Our verdict

With the ASICS Gel Kayano 30, the renowned stability line takes a spirited leap forward. With increased foam but without the added weight, it's a win-win for almost everyone. Navigating the balance between plush comfort and stability, in our tests, the FF Blast+ with 4D Guidance System midsole excels. While it might be on the pricier side and has lighter competitors, we think it's hard to find fault with this shoe.

Pros

  • Exceptionally cushioned
  • Impressively stable with 4D Guidance System
  • Lighter than it seems
  • Top-notch breathability
  • Effective maximalist design
  • Superior durability and comfort
  • Ideal for high-mileage runners
  • Ultra-plush FF Blast+ foam
  • Amazing build quality

Cons

  • Actual drop exceeds stated measurement
  • Midsole might require a break-in period

Audience verdict

88
Great!

Who should buy

In our opinion, the ASICS Gel Kayano 30 is the ideal choice for runners who:

  • are looking for a stability shoe with an incredible amount of foam.
  • desire a daily trainer that provides a smooth ride without the instability often found in some maximalist shoes.
  • are high-mileage enthusiasts in search of a stable, well-built, breathable shoe.

Asics Gel Kayano 30

Who should NOT buy

The ASICS Gel Kayano 30 is the ideal choice for runners who prioritise stability and a plush ride. However, for runners who prioritise ground feel and a natural running sensation, we believe the Kayano 30 might not meet the expectations. Its substantial stack height combined with soft foam creates a muted ride. In those cases, we recommend the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 or the Saucony Tempus for a firmer, classic running feel.

Additionally, it's not our top pick for those seeking a lightweight stability shoe. While the Kayano 30 isn't heavy at all for its design, many runners don't require such monster cushioning and lean toward a lighter option. For those in this category, we think the agile Hoka Arahi 6 could be a better fit.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 parts

Breathability

Expectations for the Kayano 30's performance were sky-high, especially given ASICS's track record of crafting top-notch uppers in terms of breathability and comfort—even in race-ready shoes like the Metaspeed Sky+.

We put the 30th iteration of the series designed by Toshikazu Kayano to the test and came away impressed. When subjected to our smoke test, the shoe demonstrated superb breathability, earning a well-deserved 5/5.

This impressive airflow can be attributed to the shoe's thin engineered mesh upper. However, a closer—almost microscope-level—look reveals an interesting design choice.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 microscope

ASICS didn't opt for full ventilation holes, which can compromise structure and durability. Instead, they just removed the thickest part of the upper in those spots.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 microscope

This approach cleverly balances airflow while preventing potential tears, ensuring the shoe's long-lasting integrity.

Test results
Gel Kayano 30 5
Average 3.8
Compared to 221 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

Many shoes that excel in breathability often fall short when it comes to durability, like the Hoka Mach X. However, the Kayano 30 breaks this trend and shines brilliantly.

Upon reviewing the damage, we were thoroughly impressed. We gave it a 4/5 score and it's clear that ASICS delivered an exceptional upper with the Kayano 30.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Toebox durability
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 4
Average 2.3
Compared to 155 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

Unfortunately, the heel padding doesn't hold up well and scored a 1/5 in our Dremel test.

It seems ASICS prioritized comfort in the heel area, opting for a softer material that won't irritate the sock or Achilles tendon. But this choice means the heel is more susceptible to premature wear and tear.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Heel padding durability
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 1
Average 3.2
Compared to 151 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

For the outsole, ASICS played it safe. They chose a rubber blend that's quite standard in terms of hardness (80.4 HC), aiming for a good mix of traction and durability.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 rubber

Although the outsole isn't entirely covered with rubber—to save on weight—it offers generous protection in key areas, especially for pronators.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Outsole hardness
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 80.4 HC
Average 80.4 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 272 running shoes
Number of shoes
54.9 HC
Outsole hardness
92.8 HC

Outsole durability

We fired the Dremel one more time and the results were in line with our expectations.

