Summary

We spent 8.6 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

9 reasons to buy

  • The Kayano 25 is very comfortable to wear even for long hours, said several users.
  • A few lauded the shoe’s appealing design and color options.
  • Some purchasers appreciated the stability features of the Asics Gel Kayano 25.
  • The underfoot cushioning system was appreciated by many people.
  • A couple of reviewers commended the shoe’s roomy toe box which allows natural toe-splay.
  • Some runners noted that this running shoe has an impressive fit.
  • The shoe is very versatile; some used this version for casual walks and gym workouts.
  • According to some user reviews, the shoe is durable.
  • The Kayano 25 is also available in wide width option.

2 reasons not to buy

  • The shoe is slightly expensive.
  • A couple of wearers experienced heel blister and ankle pain with the Asics Gel Kayano 25.

Bottom line

The overwhelming number of positive feedback has proven that the Asics Gel Kayano 25 was satisfactory to most users. A few found the shoe expensive, but a lot of runners were happy with the shoe’s cushioning, stability and versatility. Overall, most purchasers have been enjoying using the Kayano 25 and they're satisfied with their purchase.

Facts

Rankings

A top rated Road running shoe
A top rated Asics running shoe
Top 2% most popular running shoes
Better rated than the previous version Asics Gel Kayano 24

Expert Reviews

87 / 100 based on 11 expert reviews

  • 95 / 100 |

    Asics Gel-Kayano 25: The more that things change...

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    Asics running shoes and I go back to pretty much when I started running regularly. My second ever marathon in 2011 in Berlin was in a pair of Asics 2160 (the series has since been rebranded to GT 2000).

    And it was with excitement that I purchased a pair of Gel-Kayano 18 in Summer of 2012. These were my first "top of the line" shoes and signaled to me how important running had become in my life, as evidenced by higher budget allocation to running gear. I ran the Chicago marathon in them later that year and kept running in them all the way to Winter of 2013 when I retired them after over 850 miles.

    They actually didn't really need to be retired. Despite all the mileage under the hood, the shoes still looked (and more importantly, felt) as if they could do another 500 or so miles. But I decided to err on the side of caution and the shoes were subsequently sacrificed to research and dissected. Yes, literally taken apart to study their construction.  As early as back then I was a running shoe geek!

    I have in intervening years gone on to try many other different brands and types of shoes – again, to satisfy my curiosity – but the association I have of Gel-Kayano with durability and as a daily workhorse has stayed with me.

    Over the years I saw new iterations of Gel-Kayano come and go but because I had migrated into less structured and more neutral shoes I didn’t have enough reason to go out and buy a new pair. And frankly, there were just too many other shoes to try!

    The more they stay the same

    But when the chance came up to test and review the 25th iteration of Gel-Kayano before general release, courtesy of Asics in partnership with RunRepeat, I eagerly accepted, excited at the prospect of revisiting an old favorite and see what the intervening years had to say.

    It was kind of like meeting an old friend after many years of absence, I suppose – we all evolve in different ways and sometimes grow apart (I am certainly not the same runner I used to be 6 years ago) but then sometimes surprise ourselves at how little things have changed and take pleasure in old familiarity.

     

    The New Asics Gel Kayano 25

     

    Let's take a minute though, to let this sink in fully: Gel-Kayano 25. I mean, the original Gel-Kayano Trainer was released way back in 1993, before even a good chunk of today's runners were even born, and before brands like On, Inov-8, Newton, Hoka, among others, had even been created!

    That a shoe has survived for 25 iterations in this notoriously fickle industry is in itself remarkable. What's also notable, as I'll explain in greater detail below, is the degree of consistency in the shoe, from fit to feel.

    If Gel-Kayano had been a person, you could say that the core of the person was essentially the same, but outwardly he or she had become younger, more handsome and attractive! Shame the same rarely applies to actual people!

    Such consistency I believe is rare and should be lauded in an industry which seems perpetually driven by the need to tweak and chop and change, often just for the sake of change and not necessarily for the better.

    The shoes also appear durable and this should also be recognized where other brands sacrifice durability for lightness and even conspiratorially build-in limited life-span into their shoes.

    Sizing and fit

    I'm predominantly US 10.5, which in most cases translates to EUR 44.5 and UK 9.5 and that's what I had in Gel-Kayano 25. And they fit as perfectly as I would expect a pair of long-distance shoes to fit – that is, fairly roomy in the forefoot, good locking-in at the heel, and plenty of adjustability in lacing.

    And very comfortable. The external heel counter, also used in version 18, provides that locked-in feeling through the use of what's now called Meta Clutch technology and the shoe never felt sloppy.

