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Asics Gel-Kayano 29 - Women's Review

The updates over the prior version make this shoe a comfortable choice for runners looking to add distance with some lateral support
asics gel-kayano 29 for women running shoes review
Credit: Asics
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Price:  $160 List
Manufacturer:   Asics
By Ally Arcuri ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 20, 2022
70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 12
  • Responsiveness - 25% 7.0
  • Landing Comfort/Cushioning - 25% 8.0
  • Stability - 20% 8.0
  • Upper Comfort - 15% 7.0
  • Weight - 15% 4.0

Our Verdict

The updated Asics Gel-Kayano 29 is a well-cushioned and supportive road running shoe that is built for marathon training. With a redesigned upper, a lighter-weight and durable outsole, and a supportive heel cup, this is one of our new favorite shoes. The Gel-Kayano is a maximally-padded, 10-millimeter drop running shoe with an updated midsole for added responsiveness. The external heel counter design takes a bit of getting used to. But if you are a long-distance road runner looking for a supportive and durable running shoe with ample cushion and adequate responsiveness, we recommend giving the updated Gel-Kayano a try.
REASONS TO BUY
Supportive
Great updates
Responsive
Well-cushioned
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavy
Heel cup won't suit everyone

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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71
Star Rating
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Pros Supportive, great updates, responsive, well-cushionedComfortable, responsive, many size options available, durable, traditional fitWell-cushioned, protective, available in multiple width options, stable and supportiveLightweight, comfortable, affordable, responsiveLightweight, well-cushioned, stable, comfortable
Cons Heavy, heel cup won't suit everyoneHeavier than some, somewhat pricyHeavier than some, support structures might feel too rigid for some runnersLess laterally stable, somewhat narrow fitWide 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 supportThis 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 effortsThis all-around fantastic shoe will support your musculature and provide comfort no matter the distance of your endeavorsThis lightweight and responsive shoe is our go-to for faster-paced runs where we crave the sensation of flyingThis 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...
Responsiveness (25%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
Landing Comfort/Cushioning (25%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Stability (20%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
5.0
8.0
Upper Comfort (15%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Weight (15%)
4.0
5.0
5.0
9.0
8.0
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
Sizes Available 5-13 5-12 5-13 5-12 5-11
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.

Performance Comparison


asics gel-kayano 29 for women running shoes review - we love running in the updated gel-kayano because of its comfort and...
We love running in the updated Gel-Kayano because of its comfort and bounce.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Responsiveness


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.

asics gel-kayano 29 for women running shoes review - the gel-kayano might not be the most responsive shoe around, but it...
The Gel-Kayano might not be the most responsive shoe around, but it certainly isn't the least.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Landing Comfort/Cushioning


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.

asics gel-kayano 29 for women running shoes review - the gel-kayano is strong enough for long, punishing runs, but also...
The Gel-Kayano is strong enough for long, punishing runs, but also cushioned enough to feel comfortable as an every day running shoe.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Stability


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.

asics gel-kayano 29 for women running shoes review - we always opt for extra stable and well-cushioned running shoes when...
We always opt for extra stable and well-cushioned running shoes when tackling long runs in beautiful places.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Upper Comfort


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.

asics gel-kayano 29 for women running shoes review - the gel-kayano packs a lot of cushion for a traditionally-shaped...
The Gel-Kayano packs a lot of cushion for a traditionally-shaped running shoe.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

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.

asics gel-kayano 29 for women running shoes review - a quick comparison between our favorite running shoe, the brooks...
A quick comparison between our favorite running shoe, the Brooks Glycerin 20, and the Gel-Kayano. You can see how well-cushioned the heel collar on the Gel-Kayano is. You can also see how the angle at which the heel cup pitches back towards the front of the shoe is steeper than in the Glycerin.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Weight


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.

asics gel-kayano 29 for women running shoes review - the cushion and structure make the gel-kayano 29 a bit heavier than...
The cushion and structure make the Gel-Kayano 29 a bit heavier than most running shoes. We didn't mind as we felt like all of the elements of the shoe came together well during our runs in them.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

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.

asics gel-kayano 29 for women running shoes review - we think that the new updates to the kayano make it a great value...
We think that the new updates to the Kayano make it a great value and overall fantastic contender to include in your hunt for the perfect running shoe.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

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.

Ally Arcuri
 
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