REVIEW: Asics GEL-Kayano 26 vs. Kayano 25

REVIEW: Asics GEL-Kayano 26 vs. Kayano 25

Se Jesper Petersen's profil
 By Jesper Petersen


With the slogan “Protect Every Step,” Asics has just released the 26th edition of the by now legendary GEL-Kayano. View all the changes and read the review of  Asics GEL-Kayano 26 here.


If you do not already know the Kayano model by Asics, then I can tell you that it is their most luxurious running shoe for the pronating runner. It is, in other words, for the one who needs stability and extra support on the inside of the foot.

Seen in that light, the new slogan hits the nail on the head, for Asics GEL-Kayano 26 is exactly made with that purpose in mind, to provide the runner with maximum protection and comfort for each step and on all runs.

I have tested the new Asics GEL-Kayano 26 and will go through all of the most important updates in this article.


Buy asics kayano 26 here


asics gel-kayano 26 test by jesper



New upper with more room for your toes

You find the first change of the shoe in the upper, which is made in a new jacquard mesh material and is super soft and nice to touch. And compared to the Kayano 25, there is more room for your toes, for Asics has expanded the toe box in both its height and width – and that is a change that many runners are guaranteed to appreciate! It is not the case that the Kayano 26 is now downright a wide running shoe, but you can certainly feel that it has more room in the front.


 asics gel-kayano 26 new upper

asics gel-kayano 26 mesh

Left: Asics GEL-Kayano 26. Right: Asics GEL-Kayano 25.



A softer and more responsive running experience

The greatest changes from the Asics GEL-Kayano 25 to the Asics GEL-Kayano 26 are to be found under the foot. Asics have here changed several different things that all mean that the Kayano 26 feels softer and more responsive.

The first change is the insole, which now has a more anatomical shape, so that it forms itself to the shape of your foot and supports it to an even greater extent. This does not really make it softer or more suspensive. Rather, I actually think that the Kayano 26 feels HARDER than the Kayano 25 right at the moment you put the shoe on. The new insole is just not as soft and spongy as the insole of the Kayano 25.


asics gel-kayano 26 vs 25 insole

Left: Asics GEL-Kayano 26. Right: Asics GEL-Kayano 25.


However, when you start to run, it is the midsole (and not the insole) that has the greatest impact on how it feels to wear the shoe. It is here that you will find some changes that all in all makes the Kayano 26 a bit softer than the Kayano 25.

The midsole consists in a combination of FlyteFoam Lyte, FlyteFoam Propel, and Asics’ well-known GEL. It is a construction that was introduced with the Kayano 25, so it is not really new…

FlyteFoam Lyte, which we find in the lowest part of the midsole in the backend of the shoe (the white material), is a light material with exceptional shock absorption, helping with a soft landing. FlyteFoam Propel (the yellow/orange on the picture below) goes all the way from heel to toe and is a softer and more responsive material that has much more of a bounce effect, meaning that it returns more energy to the runner and provides a more effective toe-off.


asics gel-kayano 26



What is new in the Kayano 26 is that it has a GREATER AMOUNT of FlyteFoam Propel as compared to the Kayano 26 – and the shoe therefore feels all in all softer and more suspensive than its predecessor.


Buy asics kayano 26 here


More GEL under the heel and front

In addition to the extra amount of FlyteFoam Propel, the Kayano 26 has also ended up with much more GEL in both the heel and front. The additional GEL is very visible on the outerside of the heel, while it is hidden in the middle of the shoe at the front.

GEL has throughout the many, many years been Asics’ signature material. Though for the last couple of years GEL has been replaced more and more by foam in the Kayano 24 and 25, Asics has changed course with the Kayano 26. For the first time in a long while, their Kayano now has MORE GEL.


asics gel-kayano 26 extra gel


The extra GEL means that the Kayano 26 feels a bit softer than the Kayano 25 when landing. But I do want to note that you really have to focus to feel the difference. I had to go on a run with the Asics GEL-Kayano 26 on one foot and the Asics GEL-Kayano 25 on the other, before I was able to tell the slight difference.


asics gel-kayano 26 vs. kayano 25 test

Left: Asics GEL-Kayano 26. Right: Asics GEL-Kayano 25.


