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ASICS Gel-Kayano 30: Not Your Typical Kayano
By Matthew Klein and Bach Pham

The Kayano is a legacy shoe in the ASICS lineup. Introduced as a crosstrainer in 1993, it evolved into the stability trainer that has been a staple of runners everywhere. For years, the Kayano employed the classic medial post that has long been a signature of stability footwear. It has also been a playground for ASICS technology, from gel to dual midsoles to advances in fit design and more. The 30th anniversary of the Kayano is the biggest leap yet in the series with a new stability mindset, new foam, and overall general philosophy shift. In this review, we go over the big changes to the Kayano series and discuss its implications for the future of stability footwear.

Asics Kayano 30
Price: $159.95 at Running Warehouse (Releases 7/1)
Weight: 10.7 oz, 303 g (men's size 9), 9.3 oz, 263 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 40 mm / 30 mm
Drop: 10 mm
Classification: Stability Daily Trainer




RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

Matt: The ASICS Kayano 30 is a radically different take on this long-standing series. Appearing to be highly inspired by the designs of the Kayano Lite, the new version is a maximal stack height stability shoe that integrates stability with current concepts on guidance. The wide platform provides a large amount of inherent stability, while sidewalls, internal geometry and a solid lockdown provide a centered ride that comfortably guides you forward. The new plush upper holds you comfortably without being overbearing while still having a high amount of hidden structure. The midsole softens slightly and makes a green move with the Eco version of Flytefoam Blast. While moving in a different direction, the ASICS Gel-Kayano 30 is still a high level stability shoe but moves into the maximal realm while a great focus on being centered. Those who still need medial stability will do fine here but with the goal being centered, this may work for a large range of runners due to additional lateral stability as well.

Bach:
The Kayano 30 is both a big radical change for the Kayano series and also a natural progression in the direction that Asics has veered over the past three years. Pulling design elements they've been testing in their Kayano Lite models, you get a new stability design focused on geometry rather than medial posting, pulling the massive width and sole flaring of the Kayano Lite. A new upper design also adds a good deal of structure while still keeping things relatively tidy. Finally, the midsole gets softer and also sustainable with Flytefoam Blast Eco, which injects 24% bio-based content into the midsole. Their new PureGel also makes it into the rear of the shoe for added softness. Put together, the Kayano 30 is a technology-packed stability trainer that sets its sights on a bigger range of runners with its more universal design.

SIMILAR SHOES
: Mizuno Wave Horizon 6, Asics Kayano Lite 3
PAST MODEL: Asics Kayano 29





FIT

Matt: The ASICS Kayano 30 fits me true to size in my normal men's US size 10. The width is normal throughout the length of the shoe with a fairly average amount of volume. The upper is a full-length engineered stretch knit material that provides some gentle mobility without losing security. The forefoot has just enough room with a slight toe box taper. It has a little more room than the previous version and the mesh stretches well on the run. The midfoot is normal width with a moderately thick, well-gusseted tongue. The gusseting and laces easily lock the foot down and I did not have to lace lock the heel at all. The rearfoot fits normal to slightly snug. There is a large amount of heel collar cushioning that pads a stiff heel counter in the rearfoot. I did not notice the counter due to the padding and those with heel sensitivities should be fine (unless you are really sensitive). The inner liner is extremely comfortable and has worked well for me while going sockless. Those who want to do this should be fine but should be cautious of the slightly thicker inner aspect of the flexible toe guard. Outside of that, the upper is highly secure and keeps the foot locked down without being in your face about it.

Bach: The model I tested was a half size down. That said, the Asics Kayano 30 fit true to size for me, as the shoe was just slightly snug, but otherwise fine. I'm actually very surprised about some aspects of the Kayano 30's upper. The forefoot has decent volume and also contains a soft, stretchy knit that is very breathable. I never felt cramped on the run. The heel counter is only rigid on the bottom half, which was also a surprise as stability shoes tend to have full rigid heel counters. The padding is soft, generous and comfortable. The rear and midfoot is otherwise traditional Asics with a good lockdown and no frills. The classic Asics overlays provide good structure that locks the shoe in well. There are tall sidewalls on both sides that never irritated me in any way. You just feel very centered in the shoe, which is important to the general mechanics of the Kayano.

