Reviews You Can Rely On

Asics Gel-Kayano 30 - Women's Review

This shoe is made for runners who dream of comfortable, pillowy landings during their distance excursions
gearlab tested logo
Asics Gel-Kayano 30 - Women's Review (They may look docile, but the comfort levels of the Kayano can really pack a punch.)
They may look docile, but the comfort levels of the Kayano can really pack a punch.
Credit: Ally Arcuri
Price:  $160 List
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Manufacturer:   Asics
By Ally Arcuri ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 9, 2023
76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 19
  • Cushioning and Landing Comfort - 25% 9.0
  • Responsiveness - 25% 7.0
  • Stability - 20% 8.0
  • Upper Comfort - 15% 7.5
  • Weight - 15% 6.1

Our Verdict

The Asics Gel-Kayano 30 has been completely reimagined, and its updates helped secure its high score. This time around, the Gel-Kayano is our top choice for plush underfoot cushion, an element that many long-distance runners seek out. With an ample stack, a silky smoothy upper, and a comfortable lace bed, this is a shoe for runners who want to pound the pavement in relative luxury. The luxurious elements of the Kayano run a bit heavy, which cuts down on its responsiveness, but if you want plush landing comfort and a forgiving upper, we do not hesitate to recommend this shoe.
REASONS TO BUY
Fantastic landing comfort
Buttery soft upper
Great for overpronators
REASONS TO AVOID
Stack might be too thick for some
Heavier

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $119.95 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$139.72 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$160 List
$129.95 at Amazon
$139.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$120 List
Check Price at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
76
80
77
76
74
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Bottom Line For incredible comfort with a side of responsiveness, this redesigned classic is ready to tackle serious mileage with youThis running shoe offers the performance technology and comfort needed to be your go-to shoe, no matter your running goalsWith strong responsive bounce and enough comfort for long runs, this shoe will suit marathon hopefuls and speed demons alikeThe structure and comfort of this shoe make it a highly recommended option for long distance runners who want a reliable road running steedWhile not a race-focused shoe, this affordable and bouncy option will keep your legs turning over quickly and easily
Rating Categories Asics Gel-Kayano 30... Asics Novablast 4 -... Puma Deviate Nitro... Brooks Adrenaline G... Saucony Kinvara 14...
Cushioning and Landing Comfort (25%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
7.5
Responsiveness (25%)
7.0
7.5
9.5
6.5
7.5
Stability (20%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
Upper Comfort (15%)
7.5
8.0
7.0
9.0
7.0
Weight (15%)
6.1
6.9
7.4
5.8
9.3
Specs Asics Gel-Kayano 30... Asics Novablast 4 -... Puma Deviate Nitro... Brooks Adrenaline G... Saucony Kinvara 14...
Weight (per shoe, size 6.5) 8.01 oz 7.36 oz 7.02 oz 8.21 oz 5.55 oz
Style Neutral stability Neutral Neutral/race Supportive Neutral
Sizes Available 5 - 13 US 5 - 12 US 5.5 - 11 US 5 - 13 US 5 - 12 US
Measured Heel-to-Toe Drop 11 mm 9 mm 8 mm 12 mm 5 mm
Measured Heel Stack Height 37 mm 40 mm 34 mm 34 mm 30 mm
Measured Forefoot Stack Height 26 mm 31 mm 26 mm 22 mm 25 mm
Claimed Heel-to-Toe Drop 10 mm 8 mm 6 mm 12 mm 4 mm
Claimed Heel Stack Height 39 mm 40.5 mm Not stated Not stated 31 mm
Claimed Forefoot Stack Height 29 mm 32.5 mm Not stated Not stated 27 mm
Measured Outsole Length 10.44 in 10.65 in 10.31 in 10.50 in 10.13 in
Measured Outsole Width 4.17 in 4.32 in 4.00 in 4.25 in 3.96 in
Upper Knit mesh Engineered knit mesh Mesh Engineered air mesh Mesh
Midsole FF Blast Plus Eco FF Blast Plus Eco Nitro/Nitro-Elite DNA Loft v2 PWRRUN, PWRRUN+
Outsole PureGel AHAR outsole PumaGrip ATR Rubber Rubber XT-900 rubber
Measured Outsole Hardness 70 HA at outer heel, 65 HA rest of shoe 59 HA 65 HA 47 HA 63 HA at inner toe/outer heel, 35 HA rest of shoe
Heel Tab Type None Finger loop None None Finger loop
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Narrow, medium, wide, extra wide Regular, wide
Heel Compression Stiffness 42 lbf 44 lbf 35 lbf 52 lbf 40 lbf
Toe Compression Stiffness 38 lbf 38 lbf 40 lbf 56 lbf 42 lbf
Toe Box Volume 6.4 in^3 6.2 in^3 6.7 in^3 6.5 in^3 6.7 in^3
Rocker Angle 13.5 deg 22.0 deg 12.5 deg 26.5 deg 26.0 deg

Our Analysis and Test Results

The new and improved Gel-Kayano is our top recommendation for those who want serious comfort during their runs. With a measured drop of 11mm and a super stacked outsole that stands at a peak height of 37mm, this shoe is loaded with comfort elements.

Performance Comparison


asics gel-kayano 30 for women - long, meandering roads and the gel-kayano go together perfectly...
Long, meandering roads and the Gel-Kayano go together perfectly, thanks to the underfoot cushioning of this shoe.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Cushioning and Landing Comfort


There are very few other shoes in our lineup this season that come close to offering the underfoot plushness that the Kayano 30 does. Asics jumped on the boat-like aesthetic and prevailed, delivering a shoe with exceptional landing comfort and cushioning.