Asics GEL-Kayano 26 is most definitely one of the most shock-absorbing running shoes on the market. But even though this version of the shoe is a bit softer, the Kayano 26 is still not quite as soft as the contending  Saucony Hurricane ISO and Mizuno Wave Horizon. These shoes feel MARKEDLY softer to run with. It is absolutely a matter of taste whether you prefer a softer or firmer shoe, but no matter which of the three you choose, you are ensured comfort, support, and protection of top-shelf quality.


asics gel-kayano 26 vs 25

asics gel-kayano 26 vs 25

Left: Asics GEL-Kayano 26. Right: Asics GEL-Kayano 25.




A running shoe with great stability

Asics GEL-Kayano 26 is a stable running shoe that guides the foot all the way through from landing to toe-off. Asics has managed to make it supportive in a way where you do not really notice it when you run. You do not notice any abrupt stops when the foot/ankle rolls inward during landing, for example.

That is, I do feel how the shoe steers my foot when I run, but when you come to think of how much it actually supports my foot, I think it is impressive how smooth and well-balanced the shoe feels.

The stability in the Kayano 26 does not only come from a wedge on the inside of the foot – a long range of technologies all contribute to make it more stable. I will briefly run through them here:



On the inside of the midsole, you will find a firmer foam (what Asics calls Dynamic Duomax Technology) that has the purpose of counteracting how your foot “overly rolls inward.” The firmer/tougher foam is harder to compress than the rest of the midsole, and this helps to halt the pronating movement of your foot.

On top of the firmer foam, there is a soft layer of FlyteFoam Propel, which is efficient at distributing the force to the whole foot, and this makes so that you do not feel the tougher Dynamic Duomax wedge underneath.


asics gel-kayano 26 dynamic duomax


A Very stable heelcap

Asics GEL-Kayano 26 has a very stable, external heel cap that, like the Kayano 25, contributes to keeping the heel and all of the back part of the foot securely in place. Asics has made a small design change on the back of the heel cap, where it is now softer in the midpart (the orange area in the middle of the heel). This provides a bit extra comfort as compared to the Kayano 25, where the external heel cap is stiff all the way round the heel. But even though the heel cap of the Kayano 26 is a bit softer at the back, it is still very, very stable – in fact, it may be the most supporting heel cap that you can find on the market today.


asics gel-kayano 26 heel

Left: Asics GEL-Kayano 25. Right: Asics GEL-Kayano 26.


Trusstic under the midfoot

Beneath the midfoot you will find a firm and rigid plastic stiffener called the TRUSSTIC SYSTEM. It has been part of Asics’ GEL-Kayano collection as long as I can remember. The Guidance TRUSSTIC is there to stabilize the shoe, countering twists, and that is really something it does extremely effectively. The back and midpart of the shoe are insanely stiff and stabilizing and almost impossible to twist. 

The front third of the shoe is instead very flexible and allows the frontfoot and toes to bend freely during toe-off.


asics gel-kayano 26 outsole


Enhancements in the upper

Last but not least, the upper is provided with extra overlays or enhancements that provide a secure hold of the foot when it starts to roll inward. For the Kayano 26, it is the very Asics logo on the ypper that works as the enhancing overlay.

It is not something you notice when you run in the Kayano 26. But if you compare it to a neutral shoe with a flexible upper, then you can easily feel how the Kayano 26 has a good hold of your foot.


asics gel-kayano 26 review




Overall, the Asics GEL-Kayano 26 is a super nice and comfortable running shoe that provides the runner with stability and protection in top class. There is no focus on speed here, but instead it has maximal comfort! This makes the Asics GEL-Kayano 26 ideal as your primary running shoe for daily runs – no matter if your train by running 5 km or marathons.

When you want to set personal records or do speed and interval runs, I would recommend the Asics GEL-DS Trainer 24 instead. It is a very fast running shoe with pronation support and great stability.

The changes that Asics introduced has made the Kayano 26 softer and more comfortable, and the extra room at the toes means that even more runners will feel comfortable in the Asics GEL-Kayano 26.

If comfort and stability are your most important criteria when you pick running shoes, then you should definitely consider the Asics GEL-KAyano 26. With its luxurious shock-absorption and great protection, the 26th edition of the Asics GEL-Kayano is once again an impeccable choice for the pronating runner.


Buy asics kayano 26 here



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