I have tested the latest version of ASICS’ popular stability shoe for everyday training – ASICS GEL-Kayano 27. Besides some improvements of the existing features, the Kayano 27 comes with an interesting upgrade of the shoes’ TRUSSTIC SYSTEM. Read more to find out what has made the Kayano so popular, and how the Kayano 27 stands out from its predecessor, the Kayano 26.
KAYANO’S STORY OF SUCCESS CONTINUES
A lot has happened since the first version of the ASICS GEL-Kayano was launched back in 1993. The long tradition of Kayano’s existence proves that ASICS has hit the mark when it comes to creating a stability shoe, which time after time will be bought by its loyal fans.
The ASICS GEL-Kayano is the most luxurious everyday training shoe from ASICS aimed at the pronating runner. It was exactly this the designer behind the Kayano shoe envisioned it to be like – a stable and supporting running shoe, which does not compromise on comfort. This proved to be persuading sweet talk to a lot of runners, and eventually gave the Kayano a legendary status within its category. Therefore, it is not hard to believe that the ASICS GEL-Kayano is our absolute bestseller when it comes to running shoes. And with ASICS latest actions on making the men and women model gender-specific, the Kayano supporters can now look forward to even better running experiences.
COMPARISON: ASICS KAYANO 27 VS. KAYANO 26 - DIFFERENCES
If you are a true Kayano fan, then you would probably agree with the statement ‘once Kayano, always Kayano’ and it is, therefore, natural to compare the Kayano 27 with the predecessor, the Kayano 26, to better understand what the real improvements are.
MORE BREATHABLE UPPER
The upper on the Kayano 27 is (like the predecessor) made from jacquard woven mesh. Mesh is often used in running shoes, as it is a thin and breathable material. It reduces the weight and improves the airflow to create better breathability. And it actually works! I do not feel any stuffiness or an abundance of sweat when I run in the Kayano 27. It is actually really important with good breathability, as your feet help to regulate your temperature. Think about it: do you, like me, sleep with your feet outside the duvet or walk around bare feet, then it is a sign that you generally feel too hot and, therefore, need the feet to cool down the body. In the same way, when a running shoe has an upper like the Kayano 27, it helps your feet to breath and rest of the body not to overheat.
Compared with the Kayano 26, the upper on the Kayano 27 is much more refined and classy with its diagonal ventilation holes in the mesh material. ASICS has decided to bring the widened toe box from the Kayano 26 to the Kayano 27 version, which works really well. There is plenty of room and free movement for your toes.
The shoe tongue, which is located under the laces, is well-padded to protect your instep but without getting too thick – again, they are brilliantly incorporating breathability into the design.
Personally, I like how the shoe tongue is not fixed to the side of the shoes. It provides more room for my instep and makes it easier to put the shoe on. If you have a high instep and need extra room at the toe box, the Kayano 27 is definitely a good shoe without being too wide.
SOLID HEEL CAP AND FAMILIAR FIT
The heel cap on the Kayano 27 has seen an upgrade, compared to later versions. ASICS has decided to remove the external part that was located under the ankle, and instead focused on the firmness around the heel and Achilles tendon. This is probably part of the explanation of why the Kayano 27 (266 grams in size EU 39.5) is lighter than the Kayano 26 (276 grams in size EU 39.5).
Left: Kayano 26, right: Kayano 27
The improvement around the heel cap piques my interest, as the heel cap now has an even better grip around the foot. This is even though the Kayano 26 already had a decent heel cap. You will no longer slide around in the shoe as the landing in the Kayano 27 feels more solid than other running shoes I have tried. It is important to remember that the pronation wedge cannot do the work alone. It can prevent pronation, but for a stability shoe to guide you through the entire foot strike, it is crucial with a good grip around the heel and a close-fitting feeling around the ankle. My strides do not feel uncontrolled at any point in the Kayano 27. I will even dare to say that you probably will not find a running shoe with a firmer heel cap and a better grip than the Kayano 27.