    Slipping them on, Gel-Kayano 25 still have that luxurious plush feeling with well-padded tongue and heel collar. Sure, there are some changes – the memory foam used in the heel for Gel-Kayano 18 appear to have gone, probably to achieve lightness, but the feel isn't too different.

     

    Comfortable and plush upper

     

    And some features remain the same, including the round laces, which are just elastic enough and of perfect length. Déjà vu.

    A big part of the comfort of Gel-Kayano 25 comes from the plush Ortholite sockliner which, incidentally, was also used in version 18 (I had kept the old insoles when I retired the shoes as they were so comfy)and I presume for all other iterations since. Same old familiarity.

     

    Ortholite sockliner

     

    I couldn’t really find anything to fault in the fit but, If there is one thing I wish Asics could have improved upon, it's the weight. At 335 grams, the shoe runs a bit heavy by today's standards.

    I believe the shoe is also 10-20 grams heavier than other comparable long-distance cushioned models such as New Balance 1080, Adidas Ultra Boost ST, or Brooks Transcend. 335 grams is just 5 grams less than my old Gel-Kayano 18 from all those years ago.

    Upper, Midsole, and Outsole

    I suppose the one thing that has evolved significantly over past few years is the technology used in producing no-sew uppers and overlays.

    While Gel-Kayano 18 had an upper that was sewn together from various components, this latest version, as has the few iterations prior, features breathable two-layer jacquard mesh that gives it a sleek, modern look without turning too many heads.

     

    A sleek, understated, yet modern look

     

    I was also intrigued to see some reinforcement bands on the medial forefoot and along the top on either side of forefoot.

    I take this to be part of the Internal Fit System underlay for targeted support without adding weight. This means that the upper effectively consists of two and a quarter layers.

     

    Internal Fit System underlay

     

    The full extent of technology applied really begins to add up once we move down to midsole and outsole, with the use of FlyteFoam, Dynamic, DuoMax, Guidance Trussic System, and AHAR.

    To Asics' credit, they have avoided the temptation to label each individual technology as such on the shoe and thus making it look like a science project prototype, and the labeling is minimally and discreetly done. I suppose one earns such right to not have to "shout" after 25 years?

    FlyteFoam comes in two forms, the Lyte in the rear foot and Propel in the forefoot. From what I can gather, the Propel is a bit denser and provides a spring-like effect for responsiveness and to aid the gait cycle, while the Lyte helps with cushioning and energy return.

     

    FlyteFoam Lyte in the heel

     

    The Trussic System, Guidance Line, and AHAR were also evident as far back as in version 18, and official Asics website does a good job explaining them, not that long-terms fans of the shoe will need to have them explained.

    Road Test

    As ever, it's not enough for shoes to look good and feature all the latest newfangled technology if they don't deliver in the most important area – that is, the ride. Otherwise, it's just a matter of time before they get taken out of the rotation and relegated to casual use or worse.

    When I slipped on the shoes and went for a 10 mile run around the neighborhood, my initial thoughts were – wow, déjà vu, that old comfortable sensation of your favorite go-to running shoe was back again, all of 6 years later!

    Again, Asics has really delivered in the consistency stakes.

    The ride was responsive and cushioned without being mushy. While the shoes never felt overly heavy, they were not light either in the racing flats sense, and Gel-Kayano 25 is best reserved for long slow to moderately paced runs. In short, ideal daily trainer.

    A striking (pun not intended) aspect of the shoes is that no matter where the landing is on the foot, whether mid-foot or heel or even on medial or lateral side, the shoes consistently rolled the gait onto the same take-off, in my case off the second toe, a quality I attribute to the Guidance Line.

     

    The "sole" of the machine

     

    This also means that, while rated as a supportive shoe for moderate over-pronators, Gel-Kayano 25 can also be worn by more neutral runners such as myself.

    The support provided by Dynmic DuoMax on the medial rear-foot only comes into play when heel-striking, and mid-foot strikers should be able to enjoy the shoe without feeling that it has too much support or that the support gets in the way.

    Think of, as you will, the support on these as akin to training wheels on a bicycle – it will only come into play when you need it. It is this quality which I believe makes Gel-Kayano 25 suitable for many types of runners, albeit still with a bias towards the heavier runner or casual runner, given the level of cushioning.

    Summary

    The more that things change, the more they stay the same.

    Full kudos to Asics for keeping the essence of the shoe intact over the years while at the same time making concessions to latest manufacturing technology. The fit, the comfort, and the ride are pretty much as I remember them from Gel-Kayano 18. The improvements are there, particularly in the looks, but the development appears linear and planned out rather than drastic or panicky.

    Gel-Kayano is, as it has been over the years, a workhorse, a go-to shoe for the casual runner who might only want that one shoe for daily training runs, weekend-long slow distance runs, and racing 10km distances and above, and this 25th iteration is no different.