As we've mentioned earlier, the rubber hardness is pretty standard, and the 0.9 mm indentation that we measured confirms it.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Outsole durability
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 0.9 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 133 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

The outsole boasts an impressive thickness of 4.3 mm. This result assures full lasting power throughout the shoe's lifespan.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Outsole thickness
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 4.3 mm
Average 3.2 mm
Compared to 291 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.6 mm

Weight

Weighing in at 10.7 oz (303g), we initially thought in the lab that this shoe was on the heavier side, especially after holding it in our hands. Yet, considering its expansive width and generous foam cushioning, it's genuinely remarkable that it comes in under 11 oz for a US size 9.

Compared to the Kayano 29, the Kayano 30 impressively offers richer padding inside and more cushioned FF Blast+ in the midsole—all while maintaining the same weight!

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Weight
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 10.69 oz (303g)
Average 9.38 oz (266g)
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
5.26 oz (149g)
Weight
12.56 oz (356g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

Turning our attention to the midsole, the Kayano 30 boasts an impressive 39.7 mm of FF Blast+ in the heel. We're 100% sure that this stack height provides enough cushioning even in the longest runs.

FF Blast+ is ASICS' softest training foam. The Japanese brand also incorporates it into other top models like the Novablast 3 and the Cumulus 25.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Heel stack
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 39.7 mm
Average 33.6 mm
Compared to 291 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Heel stack
42.7 mm

Forefoot stack

The forefoot is generously padded, boasting a thickness of 27.7 mm, which is more than what most shoes offer.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Forefoot stack
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 27.7 mm
Average 24.9 mm
Compared to 291 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Forefoot stack
35.8 mm

Drop

Designed primarily as a stability shoe for heel-strikers, we found that the Kayano 30 features a 12-mm heel-to-toe drop—2 mm more than the brand indicates.

This doesn't pose any issues. In fact, it further suits heel-strikers and provides an option for midfoot and forefoot strikers looking to ease pressure on their Achilles and calves.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Drop
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 12.0 mm
Average 8.7 mm
Compared to 291 running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
16.1 mm

Insole thickness

The Kayano series has always been synonymous with comfort, and a thick insole is part of the reason. Measuring in at 5.5 mm in our lab, it's another box checked.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Insole thickness
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 5.5 mm
Average 4.5 mm
Compared to 287 running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Insole thickness
7.3 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

FF Blast+ is renowned for its cloud-like feeling. With a measurement of 16.4 HA, we've confirmed it. Right from the initial run straight out of the box, the shoe was impressively soft.

ASICS also added a layer of PureGEL in the heel, which is their current implementation of the famous GEL. 

Asics Gel Kayano 30 puregel

By adding this, the landing phase becomes even softer. However, considering its reduced importance in the Kayano 30 and other recent models, we believe ASICS may opt to exclude this technology in the near future.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Midsole softness
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 16.4 HA
Average 21.4 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 219 running shoes
Number of shoes
8.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
41.5 HA

Midsole softness in cold

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.
Asics Gel Kayano 30 Midsole softness in cold

Difference in midsole softness in cold

In colder temperatures, we noticed a change. Although the FF Blast+ foam remains softer than many other shoes, it does become noticeably firmer, registering at 24.1 HA.

Why does this issue arise? The FF Blast+ foam blends EVA with Olefin. As we've discussed before in this article, EVA foams often underperforms in cold temperatures.

Witnessing a 47.3% increase, the Kayano 30 clearly falls short when it's chilly out. ASICS really needs to address this, especially given the price tag of many of their FF Blast+ shoes.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Midsole softness in cold
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 47.3%
Average 25.6%
Compared to 218 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Stability

Lateral stability test

The Kayano series has always focused on stability. Even with the significant cushioning in this thirtieth edition, we loved that it remains impressively stable.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 4D Guidance

The new 4D Guidance System is the key regarding stability, using a softer foam right under the arch. It adjusted to the shape of our feet, providing consistent stability the more we wore the shoe.

