam and others, only time will declare to us the winners.

Asics is a prime contender with their innovative FlyteFoam.

 

 

The Kayano is not 100 percent FlyteFoam, there is a generous amount of their famous silicone-based Gel in the forefoot and heel.

Often a shoe will only reveal itself once you begin your run and not while standing in the shoe store and this is very much the case with the Kayano 24.

The Kayano uses multiple technologies to provide cushioning and stability with a well thought-out combination of foam and gel. 

FlyteFoam was developed in the labs of the Asics Sports Science Institute over a three year period of research and development. After about 300 prototypes they came up with the right formula for what they now call FlyteFoam.

 

The Upper

Engineered mesh is used throughout the Kayano's uppers, designed to flex in the right areas while providing shape, comfort, breathability and some stability.

The forefoot uppers gently conform to the shape of your feet.

 

 

Last year's Kayano didn't have a large enough toe box, but the 24 has a wide and tall toe box area. There are no stiff overlays or stitching to rub your feet or inhibit your movement anywhere on this shoe.

Asics has removed the Tiger Stripes from the medial side of each shoe.

The excellent reflectors that I enjoyed on my Kayano 21 model have miraculously disappeared. Asics should bring back the stripes and make them reflective, and not raise the price.

 

 

My right heel has always had a little more slip than my left, the Kayano 24 has a new heel clutch, a plastic exoskeletal structure that at first looked excessive, but wraps the heel for a more secure fit, it really works.

There are discrete shoelace eyelets, said to enhance fit and comfort.

The tongue is very well padded and the point where the front of the tongue attaches to the upper is done with precision so there are no annoying materials or stitches rubbing the top of your foot.

There is a luxurious two layer memory foam lining in the heel collar for a personalized fit, just for you.

 

Gender Specifics

Asics customer service responded to my inquiry concerning gender specifics of the Kayano, responding that size, color and the use of a narrower last were the only changes.

But further investigation revealed that there is actually an additional injected layer of the softer Solyte foam for the women's model in addition to an increase from 10 to 13 mm toe drop. Thanks to runningwarehouse.com for that information.

Some shoe companies simply change colors and sizes for the women's version, Asics takes the matter of Gender Specific Engineering more seriously.

Here is a link to the excellent magazine "Canadian Running" with an informative video about gender specific considerations at Asics.

 

The Run

The Asics Kayano was the most pleasant surprise of the year for me! 

My first run in these shoes was on a foggy and warm pre-dawn summer morning, following an all night rain, traction on the road was very good but only fair on the painted lines. Five miles of easy running in the hills before sunrise on that first run left me full of confidence.

Five miles of easy running in the hills before sunrise left me full of confidence.

For some reason the Kayano seems to be a fairly good road-hill shoe. I was pleasantly surprised at how the Kayanos allowed me to flatten some of these Indiana and Kentucky hills.

The meta heel clutch is attached to the outside of the heel, on the back of the shoe and I am convinced it works.

 

 

I was pleased and amazed at how light and alive these shoes felt, considering my digital Ohaus made in Switzerland scale reading of 13 oz. 368 grams.

The ideal run for this model is a steady pace long distance, what we called in my bicycle days as LSD, long slow distance.

Each run is different for many reasons, and I have had more good days than bad with the Kayanos than with any other shoes since the Nike Pegasus 15, from the last century.

The FlyteFoam either take less out of your effort or puts more back in.

However, these shoes are noisy, in part due to the Asics rubber composition but mostly because of the stiffness. As long as I own these shoes I am going to have to listen to them, a long time perhaps as the outer soles are wearing very well.

A lighter runner may want to consider a more flexible shoe such as the Asics GT 2000, one model below the Kayano with a lower price but no FlyteFoam.

 

The Changes

  • Toe box size increased in volume.
  • Meta clutch heel counter added.
  • Heel collar lowered slightly.

 

The Numbers

Size tested            12 US    11 UK    46 EUR
Sizes Avail.             6 - 15 U.S.
Width                     D  ( 2E, 4E Available )
Color                      Silver / Black / Mid Grey
Weight                   13.0 oz.  /   368gr.
Heel-Toe Offset    10mm, 13mm for women
Arch type               Medium
Made in                  China
Miles Tested           52
Reflectors               None

 

The Summary

The Asics Gel Kayano 24 is a costly, comfortable, stable, stylish, durable, technically advanced and a purposefully built road shoe ideal for training and racing any distance.

One last thought, "I wonder how much of the joy of running in the Asics Kayano 24, is actually simply the joy of the run itself?"

Thanks for stopping by, now go run!

Frank DuCett

Frank DuCett • Level 4 expert

My name is Frank DuCett, living and running in the Heartland of America. My love is the long lonesome road half marathons of Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois. My training of 20 - 30 miles weekly is dedicated to staying under 2 1/2 hours for the 13.1 mile distance into my 70s and beyond. I run alone and without earbuds, enjoying the solitude and true sensations of the act.

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Asics Gel Kayano 24