100 MILE UPDATE






PERFORMANCE

Matt: The ASICS Kayano 30 is a different shoe than prior versions. It now sits as a maximal, somewhat rockered stability shoe but continues its place as a daily training shoe for those who need something stable. The stack height is high at 40mm in the heel and 30 mm in the forefoot with a 10mm heel drop. The Flytefoam Blast Eco is slightly firmer underfoot but the sole compresses well to provide plenty of cushioning and protection. The heel is rounded but has a decent amount of posterior flare. It has a large crease that creates a lateral crash pad that compresses well upon landing. This creates the feeling of a slightly prolonged landing that gets better as the sole breaks in. The heel is wide and stable like the rest of the shoe. This transitions into a stable midfoot and a slightly stiff forefoot. The forefoot has a slightly late and large forefoot rocker that takes a few miles to break in. The ride smoothens out but there is only mild flexibility up front. This will work well for those who have stiffer toe joints but do not do well with plated soles for stiffness.

While the Kayano 30 supposedly gains a little weight over version 29, my two versions in size 10 both weight the same. The Kayano 30 feels lighter and smoother thanks to the better crash pad and slightly firmer ride. It still functions best for easy miles and long runs due to the cushioning, weight and size. I have tried to pick up the pace in this shoe but there are far better options for that (Kayano Lite, Evospeed, Metaspeed series). It has worked far better on the long run and easy runs I used it for, continuing its place as a daily training shoe.

The outsole has patches of AHAR+ and is full ground contact. I have 30 miles on my pair and only see a little wear at the posterior lateral heel. I am wearing through the rubber and mildly exposed Flytefoam Blast Eco foam just a little bit. I do expect an average to slightly above average number of miles out of these for a daily training shoe. Surface-wise I would keep these to roads and mild trails. The patches of rubber grip well on road surfaces and even on wet pavement. On dirt the smoother outsole is not my top choice unless it is flat dirt. This is expected given this is a road shoe and ASICS now has several trail options if you want to go onto softer surfaces.

Bach:
There is a lot to breakdown about the Kayano 30, and also not a lot if you've been running in Asics over the past 2 years. It features all of the things we talk about at Doctors of Running: massive sole flaring, wide width, and mild rockers (very mild here). The shoe runs fairly smoothly and evenly. Once in rhythm, I felt very confident in the shoe and its transitions. The Flytefoam Blast Eco is a bit firmer than normal Flytefoam Blast, which isn't a bad thing as far as stability. The midsole overall leans slightly firm, but cushioned throughout and with no ground feel. It is also stiff throughout, with little forefoot flexibility.

The Kayano is a bit on the heavier end, making it best for easy day paces. This is a conundrum for me though, because the midsole felt best when I engaged it a bit more and picked up the pace. I'm a fairly light runner both in size and how I strike the ground. In my experience - similar to some other shoes like the Wave Sky 6 from Mizuno - I feel like this is a shoe that will perform well for anyone who has a more heavy footstrike or a larger runner. Just running at my normal paces felt slightly plodding, but when I pushed a little bit harder I could feel the shoe come a bit more alive. I do feel it's just a bit more shoe than my preferences. I think if the shoe was a little more rockered it would feel smoother. That said, it is still a capable, comfortable ride that does daily miles fine and can definitely manage long runs. Anyone who really prefers maximal, slightly firmer cushioning will find this a solid ride.

The AHAR+ outsole grip is fine, with the wide width helping cover a good deal of ground as well. I took it through some slick, wet road and didn't have issues. It does not have the aggressive grip of a Nike waffle or PumaGrip, but does an adequate job of providing enough hold to keep you stable.





STABILITY

Matt: The ASICS Kayano 30 takes everything we at Doctors of Running have been talking about for the last several years in regards to guidance and integrates it well. This new Kayano features large sidewalls on both sides of the midfoot and heel, a wide stable sole (with appropriate sole flare throughout the length of the shoe), a wide and non-tapered midfoot and what feels like internal geometric stability. Despite the advertisement and differently colored medial 3D Guidance system, it feels similar to the Kayano Lite series. The medial heel midfoot and forefoot provide resistance to motion and mild comfortable pressure against that part of my foot. The interesting part is I do not feel pushed laterally due to the lateral sole flare and sidewall. Instead, I feel centered and guided throughout the entire length of the shoe. Those who really like the feeling of a medial midfoot post may be disappointed as that high arch pressure is not present. It does feel highly stable but not in a biased way. At first I was concerned that the stability had been reduced but it is still a highly stable shoe deserving of the Kayano title. The way the stability is executed has changed. It feels overall more stable than the prior Kayano, but does so throughout the length of the shoe and not just in the medial heel like version 29. Those that need stability at the heel, midfoot or forefoot, especially medially will do well here.

Bach: Aside from the sole flaring, width, and structured upper, the other piece I haven't spoken much about is the decently large medial piece on the Kayano that is visible. It doesn't feel particularly firmer than the rest of the midsole itself. On the run, I honestly just never noticed it and felt that the various components mentioned earlier does the majority of the work to provide a geometric stability here.