    Similar to comparable shoes such as New Balance 1080, Gel-Kayano 25 is best suited for the bigger, heavier runners who will be able to push the cushioning of the shoes to the limit.

    The only minor issue I have is that I can't help but wonder if Asics might not have been able to shave some more weight off the shoes given the advancements in materials science.

    The shoe looks and feels well-built and after over 50 miles, other than scuffs on the rigid Trussic insert, there is hardly any sign of wear. I have little doubt that these will be good for at least 1000 miles and more. Yes – the shoes may be a tad heavier than ideal but the flip side is they'll last for years.

    Twenty-fifth anniversary is a big one by any measure (as my wife keeps reminding me on our upcoming 25th!) and where other brands might have been tempted into a major overhaul and/or over-engineering, full marks to Asics for keeping the shoe understated and true to its core.

    Old time fans of Gel-Kayano will welcome the familiarity, and with its modern looks, there is every reason to believe the shoe might attract new fans too.

     

    Check out the Asics Gel Kayano 25 at Asics.com

  • 75 / 100 |

    Asics Gel Kayano 25 - Heavy and over-hyped or just right?

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    I’m usually into more Asics I was very excited.

    I’ve heard a lot of noise about the Kayano shoes over the years and they always seem to rank highly when I’ve searched for new shoes for myself. I was looking forward to seeing what all the fuss was about. So without further adieu, here’s my Kayano 25 review (a little rhyme to start things off!).

     

    Tech Specs

    Heel-Toe Offset: 10mm

    Weight: 385g (UK 11, EU 46.5, US 12)

    Upper

    • Synthetic, two-layer jacquard mesh technology
    • External heel counter - Metaclutch
    • Insole (sock liner): Ortholite X-40 (6mm foam)

    Midsole & Outsole

    • Standard Foam midsole at the forefoot and through to the heel
    • Gel technology at the heel and ball
    • FlyteFoam Lyte at the heel & FlyteFoam Propel at the toe (These two cutting-edge technologies work together to deliver energized cushioning and exceptional comfort from heel to toe.)
    • DuoMax technology (Reduces stress on the foot caused by overpronation when the heel rolls inward at the end of a step and supports the foot for a more comfortable running experience.)
    • Guidance Trusstic (The TRUSSTIC™ technology supports stable movements by reinforcing the middle part of the sole and preventing the shoe from twisting.)
    • Guidance Line (Increases performance by reducing imbalance caused by shifts in the runner’s center of pressure.)
    • RHRR Rubber Outsole 

     

    Overview

    Out of the box, the first thing I noticed was the weight of the Kayano 25. I knew I would be dealing with quite a hefty shoe after reading a review on the Kayano 24, the reviewer on that occasion had weighed their pair (the same size as mine) and they’d come in at 368g. The 25, however, is even heavier than that, with my pair weighing in at 770g for the pair, that’s 385g each!

    I also couldn’t help but notice the level of padding around the collar too. Even knowing these weren’t going to be very minimal shoes I was surprised at the amount of padding on the Kayano 25.

    I pretty much (rightly or wrongly) instantly made comparisons between the Kayano 25 and the Nike Epic React Flyknit. They cost the same and have the same heel to toe drop but that is where the similarities end. The Epic React is a lot lighter (260g in my size), a lot more responsive and the upper is far less over the top. There’s a lot going on with the Kayano.

    My main dislike with the design of the Kayano 25 is the plastic “Guidance Trusstic”. I usually land on the outer side of my forefoot, but where these shoes have a higher heel it means I land more on the outer midfoot. Which is pretty much right where the Trusstic is.

    There’s not much rubber between the Trusstic and the road which has led to me getting some really bad swelling on the outer edge of my midfoot after every single run. On long runs, it’s really quite painful.

     

    Upper

    I really like the upper on the Kayano 25. It’s a clever design that has almost a triple layering to it. The two outer layers are joined by tiny threads but spaced apart very slightly to allow air flow. It’s hard to know exactly how well this works but I haven’t noticed my feet getting too hot yet.

    The inner layer has some funky colors on it and adds comfort to the inside of the shoe.

     

    Laces

    Around the lace eyes, there’s a sort of plastic overlay to add strength. The same overlay at the toe end as a sort of bumper. I personally think this is a bit overkill with a road shoe. Unnecessary weight.

    The laces themselves are decent enough. They're not the awesome thick type like on the Minimus 10v1 but you can't win em all!

    Heel Counter

    The Kayano 25 has a hard plastic, external heel counter. It's very sturdy! I actually really like how well it holds my heel in place, however, I would definitely do without it for the amount of weight it would save.

    I definitely prefer the nothingness of the Nike Epic React Flyknit heel.

