Verdict from 9 experts and 41 user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • Weight: Almost all testers hail the Kayano Lite's featherlight build. 
  • Stability: Runners claim that this iteration maintains the Kayano's signature support. 
  • Lockdown: Various reviewers state that they didn't have any in-shoe slippage because of the model's snugness. 
  • Protection: A few users have noticed that the Gel technology prevents foot strain by attenuating impact.
  • Breathability: "It kept my foot cool." This is how most buyers describe the shoe's upper. 
  • Flexibility: The flex grooves promote natural foot flexion, shared multiple commenters.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Ride: Some athletes find the shoe unimpressive on faster paces. 
  • Responsiveness: It's quite firm underfoot that it lacks pop, some critics pointed.

Bottom line

Packed with Asics' premier technologies, the Gel Kayano Lite takes support up a notch without the cost of added weight. Not to mention, the running shoe champions sustainability, incorporating eco-friendly components. If you seek a reliable stability trainer that will last, you might want to add the Asics Gel Kayano Lite in your rotation.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Expert reviews:

User reviews:

Video reviews

Our reviews

90
/100 by , posted on .

A lighter, more responsive, comfortable, and environmentally-friendly version of the Gel Kayano? Say hello to the Asics Gel Kayano Lite. 

Like all other Kayanos, this model is a stability road trainer, designed for pronators, and maybe even neutral runners since it’s a bit light on stability assistance. 

 

asics-gel-kayano-lite.jpg

Asics Gel Kayano Lite vs. Kayano 27

Fit

Made from recycled materials, the Gel Kayano Lite’s engineered mesh upper is environmentally friendly, with a nice flexible fit and a ton of breathability. 

Contrary to the Asics Kayano 27, the toe box feels a bit wider, which I really appreciate. 

 

breathable-running-shoe.jpg

 

They kept the upper really simple—the only overlays are the logo over the midfoot and around the heel counter. These add more structure and reinforcement for lockdown. However, these have given the Kayano Lite a stiffer heel counter than the 27. 

The tongue is not gusseted, so Asics, please get on board here. 

I didn’t feel much movement or slip in the shoe, which is a big issue I had with the Kayano 27. Unlike the Gel Kayano 27, the Kayano Lite feels a few mm deeper in the heel. It hugs my ankle a bit better, even though it appears very similar to the 27. 

Comfort

The stability support is really felt inside the edge of the heel. Unlike most stability shoes, it’s not felt much in the arch. Although it didn’t bother me, it was a different feeling, for sure.

The midsole is a little forgiving than the 27, and the underfoot ride is smoother. Oddly, it is more responsive despite being softer. 

There’s also more cushioning under the forefoot. Asics changed the GEL tech in the Kayano Lite, which I really like. 

 

road-running-shoe.jpg

 

The shoe is also built on a slightly wider platform, generating a more stable, confident feel on landing and toe-off. 

Weight 

The Asics Gel Kayano Lite weighs 9.9 oz while the Kayano 27 is 11.2 oz. So, not a full 2 ounces lighter as Asics claims, but still significantly lighter. 

If you’re looking for an alternative that’s a full 2-ounces lighter, the 9 oz. Skechers Forza 4 Hyper may be your go-to stability shoe. 

Durability 

The shoe’s Flytefoam midsole is very stiff, so it shouldn’t pack out easily. It’s also made of organic super fibers to be more eco-friendly. 

Typical from Asics shoes, the outsole is made of AHAR, which should also go the distance. 

Looks 

I think it’s better-looking than the Kayano 27. It only comes in one color currently, though. 

It has a standard Asics look; all their shoes tend to look very traditional, which is not really my style. To make up for this, at least, it has some fun colors on the midsole, plus I really dig the marbled look on the upper. 

 

asics-running-shoes.jpg

 

Also, it’s colored with non-toxic, water-based dyes. Given this, Asics is really giving its all in the sustainability department. 

Conclusion 

It‘s lighter on the feet, on the environment, and it’s lighter on stability control than the mainstay Gel Kayano 27. 

I dig this version significantly more than the standard version. It fits betters, feels better underfoot. It is also a bit wider, and transitions more easily—all for the same price. 

If you don’t like the maximum stability offered by the 27, this is a better shoe. I also 100% believe that the dual-density foam design is a better way to create a stable platform. 

 

cushioned-running-shoes.jpg

| Level 4 expert Verified
Paul loves adventure. Over the past 20 years, he has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He’s summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races. He has worked in the outdoor industry as a whitewater and hunting guide, gear tester, copywriter, and outfitting specialist at places like The National Outdoor Leadership School, No Barriers USA, and Sierra Trading Post. He has been quoted in NYMag, NBCNews, and Business Insider to name a few.

Asics Gel Kayano Lite: A lightweight stability shoe

A new member of the Gel Kayano family from Asics, the Kayano Lite is a stability trainer that’s designed for high-mileage runs. Intended to be a lighter version of the Gel Kayano 27 (315 grams), the Kayano Lite (255 grams) allows for more energy conservation. 

Who is it for? 

  • Overpronators
  • Targeted for midfoot strikers but can accommodate heel strikers 

Asics Gel Kayano Lite vs. Gel Kayano 27   

With a design that’s reminiscent of the Asics Gel Kayano 27 yet sufficiently revamped to cater to midfoot strikers, the Gel Kayano Lite features the following: 

Lighter build. The reason behind the 60-gram weight shred of the Kayano Lite is its new upper and midsole construction. This makeup is targeted to preserve the runner's energy to reach greater distances.

More stable ride. The Kayano Lite has a wider base, covering more surface area than the Kayano 27. Adhering to this is the internal heel counter which locks the foot in place for minimized chances of slippage. 

Better flexibility. Contrary to the Asics Kayano 27, the flex grooves on the forefoot of the Kayano Lite have been cut deeper, added with three pods. Such design encourages natural foot bend and a more stable platform upon toe-off. 

Roomier toe box. There is more space for the natural splay of the toes for more comfort.

Eco-friendly. To become greener and less wasteful, the upper of the shoe is created using recycled polyester. The midsole, meanwhile, is composed of eco-friendly materials and non-toxic dyes. 

How Gel Kayano Lite compares

This shoe: 80
All shoes average: 81
54 93
This shoe: $160
All shoes average: $119
$40 $350
This shoe: 9oz
All shoes average: 9.5oz
3.5oz 15.4oz
Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com