Asics Gel-Kayano 29 - Women's Review
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Asics Gel-Kayano 29 - Women's
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|Pros||Supportive, great updates, responsive, well-cushioned||Comfortable, responsive, many size options available, durable, traditional fit||Well-cushioned, protective, available in multiple width options, stable and supportive||Lightweight, comfortable, affordable, responsive||Lightweight, well-cushioned, stable, comfortable|
|Cons||Heavy, heel cup won't suit everyone||Heavier than some, somewhat pricy||Heavier than some, support structures might feel too rigid for some runners||Less laterally stable, somewhat narrow fit||Wide footprint, 5mm takes some getting used to|
|Bottom Line||The updates over the prior version make this shoe a comfortable choice for runners looking to add distance with some lateral support||This smooth-riding, highly responsive, and traditionally shaped running shoe is your one-hit wonder when it comes to running shoes, from speed days to long efforts||This all-around fantastic shoe will support your musculature and provide comfort no matter the distance of your endeavors||This lightweight and responsive shoe is our go-to for faster-paced runs where we crave the sensation of flying||This well-cushioned and comfortable running shoe provides lightweight comfort and protection for your joints as you pound pavement|
|Rating Categories||Asics Gel-Kayano 29...||Brooks Glycerin 20...||Brooks Adrenaline G...||Saucony Kinvara 13...||Hoka One One Mach 5...|
|Landing Comfort/Cushioning (25%)|
|Upper Comfort (15%)|
|Specs||Asics Gel-Kayano 29...||Brooks Glycerin 20...||Brooks Adrenaline G...||Saucony Kinvara 13...||Hoka One One Mach 5...|
|Weight (per shoe, size 7)||9.28 oz||8.61 oz||8.11 oz||5.86 oz||6.42 oz|
|Heel to Toe Drop||10 mm||10 mm||12 mm||4 mm||5 mm|
|Width Options||Regular||Regular, Wide||Regular, Narrow, Wide, Extra Wide||Regular, Wide||Regular|
|Style||Maximum cushioned||Traditional||Moderate cushioned||Neutral||Neutral|
|Upper Material||Engineered Knit||Synthetic mesh||Mesh||Engineered mesh||Engineered mesh|
|Midsole Material||FF BLAST PLUS||EVA foam||EVA||EVA||PROFLY foam|
|Sole Rubber||AHAR Plus||Rubber||Rubber||Rubber||Rubberized EVA|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Asics Gel-Kayano 29 underwent a huge makeover this time around. Asics instated an improved upper for added breathability and soft comfort. They updated the durability of the outsole, making it one of the more durable outsoles we have seen. The shock absorption technologies and support structures have also been redesigned to provide a fantastic, stable, and overall comfortable ride.
One of the more noticeable updates on the Gel-Kayano 29 is its responsiveness. While not our all-around best pick for speed, the addition of the FF BLAST PLUS cushioning in the midsole provides impressive energy return. Though still a beefy shoe, the lighter-weight upper combines well with the underfoot cushion for better responsiveness than we have seen in past versions of the Gel-Kayano. While exploring our speed during our testing runs, we found that the reconfigured launch pad provided an energetic push to keep us striding at higher speeds.
This is another metric in which the updates of the Gel-Kayano impressed us. In the past, these highly structured shoes have felt too rigid to appeal to a wider variety of runners. But the more forgiving body of the latest iteration is significantly more comfortable. The FF BLAST PLUS cushioning of the midsole added a lot more landing comfort than we are used to feeling in Asics-made shoes. The Rearfoot GEL cushion adds to the plush ride, and the laterally stabilizing structures are a bit less imposing than in prior versions. If you are a runner who desires lateral support in tandem with a plush ride, the updates in the Kayano might make it the perfect shoe for you.
The Gel-Kayano has long been a shoe touted for its stability and hasn't changed. The updates to the shoe make it a great 10-millimeter drop shoe for runners looking for some lateral structure built into their running shoes. The Gel-Kayano 29 is a shoe designed for neutral runners but offers the support needed for runners who overpronate. This makes it a great shoe for runners with a neutral gait but whose form degrades a bit when fatigued. If you want a shoe that is comfortable and supportive without being overbearing, the gentle guidance that the Gel-Kayano 29 offers might be just what you need.
We love the upper comfort updates that have been included with the latest Asics Gel-Kayano. The Ortholite sock liner upper helps ensure that the midfoot is snug and stays put while in motion. The engineered mesh upper offers plenty of breathability for warmer days, though it isn't our top choice for a breezy run. The mesh upper bends and flexes are you run, and the strength of the edges provides postural integrity.
Despite its comfortable cushioning, we are not totally sold on the shape of the heel cup. The heel collar is a bit larger than on most shoes, so we found ourselves using the extra eyelet to secure the shoes around our ankles. That isn't the element that needs commenting on though, as we do appreciate that the shape can accommodate larger ankles and then be modified for smaller ones. We are not sure about the shape of the heel cup. It almost feels like there is extra space behind the heel. This is the updated heel counter and while it might work for some runners, it definitely took some getting used to for us. If everything else about the Gel-Kayano 29 appeals to you, we don't think that the shape of the heel cup will bother you.
The Gel-Kayano is often at the bottom of our list when it comes to weight because they are often heavy shoes. Even though this version weighs a lot less than the last, it is still one of our lower-scoring shoes in the weight metric. It is important to note that we are nit-picking tiny details and focusing on ounces, and half ounces when we are measuring some of the best running shoes on the market. We never want our shoes to feel clunky and even though each womens' size 7 shoe weighs in at just over 9 ounces, they don't. If you want a strong, sturdy, and comfortable running shoe that will be with your for your marathon training, daily dog walks, or long work days, we think it is worth taking weight out of the equation and checking out the Kayano. If speed is your top priority and you want a lower-weight option for shaving seconds off of your PR, you might not dig what the Kayano has to offer.
Should You Buy the Gel-Kayano 29?
Though not the least expensive shoe in our review, the Gel-Kayano 29 offers a good value. If you are a neutral runner looking for a bit of extra support or an overpronator looking for some structure, you'll likely love the ride that the Kayano provides. If you are in search of a shoe that promotes speed and levity in your leg turnover, we recommend looking at a shoe that is more specified to provide those qualities.
What Other Road Running Shoes Should You Consider?
If you are looking for a shoe that is along the same lines as the Gel-Kayano, but something about it isn't quite right for you, we recommend looking instead at the Brooks Adrenaline 22. Much like the Kayano, the Adrenaline provides lateral support that overpronators might need for healthy runs. The Adrenaline is a softer shoe overall, but its built-in GuideRails offer a touch more support than the structure of the Kayano. If you want a traditional running shoe without any support built-in, we love the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v12 and the Saucony Kinvara 13. The Kinvara, our Best Buy award winner, is light, springy, and ready to tackle high speeds. The Fresh Foam is also responsive and light, but offers a bit more toe box space for runners who find that to be a more comfortable shape.
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