    Collar

    The collar is very padded which you will either love or hate. It does add a lot of comfort which is great but I can’t help but think some weight could have been saved here as it is very excessive.

     

    Tongue

    As the with the collar the tongue is very padded. Perhaps more than I’d usually like but the plus side of this is I’ve never noticed the laces regardless of how tight I’ve done them up!

     

    Safety

    There's actually a couple of nice little 'safety’ features on the Kayano. On the toe, there's a sort of scuff bumper. I haven't had the need to use it (which actually makes me wonder if it's totally necessary). But it adds a nice touch to the shoe.

    In the heel counter, there's a sort of reflective coating which should help with visibility at night.

    Sole

    The Kayano 25 grips well but because of the lack of rebound and the weight of the shoe, I can’t maintain any sort of pace on long runs. It’s too much like hard work. It’s not even that the force is being soaked up, there’s just nothing there.

    These are clearly designed for people who heel strike based on where the flytefoam is built into the sole but I was still expecting them to be good for midfoot or even forefoot strikers. There’s nothing here for forefoot strikers which is a real shortfall!

    The insole on the shoe is pretty insane actually. 6mm thick! I’ve run with it in and with it removed and I found the ride a lot better without it in. Unfortunately, because the shoe isn’t designed to be used without the insole the inlay of the shoe doesn’t really lend itself to being used as an insole, which is a shame!

     

    Support

    As most people will know already, the Kayano rage is all about support. The Kayano 25 is no different. It’s designed in a way the means you’re less likely to overpronate. Even though I’m a fairly neutral runner I didn’t see this causing any issues as it can only be a good thing.

    The arch support is good. Even though I’m used to much less it isn’t too much for me which was a nice surprise.
    The heel holds well and adds a lot of support. I don’t know how necessary this sort of level of support is but for those used to it, these shoes will really shine.

    Flexibility

    The sole on the Kayano is very stiff, it’s definitely not very responsive. I had really hoped for more from this shoe.
    With the added arch “Trusstic” there’s very little flex in the shoe at all.

    Tread

    The tread is sort of honey-comb affair. It seems to work very well on the road and looks pretty good too!

    Grip

    Grip is very good on the road whether in the wet or dry. I am actually very impressed with how well these shoes grip. It's like the sole is made out of some kind of sticky rubber! I haven’t felt unsteady in the Kayano once, so plus points there.

    Fit & Comfort

    The fit is good actually, size as expected. I was pleasantly surprised. I have a good amount of toe room and the rest of the shoe hugs my foot. This is something I really like.

    They are very comfortable though they do feel strange on my feet because of what I’m used to. That’s not to knock them though if you like traditional running shoes you’re going to love these!

    Toe box

    One of the big plus points of the Kayano 25 is that the toe box is a very decent size. The soft fabric ads to the feeling of toe freedom. Of course, it's not a patch on a barefoot/minimal shoe but it's a close second place!

     

    Heel

    The heel comfort is fantastic on this road runner. Yes, I would take a lot of it away to save weight but as far as comfort goes I can't knock the design.

    Performance

    These road shoes are not designed for speed at all. They perform very averagely for mid-distance runs but become uncomfortable after a while and are tiring to run in. I found they come into their own on runs where I really dialed my speed down. I'm not sure if that's the intention though.


    ● On road

    The Kayano is an out and out road shoe. It grips great on the road, rain or shine!

    ● Off road

    No! Don't go there!

    ● For speed
    No! Just no!

    ● For distance
    Not bad for distance. But I've had to really slow myself down a lot for it.

    The Good

    • Nice upper
    • Comfortable over short runs
    • Grippy sole

    The Bad

    • Expensive
    • Heavy
    • Unresponsive
    • Trusstic!

    Dear Asics

    I know these shoes are very popular but I really think there's a lot you could do to save weight on the Kayano whilst still providing support. Please make these lighter!

    Bottomline

    The Asics Gel Kayano 25 comes off OK but I really wanted better from such a big name.

    Perhaps for people who are just getting into running or those who need a lot of support, these would be great but personally, if I had £150 to spend and wanted a traditional running shoe I would buy the Epic React Flyknit instead.

    I really think if you're looking for support, it's not always the shoe that needs to support you!

     

    Check out the Asics Gel Kayano 25 at Asics.com!

  • 96 / 100 | Sportitude | | Level 3 expert

    The Kayano 25 fits like a true Kayano shoe should. I mean that because Kayano runners are probably running consistent speeds, long distances and are out on the road for a considerable amount of time.

  • 76 / 100 | Solereview | Level 5 expert

    This version marks the Kayano's twenty-fifth anniversary. At a fundamental level, little has changed over the years; the multi-density midsole has the familiar medial post and a motion-control ride character.

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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