I have a feeling a lot of reviewers will indicate that the shoe feels both very stable (especially so in comparison to neutral shoes) and much more "runnable" than other Kayanos. It certainly is, but I do think anyone who has a history of running in stability will find this a dramatic change from the typical posted system of the past and in general a big difference running in the 30. This is still a stability shoe, but in the vein of a Mizuno Wave Horizon or even some stable neutral offerings that companies like Nike have begun to transfer to with the Infinity React and Structure models. If the sole was any softer or stack higher, I would even say this was a stable neutral model. These changes are not necessarily a bad thing; the Kayano will definitely be more adapted to a broader number of runners. It just means if you are a long time Kayano user, especially pre-version 28, this will be a big change that will feel very different.

For me, I did feel the shoe was stable for my needs. I have flat feet and typically prefer a stable neutral or geometric base with less intrusive stability, and this model definitely checked those marks.



Culture Corner: Blurred Lines
By Bach Pham

When I joined Doctors of Running in 2021, stability shoes were fairly defined as highly built, highly structured shoes with medial posts 9/10ths of the time. While looked down upon by much of the running community, there's no doubt they've also had their place for a long time. Matt discusses what posts have been known to do in our stability guide:

Posts usually involve sections of the midsole material being firmer than the rest of the shoe on the inner or medial side of the shoe. These are frequently referred to as duel-density foam. Since motion occurs through the path of least resistance, the post is designed to resist motion and facilitate it toward a different direction. Most of the time the posts are in the medial heel and midfoot. These particular designs are meant to assist the posterior tibalis, different muscles in the foot, ankle, and lower extremity that control overpronation during the landing or initial contact and mid stance phases of the gait cycle. While posts have long been the forefront of stability shoes, recent years have shown a sharp turn from posts for alternative forms of guidance.

At the time, I could count on one hand the number of non-posted stability trainers, with shoes like the Mizuno Wave Horizon and Hoka's Arahi being the few exceptions. Fast-forward two years later, posted stability shoes are now the increasingly rare with only the Saucony Guide, New Balance 860, Vongo, and a handful of others carrying on the legacy. This is not a bad thing; variety is welcome and having a range of stability shoes that help address a diverse array of needs is a very good thing. It does also mean things are becoming muddier on what shoes fit a runner's needs. Do I need guidance? Do I actually really benefit from a post? Do I just benefit from a stable neutral shoe? Stability has always been a challenging subject to discuss in the context of shoe buying, both for runners and running store employees trying to provide the best advice to runners. Even we at Doctors of Running are having a harder and harder time picking up a shoe that used to be defiantly one thing and working to figure out who benefits most from it as designs continue to blend together.

I think something that we have become concerned with as reviewers - people who share information about running shoes and can play a role in the decision a runner has in buying a shoe - is how we and others talk about stability. Stability shoes for a long time have been a narrow review lane due to posted shoes being the main option.

That door has been kicked wide open with shoes like the new Kayano 30 which blurs the line between stable neutral and stability. Yes, it is likely more runners may be able to comfortably tolerate a design like the Kayano. Some, however, might need more. That is where I hope reviewers take the time to really push the limits of their skills and experience to really consider all the factors of who might buy the shoe, and not just their own experience with the shoe. Is the arch an irritant or comfortable? Does it feel unstable at any part of the shoe? Is there conflicting points of the shoe when striking the ground? These are just some questions that both reviewers and runners can ask to really bring depth to their thoughts on the shoe.

We love seeing companies push the path forward on footwear design, but we also want to aim to be critical, highlight missteps, and really push to be critical about whether the shoe hits the intended goal, rather than just rely on the brand's notes to dictate our review. This is not at all to be critical about the Kayano 30 itself, but a call for reviewers specifically as more shoes like the Kayano reach the market to really think about the components of the shoe and think of who the shoe will and will not serve.




RECOMMENDATIONS

Matt: I am extremely proud of ASICS for taking the jump to give the Kayano series an aggressive update. Bach and I have referenced several times that the Kayano 30 integrates all the things we have been talking about for years. It has a far smoother ride than the past, it does stability better throughout the length of the shoe and not just in the heel AND keeps the foot centered rather than biased. There are a few changes I would make but these need to be done carefully. The first is the 4D guidance system. If this is meant to be a medial post, the grayish material actually feels softer than the rest of the foam. I don't feel this while running, but if it is meant to be a post, it needs to be a higher density. There may be additional components inside the sole that I am not aware of and actually would keep it the way it is personally. However, those who are expecting a post-like feeling will be disappointed (I don't always like that feeling, so prefer this).

My second suggestion is (as always) about the heel. I appreciate the large crash pad that actually collapses quite well. I have reference research in the past that suggests that as long as the foam collapses well a mild posterior lateral flare is okay. I personally would rather have a decent posterior lateral bevel as it feels smooth to me. The crash pads do create a slightly early initial contact that you do get used to with time but I would prefer more of a true rocker sensation for a shoe of this stack height. 

