ASICS Gel Kayano Lite review

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. 


The upper of the Kayano Lite

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. 


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. 

More forefoot cushioning

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. 


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

The Kayano Lite is lightweight

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. 


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. 

It is a good-looking shoe

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. 

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


Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 289g / Women 252g
Drop: Men 10mm / Women 13mm
Arch support: Stability
Update: ASICS Gel Kayano Lite 3
Forefoot height: Men 12mm / Women 11mm
Heel height: Men 22mm / Women 24mm

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Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and run all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyzes every detail of the shoes that you might buy.