Torsional rigidity

Torsional rigidity is another essential feature for great stability. ASICS, in our opinion, nails it for a daily trainer like this with a 4/5 score in our assessment. Anything less would risk stability, while a max score might feel too rigid for everyday runs.

Test results
Gel Kayano 30 4
Average 3.2
Compared to 270 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

In the heel counter, we felt a similar sensation. However, for some runners, it might come across as slightly firm, although a 4/5 score is what we usually expect in a stability shoe.

Test results
Gel Kayano 30 4
Average 2.8
Compared to 254 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

Let's be clear—the Kayano 30 is W-I-D-E. We took the caliper in the lab to get a forefoot measurement of 124.3 mm, so it stands in the top 1% of shoes we've assessed in our lab for midsole width.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 124.3 mm
Average 113.6 mm
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
100.5 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.5 mm

Midsole width in the heel

Similarly, in the heel, we observe a width of 105.4 mm, placing it again among the top 1% we've measured.

Why does Kayano-san opt for this design? The answer is straightforward. With a tall stack and soft foam, he needed some aces up his sleeve for stability: the 4D Guidance System and... the shoe's broad width!

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 105.4 mm
Average 90.5 mm
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
74.9 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

In our 90-degree test, we applied just 25.0N of force to bend the shoe, showing its impressive flexibility—actually, it's more flexible than most shoes! This makes it super comfortable for long runs.

Test results
Gel Kayano 30 25.0N
Average 29.3N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 274 running shoes
Number of shoes
2.2N
Stiffness
94.4N

Difference in stiffness in cold

After placing the shoe in the freezer for 20 minutes, we tested it again. We recorded a measurement of 30.1N—indicating an excellent result for us.

Indeed, with just a 20.4% uptick, we're assured of minimal stiffness variations across season-driven temperature fluctuations.

Test results
Gel Kayano 30 20.4%
Average 36.3%
Compared to 274 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
148%

Size and fit

Internal length

ASICS stands out as one of the most consistent and reliable brands when it comes to quality control in shoe production.

Here's an example: we measured the internal length of the Kayano 30 to an impressively precise 270.4 mm. According to Asics' sizing charts, the expectation is 270 mm. Deviations from other brands are typically much larger!

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Internal length
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 270.4 mm

Toebox width at the widest part

We thought that with such a wide design, the shoe's upper would feel like a spacious mansion.

Well, we found it's pretty average at 99.8 mm. This clever design choice by Kayano-san enhances stability by ensuring the foot remains centered in the shoe's gigantic landing platform.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 99.8 mm
Average 98.3 mm
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
109.1 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

We also measure the big toe area to get a feel for the toe cap's space. With a measurement of 78.6 mm, it remains consistent with the previous number.

It's slightly larger than many other shoes, but it doesn't qualify as a wide shoe. Nonetheless, good news is that ASICS does offer this shoe in a wide size option in most countries.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 78.6 mm
Average 78.0 mm
Compared to 166 running shoes
Number of shoes
60.4 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.5 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The tongue it's semi-gusseted, which not only enhances the lockdown and prevents it from moving around the toes during our test runs. Good choice!

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 Both sides (semi)

Comfort

Tongue padding

We found that the tongue boasts a generous 7.7 mm of padding.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 tongue

While this is notably more than the average, some might expect even more, considering this shoe's focus on comfort. Yet, we appreciate this  choie—it provides ample cushioning without the burden of extra weight.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Tongue padding
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 7.7 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 289 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.5 mm
Tongue padding
14.2 mm

Heel tab

ASICS decided against including a heel tab on the Kayano 30. While this aligns with the design cues of other recent ASICS models like the Novablast 3, we feel a heel tab might have made slipping into the shoe easier for some of us.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Heel tab
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 None

Removable insole

The shoe's insole is easy to remove as it's not glued, so there's no problem at all using third-party insoles or orthotics.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Removable insole
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

We're thrilled to share that, unlike most running shoes released this year, the ASICS Gel Kayano 30 boasts standout reflective elements on the heel.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Reflective elements
Test results
Gel Kayano 30 Yes