Bach: I appreciate the new direction Asics took with the Kayano series. It is a big step for them to transfer the technology of this model in a fairly different path. The change I recommend would be in the ride. I feel it could be just a little more rockered to help forward the ride and not only add to the guidance but help move the tall stack of foam forward better. It just being a stiffer, denser midsole, I think a little assistance moving the shoe forward would help liven the ride further.

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR

Matt: The ASICS Kayano 30 is the current concept version of this classic stability shoe. It is meant as an easy day or long run shoe for those that need a highly stable platform both medially and laterally. Those who have enjoyed the Kayano Lite series or other guidance-based shoes like the Mizuno Wave Horizon or Saucony Tempus will definitely feel at home in this shoe. It does not provide the traditional high medial arch feeling that other shoes like New Balance 860 series but does provide consistent high-level centeredness throughout the length of the shoe. Those who have worn the Kayano previously should know that this will feel different but familiar at the same time. The same concept is there despite the execution being different. The improved forefoot stability is a welcome change given that people often need stability in various places throughout the foot rather than just the medial heel or midfoot. The Kayano 30 is clearly a well-thought-out approach to stability that executes many components well. Those trying these newer guidance/stability shoes should ease into them but will find plenty to keep you going over a variety of training distances. 

Bach: The Asics Kayano 30 is a new-age stability trainer that is meant for logging tons of easy miles. It will suit a wider variety of runners than past Kayano, both who run in stability and non-stability shoes. It definitely takes much of the Kayano Lite's approach and transfers a wealth of new technology in the main Asics line to create something that feels fresh. Fans of the Mizuno Wave Horizon, Adidas Adistar CS, or other wider-based shoes will like this change a good deal. Runners used to posts should ease into this model to see if it works for their needs. This model is a bit softer than the others mentioned, which is its standout characteristic.

Those who want a bit more guidance may want to consider the Saucony Guide 16 or Mizuno Wave Inspire, both of which do a good job of providing forward movement. Runners who still want something a bit more traditional will want to check out the Brooks Adrenaline GTS, which combines both guidance and medial support. For someone who has less stability needs, but wants to get some of the stable mechanics in the new Kayano, the Asics Cumulus 25 is a great choice to check out.

Pairing-wise Kayano 30 is a great model to alternate with the Saucony Tempus. The Tempus can provide those faster miles and potential be a solid race day choice while the Kayano logs all of your training mileage. Both carry similarities in how they enable stability to make them an easy one-two punch.



GRADING

Matt
Fit: A- (Comfortable secure fit with premium upper and well-padded heel)
Performance: 
B/B+ (Highly cushioned daily trainer for mileage)
Stability: A [Moderate Stability] (Wider sole, wider midfoot, sidewalls and geometric stability make this a moderate  guidance shoe)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (Massive changes to a fairly consistent line that moves things forward utilizing all the concepts we have been discussing. Still could use a heel bevel despite the decent crash pad)
Personal: B+/A- (Well-centered shoe that works extremely well for my mechanics. Great as an easy day/recovery shoe but a bit heavier than I would like for other things)
Overall: A- 

Bach
Fit: A- (Good forefoot volume and heel hold. A very structured midfoot upper holds foot in well. There is room to shed a little bit more weight in the future though)
Performance: B
(A well-cushioned trainer for logging tons of miles. Not an overtly exciting ride in any way or very versatile, just consistent)
Stability: A- (Good use of geometry, sole flare, sidewalls to center and keep runner stable without traditional elements)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+ (Not a revolutionary shoe, but a solid and big change nonetheless. The bio-based midsole is a big addition though and I look forward to seeing that percentage continue to grow model to model)
Personal: B (Stable and good mileage grinder, but I would like the ride to feel a bit more lively or forward rolling for my tastes. Feels like I'm not engaging the shoe enough with my normal stride)
Overall: B+


SHOP | SUPPORT DOR

Asics Kayano 30
Price: $159.95 at Running Warehouse (Releases 7/1)

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FURTHER READING: More Stability Shoes

Asics GT-1000 11 - The most affordable stability shoe in the market
ASICS GT-2000 11 - The GT series elevates the midsole to bring it back to a more moderate cushion stability trainer
Brooks Hyperion GTS - All-new, lightweight stability offering using guidance
Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 - The redesign for the guidance-based stability trainer is an early 2023 favorite
Saucony Guide 16 - A much-improved upper and soft insole highlight this stability shoe update

Find all Shoe Reviews at Doctors of Running here.

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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your
local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at ASICS for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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