Asics Launches Gel Kayano 26: The Latest Iteration of the Brand’s All-Time Favorite Stability Shoe

Posted on 02 March, 2021 by Jens Jakob Andersen

This is a partner story with Asics. 

Asics has released the Kayano 26 (see our review here), the newest version of its flagship stability series which has been used by runners of all levels for 26 years. As a Kayano fan myself, I am excited to see what the Gel Kayano 26 has to offer!

See our review page here and all colorways on Asics' official website here.

The Gel Kayano has always been a popular shoe model and with its dedication to excellence, Asics continues to provide runners with increased performance and protection year after year. On its 26th iteration, this all-time favorite Asics stability shoe is ready to help runners tackle the long runs with ease.

What’s new with the Asics Kayano 26?

The designer of the Asics Kayano 26, Yoshiyasu Ando, gathers inspiration from the Japanese Expression “Onko-chishin,” which means, “Respect the past; create the new.” According to him, “The true essence of the Gel Kayano running shoe is its heel geometry shear deformation, the way the shoe cushions the body and moves with the foot through the gait cycle.

This is what gives the shoe its signature underfoot feel.” Thus, he made the Gel Kayano 26 even lighter and springier without affecting this feel.

In comparison to its predecessor, the Asics Gel Kayano 26 features the following new and improved features:

  • Engineered upper mesh for lightweight breathability, comfort, and supportive foot wrap
  • Improved shear deformation Gel technology for a more comfortable ride, miles after miles
  • Enhanced FlyteFoam technology for durable and responsive cushioning

With these improvements, I am expecting the Asics Gel Kayano 26 to perform impressively well, helping runners to improve their performances while giving the legendary support in every step.

The evolution of the Kayano series

The Kayano line, which was named after its designer, Toshikazu Kayano, was established in 1993. The first version of the shoe, the Asics Gel Kayano Trainer, was marketed to serious high-mileage runners. Though it featured a bulky and heavy construction, serious runners became instant admirers of the Kayano Trainer.

Following the Japanese Kaizen philosophy, the Asics Gel Kayano is built to evolve. Constant improvements have been made to the Kayano once every year to complement runners needs.

In 1995, the "Trainer" designation was removed but the original style was retained. Following years after that, the Kayano featured minimal improvements on its upper design, fit and cushioning.

In 2000, the Impact Guidance System (IGS) technology was introduced to the Kayano to provide stability and smooth heel-to-toe transition. Because of its successful development, the IGS then become an Asics runner staple.

Aside from improving the technologies and its design, the Asics Kayano also made modification on its version numbering - the 2001 model was tagged as the VII version.

Years after years, the Asics Gel Kayano continues to evolve, creating new technologies that work well with the existing components. Last year, on the 25th year of the Kayano series, Asics uses the new FlyteFoam Lyte and FlyteFoam Propel midsole technologies that aim to provide superior stability and protection for any distance. These midsole technologies are still present on the Kayano 26 as they have proven to help runners empower each step.

With Asics’ approach to technological innovation and human-centric design, I think the Asics Gel Kayano 26 will continue to provide what is expected from this popular stability shoe line - good fit, cushioning, and design.

Asics Gel Kayano 25 and other versions of the Kayano series

The release of the Gel Kayano 25 marked a significant milestone in the running shoe history of Asics. Since it was an important celebration for its 25th year, Asics have provided the Kayano fans with impressive updates that made users happy and satisfied.

As proof of this successful release, the Asics Gel Kayano 25 has become one of the very few running shoes that got the `Superb` mark at RunRepeat. It gained significantly positive reviews from the users and expert reviewers globally.

What made the Kayano 25 remarkable is the soft underfoot feel and enhanced ride quality offered by the FlyteFoam Lyte and the FlyteFoam Propel midsole technologies. The shoe also features a superior level of stability, reducing the stress caused by overpronation for a more comfortable running experience.

The other Kayano models like the Kayano 24 and Kayano 23 have performed well too but not as excellent as the Kayano 25. Both old versions provided the level of stability expected from them but they failed to impress users in terms of durability, comfort, and overall fit. Gratefully, these issues have been successfully addressed in the Gel Kayano 25.

All-time favorite stability running shoe from Asics

The Kayano has been considered by most runners as an all-time favorite Asics stability shoe. Since it was released in 1993, the running shoe becomes a hit. It successfully captures the approval of a wide variety of runners, including myself.

I’ve been running with the Gel Kayano for a decade now and every year, Asics offers useful updates that truly help runners perform better on the road. I personally considered the Asics Gel Kayano as a reliable running shoe that offers a good combination of cushioning, stability, and comfort. With the springier ride and lighter design, I expected the Gel Kayano 26 to outperform its predecessor.

The Asics Gel Kayano 26 continues to offer the iconic luxurious and supportive feel of the original Kayano admired by many. Even casual and lifestyle runners will find comfort and satisfaction in the Kayano 26.

The Gel Kayano 26 is ideal for:

  • Serious runners who want to do long distance runs or train for 100KM marathons
  • Casual runners looking for stability shoes with good cushioning
  • Beginners who want to unleash their inner runner spirit by running on a slow pace
  • Lifestyle runners who are looking for a shoe with good cushioning for daily routine

Asics Gel DS Trainer: Another reliable Asics stability shoe

I consider myself a serious runner and aside from the Kayano model, I am also an admirer of the Gel DS Trainer. This running shoe series features more than two decades of greatness and to-date, it impressively becoming popular to beginners, casual and serious runners. The original Gel DS Trainer was released two years after the Gel Kayano and the latest version available is the Gel DS Trainer 24.

Compared to the Gel Kayano 26, the Gel DS Trainer 24 is much lighter as it is designed for competition. But both shoes deliver the necessary stability, cushioning, and comfort that suits well according to the running style and needs of the runners.

Asics Kayano 26 product details

Upper technologies

  • Engineered mesh - Multi-directional upper mesh that is designed to provide lightweight breathability and added support to some areas
  • External TPU heel counter - Plastic rearfoot support that holds the heel in place and to provide an adaptive fit and enhanced comfort

Midsole technologies

  • Dynamic DuoMax Support System - Helps prevent pronation and encourages a smooth transition
  • Forefoot Twist Gel Technology - Softer Gel cushioning that promotes a more natural stride
  • Rearfoot Gel Technology - Shear deformation Gel cushioning placed under the heel for increased impact protection
  • FlyteFoam Technology - Lightweight and durable midsole foam for comfortable underfoot cushioning
  • FlyteFoam Propel Technology - Soft and bouncy midsole technology designed for a springier ride
  • Impact Guidance System (IGS) - System that links the Gel cushioning, Guidance Line and Trusstic technology together for a more natural, smoother heel-to-toe transition
  • Gender Specific Technology (women’s version) - 3mm additional heel height for women’s version for added support

Outsole technologies

  • Guidance Trusstic System Technology - Placed under the arch of the shoe for stability and it works with the Guidance Line for a smoother heel-to-toe transition
  • Guidance Line Technology - Helps the foot to move forward naturally for a more consistent stride.
  • Light AHAR Sponge Rubber - Lightweight sponge rubber material that provides durability to high-wear areas while delivering enhanced cushioning
  • Super AHAR Heel Plug - High-abrasion outsole rubber that delivers protection to heavy wear areas

Through the years, the Gel Kayano managed to maintain its reputation because of its superior stability, advanced shock absorption and energized cushioning. The Asics Gel Kayano 26 is available globally from June 1st, 2019 at Asics retail and online stores for £155.00.

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.