Back: Kayano 26, front: Kayano 27
The heel cap, however, is in no way hard or uncomfortable, as the inside of the heel cap is well-padded with a soft material.
In the midsole of the Kayano, ASICS continues with the renowned FlyteFoam and GEL technology. It feels like the right decision – so, there is no new hocus pocus here. And why would they fix it if it is not broken?
The FlyteFoam in the midsole is particularly suitable for runners who prefer a lighter, springy feeling without the shoe getting too soft and lively. AHAR rubber on the outsole ensures good traction with the surface – both on runs in dry and wet weather.
Nevertheless, by looking at the shoe, the most exciting thing is the ASICS GEL material, which is visible at the midsole around the heel area. It feels (as the name suggests) incredibly jelly and bouncy. The GEL technology provides greater shock absorption by compressing itself when landing, absorbing the shock, which comes from the surface, and then distributing it evenly over the length of the sole. The soft GEL material delivers some extra bounce and helps you to a smoother foot strike. It is, particularly, at a slow pace I feel the effect of the GEL technology and where it provides the best support for me.
One of the improvements from the Kayano 25 to the Kayano 26 was the extra added GEL. The amount stays the same in the Kayano 27, but the shoe still delivers brilliant shock absorption. At the same time, the Kayano 27 is now more flexible, compared to its predecessor.
With a great combination of springiness and shock absorption, the Kayano 27 is perfectly suited as an everyday training and long-distance running shoe. The Kayano 27 is primarily a running shoe for runs on firm grounds like roads and forest trails, but with this amount of stability and comfort, I have no problem in using it for more challenging terrains too.
GENDER-SPECIFIC SPACE TRUSSTIC SYSTEM
The greatest news of the newly released ASICS GEL-Kayano 27 is the shoe’s SPACE TRUSSTIC SYSTEM, which differs slightly between the men and women model. ASICS has decided to closely study the foot shape of men and women’s foot strike and how they differ from each other.
The SPACE TRUSSTIC SYSTEM is the hard piece of plastic in the midsole (under the midfoot), which serves the purpose of stabilising the shoe by preventing any twists. ASICS has made some changes in this part of the shoe to make the footstrike smoother and more rolling – and less rigid. As a result, the shoe moves more naturally with the foot – and this is where the difference lies between the men and women model.
Left: Kayano 27, right: Kayano 26
Personally, I can feel the ‘roll’ when I walk or run at a slow pace. However, that does not mean it is not there at a higher pace – but the ground contact time is shorter, so you do not feel the effect of it as much.
Not to worry, however! You will still get the famous stability, support, and comfort as you know it from previous Kayano models.
Also, the men and women models differ from each other by having a drop of 10mm for men and 13mm for women.
A CLASSIC RUNNING SHOE WITH GOOD STABILITY
The ASICS GEL-Kayano 27 can be said to be the uncrowned king when it comes to stability running shoes. Besides the luxurious comfort, the secret behind the success lies in ASICS’ Dynamic Duomax technology (a firmer foam under the inside of the arch to prevent overpronation). The Dynamic Duomax foam supports the foot and provides greater stability for runners with a tendency to overpronate. I, personally, am not a runner who needs all the support the Kayano 27 offers, but I appreciate the support and control the shoe delivers and it is not hard to understand why Kayano has grown so popular throughout decades.
If you liked the Kayano 26, you will definitely like the successor, Kayano 27, which offers the same familiar comfort and performance, but still comes with improvements that will give you a smoother footstrike and a more controlled run.
Personally, I do not need the degree of stability that Kayano 27 offers, but if you tend to overpronate and need extra support on your run, I would definitely recommend the Kayano 27.
With the Kayano 27, ASICS has started to focus on designing a shoe that caters to the differences in male and female biomechanics and anatomies – an exciting focus that I hope we will see more of in the future.
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