The underfoot stack of the Gel-Kayano is thick, especially in the heel. This is a shoe that is made for stable, well-cushioned rides, and it delivers. The outsole is forgiving enough for joint protection without being so soft as to feel mushy. The underfoot cushion almost feels bubbly in its effect, leading to some epically fun and comfortable mileage.

The thickness of the outsole is part of what makes the landing comfort of the Kayano so excellent.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Responsiveness


As we all know, heavy and well-cushioned runners do not always have the best responsiveness rankings. This is somewhat true for the Kayano, but not entirely.


Because of its weight and bulk, we certainly do not envision the Gel-Kayano as your next racing shoe, but it is responsive enough to be a great training companion. The redesigned outsole adds a significant amount of energy return, allowing what you put into each footfall to parlay into the next. The balanced platform of the outsole provides a forgiving launchpad that works with your body to propel you forward. If you want a shoe to lay down some serious speed, this chunky-soled runner is not our recommendation. But if you want comfort, adequate responsiveness, and a durable shoe, the Kayano might be right up your alley.

asics gel-kayano 30 for women - the not-too-soft but not-too-rigid platform of the kayano allows it...
The not-too-soft but not-too-rigid platform of the Kayano allows it to have soft landings and a bit of pep, a balance that is hard to find.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Stability


The Gel-Kayano 30 is built to be a neutrally stable shoe, so it isn't especially surprising that it scores well in this metric yet still has a wide appeal. The lateral edges are firm but not rigid, making this a suitable shoe for runners who don't care about lateral support.


The firmness of the heel collar locks your feet in place, but the width of the outsole is notable when it comes to the stability of the Kayano. The rearfoot is stuffed with cushion to help provide a rolling sensation if you overpronate (yes, our testers ran this way on purpose to provide you with the best information possible). Instead of allowing overpronated strides to occur, the heel shape ever-so-gently encourages body weight to move forward versus medially. All of this to say, if you are interested in a supportive shoe and aren't sure where to start looking, the Kayano is a great place to begin. If you are motivated by comfort for long runs but tend to favor neutral running shoes, the neutral support of the lateral edges and heel collar might be a great match for you as well.

asics gel-kayano 30 for women - the extra thickness in the heel collar helps with stability.
The extra thickness in the heel collar helps with stability.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Upper Comfort


The upper comfort of the Kayano is fantastic, aside from a few minor details that might make or break the experience for you. As with all shoes, we recommend you try-before-you-buy if possible. This shoe is one that you likely may want to size up on.


First, let's talk about the positives. The stretch-knit upper is breathable enough and somehow provides the perfect touch against the tops of your feet. It isn't too soft, and it is not too firm; we never had issues with pinky toes busting out the sides because of the upper's softness. The lace bed is plush, and the silky soft laces stay snug during long runs. The main detail that stood out in a negative way is that the Kayano 30 runs a bit short. With the semi-steep differential, picking up speed had us feeling like our toes were ramming up against the front of the toe box. Our lead tester is a size 6.5 but typically buys running shoes in a size 7 for the extra space. Even in a size 7, she would have preferred a bit more length in the toe box. Aside from that small fit quirk, the upper of the Kayano is as smooth and comfortable as it is supportive.

asics gel-kayano 30 for women - the toe box runs slightly short, but everything else about the upper...
The toe box runs slightly short, but everything else about the upper of the Kayano comes together for ultimate comfort.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Weight


All of the cushion of the Kayano comes at the expense of weight, though this shoe is lighter than we expected.


Each women's size 6.5 weighs in at 8.01 ounces, planting it in the lower half (i.e., heavier) of the running shoes we rounded up this season. The bulk of the weight rides in the heel, which is not entirely unpleasant, but it is definitely a departure from the ride on past versions of the Kayano.

Hidden details, like this one we unearthed within the Gel Kayano, can add weight, but also underfoot comfort that some runners crave.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Should You Buy the Asics Gel-Kayano 30?


If luxurious comfort and underfoot cushion are what you are after, this is the shoe for you. Many different manufacturers are on the maximalist train these days, but in our opinion, Asics is doing it best with the updates to the Kayano. With some responsiveness, plush underfoot comfort, and a buttery soft upper, this is a great shoe for the depths of marathon training. If you want a race-ready speed shoe, this isn't it. But runners looking to get time on their feet in comfort have a good chance of enjoying everything the Kayano has to offer.

asics gel-kayano 30 for women - if your body is asking for a bit more cushion underfoot, the kayano...
If your body is asking for a bit more cushion underfoot, the Kayano is the shoe that we recommend for you.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

What Other Running Shoes Should You Consider?


The most obvious parallel to draw here is between the Kayano and the Hoka Clifton 9. The Clifton is a fantastic shoe when it comes to comfort, but it scored slightly below the Kayano nearly across the board, the exception being weight. If you tend to favor Hoka-made shoes, the Clifton is about as close as you can get to the Kayano in terms of tech and function. While not as overstated, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 offers awesome landing comfort and cushioning as well as a supportive build. The Adrenaline rides a bit closer to the ground and has a more traditional and familiar fit. If stability is what you're after, the Adrenaline is up there with the Kayano and the Clifton in terms of strong support.

Ally Arcuri